03/02/2013 4:30PM

Gulfstream Park: Java's War, Frac Daddy, Pure Fun work well for McPeek

Lou Hodges Jr./Hodges Photography
Java's War (left), winning the Sunday Silence Stakes, will make his 3-year-old debut in Saturday's Tampa Bay Derby.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Ken McPeek was all smiles here at Gulfstream Park on Saturday morning after sending out a trio of his top 3-year-olds – Java’s War, Frac Daddy, and Pure Fun – to turn in important works in preparation for upcoming stakes opportunities.

“It was a good, solid morning of works for all of them,” said McPeek.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Java’s War, idle since finishing an unlucky sixth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club more than three months ago, went five furlongs in a bullet 59.96 seconds in company with stablemate Taken by the Storm. The pair galloped out six furlongs as a team in 1:13.16. Java’s War, who had the bulk of his success on turf and synthetic surfaces at 2, will make his 3-year-old debut next Saturday in the Tampa Bay Derby.

“I backed off him a little earlier this winter and originally planned to bring him back here this weekend in the Palm Beach, but the owner wanted to try him on the dirt again, which is okay,” said McPeek. “I thought he went really well this morning. If he were to win the Tampa Bay Derby, I’d probably bring him back in the Blue Grass, but there’s also a possibility he could run on World Cup Day in Dubai.”

Frac Daddy could also wind up in the Blue Grass at Keeneland but first must pass his next test, which is slated for the Spiral at Turfway Park. Frac Daddy, who was beaten a neck in the Kentucky Jockey Club to close out his brief juvenile campaign, is seeking to bounce back from a sixth-place finish in the Grade 3 Holy Bull on Jan. 26.

Frac Daddy broke off about a half-length in front of stablemate Sayler’s Creek to begin Saturday’s work, ultimately edging about a length clear while going the easier of the pair at the wire. Frac Daddy completed a half-mile in 48.08 seconds before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.56.

“He worked really, really strong this morning,” McPeek said. “He grabbed a quarter in the Holy Bull, then had a viral issue that caused a throat ulcer. But that’s all behind him now. We’ve got him back in forward motion again. I’d like to run him in the Florida Derby, but that doesn’t give me time to start him twice before the Derby so we’ll point for the Spiral and then look at either the Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby, depending upon how he handles the synthetic track.”

Pure Fun, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet to close out her 2-year-old campaign, continues to progress toward her 3-year-old debut. Working for just the third time this winter, Pure Fun went five furlongs in 1:00.42 in tandem with Kimberly Jean, a 3-year-old filly who won a two-turn maiden special weight race here five weeks ago.

“She worked fantastic inside the other filly. I was really impressed with her breeze,” said McPeek. “She’s in a similar situation as the colts. She needs a couple of races before the Oaks. I’ll point her for the Bourbonette, with Garrett Gomez set to ride both her and Frac Daddy that afternoon at Turfway.”

McPeek will also bring Golden Ticket back to Gulfstream for the Grade 3 Skip Away on March 30 following his third-place finish a week ago in the Grade 3 Mineshaft at Fair Grounds.

“I thought he ran super at the Fair Grounds considering he hadn’t had a trip over the track,” said McPeek. “I think he labored a little in the last sixteenth of a mile. Both horses who beat him had a race over the track. I’m not sure if that means anything, but it could.”

◗ Itsmyluckyday, who upset 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby in the Holy Bull, continues to prepare for the much anticipated rematch in the Grade 1 Florida Derby. Itsmyluckyday breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 over his home base at Calder on Saturday.