After the claims, this week was a mostly quiet week for my fantasy stable. It was quiet in the sense that most of my horses did not race…and also quiet in the sense that the one horse who did run crossed the wire not with a bang, but with a whimper. Most of the horses who did not race at least returned to the worktab. This week contains a bit more watching worktabs and nomination lists than bracing for races, but with another claiming day on February 23, I remain on the lookout for the upside in my current horses…as well as potential additions to make.
- General Bellamy – General Bellamy was a decent third in the Jerome, and I took him in the draft hoping he could move forward, and because he had some distance in his pedigree. Unfortunately, the Withers gave me something to think about, but not in a good way. He broke fine, and settled midpack near the outside. Asked for run on the far turn, General Bellamy returned nothing. He crossed the wire sixth and last, over twenty lengths behind even fifth-place March. His maiden win came on the front end, though he at least showed an ability to keep along from off the pace in the Jerome. Possibly he was outclassed, possibly he needs the lead (something he will never get against the likes of Classy Class or El Kabeir!), and there has been no clear word about how he came out of the race. It was definitely a disappointment, and I have a tough decision about whether to stick with him for another race, or replace him in the next claiming period.
- Instant Replay – Instant Replay, one of the new additions to my stable, will be the next to race. I drafted him because he tallied a nice allowance win at Oaklawn, and the scuttlebutt suggested he would turn up in the Southwest next. The Southwest is scheduled for February 16, and he still appears probable for that race. He has not worked since January 31, but that hardly seems odd; trainer Wayne Catalano has only been sending him out for works every ten days to two weeks. It would make sense to see him out for a work early this week, and then the Southwest. The race will be his first graded attempt, and he will need to show far more than he did in the Street Sense (his only other graded attempt). Still, he has shown he likes the track. Both his bad outings have been at Churchill, which could be an issue if he actually does get on the Derby Trail, but for now? Instant Replay was a speculative addition to my stable, and his first test awaits.
- Ami’s Flatter – Things are quiet with Ami’s Flatter since the last update. He finished fourth in the Sam F. Davis two weekends back, his first graded attempt. He was moving well enough late to suggest he still has some upside. Though there does not appear to be a solid word on where he is going next, he had enough upside to keep through the claims last week, and my fingers are crossed that he will return to the worktab within the next week.
- By the Moon – There are no updates on By the Moon since last week. She has still not worked back from the Forward Gal, a race in which she moved too soon and which may have been a bit short for her. Assuming she came out okay and returns to the worktab soon, she should remain in my stable unless word comes out that she is off the Oaks trail for some reason. The Davona Dale nominations have not yet come out; that should shed light. She was not nominated to the Busher, despite having gotten her start in New York. Trainer Michelle Nevin did nominate a runner there, but that runner was Paulassilverlining, not By the Moon. She was also not nominated to the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds.
- Ekati’s Phaeton – Ekati’s Phaeton returned to the Gulfstream worktab on February 8, breezing four furlongs over fast dirt in 49.34. There has been no clear statement from her connections as to where she is headed. She survived the early pace duel in the race better than others did, and from that has some upside if she returns to a points race. She still could do her better work sprinting, though, so information about her next race soon will be very helpful. Nominations for the Davona Dale closed February 7, but have not been published yet; hopefully she appears there. She was not nominated to the Busher or the Rachel Alexandra.
- Frosted – Frosted returned to the worktab at Gulfstream on February 8, firing a bullet four furlongs in 47.55. Word is that he will be continuing down the Derby Trail at Gulfstream, and returning in the Fountain of Youth Stakes on February 21. Those nominations closed February 7, but have not been posted. It would be a surprise not to see Frosted on that list.
- Hashtag Bourbon – February 8 was a big day on the worktab for my fantasy stable; Hashtag Bourbon worked that day, as well. However, he did his move not at Gulfstream, but at Tampa: four furlongs over fast dirt in 49.60. It was his fifth straight weekly work over the Tampa Bay main. The Tampa Bay Derby is not until March 7, with nominations closing February 21. That would be a lot of workouts without a race, but still make sense given where he is working. He is nominated for the Southwest a week from today, though is not currently bandied about as one of the probables.
- Keen Ice – Like so many in my stable, Keen Ice worked on February 8: five furlongs over fast Gulfstream dirt in 1:01.61. Though he is working at Gulfstream, the fifth-place finish in the Holy Bull was quite enough racing at that track for this closer. It was suggested that he would either go to the Risen Star or the Tampa Bay next, and he has been nominated to the Risen Star. Whichever race his connections opt for, hopefully the track will suit him a bit better than Gulfstream did.