Work Tab for Saturday, Feb. 23: Binoculars Focused On Harvey Wallbanger, Signalman, Knicks Go, Tax, Dream Maker, Gunmetal Gray, Roadster & Others

(Tax winning the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)

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 son of Congrats and the upset winner of the G2 Holy Bull Stakes in his last out at Gulfstream Park for trainer Ken McPeek, worked this morning in South Florida. He went 5 furlongs in 1:01.75 over a fast dirt track. That was the 15th best time out of 44 to go the distance. He is expected to make his next start in the G2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. In 5 lifetime starts to date, this one has 2 wins and 3 seconds. He cost $50,000 at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale in 2016. Nice value.
  2. Admire, a 3YO Cairo Price colt trained by Dale Romans, was last seen running 5th in the G3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb. 2. That was his first start after breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in November. Quite a step up. He was back in training at Gulfstream Park this morning, going 5 furlongs in 1:00.82. That was the 7th best time out of 44 to go that far. The Albaugh Family Stables paid $360,000 for this one at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2016.
  3. Promises Fulfilled, a 4YO colt by Shackleford and trained by Romans, worked this morning, as well. This one — who has over $1 million in earnings — went 5 furlongs in 1:01.50. That was the 14th fastest time. This one won the G2 Fountain of Youth a year ago before being cut back and converted into a speed specialist. Won the G3 Amsterdam, the G1 H. Allen Jerkens, the G2 Phoenix before running 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in November. Welcome back, big guy.
  4. Signalman, a 3YO son of General Quarters and another top contender for the “Road to the KY Derby” in the barn of McPeek, worked this morning at Gulfstream Park, too. This one — who has a 2-2-1 record in the first 5 career starts, including a 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and a win in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes — went 5 furlongs in 1:01.75. Same time as teammate Harvey Wallbanger. Look for his return to the races in the Fountain of Youth.
  5. Knicks Go, the Maryland-bred son of Paynter who won the G1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity last Fall before running second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, worked this morning at Tampa Bay Downs. This one didn’t run too well in the 2019 debut, finishing a distant fifth in the Sam F. Davis Stakes over this track on Feb. 9 in a truly mystery performance. Trainer Ben Colebrook sent him through a half-mile work today in :49.60 — which was 21st of 52 to go the distance. He is scheduled to start next in the Tampa Bay Derby. He will need to pick it up in that one.
  6. Always Shopping, a 3YO Awesome Again filly trained by Todd Pletcher, worked this morning at Belmont Park. The filly — who won the Busanda Stakes in her last outing to snap her maiden condition, as well — went an easy half mile over the dirt training track in :50 flat. That was 51st of 132 to go that far. Be interesting to see where the Repole Stables and Pletcher send her next. Developing fast.
  7. Tax, the feel-good story of the 3YO male crop so far and trained by Danny Gargan, worked at Belmont Park this morning, as well. The gelding, whom Gargan claimed at Keeneland and has turned into a contender for the “Road to the KY Derby, worked an easy half mile in :51.24. That was 107 of 132. Since the claiming race, which he won, Tax has finished 3rd in the G3 Remsen Stakes and won the G3 Withers Stakes under the tutelage of Gargan. Hope he continues to wind his way towards Louisville.
  8. Dream Maker, a super talented son of Tapit and a super winner in an allowance race at the Fair Grounds earlier this year, worked in New Orleans for trainer Mark Casse today. The big gray breezed a half-mile in :47.80 — which was the bullet move out of 111 horses to go the distance this morning. Wow performance, and it certainly appears that this one is starting to figure it all out. A super talent who is supposed to run next in the Tampa Bay Derby. Watch out for this one. He is coming.
  9. Gunmetal Gray, a 3YO son of Exchange Rate and a top contender on the “Road to the KY Derby” for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, worked at Santa Anita this morning. This one — who ran second in the G3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes last time out, despite a deep cut he sustained in the sloppy going — went 5 furlongs in a snappy :59.80 time. That was the 3rd fastest out of 26 to go that far. Look for him to materialize again very soon. Talent. And, tough as nails.
  10. Roadster, a 3YO son of Quality Road and another one of the many talented runners in the barn of Team Baffert, worked 6 furlongs at Santa Anita this morning. He went the distance in 1:14.40. That was the 2nd fastest time out of 4 to go the distance. It was the 4th published work for this talented guy since returning to serious training on Jan. 30. In two starts last year, he posted an impressive win and then was third to Game Winner in the G1 Del Mar Futurity on Sept. 3. Has been on the shelf since. But he will return. 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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