Haskell or Peter Pan Targeted for Derby Hopeful Ny Traffic
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham and Legacy Racing Inc.’s Tonalist’s Shape breezed a half-mile in 45.35 seconds Sunday at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a likely start in the July 11 Ashland (G1) at Keeneland.
The Saffie Joseph Jr.-trained Kentucky Oaks (G1) hopeful followed up a pair of ‘bullet’ workouts with a ‘breathtaking’ four-furlong breeze that ranked second fastest of 58 recorded at the distance Sunday. Tonalist’s Shape, who was ridden by assistant trainer Sabine Langvard, wore blinkers for the first time for Sunday’s workout.
“She’s never been a fast work horse but she’s really coming into herself,” Joseph said. “Today was the first time we put blinkers on her because one of the owners said he’d like to try blinkers. She wore blinkers today and I thought today she had a breathtaking work.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Tonalist will likely race with blinkers while prepping for the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs in her next start.
“Most likely she’ll run in the Ashland. We’re going to nominate her for the [July 18] Coaching Club at Saratoga, but it looks she’s going to the Ashland,” Joseph said.
Tonalist’s Shape is coming off a sharp 3 ¾-length victory in the May 15 Hollywood Wildcat, her first win around two turns, rebounding from sustaining her first career loss in the March 28 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2). The Kentucky-bred filly had won her first five starts, including victories in the Forward Gal (G3) and the Davona Dale (G2) during the 2019-2020 Championship Meet at Gulfstream.
“The horse that finished third came back – I know she was well beaten – and ran second in the Grade 1 Acorn. [Fourth-place finisher] Up in Smoke came back to win a stake,” Joseph said. “The form for her last race held up well.”
Tonalist’s Shape currently ranks seventh in qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks.
The Joseph-trained Ny Traffic, who ranks eighth in qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby (G1 at Churchill, is scheduled to breeze at Gulfstream Monday after missing a work last week.
“Last week for a day or two he wasn’t quite acting right, like he was fighting off some kind of bug,” Joseph said. “He seems like he’s over it and he’s galloped the last few days. He’s going to work tomorrow.”
Ny Traffic finished a length behind Maxfield while second in the May 23 Matt Wynn (G3) at Churchill Downs last time out. The 3-year-old son of Cross Traffic previously finished second, 1 ½ lengths behind Welles Bayou in the Louisiana Derby (G2), and third in the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds. In his first start for Joseph, the New York-bred colt scored a front-running 6 ¾-length romp in a 1 1/16-mile optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Jan. 11.
The July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland had been the target for Ny Traffic’s next start.
“Ideally, we were thinking the Blue Grass, but the little delay in schedule makes the Blue Grass unlikely,” Joseph said. “So, he’ll probably go in the Haskell or the Peter Pan.”
The Haskell (G1) at Monmouth Park is scheduled for July 18, while the Peter Pan (G3) is slated for July 16 at Saratoga.