The most news you get out of both Breeders’ Cup and Kentucky Derby week is a slew of updates about scheduled works and breezes. Kind of boring, especially if you don’t know what’s good for an individual or what’s good, period. Working for their respective Breeders’ Cup events, here are the best and the worst superlatives on the work tab:
The 26.2 Award
- Congrats to A.U. Miner! He went 3 furlongs easily yesterday in 36.4 seconds with the half galloped out in a tick over :49. Combined with Calvin Borel, I’m really liking this horse for the Marathon.
The “Moves Like Jagger” Award
- The lack of a real standout here makes this one a hard choice. Most of these horses have been working well consistently lately, but the horse who has shown the most tangible improvement is Uncle Mo, who is relaxing over longer works. A sharp thorn in his side is To Honor and Serve, who worked under blinkers the past few times exceptionally well.
The “Milk Was A Bad Choice” Award
- Goes to the horse who cross-entered races, but probably the worst decision to pick one race over the other. That award goes to Gio Ponti, who will elect to take on Goldikova, Courageous Cat, Turallure, and others in the Mile as opposed to a rather spotty bunch in the Classic. I get he received a berth winning his last start, but since Gio’s almost done here, why not take a shot at the big one? Runner-up goes to Uncle Mo, who may have been better suited to run the Dirt Mile at his area of preparation.
Most Fashionable Award
- Congrats to the pretty chestnut lady Stacelita on sporting the finest fashions among the workers! Stacelita wore a covering over her left eye while working 5 furlongs in just a hair under 1:03 on the green carpet turf alongside her companion, two-year-old Dayatthespa. Her eye is recovering from a slight infection, so the covering was designed to keep the dirt out. Fashion AND function!
Best of the Babies Award
- Grace Hall may not be the top favorite at the start of the Juvenile Fillies race, but she’s sure training like it. The Spinaway champ breezed through a half mile in a knife-sharp :47 1/5. For the colts, give it up to Wesley Ward’s Holdin Bullets who could not be held back in a slick :48 flat 4-furlong work. Most of the juveniles are taking it easy with mild works, so it’s especially difficult to pick out a resounding favorite otherwise.
- A special, solemn mention goes to the very promising Dale Romans trainee Me And My Gals, a Sky Mesa colt who broke down in a routine gallop last Saturday and had to be euthanized.
The Group Hug Award
- Goes to the trainer with the strongest lineup. It was pretty close, but honors go to Bill Mott, who is bringing his A-game to Churchill Downs with To Honor and Serve, Royal Delta, Courageous Cat, and Drosselmeyer. Bob Baffert makes an excellent case for runner-up honors with Prayer for Relief, Euroears, Game On Dude, The Factor, Drill, Secret Circle, Irrefutable, and Candrea.
The “Where’s the Beef?” Award
- Goes to a horse who isn’t working as well as expected. This one goes to Stay Thirsty, who seems to dig his usual “maintenance” pace so much he didn’t go as quick as Todd Pletcher wanted in his race week sharpener. Similar 5-furlong works from other Classic horses on different tracks were as much as 2 seconds faster than Thirsty’s attempted bullet. Perhaps Thirsty will make wise men of us going so steady! Runner-up honors go to Sprint contender Giant Ryan, who after winning six straight including the Vosburgh (I), ran a sleepy maintenance 4-furlonger in :48 and change— a bit pokey for such a fast horse so close to race day.
Have your own award to give out? Head over to Submissions and let’s hear them!