Auctions

Jun 10 Arqana June Online Flash Sale 2024 HIPS
Jun 12 Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. June 2YOs & Horses of Racing Age Sale 2024 HIPS
Jun 25 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic June 2YOs in Training Sale 2024 HIPS
Jul 9 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select July Yearling Sale 2024 HIPS
Aug 22 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Manitoba Div.) Yearling Sale 2024 HIPS
View All Auctions

Barksdale Set for G1 Debut in Woody Stephens

Trainer Will Walden said Barksdale has responded well to being gelded.

Barksdale wins an allowance race at Keeneland

Barksdale wins an allowance race at Keeneland

Coady Photo

Cypress Creek Equine's Barksdale is set to make his stakes debut in the $500,000 Woody Stephens (G1), a seven-furlong sprint for sophomores on Belmont Stakes (G1) Day June 8 at Saratoga Race Course.

Trained by Will Walden, the Street Sense  dark bay graduated on debut in October traveling two turns at Horseshoe Indianapolis but followed with a pair of distant off-the-board efforts at Churchill Downs to complete his juvenile campaign.

"He's a big, long two-turn bred type horse and I think I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole there," Walden said. "He broke his maiden going two turns at Indiana and then we stretched him out in a tough allowance race—Bill Mott won it with a Constitution  colt (Parchment Party) that was supposed to get on the Derby trail but had a setback; Catching Freedom was in there, and a few others that have turned out to be stakes quality. That being said—it didn't turn out well. We wheeled him back quick in a one-turn mile and that also didn't go well."

Barksdale was subsequently gelded and has focused on sprint events this season, finished a pressing fifth in March at Turfway Park when entered for a $50,000 tag in an optional-claiming race won by the speedy Joe Shiesty, who blitzed to a 29-1 upset two starts later on turf in the William Walker May 1 at Churchill Downs.

Barksdale has won both starts since in gate-to-wire fashion, taking a seven-furlong starter allowance April 7 at Keeneland under Tyler Gaffalione and a 6 1/2-furlong optional-claimer at Aqueduct Racetrack by four lengths with Dylan Davis at the helm April 26 that registered a career-best 91 Beyer Speed Figure.

Walden said the Turfway effort set Barksdale up perfectly for his recent success.

"Joe Shiesty is extremely fast. That was an allowance optional race and because of his two efforts prior at Churchill, I put him in for the $50,000 to make him starter eligible," Walden said. "That day at Turfway he didn't break sharply and Joe Shiesty went 43 and 4 for the half-mile and Barksdale ran into that pace. I thought he ran pretty valiantly to hold on for fifth. He was really tired after that race and got a lot out of it and it set him up for Keeneland and the drop in class."

Walden said Barksdale has responded well to being gelded and a patient approach from the gate.

"He's a big, heavy horse and carried a ton of extra weight. I think that (being gelded) helped him physically and mentally," Walden said. "We learned don't ask him out of the gate, just let him do his thing. If you press the button too early, you won't have anything to finish up with whereas if you break, he'll place himself forwardly in the race on his own. He just has a lot of natural speed."

Barksdale had his first work back May 16 at Keeneland, covering a half-mile in :49 2/5 in company with graded stakes-winner Manny Wah.

"We ran him back a little quicker than we typically would, and we usually give them 14 days after a race to work them, but I gave him 20 days," Walden said. "The work was awesome. He worked in company with Manny Wah, who is a graded stakes winner here at Keeneland and I thought they both worked really well. He'll have a five-eighths next week and then back down to a half in preparation for the Woody Stephens.

"He ran a big number last time and he ran a good number the time before that," added Walden. "We're excited about going back to seven-eighths and taking a shot against the big boys."

Gaffalione will have the call on Barksdale in the Woody Stephens.

This press release has been edited for content and style by BloodHorse Staff.