Workouts That May Work Out For You: Today’s Focus On Flameaway, Vertical Oak, & American Mandate (Sleeper of the Day)

(Mark Casse trains Flameaway / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

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. Flameaway, a 3YO son of Scat Daddy who has not run since his dull 7th in the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing in August, is back in serious training for the barn of Mark Casse. The colt got his second published work since Nov. 28 this morning at the Casse Training Center in Central Florida, going 3 furlongs in :36.60. That was the bullet move out of 3 to go the distance. This one converted from the grass to the dirt in real style earlier this year. Won the Sam F. Davis Stakes over the highly regarded Catholic Boy. Ran second to Quip in the Tampa Bay Derby. Ran second to Good Magic in the Blue Grass Stakes. But had a couple of hiccups when he returned to the grass for the G1 Woodford Reserve. Did run second in the G2 Jim Dandy. But then came the Parx racing, over that funky racing surface. Now, it appears that he is working his way back to you. Would be good for racing to have this one back in action in 2019. A talented one, for sure.
  2. Dynamic Force, an Ontario-Bred 2YO son of Medaglia d’Oro also trained by Casse, worked at the farm track this morning, as well. This one has raced only once to date, finishing fourth in the career debut at Woodbine back in August. He got his first published work this morn since the race, going a nice 3 furlongs in :36.80. That was the second best time. Owner John Oxley paid $300,000 for this one at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton October Yearling Sale in Lexington. May be a “force” before he is done. Bears watching.
  3. Vertical Oak, a 4YO Giant Oak filly who is scheduled to run in the Garland of Roses Stakes at Aqueduct this coming weekend for trainer Steve Asmussen, blew out for the race with a mild prep on Wednesday. She went 3 furlongs over the dirt training track at Belmont Park in :39.07. That was the 15th best time out of the 20, but just what the DR ordered for this one — who has put up a 3-1-3 record in 7 starts this year. She is coming off a very nice win in the Dream Supreme Stakes at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 in her last out. Before that, she ran a game third in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland in October. Betable for me this weekend.
  4. American Mandate, a 2YO son of Strong Mandate and trained by Steve Asmussen for Ed and Susie Orr, is one that bears watching. This one has raced three times so far with two seconds and a third. Was second in the last out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 7, when beaten just a half-length by Souper Jackpot (who could be OK, too). Made the lead late in that one before being headed at the wire. In the debut run at Ellis Park in mid-August, though, this one was beaten less than a length by Hog Creek Hustle. Keep an eye on that one. He can be a force to reckon with. I will be looking for American Mandate to return soon. When he does? You know what to do. On Wednesday, this one went 5 furlongs at Belmont Park in 1:02 flat. That was the 4th best time out of the 11 to go the distance. He’s in NY for a reason. Watch for it.

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”

KATHLEEN O’CONNELL, TRAINER OF WINNER WELL DEFINED
  • 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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