Workouts That Just May Work Out For You: Today’s Focus On Battle of Midway, McKinzie, Abel Tasman, Hollywood Star

(Abel Tasman running in the 2017 KY Oaks / Photo Courtesy of Churchill Downs)

(Battle of Midway worked at Churchill Downs before the 2017 KY Derby / 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. Don’t Tell Marge, a 3YO Artie Schiller filly trained by Neil Howard, has been on a bit of a roll of late. This one broke her maiden in early June, and then came right back to run second and then fourth in allowance events. She was back on the track at Churchill Downs this morning, getting some work in. She went a strong half mile in :48.80, which was the fifth best time out of 52 to go over the dirt track this a.m. This one RNA’d for a whopping $2,500.00 at the Keeneland 2016 September Yearling Sale. A bargain right here.
  2. Shanghai Rain, a 2YO by Shanghai Bobby and trained by W. Bret Calhoun, ran second to the amazing Restless Rider in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs the end of June, worked under the Twin Spires this morning. She went a half mile in :49.60, which was 21st best out of 52 to go that far. Look for this one to return to action soon. A talent.
  3. Hollywood Star, a son of Malibu Moon who ran 6th in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Del Mar last fall, has not been seen in the afternoons since running a disappointing 11th in the G3 Sunland Derby last time out. This fellow has a 1-2-0 record in 6 starts, and was second in the G3 Iroquois Stakes last year at Churchill Downs and the G2 Saratoga Special. This year, though, as been a bust, so far. He got his fourth published work since early July today when he was clocked in 1:01.54 for 5 furlongs over the Saratoga dirt track. That was the third best time out of 16 to go that distance. It would be great to see this one back in form soon.
  4. McKinzie, who was supposed to one of Team Baffert’s top 3YO colts and considerations for this year’s Triple Crown before he was injured and this horse by the name of Justify emerged from the shadows, worked at Del Mar this morning. He went 3 furlongs in :37.60 in his first published work since running second in the G2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita on March 10. It will be great to see this one back on the track this Fall.
  5. Abel Tasman, the 2017 KY Oaks winner and winner of the G1 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park in her last start, worked at Del Mar for trainer Bob Baffert this morning. She went 5 furlongs in 1:01.40, which was the 11th best time out of 52 to go the distance this morning. The multiple graded stakes winner has earned nearly $2.5 million in just 13 starts this year. Look for her to run in a major Stakes event here soon.
  6. Afleet Ascent, a 3YO Northern Afleet colt trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, ran second in the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar in the last effort, and was beaten by less than a length by Restrainedevengence. In 9 starts to date, this one has put up a 2-2-1 record. This morning, he worked at Del Mar, going 5 furlongs in 1:01.80. That was 20th of 52 to register that time. Look for this one to return soon.
  7. Battle of Midway, winner of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile before heading off to stud duty, is back in training and worked a very nice 5 furlongs in :59.80 this morning from the gate at Del Mar. It was the bullet move of the day at the distance, and the first and strongest indication that the son of Smart Strike may be able to make a successful return to the track. Keep an eye on this bullet train. He can certainly run.

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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