O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie Gets In Final Kentucky Derby Work As He Drills Six Furlongs In 1:13.68 Prior To Saturday’s First Race



                ARCADIA, Calif. (April 24, 2021)–Doug O’Neill, in search of his third career win in the Kentucky Derby one week from today on May 1, sent recent Louisiana Derby winner Hot Rod Charlie out for his final Derby prep at 12:09 p.m. today at Santa Anita, as the Kentucky-bred colt by Oxbow went six furlongs 1:13.68 under Flavien Prat, who will accompany him next Saturday at Churchill Downs.


                Hot Rod Charlie came on the main track outside his lead pony and stablemate Chasing Fame via Santa Anita’s quarter mile chute, galloped through the stretch and was set down while one length behind his work partner at the five furlong pole, from where he tracked his company to the top of the lane where he assumed command and worked past the wire to the seven furlong pole through splits of 24.46, 48.94 and 1:00.90.


                Santa Anita Timer Dane Nelson had Hot Rod Charlie galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.43.


                “I’m extremely grateful to the Santa Anita Racing Department for letting us work after training hours and before the races,” said O’Neill, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and in 2016 with Nyquist.  “I love the fresh track and not having to worry about traffic.  I’m real happy with the way he breezed.  We’re all set, looking forward to getting him to Churchill and finding out what our post position will be on Tuesday.”


                Owned by Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, LLC and William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie was purchased as a yearling at public auction for $110,000 by O’Neill’s brother Dennis, and with his win in the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 20, he now has earnings of $1,005,700 from an overall mark of 7-2-1-2.


                A one mile maiden winner in his fourth career start at Santa Anita on Oct. 2, Hot Rod Charlie was subsequently second beaten three quarters of a length by likely Derby favorite Essential Quality in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 6 at Keeneland.    


                Reunited with Prat for the first time since a fifth place finish in a one mile maiden race on grass at Del Mar Sept. 7, Hot Rod Charlie, who is out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Miss, will be facing Essential Quality for the first time since the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.


                “I loved the way he went,” said Prat, who was also aboard for a six furlong work in 1:14.20 here on April 17.  “He went really easy and he went a solid three quarters, with a good gallop out.  I loved his energy and the way he went by his stablemate.  Essential Quality is the favorite and we’re one of many horses who have a good chance.  There’s no pressure and I’m really excited to be riding this horse.”


                Hot Rod Charlie will be flown to Louisville early Sunday morning and will gallop and/or jog throughout the week over the Churchill Downs main track.