Work Tab for Thursday, June 6: Binoculars Focused On Master Fencer, Vasilika, Mihos, & Lucky Olivia Rose


(Master Fencer before the KY Derby / 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. Lucky Olivia Rose, a 2YO daughter of El Padrino and a half-sister to the grand Prince Lucky, made her debut in the “work ranks” this week for trainer Todd Pletcher. In her first “official” breeze and first published work out, the filly went 3 furlongs in :38.11 up at Saratoga over the dirt training track. Here’s rooting for this one, owned by the same connections as Prince Lucky — who will start next in the G1 Met Mile on Saturday. Greenville Stables, owned by Daniel W. McConnell, Sr. and family, is one of the top breeders in Pennsylvania, and their talented colt Prince Lucky just may be the best PA-bred ever.
  2. Mihos, a talented son of Cairo Prince and trained by Jimmy Jerkens, looked like he may be ready to join the fray with the top 3YOs in the country earlier this Spring. After breaking his maiden, he stepped right up the next time out to win the Mucho Macho Man Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 5, beating the likes of Code of Honor — who ran 4th in that effort. But Mihos took a step backwards the next time out, running 5th in the Holy Bull Stakes and he has not been seen in the afternoons since that race on Feb. 2. Worked an easy half mile on Wednesday, going the distance in :52.82. That was 23rd best of 23 to go that far. Be interesting to see what happens next with this one. Sporadic work pattern. Questions.
  3. Master Fencer, a Japan-bred 3YO who is expected to take his next race in the Belmont Stakes this Saturday, got an unusual work at Belmont Park on Wednesday. The Just a Way colt went 5 furlongs in 1:01.28 — which was the 3rd fastest time out of 3 to go the distance. Much has been made of this one’s work pattern leading up to the Belmont. He took a bad step in his previous work near the 1/8th pole. On Wednesday, some claimed that he failed to switch leads in the lane, despite repeated requests to do so. But the fast is that this guy ran 6th in the KY Derby — rallying from way back, and passing many horses. His dam won only one race in her career, which spanned 33 starts. But she did finish in the money on many other occasions. This guy just may get up for a piece of the Belmont pie. Never know.
  4. Timber Ghost, a 4YO son of Ghostzapper, may be headed to Stakes company soon for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. In his career to date, Timber Ghost has sported a 3-2-1 record in just 8 starts and is coming off a third place finish in an allowance event at Belmont Park on May 23. Went 5 furlongs on Wednesday at “The Big Sandy” in 1:03.55. That was 5th fastest out of 7 to clock the distance. Maintenance move. This one bears watching for the next time out.
  5. Distant Shore, a 3YO son of Algorithms and trained by Tom Amoss for the Churchill Downs Racing Club, worked under the Twin Spires on Wednesday. He went a very nice 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 — which was the 3rd best time out of 19 to go that far. he ran 9th in the Tom Ridge Stakes at Presque Isle on May 20, but don’t discount this one. Won a very tough allowance event at KEE the time before, and in 7 career starts has a 2-2-1 mark. Ran second over the polytrack at Arlington Park last year in the Arlington-Washington Futurity. Has shown ability on that surface in the past, too. Look for better next time around.
  6. Vasilika, winner of 17 races in 32 starts and earner of over $1.3 million now, worked this morning at Santa Antia for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The 5YO Skipshot mare has won 12 of the last 13 races and 14 of the last 16. She won the G1 Gamely Stakes in her last start, which was on the heels of a win in the G2 Royal Heroine Stakes and the G2 Buena Vista Stakes. The mare worked this morning, going a half mile in :50.60. That was the 2nd fastest time out of the first 3 to test the distance. Amazing mare. Simply amazing.

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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