Three weeks after nearly winning the Preakness, Oliver's zTC Twist is working diligently toward his next start, in the $300,000 Ohio Derby.
"He came out of the Preakness super and worked a mile a couple days ago," said trainer Bill Boniface. "He'll have one more work before he leaves Friday morning by chartered jet."
Boniface said he has no second thoughts about Oliver's Twist skipping the Belmont in favor of next Saturday's 1 1/8 -mile test at Thistledown.
"I don't think the distance [1 1/2 miles] would have been a problem, but no Lasix in New York would have," said Boniface.
Oliver's Twist probably will draw solid play from the bettors against a field that will include Illinois Derby winner Peaks And Valleys, Jersey Derby victor Da Hoss and Western Echo, who was a close second to Oliver's Twist in the Tesio Stakes.
Despite his big horse's absence, Boniface will be at Belmont today with long shot Winsox in the $200,000 Early Times Manhattan at 1 1/4 miles on the turf.
Winsox, who was second in the Riggs Handicap here in his last start, left Bonita Farm early last evening.
Yesterday at Pimlico, one of Oliver's Twist's regular morning riders, Chris Boniface, prevailed in an amateur event that launched the eight-race card.
"She's my daughter-in-law and a foreman at the farm before she married my son [Kevin]," said Boniface.
Concern's long commute
Concern, Maryland's 1994 Horse of the Year, is flying from Monmouth Park across the country today for tomorrow's Grade I, $250,000 Californian at Hollywood Park.
The Breeders' Cup Classic winner is also a candidate for the Hollywood Gold Cup, according to trainer Dick Small.
In a final tuneup for the 1 1/8 -mile Californian, Concern worked a mile in 1 minute, 39 4/5 seconds over a fast Pimlico track Tuesday.
Eight Maryland-breds are entered in today's $75,000 Deputed Testamony Stakes, the live feature on an 11-race program at Pimlico.
Star Trace, who has won three of four career starts, is expected to be favored. In his most recent outing, he finished in a dead heat with Mighty Magee for the victory in the Sir Barton Stakes on Preakness Day.
His major opposition is expected from Flying Punch, who has faced most of the top local 3-year-olds this year, and War Hostage. The track is also offering simulcast wagering on events from Belmont Park, including the Belmont Stakes and the Early Times Manhattan.