Gaffalione Beaming After Work by Hot Rod Charlie

October 15, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky.— Keeneland-based Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) candidate Hot Rod Charlie worked a half-mile in :49.40 Saturday morning over a fast track for trainer Doug O’Neill in his first work since his victory in the Lukas Classic (G2) at Churchill Downs Oct. 1. (Click here for a video of the work.)

“It was a good, relaxed work,” Tyler Gaffalione, who was aboard the 4-year-old by Oxbow, said. “He went well within himself. I’m very happy right now. He’s in a great mindset.”

Owned by Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing, Strauss Bros Racing and Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Hot Rod Charlie has made two previous Breeders’ Cup starts. At Keeneland in 2020, he was second in the Juvenile (G1) at odds of 94-1 and last year at Del Mar was fourth in the Classic (G1).

“He’s grown up a lot (since the Juvenile),” Gaffalione said. “He’s much bigger, much more powerful and much more mature. Right now, it seems like he’s the complete package.”

In the Lukas Classic, Hot Rod Charlie finished a head in front of Kentucky Derby (G1) Presented by Woodford Reserve winner Rich Strike after an intense stretch battle. 

“He loves competition,” Gaffalione said. “In the mornings when he works by himself, he can be a little bit lackadaisical and kind of lazy getting into stride, but once he finds a stride he gets going. In the race (the Lukas Classic), he made the lead and his ears came forward and he was kind of just waiting on the other horses. When Rich Strike came to his outside he re-engaged. He’s very tenacious. He won’t back down from a fight.”

Also on the work tab for O’Neill on Saturday were Breeders’ Cup possibles Awake At Midnyte (Distaff or Filly and Mare Sprint; half-mile in :49.80), Slow Down Andy (Classic or Dirt Mile; half-mile in :48.60) and Vegas Magic (Juvenile Fillies; 5 furlongs in 1:01.80).

Another O’Neill runner, B Dawk, worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 for the Oct. 22 Perryville (L) at Keeneland.

Keeneland Press Release

Photo: Hot Rod Charlie wins the 2021 renewal of the Pennsylvania Derby (Joe Labozzetta)

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