Work Tab for Sunday, Aug. 25: Binoculars Focused On Bricks and Mortar, Vasilika, Rare Form & Others

(Bricks and Mortar winning at Churchill Downs earlier this year / 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. Gold Standard, a 3YO colt by Medaglia d’Oro and trained by Brad Cox for the Stonestreet Stables, worked this morning at Churchill Downs. The talented colt — who has sported a 2-1-1 resume in the first 4 career starts — breezed a half mile in :48.60. That was 14th best of 63 to mark the distance. The connections paid a hefty $1.2 million for this one at the Fasig-Tipton March Sale off the consignment of Niall Brennan Stables. Has not disappointed, yet. May be ready for a Stakes event very soon. Very, very soon.
  2. Gray Magician, a 3YO son of Graydar and trained by Peter Miller, is coming off a nice win in the Ellis Park Derby last time out on Aug. 11. He returned to the work pattern this morning in Louisville, and went an impressive half mile in :47.60. That was the 3rd fastest time out of the 63 to clock the distance. In 11 starts in his career, he has 2 wins, 4 seconds and 2 thirds and has earned over $738,710. Look for more, if he can dodge the heavy hitters.
  3. Rare Form, a 4YO son of The Factor and owned in tandem by Frank Jones and the Churchill Downs Racing Club, worked for trainer Dale Romans’ team under the Twin Spires this morning. And, work he did. Impressively. The colt — who has 3 wins and a second in 8 career starts, but is having a superb 2019 — impressed with a :47 flat flashing in a half mile work. That was the bullet out of the 63. Man work.
  4. Vasilika, the brilliant 5YO daughter of Skipshot and trained by the much-maligned Jerry Hollendorfer, turned in a work at Del Mar on Sunday. The mare — who had her 4 Graded Stakes win streak snapped in the last outing when she was third in the G2 Yellow Ribbon behind Beau Recall — worked a nice half in :47.80. That was the 7th best time out of 81. Looks like she bounced out of the last one in good order. In 33 lifetime starts, she has 17 wins, 4 seconds and 4 thirds and has risen from the claiming ranks to become one of the best older mares in racing. Not bad credentials for a trainer banned by some of his “friends.”
  5. Encoder, a 2YO son of English Channel and a winner in the career debut at Del Mar on Aug. 7, worked this morning for trainer John Sadler. Went 5 furlongs in 1:02 flat. That was 42nd best out of the 75. Maintenance move, purely. Look for this one to move right along the ranks very soon. Talent here.
  6. Bricks and Mortar, the 5YO Giant’s Causeway turf specialist trained by Chad Brown, and, perhaps, the best horse in training and racing today, worked this morning at Saratoga. Went a half mile over the track’s turf training venue and clocked the distance in :49.49. That was 5th best of 31 to try it this morning. In 12 lifetime starts, this colt has 10 wins and 2 thirds. Is a perfect 5-for-5 this year. And, is coming off one of the most impressive performances in the history of the Arlington Million. Wow horse. Wow.

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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean