Work Tab for Friday, Feb. 1: Binoculars Firmly Focused On Derby Contenders Instagrand, Improbable & Others

(Instagrand winning at Del Mar last summer / Photo Courtesy of Del Mar)

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. Minit to Stardom, a Louisiana-bred daughter of Star Guitar, ran a nice second at the Fair Grounds in the Louisiana Champions Day Ladies Sprint Stakes on Dec. 8. That was her first race in four months and 6th place finish in the G1 Test Stakes at Saratoga. This one captured her first three races, including a nice allowance event against open company at Churchill Downs in May of last year. Today, she to a nice half mile work in New Orleans for trainer Al Stall, Jr., going the distance in :49.80. That was the 16th best time out of the 33 to make the distance. It was her fourth published work since the last race. May be rounding back into shape.
  2. Chicago Style, a 6YO Kitten’s Joy gelding trained by Tom Proctor for the Glen Hill Farm (Hi, Craig), worked this morning at Santa Anita. This dude — who has won 6 of 12 lifetime starts and has a second and a third to boot — is coming off a troubled fourth in the G2 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa anita on Jan. 5. Before that, though, he won the G2 Hollywood Turf Club Stakes at Del Mar in November. This morning, he worked 5 furlongs in 1:03 over the dirt track. That was 21st of 22 to go the distance. This guy loves the turf, and should be ready for another event soon.
  3. Improbable, a 3YO son of City Zip and undefeated after 3 starts for Team Baffert, undoubtedly is one of the top names and games for this year’s KY Derby. This morning, he got his fifth published work since his impressive, stylish, butt-kicking win in the G1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity in early December. Today, he was eye popping. Went 5 furlongs in :58.40. The bullet move out of 22 to go that far. Wow time. Wow horse. Derby contender? For sure.
  4. Instagrand, another highly acclaimed 2YO from a year ago and a son of Into Mischief, worked at Santa Anita for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. This one is also undefeated after only two starts, including a win in the G2 Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar last August. Was put away after that win to ret and gear up for the Triple Crown races by the connections. Got his 6th published work since Dec. 30 today, going 5 furlongs in a brisk :59 flat. Not far behind Improbable. That was the second fastest time on the day. Wow time. Wow horse. Derby contender? For sure.
  5. Selcourt, a 5YO Tiz Wonderful mare trained by John Sadler, is coming off a second in the Kalookan Queen Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 13. In 8 lifetime starts, she has hit the board in 7 of them, with 4 wins. The only miscue came in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, when she was a disappointing 12th. Today, she worked at “The Great Race Place,” going 5 furlongs in 1:00.40. That was the 11th best time out of the 22. Worked six days ago, too, going a half in :47.60. Looks ready to run again soon.

I was absolutely dancing into the Winner’s Circle. It was so exciting and Joel has been like one of my kids ever since he came from Bay Meadows. We tease each other a lot. We greet each other by grunting and everybody looks at us like, ‘what’s that all about’ but we’ve been doing it for years. So it’s wonderful to win with him. The owners are great people that really deserve something like this.

“This horse seems like he’s more adept at seven furlongs to a mile so I’m not sure he wants a mile and a quarter …

“I could tell my horse had won, but I was so excited in the stretch I thought I was gonna pass out.

“We are very happy with the way our horse had trained for this race, but it’s always scary when you get a look at those Baffert ‘Maseratis’, it pretty much unfolded the way we had hoped.

“The people that own this horse, they’ve got this colt a seven furlong-miler type maybe time will tell differently, but the other colt they are focusing on him going the two turns.”

  • 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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