Wilkes ‘Very Pleased’ With McCraken’s Six-Furlong Work At Keeneland

by | 03.27.2017 | 12:45pm
McCraken (on rail) works in company with Brian Hernandez up at Keeneland on March 27.

Whitham Thoroughbreds' undefeated graded stakes winner McCraken on Monday morning worked 6 furlongs in 1:13.40 on a fast track at Keeneland as he continues preparations for the $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) on April 8, opening Saturday of the 2017 Spring Meet. The work was the second at Keeneland for McCraken, a 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper who covered five furlongs in a minute flat one week ago.

With Brian Hernandez Jr. aboard for trainer Ian Wilkes, McCraken and workmate Nessy under Chris Landeros jogged once around the Keeneland oval. McCraken began the work about four lengths behind Nessy and easily passed his workmate at the quarter pole.

Keeneland clockers caught McCraken in fractions of :25.20, :38, :50, 1:01.60, 1:13.40 and out in 1:25.40.

Nessy's time for 6 furlongs was 1:15.20.

“Very pleased,” Wilkes said, adding the decision to work McCraken in company was “just giving him a target, just changing it up. You don't want him to get bored. Keeping him happy.

“This is the type of horse I could work him a half-mile and run him and he'd be fine. I didn't run him at Tampa Bay (in the March 11 Tampa Bay Derby-G2), and I'm looking for a little more bottom on him this time (with) a longer work. Just (wanted) a nice solid work. Didn't need anything fast, fast. But just a solid work and a strong gallop out.”

McCraken, a homebred for Whitham Thoroughbreds, has won all four of his races, taking the Kentucky Jockey Cub (G2) and Street Sense at Churchill Downs last year. On Feb. 11, he scored a 1½-length victory in the Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs in his 2017 debut.

McCraken arrived at Keeneland March 16. Wilkes said the colt would work again Sunday or Monday.

  • Robin

    I bet McCracken for the derby🏇 I hope Mr Wilkes and Hernandez Jr keep him running and healthy!

    • Michael Infurna

      You should get 200-1 on Ian Wilkes winning the Ky Derby!!

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