Wednesday, March 25, 2009

12th of 31

Miss Belle Express is now officially back on track. She worked today in an official clocking of :50.4 for four furlongs. Breezing. Eight of fourteen works at that distance on a fast track today at Tampa Bay Downs.

As a younger guy, I always put a lot of stock in the time I saw on workouts. The twelve second a furlong rule was etched in my brain. Ten years ago I would have looked at this workout and thought, "Nothing there at all." Today? Much different story. I've learned that a workout's importance is on several levels and the least of that is time. How did the filly handle the work? Was she labored during the effort or was she smooth? Did it drain her completely or did she come back like it was nothing? Was she aggressive on the track and try to get after other horses or was she passive and just did what she had to in order to get back to the barn?

Here is what we learned about Missy today according to our trainer, Bernell Rhone:

She changed leads exactly when she was supposed to - without being asked;

Bernell's instructions to jockey Dean Butler were to just let her do it on her own - don't urge her, but don't discourage her. So the work was entirely her own;

Seemed to come back just fine;

Also working under the same instructions today was Shot of Silver, a MN-bred 6-year old mare with 10 lifetime wins and earnings of over $138,000 competing at mostly the $15,000 - $20,000 level. She worked in :51.6. Outworking her under the same conditions, to me, was most encouraging. Early in her career Silver competed in several MN-bred stakes races and throughout her career she has won at Canterbury, Turf Paradise and Remington Park. A very useful racehorse here and away.

Missy is still new to her craft and should improve as she gains experience. It's not a stretch to hope that she'll be a higher caliber racehorse than Shot of Silver - though it's no guarantee either. Until that gate springs open and there is the pressure of a race, you don't know what you have.

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