01/28/2012 11:03AM

Gulfstream Park: Force Freeze more relaxed, and so is his trainer

Barbara D. Livingston
Force Freeze was more relaxed in his Saturday work than he was a week ago.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up Force Freeze will launch his 2012 campaign in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship on Feb. 18. The way he worked here Saturday morning, trainer Peter Walder wishes the race was next week.

Breaking off three lengths behind an unidentified workmate under jockey Paco Lopez, Force Freeze relaxed beautifully while cutting out splits of 23.76 seconds for the opening quarter and 35.56 for three furlongs before easily cruising past his target to complete five-eighths in 58.96. Force Freeze then galloped out six furlongs in 1:11.18 before pulling up seven-eighths in 1:24.79 and a mile in 1:39.56.

"That was perfect, exactly what I was looking for and the total opposite from the way he went last week," said Walder.

Force Freeze worked five-eighths in 59.53 last Saturday but tired late after sizzling through his opening three furlongs in 34 and change.

"Today he sat behind the other horse and relaxed nicely. Just the way you want him to do it," said Walder. "Paco really gets this horse to relax well both in his works and his races. I wish his race was next week and not in three weeks off a work like that."

Walder said he’ll bring Force Freeze back to work six furlongs next week and then plans to breeze him a half-mile out of the gate the week before his race.

"This first race at seven furlongs will tell me which direction I’m going in for the second one, either the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day or the six-furlong Count Fleet at Oaklawn," said Walder. "Paco swore when he got off him that he’ll go further but I don’t want to mess with that. You’re jumping into a different league of horses when you start going to a mile and beyond. Everybody wants to stretch their horses out. Me, I’m very happy to have a Grade 1 sprinter."