Workouts That Just May Work Out for You — Today’s Focus on Combatant

(Greyvitos winning the Springboard Mile in 2017 over Combatant / Photo Courtesy of Blood-Horse.com)

Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks and training facilities all over North America, searching for those horses that appear to be peaking at just the right time and look to be primed and ready for a top performance in the afternoons. Some of the horses that we watch and track, you will recognize and know. Others, though, you may not — yet. Here is a closer look at some of today’s morning glories:

  1. Ever So Clever, a 4YO Medaglia d’Oro filly who most recently ran second in the Zia Park Oaks for trainer Steve Asmussen, was back on the track this a.m. at the Fair Grounds. She went a brilliant 5Fs in 1:00.80 — which was the best of 4 to go the distance today. A year ago, on April 14, Ever So Clever had her finest performance, to date. She won the G3 Fantasy Stakes at Oaklawn Park by nearly two lengths over Chanel’s Legacy. She now has had 3 published works since the race at Zia. Watch for her return — perhaps back at Oaklawn — soon.
  2. Combatant, who was a game second to Greyvitos in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on Dec. 17, made his 2018 appearance today. He went the same distance, and the same time as his stablemate (above) at the Fair Grounds. This son of Scat Daddy was purchased by the Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing for $320,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. To date, this guy has made only 3 lifetime starts, with a win and the second in the Stakes event. Keep an eye on this guy as the Road to the Kentucky Derby starts to heat up.
  3. Dream Baby Dream, a 3YO colt by Into Mischief who is owned by Dream Baby Dream Racing Stable and also trained by Asmussen, was another to work this morn at the Fair Grounds. He went 5Fs in 1:01.40, which was third best of the four. Keep an eye out for his return soon.
  4. Hottalabamba, a newly turned 3YO colt by Into Mischief, worked in tandem with stablemate Curly’s Rocket this morning at Santa Anita. The duo went a half-mile in :48 flat, which was 4th best of 23 to go the distance. This guy ran 2nd on debut at Los Alamitos, and was caught a bit wide. The teammate went 4th in his debut run. Watch for both of these to run back for Team Baffert soon.
  5. Just a Smidge, who has run in four straight Stakes events for Bob Baffert after breaking her maiden on debut at Del Mar in July, had the bullet work of the day at Santa Anita. She turned in a half mile breeze in :47.40, which was best of the 23 to go that distance. This daughter of Into Mischief ran fifth in both the G1 Del Mar Debutante and the G1 Chandelier Stakes before winning the Anoakia Stakes in October. She came back to be a disappointing 12th in the G3 Jimmy Durante Stakes on Nov. 25. Today was her fourth work since that debacle. She is much better than that effort, though, and should be getting about ready to reappear.

He was so far out that we never noticed them until (Lone Sailor) started coming next to me and put up a very nice fight down the lane. That’s what made him brave and come back again. I’m happy with the way he did it. The reason we put the blinkers on is because we know that he is very talented, but he’s very green. Today with blinkers on he was better, but he was a little too keen on the backstretch so I was a little afraid that he was a little too strong on the backstretch. I was a little afraid that he was a little too strong down the backstretch and would not have anything down the lane.”

Jockey John Velazquez, Rode the winner, Noble Indy, at Louisiana Derby
  • 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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