ELMONT, N.Y. -- Peter Walder would have been content to wait until the Breeders' Cup Sprint to find out just how good a horse he had in Force Freeze. But when a stakes failed to fill at Monmouth Park on Labor Day, Walder needed a race to prepare Force Freeze for the Sprint.
With limited options, he chose Saturday's Vosburgh, which could come up the best race on the card with as many as 11 horses pointing to it, including defending sprint champion Big Drama.
After beginning his career in North America, Force Freeze spent the last 2 1/2 years in Dubai, where he won twice on dirt but went just 1 for 8 on Meydan's synthetic surface. He returned to the United States in May, was turned over to Walder, and on July 31 he won the Teddy Drone Stakes at Monmouth by four lengths over Jersey Town, last year's Grade 1 Cigar Mile winner.
Walder was hoping to run back in the Icecapade Stakes at Monmouth, but that race didn't fill.
"My original plan was to run in the Icecapade, hopefully have him win easy, and let him go into the Breeders' Cup with some confidence and let these guys beat each other up in the Vosburgh," Walder said.
Walder shipped Force Freeze here in time to get a workout over the main track Sunday. With jockey Paco Lopez aboard, Force Freeze went four furlongs in 47.00 seconds, getting his final quarter in 22.92.
"He did it the right way and galloped out great," Walder said. "He got over the track really well. I think he'll like that long stretch and big wide turn. I was thinking about training up to [the Sprint], but he's training really, really good. He deserves a chance."