Monday, October 30th, 2017   ( 1 month ago )

Breeders' Cup Notes
Oct 30, 2017

Gun Runner © Eclipse Sportswire

CLASSIC 

Arrogate/Mubtaahij/Collected/West Coast – Defending champion Arrogate signaled his readiness for the Breeders’ Cup Classic Monday with a bullet 5f work in 1:00 for trainer Bob Baffert at Santa Anita Park. It was the fastest of 19 at the distance.

Arrogate is part of a quartet of runners – along with Collected, Mubtaahij, West Coast – that Baffert intends to enter in the 34th Classic Monday afternoon as he seeks his fourth consecutive victory in the race. Mubtaahij also worked Monday: 4f in 49 4/5.

In his career finale Saturday the Juddmonte Farms’ 4yo colt will try to become the second horse to repeat in the Classic. Tiznow won the Classic in 2000 at Churchill  Downs and the 2001 Classic at Belmont Park.

Working in company with Baffert stablemate Hot Sean, Arrogate turned in split times of 12 1/5;  24 3/5; 36 1/5 and 48. Under jockey Rafael Bejarano he completed the work a furlong past the wire. Arrogate broke off about a length behind Hot Sean, easily caught up to his workmate and went on by. Baffert said Arrogate responds well to having a target and that strategy would help sharpen him for the Classic.

“He looked great for him,” Baffert said. “I've been happy with all of his works. I don't see why he wouldn't run a big race.”               

Arrogate, who being retired to stud, last raced Aug. 19, finishing second in the Pacific Classic. It was his second consecutive loss after seven straight victories, including last year’s Classic at Santa Anita.

Mubtaahij had a different type of workout Monday because he had run more recently, winning the Awesome Again on Sept. 30. In his breeze he covered the first quarter mile in 25 1/5 and galloped out to five furlongs in 1:02 2/5.

Collected and West Coast, completed their works Saturday and Sunday, respectively. All four horses are scheduled to arrive at Del Mar Tuesday

Gunnevera – Margoth’s Gunnevera visited the Del Mar racetrack Monday morning for the first time since shipping in from South Florida Saturday.

”He jogged once around and galloped once,” said Chino Prada, assistant to trainer Antonio Sano. “He’s happy.”

Regular exercise rider Victor O’Farrel was aboard for the 3yo son of Dialed In’s introduction to the Del Mar surface in preparation for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Classic.

Sano was en route from South Florida Monday morning and is expected to attend the afternoon post position draw. 

Gun Runner At approximately 6:55 a.m. Monday, Classic contender Gun Runner left Del Mar’s Barn

DD with exercise rider Angel Garcia in the saddle for his final breeze ahead of Saturday’s race for trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Three Chimneys Farm and Winchell Thoroughbreds. 

Assistant trainer Scott Blasi led the likely favorite on pony before observing the half-mile drill, which was timed in 49 2/5. 

“He just looks fast and that’s what you want to see in a work like this and going into a race like this,” he said. “I was just talking to Steve (Asmussen) and told him he just looked fast. He’s just getting over the ground so nicely. All Angel said is he just never moved. He just sat there on him and let him cover some ground. We were happy with it. I got him (in a text from the clockers) in 49 2/5, out in 1:02 2/5. 

“Compared to last year, he’s just stronger,” Blasi continued. “He’s a bigger, stronger physical horse. I think that’s been the (significant) change. I think it’s a maturity thing. 

“I think it says so much about his constitution and what he can handle mentally that he’s gotten better (since Dubai). The horse ships around and goes to the paddock and he’s always the same horse he was at the last racetrack.”

Per Blasi, Gun Runner will school in the paddock Thursday afternoon.  

Pavel – “We are very pleased with the way he's [Pavel's] training here and I'm hoping this 3-year-old does what Arrogate did last year,” said a straight-forward Leandro Mora, the long-time assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, shortly after the lightly raced son of Creative Cause jogged 2M over the Del Mar main track as he continued preparation for the Classic.

“We are so motivated,” Mora added as he spoke for his boss, who was working a number of horses at his home barn at Santa Anita.

Though none of Pavel's four races have come at Del Mar, Mora pointed out that the gray/roan colt owned by Reddam Racing had trained at Del Mar during the summer before heading east for races at Saratoga and Belmont Park in New York and Parx Racing in Pennsylvania. In his most recent race, Pavel finished third behind Diversify and Keen Ice, both pre-entered in the Classic but withdrawn.

War Story – The 5yo gelding jogged 1 1/2m at 6 a.m. on his first day back to the track since a sharp workout Saturday.

“He looked good,” said Chad Summers, who is overseeing preparations while his friend Jorge Navarro is out of town. “He’ll be entered in the Classic. Tomorrow he’ll gallop a little bit at about the same time.”

War Story is looking to improve on his effort in last year’s Classic, when he broke in the air and never got into the race, finishing eighth of nine at 102-1.

By January he had moved to Navarro’s barn and managed a fifth (worth $250,000) in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. In June he won the first graded stake of his career in the Brooklyn at Belmont Park.

Navarro was at Del Mar over the weekend to supervise workouts and will return in time for training Wednesday morning.

Win the Space – Classic contender Win the Space sent a wide grin across trainer George Papaprodromou’s face and caused him to praise his 5yo son of Pulpit thusly: “He did his last workout today and he went a good half-mile (in 49 3/5) and galloped out strong. We’ve been here a couple of days and he’s been doing very well here. He’ll walk tomorrow and then we’ll go from there.”

Jockey Joe Talamo, who rode him to a third-place finish in Santa Anita’s Awesome Again Stakes behind fellow Classic competitor Mubtaahij, was in the irons for the workout and offered, “He went real nice.” 

Win the Space will be making his second run at the Classic, having been saddled with a difficult and wide trip in the 2016 race.


DISTAFF

Abel Tasman  – Trainer Bob Baffert's four-time Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman galloped over the main track at Santa Anita Park Monday, the morning before she will be shipped to compete in the Distaff.

Co-owned by China Horse Club International and her breeder Clearsky Farms, Abel Tasman will be making her first start since a runner-up finish in the Cotillion on Sept 23 at Parx. During her 2017 season when she was 3-3-0 in six starts, Abel Tasman – named for the Dutch explorer who discovered what is now known as Tasmania – won her four-pack of Grade 1 races – Starlet, Kentucky Oaks, Acorn and Coaching Club American Oaks at four different tracks.

Abel Tasman will be Baffert's fifth Distaff starter and first since Tiz Midnight finished sixth in 2014.  Baffert, the Breeders' Cup leading money-winning training with more than $24 million, has yet to have one of his runners finish in the top three in the Distaff.

Champagne Room – Sharon Alesia, Ciaglia Racing, Exline-Border Racing, Gulliver Racing and Robin Christensen’s Champagne Room, seeking to join Beholder (2012-13) as the only filly to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Longines Distaff in consecutive years, galloped a mile on the main track at Del Mar Monday morning under exercise rider Eddie Inda.

“She got here about 1 yesterday afternoon from Santa Anita,” trainer Peter Eurton said. “She worked up there Friday (59 4/5 for 5f) and she will go out early in the morning. She usually opens the track.”

Champagne Room, who broke her maiden in her second start last year in the Sorrento at Del Mar, is scheduled for a paddock schooling session Wednesday afternoon.

Elate – Claiborne Farm and Adele Dischneider’s standout 3yo filly Elate exited her Sunday breeze in good fashion, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott on Monday morning.

“She went very well and looks good today,” Mott said. “She jogged a mile today and looked good. She’s a straight-forward filly.” 

Elate breezed 4f in 49 flat Sunday, good for fifth-best of 12 works at the distance. The majority of Alabama Stakes and Beldame Invitational winner’s previous drills this summer and fall, including a bullet 5f in 1:00 4/5 on Oct. 20, have taken place on Saratoga’s famously deep Oklahoma training track. 

Mott leads all trainers with five Distaff wins and an impressive overall record in the race of 5-2-1 from 13 tries in the race. Two of his wins — Ajina (1997) and Royal Delta (2011) — have been with 3yo fillies. 

Forever Unbridled – Trainer Dallas Stewart confirmed that Charles Fipke’s homebred multiple Grade 1 winner Forever Unbridled boarded a flight from her Kentucky base Monday morning and is en route to San Diego for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. 

The earner of more than $2 million is joined by Valene Farms’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile probable Givemeaminit, a Grade I-placed maiden from three starts. 

Stewart, like his horses, will arrive later Monday.

Also on the flight from Kentucky was fellow Distaff contender Romantic Vision.

Stellar Wind Hronis Racing’s Stellar Wind got reacquainted with the Del Mar racing surface early Monday morning with light exercise after arriving from Santa Anita the day before.

Trained by John Sadler, Stellar Wind is undefeated in three starts at Del Mar. She had her final work for Friday’s Distaff with a best-of-47 5f in 59 4/5 at Santa Anita Saturday.


OVERSEAS HORSES

Nezwaah and Wuheida, both Filly & Mare Turf contestants, who have been at Del Mar since last Wednesday continued their exercise out on the dirt on Monday morning in preparation for Saturday’s event.

Regular work rider Wayne Tanner was on board the Roger Varian-trained Nezwaah, and was pleased with how the filly has adapted to Del Mar since she ran at Woodbine. He reported the filly in good shape. “We will breeze her tomorrow with a pair of blinkers on just to sharpen her up. She won’t run in them but it may just get her to concentrate.”

Wuheida, with former jockey Kirsty Milczarek on board, followed a similar pattern to the last couple of days with a steady canter around two laps of the track.

After the break the other Godolphin-owned horses that arrived Saturday afternoon were given clearance out of quarantine and Madeline (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Masar (Juvenile Turf), Home of The Brave (Mile) and Talismanic (Turf) all saw the Del Mar racetrack for the first time.

All just walked and jogged around a couple of circuits of the track with the exception of Talismanic who went for a school around the paddock before going on to the dirt.

Charlie Appleby, who flew in to California Sunday, was at trackside to watch his horses do their morning exercise was happy enough with everything he saw.

“Wuheida got a corn when she was in Keeneland and unfortunately had to miss the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but the team has done a great job with her. She has rock solid form since the summer and I can’t give her a negative right at this moment. We stepped her up in trip in Germany and she didn’t get home, so we dropped her down to a mile in the Matron. She has plenty of pace and the trip here at Del Mar is absolutely no concern, and if she can reproduce her best form she should be bang there.”

When asked about Masar’s chances in the Juvenile Turf Appleby replied. “He has similar credentials to (2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner) Outstrip. He finished third in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere in bottomless ground, but he should be at home here on this faster surface. When I first started at Godolphin it was my ambition just to have International runners but it has slightly changed now because I want to have International runners with live chances”

The remaining English and French runners are expected to clear quarantine later today and should be out on the Del Mar track Tuesday morning.

Aidan O’Brien’s team of 13 Breeders’ Cup challengers are expected to get to Del Mar tonight at around 9:30 and they will include the dual 2,000 Guineas winner Churchill who will be bidding to give the Ballydoyle handler his first Breeders’ Cup Classic success.


TURF

Oscar Performance – Amerman Racing’s Oscar Performance, seeking to become the first horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf in consecutive years, was full of energy Monday morning, a day after working 4f on the turf in 47.

“I love his energy level,” trainer Brian Lynch said of Oscar Performance, who arrived at Del Mar Friday. “He worked yesterday about as comfortable as a horse can work.”

Jose Ortiz, who has been aboard Oscar Performance in his past nine starts, will have the mount Saturday.

Mr. Roary – Still hopeful of his grass runner, Mr. Roary, making the Mile or Turf field, trainer George Papaprodromou sent out his 4yo Scat Daddy gelding for a 4f workout on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course in 49 1/5. “He went good,” the trainer said, adding “Tyler (jockey Tyler Conner) said he seemed to like the course and he changed leads at the right place.”


MILE

Ballagh Rocks – Donegal Racing’s Ballagh Rocks put in his final work for the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Monday morning. The son of Stormy Atlantic worked 4f over Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante turf course in 49 3/5 during the 7:15-7:45 turf session. 

“It was a good, strong work,” trainer Bill Mott said. “He went well and he’s training well.”

Ballagh Rocks will likely jog Tuesday morning. 

Heart To Heart – Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart, a nine-time graded-stakes winner who is still searching for an initial Grade 1 score, galloped on the main track after the renovation break under exercise rider Arnoldo Orellana for trainer Brian Lynch.

Second in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Oct. 7, Heart to Heart worked 4f on the turf at Keeneland Oct. 22 and shipped to Del Mar last Friday.

“I don’t think I am going to work him here,” Lynch said. “He smells a racetrack and he’s ready.”

Julien Leparoux will have the mount Saturday.


JUVENILE

Bold d’Oro – Owner/trainer Mick Ruis reported that Bolt d’Oro was full of energy Monday morning, a day after prepping for Saturday’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with a five-furlong breeze in 1:02 1/5 at Santa Anita

“He wanted to eat us up this morning, so he came out of it fantastic,” said Ruis, whose colt walked the shedrow Monday morning. “We know he’s fit. We just wanted to keep him happy and get some air in him.”

Tuesday morning, undefeated Bolt d’Oro is scheduled to reacquaint himself with the Del Mar racetrack, over which he broke his maiden and won the Del Mar Futurity during the summer.


SPRINT 

Calculator – “He went super, really good,” said trainer Peter Miller after Calculator, one of his two prospects for the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint, sped 5f in 59 4/5 over Del Mar's main track Monday. “I was looking for maybe a minute or 1:01, but he went really well and did it easy.”

Miller's other Sprint prospect, Roy H, is scheduled for a 3f blowout Tuesday at Del Mar, and Stormy Liberal, set for the Turf Sprint, is scheduled for a similar test Tuesday at Miller's training site at San Luis Rey Downs in nearby Bonsall, Calif.

Drefong Defending champion Drefong completed his final work for the Sprint Monday at Santa Anita Park, covering 4f in 48 3/5. Under jockey Martin Garcia he was timed in 24 4/5 for the first quarter and given an 5f gallop-out time of 1:01 3/5.“He couldn't look any better,” Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said. “He's doing the best he's ever done.”The 4yo Gio Ponti colt owned by the Baoma Corp, will attempt to become the second horse to repeat in the Sprint. Midnight Lute, also trained by Baffert, won the 2007 Sprint at Monmouth Park and the 2008 Sprint at Santa Anita.Drefong has been in two races in 2017. He lost jockey Mike Smith shortly after the start of the Bing Crosby on July 29 at Del Mar. Baffert sent him to Saratoga Race Course for the Forego, which he won by four lengths.Baffert said that all of his Breeders' Cup runners would ship from Santa Anita to Del Mar early Tuesday morning.

Mind Your Biscuits Trainer Chad Summers sent his contender for the Sprint out onto the track for his final serious work on Monday morning at 7:45 right after the renovation break, and the trainer was pleased with his bullet performance of 36.40 for 3f.

“I got him out in forty-eight and one, and twelve-and-change into the pole, and then twenty-three-and-change,” Summers said. “It was all I was looking for. It was a good finish. I just wanted a blowout and we’re happy with it.”

The New-York based trainer arrived on the grounds last Tuesday with the horse to give him ample time to get comfortable with his new accommodations, the climate and the track surface.

“Coming in early is what we’ve always done. It’s what we did last year when we came to California for the race (when he finished third in the Sprint behind Drefong.)”

An early arrival was also the plan when Mind Your Biscuits returned to Santa Anita to end his 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Malibu last December and then shipped overseas to capture the Dubai Golden Shaheen at the start of his 2017 season.

“He’s a horse who likes getting in early and getting used to new surroundings,” Summers said. “We paddock schooled him Saturday (Oct. 28) and we’ll school him again on Wednesday. We’ll take him to the gate. It’s all that walk-through stuff that some horses need but some don’t. He appreciates it, and it puts us at ease.”

Mind Your Biscuits is signaling to Summers and his regular exercise rider Ricky, “just Ricky,” that he likes the racing strip here fine.

“My rider is telling me that it’s very similar to the way Santa Anita is set up,” the trainer said. “All the horses that have shipped in seem like they’re handling the track. Horses who are breezing are breezing fast times. Everyone is raving about this track. But my horse brings his track with him everywhere he goes. We’re excited.”

Summers was also preparing Paquita Coqueta, who is sitting in third on preference list for the Turf Sprint, and is hopeful that she will draw into the field for Saturday’s race. If not, the trainer have her try for a graded stakes score in the Senator Ken Maddy on Friday.


DIRT MILE  

Practical Joke Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Practical Joke may be pre-entered in both the Las Vegas Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Breeders’ Cup Sprint. The Chad Brown-trained son of Into Mischief has the Dirt Mile listed as his first preference of the two. 

“I may cross-enter,” Brown said Monday morning. “I haven’t decided yet and am going to talk to the owners here shortly.” 

Brown cited multiple factors that may come into play before a decision is made on whether to cross-enter or solely enter the Dirt Mile, including the retention of jockey Joel Rosario and post position. 

The post-position draw for all 13 Breeders’ Cup fixtures is slated for 3:30 p.m. Monday. 


TURF SPRINT

Lady Aurelia Stonestreet Stables and Peter Leidel’s Wesley Ward-trained Lady Aurelia, the likely favorite for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, left Del Mar’s Barn B jogging tack-less at about 9:30 a.m. Monday morning with Blake Heap leading her on pony. Ward followed on foot closely behind, observing the two-time Group 1-winning 3yo filly. 

The daughter of Scat Daddy breezed 4f over the Jimmy Durante turf course on Sunday in 48 3/5. 

“She’s doing very well,” Ward said. “She’ll probably go with the pony the next day or two. She’s doing everything right down to the letter the way you want her to. I haven’t won this one yet — only second.”

In 10 Turf Sprint tries, Ward has finished fifth or better seven times in a race that often includes a blanket finish.