M M G Stable's El Areeb is in good order following his third-place finish in the Grade 3 Gotham on Saturday, trainer Cathal Lynch reported Sunday morning.
The gray colt by Exchange Rate arrived back at his Laurel Park base around midnight, said Lynch, and all initial assessments have been positive.
“He came out of it great,” said Lynch. “He ate up when we got back last night and by the time we got back to the barn this morning, he had his feed tub licked clean and was in there playing around. He's really no worse for wear. He came back good and scoped good.”
After dueling with True Timber through the early stages of the Gotham, El Areeb, the 2-5 post-time favorite, suffered his first defeat since October, when he began a four-race win streak that included back-to-back Grade 3 victories this winter at the Big A in the Jerome and Withers.
“It was just one of those scenarios where the pace was so fast,” Lynch said. “The winner ran a 102 Beyer and we ran our race, we just got caught up in a bit of a speed duel early, but I think he's no worse for it. Just give him a couple of days and he'll be good to go.”
Lynch noted that the connections will take their time to determine what's next for El Areeb, who added 10 more Kentucky Derby qualifying points for a total of 30, ranking him sixth in the current standings.
“No idea,” he said. “I spoke to the owners this morning and their concern was to make sure that the horse was OK. We'll go back to the track in the next couple of days and go from there.”
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