Workouts That Just May Work Out For You: Today’s Focus On McCraken to Cornhusker; New “Horse to Watch”

(McCraken wins Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs / 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 their best and ready for a key race.  Here is a look at today’s top works:

  1. Warrior’s Club, who has had a wonderful Spring for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, tuned up for his next appointed run in the Kelly’s Landing Stakes at Churchill Downs this coming Saturday with a nice 3-furlong blowout this morning under the Twin Spires. The son of Warrior’s Reward went a brilliant 3/8ths in :35.80, which was the bullet out of 19 to go that distance. This one is coming off a 10th place finish in the Met Mile at Belmont Stakes, but that distance and depth was probably too much. He won the G3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland and was a big second in the G2 Churchill Downs Stakes after that. Look for a big run this Saturday.
  2. Finley’sluckycharm, who has gotten a little break after her fourth place finish in the G1 Humana Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day, was back in action this morning for the talented young trainer W. Bret Calhoun. The Twirling Candy filly went a half mile in an easy :52.80, which was the 39th best time of the day. But don’t be dismayed. Just eight days ago, she went 5 furlongs in a snappy 1:00.20, which was the bullet move out of 11 to go that day. This one has 10 wins and 3 seconds in just 16 lifetime starts, and should be ready to fire again soon.
  3. Guest Suite, a 4YO Quality Road colt trained by Neil Howard, worked this morning at Churchill Downs, as well. He went a half mile in :49.20, which was the 11th best time out of 39 in a pure maintenance move. This one has already made 5 starts this year, with one win, one second, one third and one fourth to show for his efforts. The third came in the G3 Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland. Look for a race from this one soon.
  4. Campaign, a 3YO colt by Curlin who cost $675,000 for Woodford Thoroughbreds to purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September Sales, has raced just one time to date. That was a game second at Saratoga last September. He lost that day to a horse by the name of Lone Sailor. Know him? Campaign has not been seen in the afternoon since, but he got his 6th published work this morning and it was nice. He went 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 — which was the third best time out of 12. Watch for this one. Put in your stable mail. He is worth catching, if you can. My newest “Horse to Watch.”
  5. Lovely Bernadette, a 4YO Wilburn filly who has 8 wins in 17 starts, had a spectacular late run to win the G3 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap at Churchill Downs in her last start. That was her first win since she strung together 3 straight wins last Fall, highlighted by a win in the G2 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs. She worked this morning for trainer Bernie Flint, going 5 furlongs in 1:00.60. that was the bullet move at the distance. She’s back.
  6. McCraken, who nearly won the G1 Haskell Invitational last year and looked to be cranked and ready to go this season before a lackluster 6th in the deep and talented Met Mile last time out, worked this morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Ian Wilkes. He went 5 furlongs on the dirt track in 1:01.20. That was the 6th best time out of the 12 to go. Just texted with trainer Ian Wilkes. He reports that “all (is) good,” and that the Ghostzapper colt will go next in the Cornhusker Stakes. All the best.
  7. Tap Daddy, winner of the James W. Murphy Stakes last time out at Pimlico, worked this morning for the Asmussen barn. The Scat Daddy colt went 5 furlongs in 1:00.80, which was the 3rd best time out of 12. This one looks to prefer the grass course, but was awesome in the slop last time out. Options.

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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