Work Tab for Friday, Jan. 11: Binoculars Focused On Harvey Wallbanger & Team Baffert

(Trainer Ken McPeek trains a talented youngster in Harvey Wallbanger / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

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. Harvey Wallbanger, a 3YO Congrats colt trained by Kenny McPeek, may be cut out to be OK. In 4 career starts to date, he has a win and three tough-beat seconds. He worked at Gulfstream Park this morning, going 5 furlongs in 1:01.49. That was the third fastest time out of 14 to make that distance. This one cost a modest $50,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton July Sale. He has already won nearly double that, with a bright future ahead. Keep tabs.
  2. Dream Tree, a 4YO Uncle Mo filly who suffered her first career defeat when she ran last in the G1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 for trainer Bob Baffert, was back in serious training on Thursday morning at “The Great Race Place.”. In her first published work since that debacle, she went a half mile in :48.40. That was 5th best out of 56 to go the distance. Be good to see this talented filly, who won her first 5 career starts, get back on track. Soon.
  3. Metropol, a 3YO Shackleford colt trained by Team Baffert, worked on Thursday at Santa Anita, as well. This one has raced only once to date, and made that a winning effort at Santa Anita on Oct. 8. Got his fifth published work since Dec. 8 on Thursday by going a half in :48.20. That was the 4th best time. Look for this one to surface soon.
  4. Sassy Sienna, a classy 4YO filly by Midshipman who has been moved from the Midwest to the West Coast and from the barn of Brad Cox to that of Baffert, worked at Santa Anita on Thursday, too. This willy, who won the G3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park last Spring, went a half in :48.40. That was 5th, as well. It was just her second published work since relocating and starting training back on Jan. 4.
  5. Solomini, a 4YO Curlin colt in the barn of Team Baffert, got his work in on Thursday at Santa Anita. Although he has won just once in 9 career starts, this one has a third in the G3 Affirmed Stakes; a third in the G1 Arkansas Derby; a second in the G2 Rebel Stakes; a third in the G1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity; a second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2017; and a second in the G1 FrontRunner Stakes. Talented, as can be and as you can tell. Unlucky, for sure. He went a half in :48.40, too, to tie some of the other Baffert horses for 5th in the a.m. work.

He rides with room to grow. He’s learning and it’s the first time he rides with the infield open, I don’t know if he saw the umbrellas and everyone screaming that he got to looking at them so much that I had to get the bit out of his mouth to really make him pay attention and that’s when he kind of skirted away and focused. What you’re seeing right now is really just raw talent. He’s got so much room to grow and to even get better, believe it or not. I think this race is going to put a lot more bottom into him. He handled a 1 1/8 really well and like I said what you’re seeing right now is just raw talent. If he moves forward off of this race, which he should, then it’s even kind of scary to talk about.”

Mike Smith, Rider of the winner Justify in the Santa Anita Derby
  • 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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