One of America’s top 3-year-olds from 2021, trainer Doug O’Neill’s Hot Rod Charlie, winner of the 2021 Secretariat Vox Populi Award, worked a half mile at Santa Anita on Jan. 8 in :48.52 and galloped out five furlongs under regular rider Flavien Prat in 1:02.15.
Accompanied by O’Neill’s $5.2 million earner and current stable pony Lava Man, Hot Rod Charlie came on the main track via the quarter mile chute at 11:48 a.m. P.T., galloped through the stretch, broke free from Lava Man heading to the 4 ½ furlong pole and was set down at the half mile by Prat.
Hugging the rail entering the stretch, Hot Rod Charlie got the first quarter mile in :24.48 and came to the wire with his ears up.
“Charlie went really nice,” said O’Neill. “The main thing is, Flavien was very happy with him. Flavien said, ‘He did it very easily.’”
Most recently second, beaten a nose as the 1-5 favorite here in the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes Dec. 26, Hot Rod Charlie, who was third in the Kentucky Derby (G1), second in the Belmont Stakes (G1) and who won the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby prior to finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 6, has amassed earnings of $2,511,200 from an overall mark of 13-3-3-3.
Owned by Boat Racing, LLC, Gainesway Stable (Antony Beck), Roadrunner Racing and William Strauss, Hot Rod Charlie was purchased as a yearling by O’Neill’s brother, Dennis, for $110,000.
Hot Rod Charlie’s connections will be presented with the Vox Populi Award on Saturday.