Unbeaten ‘TDN Rising Star’ McCraken (Ghostzapper), who remained perfect with a dramatic come-from-behind win in Churchill’s GII Kentucky Jockey Club S. Nov. 26, is being aimed at Tampa’s GIII Sam F. Davis S. Feb. 11. The Whitham Thoroughbreds homebred worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.45 (1/10) at Palm Meadows Jan. 25.
“Everything went well,” trainer Ian Wilkes said of the move. “He was professional and relaxed, sat just behind another horse, finished well and galloped out strong. He got everything I wanted out of the work.”
Wilkes continued, “[McCraken] has always shown he is very talented. He has matured a little since he last ran, and I think he’s stronger now. He’s a nice horse who can be a little playful, and I love being around him.”
In 2007, as the assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger, Wilkes brought GI Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and subsequent GI Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense to Tampa Bay Downs for a victory in the (then) GIII Tampa Bay Derby.
“I don’t want a tough, tough race for him yet,” Wilkes said. “I want a race that will enable him to move forward right now. I’ve had good luck at Tampa Bay Downs, so we’re planning to start him in the Davis and see where he takes us.”