McPeek Pleased With War Dancer Work
Both trainer Ken McPeek and regular rider Alan Garcia were pleased with the way War Dancer performed in his final breeze Aug. 17 prior to the $1 million Travers Stakes (gr. I) coming up Aug. 24.
Garcia, who has been aboard for six of the War Front colt's seven career starts, guided War Dancer through a five-furlong work on the Oklahoma training track Saturday morning.
"He went great; better than ever," Garcia said. "He was moving sweet. I'm looking forward to the Travers. The way I'm feeling the last two times I breezed this horse, he couldn't be better."
Owned by Magdelena Racing, War Dancer worked in company with maiden winner So Raise Yourglass. Both horses were clocked in 1:02.33, fourth-fastest of 11 horses at the distance.
"It was a nice work," McPeek said. "He did it well. Alan seemed to think that he could have left the other horse earlier in the breeze. It looks like it sets up pretty nice for us. War Dancer does everything you ask him to do, whenever you ask him to do it. He's drilling the feed tub, and that's what he's got to do going into this."
All but one of War Dancer's races have come on turf, including a gutsy head victory in the July 13 Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) in his most recent start. He was fourth in his lone dirt try in February at Gulfstream Park, a race from which each of the top three finishers—Saint Vigeur, Wabbajack and Freedom Child —came back to win their next start.
"We think he'll handle the dirt fine; we just haven't given him much of an opportunity on it other than the one race in Florida," he said. "He's made the mile and a quarter already in the Virginia Derby, and that was a very heavy turf course."
McPeek recently moved War Dancer into stall 1, the same one occupied by Golden Ticket last summer prior to his dead-heat victory with Alpha in the Travers.
"Same groom, too," McPeek said. "Same exercise rider. What works, you stick to it."
Also working for McPeek on Saturday was Arkansas Derby (gr. I) runner-up Frac Daddy, who went five furlongs in 1:02.87 on the Oklahoma oval. Sixteenth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), Frac Daddy has not run since finishing 14th in the June 8 Belmont Stakes (gr. I).
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