Work Tab for Wednesday, Jan. 9: Binoculars Focused On Bravazo, Improbable, Holy Helena

(Bravazo working at Churchill Downs for trainer D. Wayne Lukas / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

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. Blinkers, a 3YO Stay Thirsty filly who has not made a career start yet, may be one to keep an eye on. This one, who sold for $25,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale, has been training lights out each and every time (or so it seems) at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans. This morning, she went a half mile in :47.40, which was the bullet move out of 23 to go the distance. On Dec. 31, she went 5 furlongs in 1:01.40, which was third best of 39. On Dec. 17, she went a half in :48 flat, which was the bullet move out of 57. Now has seven published works since showing up for the first time on Nov. 16 at the Fair Grounds. Keep an eye out. Looks like a runner.
  2. Bravazo, a 4YO Awesome Again colt who has been the most durable of all durables throughout his racing career, worked for the Pegasus World Cup at Oaklawn Park this morning. The colt, trained by D. Wayne Lukas, went 5 furlongs over the dirt track in a brilliant :59.60. That was the bullet move out of 32 to go that far today. In his last race, Bravazo ran second in the G1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. The time before that, he ran third to City of Light in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. No telling how good this one may be if ever given a little breather between races, but that’s not the style here. In 16 career starts, he has a 3-4-3 record and has earned over $1.3 million for owner Calumet Farm. I’ll be rooting for this guy. He’s durable.
  3. Holy Helena, an Ontario-bred, 5YO mare by Ghostzapper and trained by James Jerkens for Stronach Stables, worked this morning at the Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida. She went an easy half mile in :50.20. That was 9th of 10 to go that far today over the dirt training track. This one has accomplished a lot in her career already, having a 6-3-2 record in 14 starts and earnings over $1.083 million. Ran second in her last start in the Via Borghese Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 29. Won the G2 Sheepshead Bay and the G3 The Very One Stakes last year. Good one, for sure.
  4. Improbable, the undefeated 3YO son of City Zip for the barn of Team Baffert, worked 3 furlongs at Santa Anita this morning. The brilliant colt — who has easily distanced opponents in all three of his races to date — went the distance in an easy :38 flat. That was the 2nd fastest time out of 3 to post the fractions early on Wednesday. In addition to breaking his maiden at Santa Anita, Improbable won the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs in November and returned to dominate the G1 Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity. Many have made this guy the one to beat in the KY Derby. Yet, Baffert has so many. So very many.
  5. Dabster, a 5YO son of Curlin and one of my favs since he began running, was back on the track at Santa Anita this morning for Team Baffert. He worked 5 furlongs in a meaningful 1:00.60. That was the 7th best time out of 34 to go that far. Dabster has hit the board in each of his last six races and seven of the last eight. Overall, he has a 5-2-2 record in 12 starts. Better things ahead for him, still, I think. Especially if he can stay at the 1 mile distance.

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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