Havana's Return to Worktab: 'Looked Good'

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2:08 pm EST

Havana's return to the worktab on Saturday after an extended absence reportedly went well.

Winner of the Champagne at Belmont Park in his second career start, Havana was timed in :37.75 with regular exercise rider Ezequiel Perez aboard.

“I thought he worked really well and looked good,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “His fitness level was probably a little ahead of where I expected him to be. He went out very nicely, so we were pleased with that.”

Havana went gate to wire to break his maiden at first asking last August at Saratoga, running 5 1/2 furlongs in :56.34.

Stretched out to a mile in the Champagne, Havana took a 4 1/2-length lead into the stretch and held on to win by a neck over favored Honor Code. In the Breeders’ Cup, Havana was in front by two lengths turning for home before being caught by New Year’s Day, beaten 1 1/4 length.

“We just wanted to get him back on the work tab and get him back into a routine,” Pletcher said. “He was actually scheduled to work a couple days before, but we had all that rain so we had to wait. We’re just trying to get him back on schedule and thought we made up quite a bit of ground today. He was more fit than I figured he would be.”

Unable to make the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 22 with the missed time, Pletcher is instead pointing Havana to the seven-furlong Swale on March 1.

“We are right now on schedule for the Swale,” Pletcher said.

Edited Gulfstream Park release