Shagaf, My Man Sam Breeze at Churchill Downs

Shagaf, My Man Sam Breeze at Churchill Downs

Coady Photography

Trainer Chad Brown has a busy morning on April 24th at Churchill Downs, sending out his two Kentucky Derby (gr. I) contenders Shagaf and My Man Sam to post their first workouts over the Churchill main track.

My Man Sam, coming off a runner-up effort in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland, went four furlongs in an easy :50.60 seconds. He started off slowly with an opening quarter-mile in :26 flat, but picked up speed through three furlongs in :38.60 before completing the final furlong in :12 flat and galloping out five furlongs in 1:03.20 and six furlongs in 1:16.40.

“It was just a maintenance work, he worked early this morning,” Brown was quoted as saying in a Churchill Downs press release. “I thought he worked terrific. He’s only run in one stakes race and he ran terrific from the 14 post in the Blue Grass. We were lucky enough to get up for second and have the points to get up and be in this position. [He is] a rapidly developing horse with a lot of talent that should be able to get a mile-and-a-quarter.”

Gotham Stakes (gr. III) winner Shagaf also breezed four furlongs but went quicker than My Man Sam, posting fractions of :12.80, :24.60, and :36.60 before completing his workout in a solid :48.40 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.20 and six furlongs in 1:14.60. The colt worked solo and looked very professional, switching leads effortlessly at the top of the stretch and running strongly through the final furlong.

“We worked [Shagaf] by himself for the first time,” said Brown. “He’s been getting a little aggressive in his works. I thought he went terrific. I was just so thrilled in his work. He’s a little bit better of a work horse. He went over the surface well and galloped out strong.”

In his most recent race, Shagaf finished fifth as the favorite over a muddy track in the Wood Memorial (gr. I), but Brown thinks Shagaf is capable of running much better.

“The whole situation didn’t really work for him,” Brown said. “First of all the racetrack just wasn’t for him. It rained all day and he had only run on dry tracks. He didn’t really break well in the mud. He tried to make a run there in the final turn and ran into some horses in front of him and had to stop. As you can see here this week, he’s a huge horse with a big stride. He’s like a big locomotive going downhill. I’m not sure how much stopping you can do with a horse like that when you have his momentum going. It’s just one of those things that happen in horse racing sometimes, but the track was dry today and he worked terrific.”

Regarding the differences between My Man Sam and Shagaf, Brown said ““They really are [different], and as they have developed, we adjust their training. Shagaf is just a bigger, stronger and more willing work horse so we sent him alone today and it was the best he has ever worked in my eyes. My Man Sam is a horse who appreciates some company. He’s never been real flashy in the morning, but that’s exactly how he works when he runs well. It was just an easy maintenance work. He galloped out strong.”

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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