Work Tab for Wednesday, April 17: Binoculars Focused On Bourbon War, Liora, Blue Prize & Others

(Trainer Mark Hennig, conditions Bourbon War)

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. Holy Helena, a 5YO Ghostzapper mare trained by Jimmy Jerkens, worked at Belmont Park this morning. The multiple Graded Stakes winner went 5 furlongs over the dirt track in 1:02.19. That was the 2nd fastest time out of the first 3 to try the distance today. In her last start, Holy Helena won the G3 The Very One Stakes at Gulstream Park on March 2. In 16 lifetime starts now, she has a record of 7-3-2 and has won nearly $1.2 million in purses. Nice one. For sure.
  2. Liora, a 3YO daughter of Candy Ride and trained by Wayne Catalano, worked this morning at Churchill Downs. the Graded Stakes winner went 5 furlongs in a brisk :59.60, which was the bullet move out of 8 to go that distance today. In her last two starts, she has run second in the G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes and the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. Now, a contender for the KY Oaks. She won the G2 Golden Rod over the Churchill Downs main track last November. Don’t forget this one. Capable.
  3. Bourbon War, a super talented son of Tapit and one of my top picks for this year’s KY Derby, worked this morning at Gulfstream Park for trainer Mark Hennig. The colt rolled a half mile in a brilliant :47.75 — which was the 2nd best time out of 22 to go that far. Too bad this one is sitting at #25 on the points system. Could be a factor on the “First Saturday in May” if he would be so lucky to draw into the race. Holding out hope. The 2nd to Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth and a “better-than-it-looks” fourth in the Florida Derby seems to have set this one up perfectly for a big run in the next out. Chatted with Mark on Tuesday, via text, and he said that he was going to breeze and then ship to New York — his summer home base. What a nice horse. What a really good trainer. What a shame to lose a talent like this out of the Derby.
  4. Blue Prize, a multiple Graded Stakes winning mare by Pure Prize, worked at Keeneland this morning for trainer Ignacio Correas, IV. The mare — who is entered for the G3 Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in just two days — went 5 furlongs in 1:01.20. That was 9th best of the 13 to go that far. Don’t know yet if this means she will skip the Stakes or not. We will follow up. But this is one nice mare. Won the G1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes in Lexington last October, before she was fourth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff to Monomoy Girl. Will be interesting to see what is next for this one — who has yet to make the 2019 debut.
  5. American Anthem, one of the top sprinters in the country at one time in his career, worked this morning at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. The 5YO son of Bodemeister — who has not run since his 6th place finish in the G1 Bing Crosby Stakes at Del Mar last July — has a record of 5-1-2 in 11 career starts to date, and has earned over $674,000 in  purses. Got his 6th published work since March 17 today, going 5 furlongs in 1:00.20. That was the bullet move out of 25 to go the distance. Ready.

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