Laoban, Mo Tom and Destin work for Travers

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TwinSpires Staff

August 13th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Laoban, who shed his maiden status with his upset victory in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2), has a found a way to beat the heat and humidity, courtesy of his trainer, Eric Guillot.

"It's been so sticky and hot, and he's not the best (eater) in the world for as big as a horse he is, so I try to train him early in the morning when it is cooler, and have him done up and back in his stall before it gets too hot," Guillot explained Saturday morning.

A day earlier, the son of Uncle Mo had his first work since wiring the field to win the July 30 Jim Dandy. The colt, who is owned by Southern Equine Stable and McCormick Racing, will work once again before he tries to parlay his Jim Dandy victory into another in the $1.25 million Travers Stakes (G1) on August 27.

Laoban, who was ridden in his work by Jose Ortiz, his pilot in the Jim Dandy, covered five furlongs in 1:01.45 on the main track. Guillot said it was an eventful work.

"I put him behind another horse, and he ended up picking up a couple of other horses who got in his way down the lane, and he had to go around them," the trainer said. "He got by everything, and worked in 1:01 and 2 and galloped out another (furlong) in 12 and went 1:13 and 2. He came back good."

Next Saturday, weather permitting, Guillot said he will again work Laoban five furlongs.

Asked if he has noticed any changes physically in Laoban, who stands 17.2 hands tall, after the Jim Dandy, Guillot said, "He bounced back a little quicker (after the Jim Dandy) than usual because he didn't have to travel and has stayed here. You can't train him aggressively when he travels because he will not take the stress well."

Laoban will be Guillot's second Travers starter; his Moreno finished second at odds of 31-1 in 2013, beaten just a nose by Will Take Charge.

Laoban will look to follow in the footsteps of 10 Jim Dandy winners who doubled up in the Mid-Summer Derby. The Jim Dandy has been the Travers prep of choice on 18 occasions since 1960.

The Tom Amoss-trained Mo Tom, who remains under consideration for the Travers, breezed four furlongs on the Oklahoma track in :51.71 Friday.

Mo Tom skipped the Belmont Stakes (G1) on June 11 to run in the Ohio Derby, which he won by three lengths under jockey Javier Castellano. The sophomore son of Uncle Mo's career record stands at four wins and three thirds from nine starts for owner Gayle Benson's GMB Racing.

"He's doing well," Amoss said. "Our plan is to work next Friday and give him something much more significant and at that point we will make a decision on what to do after that."

Along with the deluge of 432 horses looking to get in a workout on Friday before Saturday’s previously expected rainy weather was Twin Creeks Racing Stables and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Destin.

Visiting the fast Saratoga main track Friday morning for his first breeze following a third-place effort in the Jim Dandy, the three-year-old son of Giants Causeway completed four furlongs in :48.87 in what trainer Todd Pletcher described as a key maintenance work.

"He seemed to go well and looked particularly energetic this morning so I was happy with the way he came out of it," Pletcher said. "It was just a standard half-mile breeze so we'll continue with preparations towards the Travers."

Visiting the fast Oklahoma training track Saturday morning for Pletcher was Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) queen Stopchargingmaria. Looking to bounce back off a sixth-place finish in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) on June 11 at Belmont Park, the five-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat clocked five furlongs in 1:02.30.

With the $500,000 Ballerina Stakes (G1) at seven furlongs and the $750,000 Personal Ensign Stakes (G1) both on Travers Day, August 27, as next out options, Pletcher stated he would like to see one more work before making a decision on which race to point toward.

"We need to see another work to see where we're at," the horseman said. "She went five-eighths this morning 1:02 and 1/5 but after her next work we'll see if we'll head possibly towards the Ballerina, maybe the Personal Ensign or neither."

Sweet Loretta, undefeated in two starts for St. Elias Stable after most recently winning the Schuylerville Stakes (G3) on July 22 by an impressive 4 1/4 lengths, is on tap for a start in the $350,000 Spinaway Stakes (G1) on September 3.

"She's doing well," Pletcher added. "She's on schedule for the Spinaway and has one more work to go."

Laoban photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography