Wednesday, Dec. 26 Work Tab: Binoculars Focus On Kingly, Much Better

(Bob Baffert after Game Winner’s victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile / 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. Lord Simba, a 5YO Discreet Cat horse trained by Team Baffert, has run only once in 2018 and that was off a 16-month layup. Ran fourth on the comeback effort at Del Mar on Dec. 2. Good sign is that he was back working this morning at Santa Anita. This one has a win in the G2 Los Angeles Stakes and a third in the G2 Kona Gold Stakes — both at Santa Anita — last year. He went 5 furlongs this morning at “The Great Race Place,” stopping the clock in 1:01.80. That was the 9th best time out of the 20 to go the distance. It was the third published work since the race and it appears that he may be rounding back into racing shape.
  2. Threefiveindia, a 5YO horse by Street Hero and trained by Phil D’Amato, worked this morning at Santa Anita, as well. This one has missed the board in all four starts this year, but three of those were in Graded Stakes company. His best, so far this year, is a fourth in the G2 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar in August. He went 5 furlongs in 1:00 flat — which was the bullet move of the day. Best work this one has had since a nice half mile here on Dec. 4. Watch out. He could be getting right again.
  3. Kingly, one of the many talented 2YO colts in the barn of Team Baffert, worked this morning at Santa Anita. The son of Tapit went 6 furlongs in 1:14.80. That was the second best time out of four to go that far. Kingly has raced only once so far, winning the debut effort at Del Mar on Dec. 1 by nearly a length. Beat the odds-on favorite in that one by the name of Stretford End. Kingly could be another talent from this deep barn.
  4. Much Better, a 2YO ridgling by Pioneerof the Nile and also trained by Baffert, went a tad faster than his more heralded teammate. This one went the 6 furlongs in 1:14 flat — which was the bullet move of the day at the distance. This one cost $600,000 as a weanling at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale in 2016. He won the debut effort at Del Mar on Labor Day and followed that up with a second in the Zuma Beach Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 8. Wasn’t much of a factor in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf — running 14th in that effort. But looks — well, Much Better, now.

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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