By Christina Bossinakis
Shadwell Stable’s Fayeq (Malibu Moon) gave trainer Kiaran McLaughlin reason for optimism after registering a bullet four-furlong work over the Oklahoma training track in preparation of a start in Saratoga’s GI Travers S. Aug. 26.
The 3-year-old, who was working in company with 3-year-old maiden Last Stage (Tapit), easily putting away his workmate to complete the move in :47.36 under jockey Luis Saez. The work was the fastest of 51 recorded at the distance. NYRA clockers caught the half-brother to Hall of Famer Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d’Oro) galloping out five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
“He worked fabulous and galloped out great,” said McLaughlin. “We’re pointing for the Travers.”
Fayeq has won both of his appearances in New York, including the latest when winning by 3 ½ lengths in a 1 1/8-mile allowance July 26. Both wins have come with Saez in the saddle.
“We just wanted [Saez] to sit on him because he doesn’t switch leads in the afternoon, but he does in the morning,” explained McLaughlin. “So, we were wanting them to get together and somehow [get him to] switch in the afternoon.”
The decision to take a shot in the Travers with Fayeq took root following the upset of the favorites in the GII 2 Jim Dandy and GI Haskell Invitational, both contested July 29.
“We have to take a chance because of his pedigree and because he’s a really nice horse,” explained McLaughlin. “We want to give him a try. It’s a big step up, but we feel like he deserves the chance. It’s tough, there’s some good horses out there but we want to try it. He’s well-bred, a brother to Rachel Alexandra. He’s a beautiful horse with a great mind. And if we can get him to switch leads, that would help us a lot.”