Tabby Lane (Even the Score-Keeley Chay-Rodeo) is about a week away from starting her 2011 campaign. In the last two weeks she has turned in two more works right on schedule and gradually extending the distance to get her ready for the rigors of racing.
Her last two works were at 5 furlongs. She wasn't asked for a lot either time but was asked to pick up the pace down the lane and ride out past the finish line. Both works were timed at 1:03 with the first, on January 19th, over a good strip while the second, on January 27th, was over a fast track. The clocker stated both works were 'breezing', that is, well within herself, not really racing speed. As a handicapper I used to give quite a bit of credence to the designations of 'breezing' and her harder working cousin 'handily' until I realized that to some clockers - like our friend at Tampa Bay - all works are 'breezing' and to others, all works are 'handily'. Bernell Rhone, our trainer, taught me years ago when I got into this business that the time wasn't as important as HOW the horse did her work and how she came back afterward, so that has become my measure of our horse's works. Tabby was within herself for both works and came back fine. Her first five panel work she did come back winded a bit and wasn't too keen on pushing past the wire. The work on the 27th was definitely better from that standpoint. Now the quest is to find her a race.
I think that her ideal distance is between 7 furlongs and a mile. She's a big mare who needs some time to unwind her stride and get rolling. Her pedigree doesn't scream stamina, though, so he sweet spot appears to be that mile distance. Her class level has been a bit more difficult to ascertain. We claimed her at $10,000 in a race in which she had won. Then we brought her back in a $16,000 Optional Claiming race, which she also won. When she placed a very good second behind a track record tying performance in a $25,000 Optional Claiming race we thought we had something special. That's, of course, when the wheels came off the bus. She moved north and could not even sniff the winner's circle. She finished off her season with a flat third in a $10,000 claiming race at Remington Park, a good six lengths off the winner.
Now she's returning from the time away and hasn't exactly been burning up the training track, though she hasn't been awful either. She proved to us in her last race at Canterbury and again at Remington that she wasn't able to win at $10,000 so the odds are good that she'll come back in lesser company to start the season. She's going to need to do some convincing to start climbing the ladder again, but it feels good to be back on the track.