Workouts That May Work Out For You: Today’s Focus On Vertical Oak, Astrollinthepark, Blamed

(Astrollinthepark, trained by J. Larry Jones, winning the Roxelana Stakes at Churchill Downs this summer / 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. Vertical Oak, a 4YO Giant Oak filly who was third in the G2 TCA Stakes at Keeneland in her last start and has now finished in the money in the last six Stakes races in a row, worked this morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen. In 19 career starts to date, Vertical Oak has a record of 7-3-4 and earnings over $655,000. This morning, she went 3 furlongs over a fast dirt track in :38.20. That was the 4th fastest time out of 5 to go the distance, in what amounted to nothing more than a simple maintenance move.
  2. Auspicious Babe, a 3YO Bodemeister filly trained by Dallas Stewart, has run back-to-back seconds after a 7th in the G1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 18. This morning, this filly went a half mile in :48.40. That was the 9th best time out of 35 to clock out at the distance. Keep an eye on this one. Looks ready to pop again soon.
  3. Blamed, a 3YO filly by Blame who has registered 3 wins and a second in 4 starts this year, worked this morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Bill Mott. She went a half mile in a nice :47.80 — which was the bullet move of the day at the distance. In 7 career starts, she has 5 wins and 2 seconds. This Maryland-bred is owned by Sagamore Farm after not meeting the reserve price of $77,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She has now earned nearly $300,000 in her abbreviated race career. In her last out — the G2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes — Blamed ran a game second to Shamrock Rose, and that was the first race in nearly 7 months. Watch for her. Sharp.
  4. Astrollinthepark, a 4YO Devine Park filly trained by J. Larry Jones, has hit the board in each of the last 5 starts, including a game second in the Open Mind Stakes at Churchill Downs in her last start. The previous start over the Churchill Downs dirt strip was when she won the Roxelana Stakes here in June. This one worked 5 furlongs in :59.20 — which was the bullet move of the day. This one is certainly a bet-back the next time out.
  5. Most Mischief, a 2YO Into Mischief colt trained by W. Bret Calhoun, broke his maiden last time out at Churchill Downs on Sept. 27. In four lifetime starts now, the colt has a win and two thirds. This morning, he got to stretch his legs under the Twin Spires again. He went 5 furlongs in :59.80 — which was the second fastest time for the distance. May be a wheel right back the next time he gets in.
  6. Gins and Tins, a 2YO gelded son of Scat Daddy trained by Wesley Ward, worked this morning at Keeneland. This one broke his maiden at Monmouth Park in mid-July, before running 4th in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga in August. Today, he worked 5F over the dirt track in 1:03.20 — which was the 13th best time out of 21 to negotiate the distance. Bears watching for this one.

I got a perfect trip,” Ortiz said. “We got a good post and he broke sharp. He was ready today, it was a big performance. Coming in I just wanted to ride my race. Let him settle at first and then let him finish. In preparation for the race, we worked with him to gallop out and finish strong. [The plan was] to relax early and finish strong and it worked out good.”

“I expected him to run a big race but I didn’t think he would gallop out like that,” he added. “I’m so happy to see the way he did it.”

Irad Ortiz, Jr., The winning rider
  • 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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