Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming turned in a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.71 over the Oklahoma training track Saturday morning at Saratoga Race Course in preparation for the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy at 1 1/8 miles on July 29.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez guided the Bodemeister colt through splits of 13.93 seconds and 25.86, going three furlongs in 37.52. Always Dreaming galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.79, and seven-eighths of a mile in 1:27.83, all according to plan for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“I thought Always Dreaming went real well, a good, steady five-eighths,” Pletcher said. “It's the first time John Velazquez breezed him since the Derby. I thought he went well, he was relaxed. He started off easy, went 13 3/5 for the first eighth and gradually picked up from there. [He] went 1:01 and [change] and galloped out in 1:27 4/5, so it was what we wanted to do with him. We felt like he needed a good, solid breeze with a solid gallop out, and I'm happy with the way he did it.”
Initially scheduled to work on the main track, Pletcher opted to take his set to the nearby Oklahoma track.
“Originally, we were going to go at 8:45 on the main track. As everyone can see, yesterday the track seemed to change a little bit,” Pletcher said. “It was pretty slow yesterday morning, and it was slow during yesterday's races. I worked a few horses on the main track early and was scheduled to go back over there. I guess there was a breakdown and the track was closed for a little while, so I took a set to the Oklahoma track while the main track was closed, and I thought those horses worked well. That surface was a little bit tighter.
“That's why I made the adjustment,” he added. “I worked some other horses on the main track, and for whatever reason it's on the slow side, but I wanted to get an accurate line on where I was with Always Dreaming, especially from a fitness standpoint. I wanted to do it on a track where I felt like I knew how it was playing, which I felt a little more comfortable on the Oklahoma track.”
Velazquez, aboard for all but two of the colt's races through his seven career starts, said he was pleased with the workout as well.
“He went good, very good,” Velazquez said. “That's all we have to hope for. At least he wasn't too aggressive like he was in Kentucky. So that was good.”
Saturday's work, Always Dreaming's second at Saratoga and first since July 16, gave Pletcher continued confidence heading to race day. It could also help his colt rebound off a disappointing eighth-place finish in the Grade 1 Preakness.
“It's always a delicate balance when you're trying to freshen a horse up, and have him ready for a race like the Jim Dandy,” Pletcher said. “You know you have to be fit and prepared for it, but you also want to hopefully have something to build on, and something left in the tank for the Travers. I think we've been able to accomplish that in the time off after the Preakness.”
Belmont Stakes winner and Travers hopeful Tapwrit was another from the busy Pletcher barn to work, breezing four furlongs over the Oklahoma training track with jockey Jose Ortiz aboard in 48.88 in company with Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile winner American Patriot.
“I was really pleased with Tapwrit,” Pletcher said. “I thought for his first work since the Belmont he was very good. I was surprised how easily he worked, and how strong he galloped out. He really maintained his fitness level well which makes me feel good about the Travers.”
Ortiz, who captured his first Triple Crown race aboard the son of Tapit, had an easy trip around the famed training course.
“He went very easy and comfortable. He was very happy all the way around. He always works well, but today I felt [he was] happier. He wanted to do it today. I didn't even have to tap him on the shoulder. He just picked up really nicely. I was happy with the way he did it today.”
Grade 2 Suburban winner Keen Ice put in a four-furlong breeze in 48.75 over the Oklahoma en route to the Grade 1, $1.2 million Whitney on Saturday, August 5.
“I thought Keen Ice looked really good this morning. Seems like he's come out of the Suburban great. I thought he was training really well coming in to the Suburban. I think that race gave him some of his confidence back, and you can just tell around the barn he's just full of himself. I thought his breeze was exceptional.”
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Cloud Computing put in his final work before entering next Saturday's Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, breezing four furlongs over the Saratoga main track in 49.09 seconds with regular exercise rider Peter Roman aboard.
The move was the first local breeze for the lightly raced son of Maclean's Music, who recently arrived from Belmont Park.
Trainer Chad Brown reported that Cloud Computing, who earned his first graded stakes victory in his fourth career start with an upset victory in the Grade 1 Preakness, has acclimated to his new surroundings since shipping up from his base at Belmont Park on Monday.
“He looked really good today,” Brown said. “I thought the horse breezed great and, coming off this work, remains on target for the Jim Dandy.”
Recently transferred to Brown, graded-stakes placed Jamyson 'n Ginger also worked for the first time on the main track since joining her new outfit, covering four furlongs in 48.34 seconds in company with unbeaten 3-year-old filly Your Love.
“I thought they worked great together,” said Brown. “Jamyson 'n Ginger came to me in great shape from Rudy [Rodriguez] and really looks good; a really straight forward horse along with Your Love.”
Rounding out notable workers from the Brown barn Saturday morning were multiple graded-stakes winners Dacita and Rainha Da Bateria, who completed four furlongs in 48.98 and 48.88 seconds, respectively, over the Oklahoma training track.
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