New Year’s Day Work Tab: Binoculars Focused On Mucho Gusto, Pavel

(Pavel working at Churchill Downs in the early a.m. / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks all over the country.  We are looking for workouts that may be of interest and helpful to you — as both race fans and handicappers.  Some of the horses we will be tracking, you will know.  Some of them, you may not know — as of yet.  We will keep a keen eye and stopwatch to see who may be working well:

  1. Mucho Gusto, one of the talented new 3YOs in the loaded barn of Bob Baffert, worked at Santa Anita on New Year’s Eve. The son of Mucho Macho Man, who ran second to Improbable in the G1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity in his last race on Dec. 8, worked a half mile in :47.80 at “The Great Race Place,” and that was good enough to be 6th out of 72 to work the distance. This one won his first two career starts, including the G3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar in November. Bears watching.
  2. Pavel, the 5YO horse by Creative Cause, worked at Santa Anita on NYE, as well. This one captured the G1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs and then ran a game second in the G1 TVG Pacific Classic before finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Came back to run 15th in the G1 Champions Cup at Chukyo on Dec. 2. Went a nice half in :48.20. That was 12th best of the 72. Could show up big again soon. Always seems to do well at the least expected times.
  3. Withholding Info, a Midnight Lute filly trained by Team Baffert, worked at Santa Anita on NYE, too. This filly is a perfect 1-for-1 to date with a MSW win at Los Alamitos on Dec. 13. Came back to work a very nice half mile in :48 flat on Monday. That was 8th best of the 72. Keep an eye out. Could be running again soon.
  4. Much Better, a Pioneerof the Nile filly trained by Baffert for Three Chimney’s Farm, worked at Santa Anita on NYE. This ridgling went 5 furlongs in 1:00.40. That was the 9th fastest time out of the 58 to negotiate the distance. This one has a win; a second in the Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita; and a 14th in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Could do “much better” soon.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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