Laoban, who shed his maiden status with his upset in the Grade 2, $ 600,000 Jim Dandy, 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 said Saturday morning.
A day earlier, the son of Uncle Mo had his first work since wiring the field to win the Jim Dandy July 30. 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 Travers.
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, and was 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.
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