Workouts That Just May Work Out For You: Today’s Focus On Paradise Woods, New York Central, Blame the Frog

Paradise Woods
(Paradise Woods works at Churchill Downs before the 2017 Kentucky Oaks / 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. Laney, a 4YO Shackleford filly trained by Eddie Kenneally, is one that bears watching next time out. This one ran third in the Eight Belles Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby Day 2017. Since then, she has run 7 times without a win. But she has three seconds and a nice third in the last start under the Twin Spires on June 17. In that one, she ran behind two nice fillies in Pray for Leslie, and Quick Quick Quick (a winner on debut at Saratoga last summer). Laney was beaten 4 lengths in that one, but was wide throughout her late run. She worked nicely this a.m. at Churchill Downs, going a half mile in a nice, easy, impressive :48.40. That was the 4th best time out of 27 to go that far. Will be interesting to see where the connections place this one next.
  2. New Colossus, a 3YO son of Curlin and trained by J. Larry Jones, was a super tout this spring at the Fair Grounds. He made his debut on Jan. 13, and despite going short for the first time, he still managed to finish third. The future was on. But the next out, nearly a month later when he was stretched out and supposed to dominate, he had trouble loading and he had a lot of trouble leaving. As the odds-on favorite that day (part of my money included), he ran a disappointing 7th and well beaten. He has not been seen in the afternoon since that debacle, but he has returned to training. He got his second work since June 29 this morning. He went his first half mile in an easy :49.80. He is just now working his way back to you, and we will keep a close eye on the progress. This one has raw talent. Will it show? He is on our “HTW” list.
  3. Blame the Frog, a 2YO Blame filly trained by Ben Colebrook, just may turn out to be a real good one for owner Hugh Bishop. This one ran second in her first two starts — once by a neck and then by 1/2-length to Shanghai Rain — before she exploded to a near 4-length win at Churchill Downs on June 22. Impressive, in a word. She worked at Keeneland this morning, and my folks over there tell me she was very nice in going 5 furlongs in 1:00.20. That was the bullet move out of 5 clocked at the distance. I don’t know if this one runs next at Ellis or goes up to Saratoga. But she is worth watching for sure.
  4. New York Central, a 3YO Tapit colt trained by Steve Asmussen and a runner who was well-liked early this year by some top-notch handicappers (Ed DeRosa), has not been seen in the afternoons since he ran a super second to Funny Duck in the G3 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. In six career starts, he has never been worse than third, with two wins — with the lone exception coming in the G3 Sunland Derby when he threw in a 10th place clunker. This one got his first published work out since the Day Mile this morning, when he went an easy half mile in :51.22 at Saratoga. That was 6th best of 10 to go that far, and it will be awhile before he makes it fully back. But this one has talent.
  5. Paradise Woods, 4YO Union Rags filly trained by Richard Mandella, was back on the track this morning at Santa Anita. She has run only twice this year, finishing 4th in the G2 Santa Monica Stakes in March and then running third to Unique Bellas in the G1 Beholder Mile in June. She went 6 furlongs at “The Great Race Place” this morning, finishing up the distance in 1:13.20. That was the third best time out of 7 to go that far. This one, who looked like a world beater when she captured the 2017 Santa Anita Oaks in run-away style, has only one win in seven races since then. She did win the G1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita last September. What’s next? And, will she ever get back to that level? Stay tuned.

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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