Work Tab for Monday, Jan. 7: Binoculars Focused On Tax, Title Ready, Combatant, Telekinesis & Seek N Justice

(Seek N Justice at Buck Pond Farm in Versailles, before going to the track for the first time / Photo by Gene McLean)

(Seek N Justice pauses before heading to the Churchill Downs track last Fall / Photo by Gene McLean)

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. Guacamole, a 3YO Flat Out filly trained by Todd Pletcher, worked this morning in the chilly air at Belmont Park. She went a half mile over the dirt training track at the “Big Sandy,” and covered the distance in :50.70. That was the 49th best time out of 86 to go that far, and it was her fifth published work — all at Belmont Park — since returning to serious training on Dec. 9. In her last race, the filly ran fourth in the Tepin Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 25. Before that, she was third in the G2 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga; 11th in the G1 Spinaway; 5th in the G3 Matron at Belmont Park; and 3rd in the Stewart Manor at Aqueduct. In 6 career races to date, she has a win in a MSW and has run in 5 Stakes events. If she drops back into conditions, she may be a bull.
  2. Tax, a 3YO Arch gelding trained by Danny Garage, was claimed out of a winning maiden race at Keeneland on Oct. 21. Came right back the next start to run a thrilling third in the G2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 1. This morning, the gelding went a half mile over the dirt training track at Belmont Park in :48.77 — which was the 11th best time out of the 86. Since the claim in Lexington, this one has been treated with Lasix, and he has been a different horse. Watch for his next start. Could be fun.
  3. Title Ready, a 4YO More Than Ready colt now and trained by Steve Asmussen, won an allowance event at Aqueduct in his last out on Dec. 21 and now has pushed his overall record to 3-4-2 in 13 career starts. The race before, he was second in the G3 Discovery Stakes  and he is now multiple Graded Stakes placed. He also was third in the G3 Indiana Derby and fourth in the G3 Ohio Derby. On Monday, he breezed 5 furlongs at Belmont Park in 1:02 flat. That was 5th of 18. Good right now.
  4. Cathedral Reader, a 4YO Shackleford filly trained by Dallas Stewart, has really come on of late. Despite the 7th place finish in the G1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, she had won two in a row and was second in the three previous runs. She is back at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans now, and worked on Sunday. She went a half mile in an easy :49 flat. That was 19th of 110 to work the distance. She has really turned into a nice one. Stakes in her future. Just not a G1 at Santa Anita.
  5. Combatant, a 4YO Scat Daddy colt trained by Asmussen, is also back at the Fair Grounds. He ran third in the G2 Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26, as well, and now has run two thirds in a row. In 14 lifetime starts, he has managed only one win. But has 3 seconds and 3 thirds and has nearly $500,000 in purse earnings. This one did cost $320,000 as a 2016 Keeneland September Yearling. He worked on Sunday in the “Big Easy,” too, and went an easy half mile in :52.40. That was 106th fastest time.
  6. Seek N Justice, our very own 3YO colt by Caleb’s Posse, worked out of the gate for the third time in a row at the Fair Grounds on Sunday. The June foal was timed at :49.80 for the half mile, which was 47th out of 110 that went the distance. Of the 10 that broke from the gate, though, he sported the fourth best time. It was his 7th published work since joining the barn of trainer Buff Bradley. He is now being pointed to his career debut race at the Fair Grounds the end of the month. Wish us luck.
  7. Telekinesis, a 4YO son of Ghostzapper, may have been the most impressive worker at any track on Sunday. The brilliantly fast colt trained by Mark Casse for Stonestreet Stables went 5 furlongs at the Fair Grounds in :59.20. That was the bullet move out of 69 to go the distance. But it was the way the colt did it. It was effortless. It was impressive. It was his 7th published work since Nov. 14, and it looks like he is getting close to a return to the races. This guy nearly won the G3 Lexington Stakes a year ago before winning the Plate Trial Stakes at Woodbine in June. Could still turn out to be a handful. Bears watching.

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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