Work Tab for Tuesday, Feb. 5: Binoculars Firmly Focused On Henley’s Joy, My Miss Lilly, Firenze Fire, Restoring Hope, Dunph

(Our very own Holly M. Smith captured the beautiful My Miss Lilly in her stall at Churchill Downs before the 2018 KY Oaks)

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. All Systems Go, a 4YO colt by Orb who sold for $450,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale in 2017, is back in serious training at Belmont Park for the barn of Todd Pletcher. This guy broke the maiden at first asking at Gulfstream Park last February. Impressive win going 5 furlongs on the grass. Jumped out to a stalking position and ran off to a near 2-length win. Came back in the Bridgetown Stakes at Aqueduct in April, and ran fifth. Hasn’t been seen in the afternoons since. Got his fifth published workout since Dec. 13 on Monday. Covered a half mile in :48.68 — which was the 3rd fastest time out of 74 to go that distance. May be a few works away, but looks like he is making progress towards the next start. Bears watching.
  2. Henley’s Joy, a 3YO Kitten’s Joy colt trained by Mike Maker for the Bloom Racing Stable LLC, has been pretty dependable and pretty darn good in the first 6 races of his career to date. He has posted 3 wins and 2 seconds, with the only miss coming in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs last November. In that span, he won the KY Downs Juvenile Stakes and the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Last time out, he was second in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes at GP, in a Stakes event named in honor of his dad. Today, the colt was back on the track at GP, clocking a nice 5 furlong breeze in 1:00.86. That was the 4th best time out of the first 12 to go the distance over there dirt track. Looks ready for another event soon.
  3. My Miss Lilly, a 4YO Tapit filly who is trained by Mark Hennig for the Courtlandt Farms, worked his morning at Gulfstream Park, as well. She got her 8th published work since Dec. 14, and went 5 furlongs in a brisk :58.94. That was the bullet move of the day, and this gorgeous thing looks ready to make the first start since she ran third in the G2 Mother Goose Stakes last June. In 6 career starts, she has 2 wins and 3 thirds. Her only miss came in the G1 KY Oaks, when she was 11th. Can’t wait to see this one back in action. What a nice filly she is.
  4. Mitole, an absolute speed freak who has notched a nice 4-2-1 record in 7 starts to date, worked at the Fair Grounds on Monday for trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Eskendereya went a half mile in an easy :49.40. That was the 7th best time out of 19 to go the distance. It was his 5th published work since Dec. 10. The last time he went postward, Mitole won the Chick Lang Stakes in a romp at Pimlico on May 19. That was over one of the sloppiest racetracks you can imagine. Has been away from the races ever since. Working his way back to you. Might return soon.
  5. Limonite, a 3YO son of Lemon Drop Kid and also trained by Asmussen, worked on Monday at the Fair Grounds. The colt — who ran third to the highly touted Signalman in the G2 KY Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24 in his last start — went 5 furlongs in 1:00.40. that was the 2nd best time out of the 17. It was his 4th published work since Jan. 17. May be a few away, but getting close to springboarding the 3YO campaign.
  6. Wicked Indeed, a 3YO Tapit colt trained by Asmussen for the Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC, worked on Monday at the Fair Grounds. This one — who was fourth in the G3 LeComte Stakes in New Orleans his last time out — went 5 furlongs in 1:01.60. That was 9th of the 17. Does he go next in the Risen Star? Don’t count him out.
  7. Firenze Fire, a multiple Graded Stakes winning son of Poseidon’s Warrior and trained by Jason Serves, worked this morning at the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. In his first published work since his fourth place finish behind City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, the 4YO colt went 3 furlongs in an easy :38.15 over the dirt track. It will be fun to see if this one can improve a bit this year and become another force in the older division. He did win the G3 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx and the G3 Dwyer Stakes at Belmont, in addition to a third in the H. Allen Jerkens at Saratoga a year ago.
  8. Restoring Hope, the controversial runner in the G1 Belmont Stakes a year ago, got his first published work since that debacle last June. He went 3 furlongs at Palm Meadows, as well, stopping the clock at :38.45. That was 6th best out of the 15. If you will remember, jockey Florent Geroux gunned this one out of the gate early in the 11/2-mile event and seemed to steer any would-be challengers away from his stablemate and Triple Crown winner Justify. Before that and a debacle in the muddy G3 Pat Day Mile, this son of Giant’s Causeway put up some serious running of his own. Broke the maiden in race #3 and then was third in the G2 Wood Memorial. Here’s hoping that he gets back to running this year, and erases those images with some wins of his own.
  9. Dunph, a 3YO gelded son of Temple City and winner of the Spendthrift Juvenile Stakes at Churchill Downs last October, got to stretch his legs at the Palm Meadows Training Center this morning, as well. This one — who ran third in the Remington Park Springboard Mile to close out the 2018 racing season — went 6 furlongs for trainer Mike Maker. Got the distance in 1:13.95, which was the bullet move out of only 2 to work the distance. It was his third published work since the Stakes event in December. Could be getting close to the 2019 debut 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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