Hightstown, NJ — Brian Brown is happy with what he sees from Workin Ona Mystery so far this season on the racetrack. He is even more pleased by what is not readily visible. The horse’s health.
Workin Ona Mystery is among the contenders in Saturday’s (July 11) $250,000 Graduate Series final for 4-year-old pacers at The Meadowlands. The event is part of a 13-race card at The Big M that also includes the $250,000 Graduate championship for 4-year-old trotters, a single elimination for the Meadowlands Pace, and Reynolds Memorial divisions for 3-year-old trotters. Racing begins at 7:15 p.m. (EDT).
Last year, Workin Ona Mystery started his campaign with three consecutive wins and finished third in the finals of the North America Cup and Meadowlands Pace, where he was beaten by a head. But health woes slowed the horse’s progress from there and he won only once in his final five starts.
This year in three starts, Workin Ona Mystery has a win, a second, and a third. He captured his opening-round race in the Graduate Series by a neck over Century Farroh in 1:50 at Tioga Downs on June 21 and finished second to Bettor’s Wish in last week’s second round at The Meadowlands. Bettor’s Wish, who skipped the first round in favor of the Roll With Joe Stakes, won by two lengths in 1:48.2.
“Right now, we’re in pretty good shape,” Brown said. “He seems pretty healthy, very alert. He seems full of himself. Every day, he’s out there playing and jumping around. I think he’s coming into the race pretty good, a lot better than a lot of times last year.”
As far as how Workin Ona Mystery has changed from last year, Brown said, “Ninety percent of it is that he’s healthy.”
“He did pack on some weight,” Brown added. “He was not a real big horse last year. He wasn’t short, like a small horse, but he wasn’t a thick horse either. He has thickened up quite a bit, so he’s got more strength to him. I’m hoping that will help him stay healthy.”
Workin Ona Mystery has won 10 of 20 career races and $469,641. The son of Captaintreacherous-Dragon’s Tale is owned by Diamond Creek Racing, Stambaugh Leeman Stable, Alan Keith, and Wingfield Brothers. Brown brought the horse back slowly in the winter and does not plan to test Workin Ona Mystery against older horses on the Grand Circuit until the Dan Patch Stakes at Harrah’s Hoosier Park in mid-August.
“He’s got to race older horses this year, and that can be hard on them, but he’s got such a great attitude,” Brown said. “He wants to be a winner, he loves passing horses, and he’s an easy horse to drive. He’s not the easiest horse to be around in the barn. He’s ornery. But on the track, training and racing, he’s so easy to drive.
“After we struggled so much last year it’s nice to just see the real horse. And he may not be the best 4-year-old or older horse, but he will hold his own against them as long as he’s healthy.”
Both preliminary rounds of the Graduate Series had three divisions and resulted in six different winners. Joining Workin Ona Mystery as first-round winners were Dancin Lou and Hurrikane Emperor. Joining Bettor’s Wish as second-round winners were Bllack Hole and Brassy Hanover.
Bettor’s Wish was the Dan Patch Award winner for best 3-year-old male pacer of 2019. He finished third in last month’s Roll With Joe, which was his seasonal debut. His 1:48.2 score last week in the Graduate was the slowest of the three divisions; Bllack Hole won in 1:48 and Brassy Hanover in 1:48.1.
A total of nine horses in last week’s three divisions paced their final quarter-mile in less than 26 seconds.
“There are so many horses that come home fast out there,” Brown said. “Anymore, time really means nothing. It’s who you beat and how much money you made, that’s all that matters.”
For Saturday’s complete Meadowlands entries, click here.