Friday, November 6, 2009
Since the day went without a favorite, you have to think we'll see a favorite or two on Saturday's card come home triumphant.
It appears that the NY contingent is not comfortable in Southern California. I am certain it has something to do with the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita but even on turf, it was not a great showing for the horses based in Northeast. The best effort was for trainer Todd Pletcher as Rose Catherine was the runner-up in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Life Is Sweet's (left) victory in the Ladies Classic certainly bodes well for Zenyatta in the Classic. Life Is Sweet was beaten three times by the undefeated star mare this year and today's easy victory over what appeared to be a good group of contenders is a good sign.
The Europeans again proved that they are very tough. They won two races on Friday (Man of Iron - Marathon and Midday - Filly & Mare Turf) and will have a big shot in the Mile, Turf and Classic. The only disappointment was Lillie Langtry in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She was sent off as the post-time favorite but never fired and ran ninth.
The Juvenile Fillies was a good race but don't think we've seen next years Kentucky Oaks winner. She Be Wild (right) loves the synthetic tracks and being a daughter of Offlee Wild doesn't make me think she'll stretch out in distance. The horses to watch in that race are Biofuel and Zilva who had horrific trips.
Sad that Ventura did not win the Filly & Mare Sprint. Trainer Bobby Frankel reportedly has been sick for a while and this would have been a nice way to pick up his spirits.
Informed Decision might be the biggest synthetic track lover since the surface made its debut a few years ago. She is now 7-for-7 on the artificial dirt. The great news is that she will run again next year but the Breeders' Cup moves back to the conventional dirt at Churchill.
It was nice to see Cloudy's Knight (left) run so well in the Marathon. He's a 9-year-old gelding, which ties for the oldest horse ever to run in a Breeders' Cup.
Day one was a lot of fun and Saturday should be even better.
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Allegre – Trainer Brian Koriner said Thursday morning his Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf prospect is dealing with a foot issue and the prospects of the 4yo Orientate colt running will be considered on Friday.
Koriner said the colt appeared to have the beginnings of an abscess.
Allegre did not go to the track on Thursday.
Conduit/Spanish Moon – Conduit, back to defend his Turf title over the Santa Anita grass, was his usual assertive self Thursday morning, greeting onlookers at the quarantine barn with a few loud snorts.
Conduit went to the turf course for a gallop in company with stablemate Zacinto (Mile).
Trainer Michael Stoute said all was well with the 4yo son of Dalakhani, who finished fourth – 2 ¼ lengths behind
Spanish Moon, a 5yo by El Prado, came out alone after his mates had returned to the barn and galloped around the grass course on his own.
Conduit drew post 2 for the Turf and will have regular rider Ryan Moore in the irons. The colt has a strong stretch kick, which he demonstrated here last year when he circled the entire field on the turn and went on to win going away by 1 ½ lengths.
Spanish Moon, who comes into Saturday’s race off two wins in
Dar Re Mi – Veteran jockey Frankie Dettori, who has won eight Breeders’ Cup races from 55 starters, will replace regular rider Jimmy Fortune on the 4yo Singspeil filly and on trainer John Gosden’s starter in the Juvenile Turf, Pounced.
“Frankie is highly experienced here,” Gosden said. “He cut his teeth here during his early teenage years. He’s ridden here a lot. It’s no fault of Jimmy’s that he’s never ridden here.”
Dar Re Mi will run in the Turf against males because she is proven at the distance of 1½ m and the Gosden said he doesn’t think she is suited to run at the 1¼m distance of the Filly & Mare Turf.
“From the filly’s point of view, we thought it would be a lot fairer to run her close to her favorite distance, even if that meant taking on the boys,” he said.
Gosden said he preferred not to adjust his strategy for a particular race.
“You don’t want to be dictated to by anybody else’s running style, you just want to run according to how you’re traveling and how the jockey feels about it,” he said. “I really leave that up to jockeys. I don’t think you should be tying people down to instructions. In my experience it never really works.”
Monzante – The 5yo gelding jogged 2m on the main track Thursday for trainer Mike Mitchell with exercise rider Jose Dominguez aboard.
Presious Passion – The 6yo gelding, who won the Clement Hirsch Stakes over the Santa Anita turf course last out on Oct. 11, galloped 2m around the main track under exercise rider Fernando Espinoza Thursday morning.
Trainer Mary Hartmann said Presious Passion is ready to do his thing on Saturday.
“He’s as ready for this as he can be,” Hartmann said. “He’ll run his race his way. He always does.”
Presious Passion, a son of Royal Anthem, is a dedicated front-runner who has the stamina to remain a factor to the finish. He won the Clement Hirsch at 1 ¼m by opening a long early lead, and in July won the 1 3/8m United Nations Stakes at Monmouth by two lengths after surprising the field by opening a 20-length lead the first half-mile.
Red Rocks – This will be the fourth and final run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf for the 6yo son of Galileo, trainer Brian Meehan said Thursday.
“He’ll be retired after this run,” Meehan said. “He’s coming to the race in grand shape. He’s training great.”
Meehan, who saddled Red Rocks to win the Turf in 2006 at Churchill Downs and run 3rd at
Thursday morning, Red Rocks went out in company with stablemate Radiohead (Juvenile) and schooled in the paddock and in the starting gate before galloping around the main track.
Red Rocks, who was trained by Mark Hennig when he ran 10th in last year’s Turf at Santa Anita, returned to Meehan’s care this fall, and finished fourth in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes most recently on Sept. 27.
Telling – With trainer Steve Hobby astride, Turf contender Telling got his first experience down the hill of the Santa Anita grass course Thursday morning.
“He got a little upset waiting around to go out there, but he settled down once the outrider arrived,” Hobby said. “It went great, he marched right down there. It was a bit to do for nothing. He’s a professional, but if we didn’t give him a practice run, after the race I didn’t want to be asking myself ‘what if’. It’s not like the sprinters who have to fly across from the turf to the Pro-Ride. In a 1 ½-mile race, we’ll cross it in 25 and change, so it’s not nearly as much of a concern.”
Hobby is thrilled with the way Telling is coming into the race, and hopes that he has an “improving horse at the right time.“The
Careless Jewel – The 3yo filly, who has won her last five races by daylight, will return for another season of racing in 2010 no matter how she fares in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Friday.
“We’ll run her next year. That’s the plan,” said owner Vern Dubinsky, who purchased the filly for $40,000 as a yearling. “After this race she’ll go to Waver Tree Farm in Ocala (Florida) for a nice break and then we’ll get her ready to run as a 4-year-old.”
Careless Jewel galloped 1m Friday morning under exercise rider Moises Guce and was to school in the paddock during the afternoon races. Trainer Josie Carroll plans to send the filly out for a jog around 6:30am on race day.
As for the race itself, it will be no surprise to see the Alabama winner setting the pace.
“She’s got a lot of natural speed so she’ll be on the lead or close to the lead,” Carroll said. “Music Note has early speed as well, and she’s capable of sitting close to her and will be there in the stretch. Rainbow View ran a big race at Woodbine in her last and will be running at us at the end.
“This is the Breeders’ Cup and they’ll all be running at us. This is a really good field and it will be a really good test.”
Cocoa Beach - The 2008 Ladies’ Classic runner-up walked the shedrow of Godolphin’s barn at Santa Anita Thursday morning, one day away from her second attempt at the Friday race for fillies and mares. She comes off a third-place finish in the Oct. 10 Lady’s Secret, an event won by the unbeaten Zenyatta.
“She’s a filly that improves all the time, she’s looking much better than before she ran in the Lady’s Secret,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who arrived from Dubai Wednesday afternoon and was onsite Thursday to watch his horses gallop. “Early in the season I wasn’t really happy with her, but she’s doing really good now and coming into it well.”
Cocoa Beach is a 5yo daughter of Doneraile Court who raced extensively in Chile before she was purchased by Godolphin and moved to Dubai for the early part of the 2008 racing season, then to the United States later in the year. She was the 2yo filly champion of Chile and won Horse of the Year honors there in 2008.
Lethal Heat – The 4yo filly took her final pre-race exam for Friday’s Ladies’ Classic on Thursday morning and passed with flying colors, according to trainer Barry Abrams.
“She galloped 1 1/2m, spent 20 minutes in the paddock to simulate race-day action without the crowd, and then stood in the gate for about five minutes,” Abrams said.
“I stood her in the small gate [near the head of the stretch] so she could look down the stretch from where they’ll start in the mile and an eighth race.”
As for race strategy, Abrams said, “I let the jockey decide. He knows the horse and he’s ridden her many times. If I make any plan, and it doesn’t work when they come out of the gate, then it messes everything up.”
Co-owner Madeline Auerbach is looking at the race from a perspective beyond that of simply an owner. She is also co-breeder, as well as co-owner, of Lethal Heat’s sire, Unusual Heat, who is heading toward his second straight year as California’s top stallion. Auerbach can’t help but think of what siring a Breeders’ Cup champion would mean to the stallion.
“I think it would give him the recognition that he deserves,” she said. “I think he’s every bit as good as any of the stallions in
Even so, Auerbach doesn’t expect Kentucky breeders to come calling.
“He’s coming up on 20 years, so I don’t think they will be calling,” she said. “I don’t think I’d let him go [to
Unusual Heat’s progeny earned $5.8 million last year and have compiled $4.5 million so far this year.
Life Is Sweet – Owner-breeder Marty Wygod said Thursday that life should be sweeter for his 4yo filly without the daunting presence of Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic. Life Is Sweet has chased the unbeaten champion mare to the finish line in three of her last four races.
"It breaks my heart that Zenyatta is not in the race," Wygod said with a laugh.
"I have a good feeling about her," Wygod said. "I think she's back where she was earlier this year. She was tying up at Del Mar and I think you will see the Life Is Sweet you saw at Santa Anita last winter and spring (when she won three straight stakes, including the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Handicap).
"Of course, a lot depends on how the race unfolds," Wygod added. "We'll have to see whether anybody can put pressure on Careless Jewel (expected to show speed from the rail). But Life Is Sweet will be flying at the end."
Life Is Sweet is trained by John Shirreffs, who won the Ladies’ Classic last year with Zenyatta. Life Is Sweet galloped around the main track early Thursday morning with exercise rider Isabelle Bournez aboard.
Mushka – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott knows a little bit about what it takes to win the Ladies’ Classic, formerly known as the Distaff. Mott won back-to-back editions of the race with Ajina and Escena in 1997-98, and he believes Mushka, a daughter of Empire Maker, has a similar pre-race profile.
“I feel as good about her going in as I did about them,” said Mott, who has won five Cup races in his career. “Neither one of those fillies was what anybody thought would be an easy winner going in. They had to run their race and work for it; the same with Mushka.”
The Brushwood Stable filly didn’t get to run her race in the Spinster at Keeneland in her final Ladies’ Classic prep, but was awarded the victory when the stewards disqualified fellow Ladies’ Classic contender Proviso for coming out on Mushka.
“She had a huge effort in the Spinster,” Mott said. “It’s probably debatable whether she’d have won that race or not (without the interference), but it was still a very good race for her.”
Mushka went out early for a Thursday morning gallop and then stood in the starting gate after her exercise.
Music Note – The 4yo daughter of A.P. Indy walked the Godolphin shedrow at Santa Anita Thursday morning, her preparations completed for a start in the Ladies’ Classic. Last year she finished third behind stablemate Cocoa Beach in second and the unbeaten Zenyatta in the 1 1/8m race.
“She’s won two of three starts this year, and she’s much better now than she was any time in the year,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “She’s in very good form and I’m happy with her.”
Proviso – The 4yo filly galloped once around the main track Thursday with exercise rider Salvador Martinez.
Trainer Bobby Frankel will try to win the race for the second time in three years with the Juddmonte Farms homebred after prevailing with Ginger Punch in 2007.
Chief assistant Humberto Ascanio will deputize for Frankel, who has been running the stable by phone from his home for several months.
Juddmonte racing manager Garrett O'Rourke is also scheduled to be at the track.
Rainbow View – Augustin Stable’s 3yo homebred returned to her early-morning schedule Thursday, and at 6 a.m. she was the first of the European-based horses to visit the main track.
The Dynaformer filly has made all 11 of her career starts on grass, but she is entered in the Ladies’ Classic on the main track because Forever Together, also owned by Augustin Stable, is trying for a repeat victory in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Rainbow View was shipped to Santa Anita after her second-place finish in the E.P. Taylor on Oct. 17 at Woodbine. Trainer John Gosden said the filly seems to be flourishing in her new surroundings.
“Since coming to California she’s certainly eating and looking bigger and better,” he said.
Awesome Gem – The local boy will try to make good Saturday at Santa Anita Park when Craig Dollase sends out the 6yo gelding in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
“I was an Arcadia Apache,” said Dollase Thursday from Barn 7 as he waxed nostalgic about his scholastic days at Arcadia High School a few furlongs away.
“I played a little basketball and graduated in 1990. I wanted to be an athlete. I'm training the four-legged kind now.”
Dollase made headlines when he became the youngest trainer to win a Breeders' Cup race at 27 with Reraise in the 1998 Sprint at Churchill Downs, a record that still stands.
Dollase hopes to trump that feat with Awesome Gem.
“Hopefully Awesome Gem will run his race,” said Dollase of the West Point Thoroughbreds millionaire who finished third in the 2007 Classic at Monmouth Park. “I'm not excited about the post, the 13 hole, but we're in our back yard here.”
Awesome Gem galloped 1 1/4m on the main track with exercise rider Juan Olivera.
Colonel John – Trainer Eoin Harty, who sent Colonel John out for a gallop this morning and then had the 4yo colt stand in the gate, remains optimistic about the horse’s chances in the Classic.
“I’m very confident that he’s going to run a good race,” he said of the WinStar Farm homebred who finished sixth in the 2008 Classic and is the only returning starter. “He’s a very good horse and he does everything right.”
But ‘The Colonel’, as he is affectionately known around the barn, is not Harty’s all-time favorite.
“All of the good ones I’ve had are my favorites. I love Colonel John. He’s a really cool horse. He always aims to please,” said Harty, who has had nine Breeders’ Cup starters and won the 2001 Juvenile Fillies with Tempera while Imperial Gesture finished second behind her. “But my favorite horse is Dubai Escapade. She’s just like Colonel John in that she always gave you everything she had.”
Colonel John, a son of back-to-back Classic winner Tiznow, is proven on the synthetic surface and the 2008 Travers winner is certainly proven at the 1 ¼ m Classic distance. He’s got a versatile running style along with home field advantage. But will that all be enough to get him to the winner’s circle on Saturday?
“We’ll find out,” said Harty. “There’s not just one horse to beat in this race, there are 12 more. This is a great field in the Classic this year. He’s coming up to the race in great shape and Garrett (Gomez) knows him well and knows how to ride him. Now we’re hoping for a clean trip and racing luck.”
Einstein – Trainer Helen Pitts-Blasi had sore arms after putting her Classic hopeful through his paces on Thursday, galloping 1 ½ m over the main track.
“He galloped strong,” said Pitts-Blasi, who is seeking to become the first female trainer to win the Classic. “He was very strong. My arms were burning by the time we got through.”
Pitts-Blasi will give jockey Julien Leparoux a leg up on Einstein for the seventh consecutive time on Saturday and said she plans to give him very few instructions.
“I’ll just tell him to sit behind the speed and have a good trip,” she said. “With this kind of race, anything can happen.”
Einstein will school in the paddock during the third race.
Gio Ponti – “He’s a very good horse. I am sure of that. This is the best horse I have ever trained,” Christophe Clement said of his Classic hopeful on Thursday morning.
That is high praise indeed for Gio Ponti as he will be the 18th horse that the trainer starts in Breeders’ Cup races when he leads the 4yo colt over on Saturday. While Clement has a long list of Graded stakes winners on his resume and is the only trainer to have won the prestigious Beverly D. at Arlington Park three times, he has yet to add an Eclipse Award to his trophy case
“I’m a lucky guy. I’ve had many, many good horses but I have never trained a champion,” he said.
Clement, who has also never won a Breeders’ Cup race, has high hopes that all will soon change.
“This horse has overcome so much. He won four Grade I races this year on different turf courses and in different conditions, and at different differences of one mile, a mile-and-three-eighths, and a mile-and-a-quarter, and he raced in Chicago, New York, and California,” he said.
“He should have won a fifth Grade I (in the Turf Classic at Belmont on Oct. 3). I’m the one who got him beat that day. It was my fault. The turf was extra soft that day, the worst I have seen at Belmont, and he just got tired in the last 75 yards.”
The winner of this year’s Arlington Million, Manhattan Handicap, Man o’ War, and Kilroe Handicap is widely hailed as North America’s best turf horse, but Clement remains solidly convinced that his decision to run Gio Ponti in the Classic on the synthetic track is the right one.
“Of course he has done so well on the grass and the question mark is the surface,” Clement acknowledged. “But he has been able to overcome all year long and we have one more race to go. We have nothing to lose and can only gain by running in the Classic.”
Adding the Classic victory to the multiple Grade I grass stakes he has won would make Gio Ponti an even more valuable commodity as a stallion, but he may not be quite ready for his next career.
“I don’t know if he will race again next year,” said Clement. “Shane Ryan (the owner) will make that decision in the next few weeks. But I hope to have him back next year. He is such an important horse in the barn.”
Gio Ponti, who was bred by the Ryan family, galloped 1 ¼ m this morning with assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul up and will school in the paddock this afternoon.
“I am very happy with the way this horse is training and his condition,” Clement said. “I am delighted.”
Girolamo – The 3yo son of A.P. Indy galloped at Santa Anita Thursday morning leading up to his big test in the Classic. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was on hand to track his progress after arriving the day before.
“This is a tough race, hard race to ask of him, but we’ll give him a chance,” he said of the Godolphin runner, who comes into the Classic off a three-race win streak that includes an Oct. 11 victory in the Jerome.
“He looked good,” said Woolley. “We’re ready.”
Woolley has been saying all week that he believes Mine That Bird’s best chance on Saturday will be to drop back early, stay covered up behind horses and make one run at the end.
“I was pretty down after the Goodwood and I think (jockey) Calvin (Borel) felt the same way,” said Woolley. “But, when you analyze the race, you see that the fractions were just too slow and he was too far back. He still may be further back, but they will be going a lot faster this time. And, it’s an eighth of an mile farther, which is key for this horse.
“I’m just going to tell Calvin to ride him like he did in the Derby -- to sit back and make one run. I’d rather be too far back early and finish third than to be too close (to the pace) and run fifth.”
Mine That Bird will be seeking to become the fifth Kentucky Derby winner and first since Unbridled in 1990 to win the Classic. The other three were Ferdinand, Alysheba and Sunday Silence, although Ferdinand and Alysheba were both four when they won.
Quality Road – The colt who enjoyed the lion’s share of the Triple Crown buzz in the springtime could salvage his sophomore season with a victory in the Classic for trainer Todd Pletcher. He galloped 1 ¼m on the main track Thursday morning.
“I think he’s coming up to the race really well,” said Pletcher, who took over the training of the Elusive Quality colt after a quarter-crack in his right front hoof sidelined plans for the Kentucky Derby. “He’s had a good series of prep races, and I thought he galloped over the track really well this morning.”
After missing more than four months and the entire Triple Crown series, Quality Road came back with a record-setting performance in the 6 1/2f Amsterdam at Saratoga, a blistering 1:13 3/5 outing that indicated the quality displayed in winning the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby was still very much present. He lost his next two starts, but both were on drenched dirt surfaces.
“We’re been a little frustrated at having to run on sloppy tracks the last two times, but that’s the way it goes,” Pletcher said of his third in the Travers and second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
“We’re hoping this surface is something that he likes. Based on his pedigree being by Elusive Quality out of a Strawberry Road mare, there’s some turf influence there and usually that’s helpful on synthetics.
“This is an ambitious spot,” Pletcher said. “It’s typical of this type of race, loaded with the highest caliber of horse. We obviously believe he fits.”
John Velazquez rides for owner Edward P. Evans.
Regal Ransom – Trainer Saeed bin Suroor kept a close eye on his United States-based Godolphin runners -- including Classic contender Regal Ransom -- while he watched them gallop at Santa Anita Thursday morning after he arrived Wednesday afternoon.
The Godolphin trainer viewed his colt’s chances realistically considering the tough competition, but remarked upon how well the 3yo son of Distorted Humor has been training over the surface under the supervision of United States assistant Rick Mettee.
“It depends on how the pace goes,” said bin Suroor. “If they go a nice pace and he sits in nice position, I think he will be happy with this. He’s improving all the time; he’s in good form and working well.”
Regal Ransom last worked a handy 5f in 59 1/5 at Santa Anita Nov. 1. Coming off a win in the Sept 18 Super Derby, he’ll break from post 11 in the Classic’s 13-horse field under Richard Migliore. He ran eighth in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Richard's Kid – The Pacific Classic upset winner galloped at Santa Anita Thursday morning, gearing up for his longshot tackle of the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Trainer Bob Baffert didn’t have much to say about his 4yo son of Lemon Drop Kid that hasn’t already been said.
“Things have to go right for him, he’s a horse that you’re in there and you’re just hoping you might be lucky enough to hit the board,” he said. “But then, you never know what’s going to happen.”
Richard’s Kid, who comes off a third-place finish in the Oct. 10 Goodwood here after winning the Pacific Classic at odds of 24-1, will gallop Friday leading up to his Saturday start.
Rip Van Winkle – Trainer Aidan O’Brien said Thursday that he is pleased with the way the 3yo son of Galileo looked during his visit to the track. Rip Van Winkle, who has had foot issues all year, cantered on the main track.
Rip Van Winkle’s feet were affected by a severe infection last winter. Both front feet and the left rear had problems during the year. In mid-October, the colt had some trouble in the right rear. However, O’Brien said the problems areas have responded to treatment – which include patches on the hoofs - and Rip Van Winkle is ready to compete Saturday in the Classic.
“What happened in the spring we couldn’t undo and the only way we could have was not to race this year,” O’Brien said. “The issue we had with him a week or two ago, was the last that we’ve had with him.”
O’Brien liked what he saw of Rip Van Winkle Wednesday morning and had the same opinion Thursday.
Rip Van Winkle has only raced five times this year. He returned to competition on May 2 with a fourth-place finish behind the now-retired standout Sea the Stars in the 2000 Guineas. He was fourth again in the Epsom Derby and was beaten a length by Sea the Stars in the Eclipse Stakes. Rip Van Winkle completed his spring and summer campaign with a win in the Sussex Stakes on July 29. He returned in September to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
“I’m amazed really that ‘Rip’ has been through the season that he has and run in the races. He’s run in all top races all the time,” O’Brien said. “Usually when a horse suffers those things, the season does catch up to them. I was obviously a bit worried and when he was asked to travel he was a little bit dejected looking. Yesterday (Wednesday) and again this morning he was very happy on the track.”
O’Brien described the colt as “a beautiful mover,” and after the trip to the track Wednesday ranked him at the top of his 52 Breeders’ Cup starters.
“There's no doubt that this is a very special horse and we haven't come here with a horse of this caliber before,” O'Brien said. “But he's had a lot of issues and he's swum against the tide all season.
“He's the most natural athlete and you could see that this morning, the movement and athleticism and enthusiasm. George Washington was like that, but this one maybe doesn't have the attitude issues that George Washington had.”
Rip Van Winkle will be ridden by jockey John Murtagh.
Summer Bird – The Belmont Stakes winner will school in the paddock at Santa Anita along with the field for the second race, trainer Tim Ice said Thursday morning.
They have all that stuff that they put up for the Breeders’ Cup and I just don’t want it to be something new for him,” Ice said. “He’s been to the paddock before, schooling here in the mornings, but now they have everything set up in there and I just want him to see it before he’ll have to see it on raceday.”
The 3yo son of Birdstone has been to the paddock about 10 times after training on his way back to the barn, but hasn’t gone home that way since preparations for Breeders’ Cup began.
“I didn’t want to take him through there while they were still working on it,” Ice said. “Basically today what it’s going to be is just let him get up there, look around, see all the new stuff that they’ve done – not that it’s going to bother him – but I don’t want to take any chances come raceday.”
Summer Bird jogged 1m and stood in the gate Thursday after the break. He will gallop Friday in preparation for his Saturday test, when he seeks a third straight victory off wins in the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup. The Classic will be his first start on a synthetic surface.
“He just had an ordinary canter of seven furlongs,” Cecil said.
Twice Over earned a trip to the Classic with a victory in the Champion Stakes, at odds of 14-1, at Newmarket on Oct. 17. It was this third consecutive victory and first in Group I company. He finished second in the Champion last year.
Irish jockey Tom Queally, 25, making his debut in the Breeders’ Cup this year, is Twice Over’s regular rider.
Zenyatta – The unbeaten champion mare galloped on the main track early Thursday with regular exercise rider Steve Willard after arriving from her training base at Hollywood Park on Wednesday.
“We went out at 6:20 and she stood around and looked around,” said Willard. “She jogged off and galloped once around and came back through the paddock. She did it really terrific. Just superb.”
Trainer John Shirreffs said the 5yo mare, unbeaten in 13 starts, will gallop again on Friday before her date with destiny when she attempts to become the first female to win the Classic.
“Optimism is high,” said owner Jerry Moss with his wife and co-owner, Ann, and racing manager Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, wife of the trainer.
“She's ready,” said Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith. “If she fires, she's certainly going to be the one to beat. I think you're going to see something amazing.”
Smith, tied for second in Breeders' Cup wins with Pat Day with 12, seeks to move closer to leader Jerry Bailey with 15.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Careless Jewel – Careless Jewel, the morning line 2-1 second choice for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, galloped an easy mile Wednesday morning under regular exercise rider Moises Guce, according to trainer Josie Carroll.
“She’s doing really well,” Carroll said. “She’s done everything right so far. She seems to be steadily improving (from race to race) and I hope the trend continues on Friday.”
The filly has turned heads all year, winning five of six starts after finishing third in a maiden special weight race at Keeneland on April 5. Not only has she won five straight, but she’s dominated the competition, winning those last five by over 32 lengths. Her most impressive race of all was the Alabama, in which she drew away for an 11-length triumph despite being steadied sharply.
“The Alabama was an unbelievable thrill,” Carroll said. “Not only was her performance so impressive, but I have been a fan of horse racing since I was young and it made it very special to win a race of such historical significance and importance.”
The National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame includes many past Alabama winners. Carroll is very proud of the fact that the history books now include Careless Jewel among past Alabama winners like Shuvee, Franfreleuche, Life’s Magic, Open Mind, Silverbulletday, Sky Beauty, Go For Wand, and Mom’s Command.
“Look back at all of the names over all of the years. Now forever she’ll be among them,” Carroll said. “She didn’t just win the Alabama, she did it in such a dominating performance and it means a great deal to me.”
As for the list of names of past Alabama winners, Carroll is the only woman who has a victory in the race.
“It is a great honor, but I don’t even think about being the only woman,” Carroll said. “My gender never helped me or hurt me. I’ve faced the same challenges as any other trainer coming up through the ranks. It’s nice to be the only woman, but what is really nice is to have a horse like this one. To have one like her is what I have dreamed about.”
Cocoa Beach - The 2008 runner-up in the Ladies’ Classic headed out with the first set of Godolphin contenders Wednesday morning, taking to the Santa Anita main track at 5:10 a.m. along with fellow Ladies’ Classic contender Music Note and Filly & Mare Sprint runner Seventh Street.
“Careless Jewel looks like she’s going to be loose on the lead; our two fillies have drawn six and seven,” Rick Mettee, United States assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said. “(Jockey) Richard (Migliore) got a feel for Cocoa Beach when she finished third the other day (in the Oct. 10 Lady’s Secret), and I think he learned a lot about her. We think she’s gone forward off the race and has come back with some good works here, so we’re expecting a little better race from her.”
Cocoa Beach has just one victory to her credit in 2009 – a score on turf in the De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 5. The 5yo daughter of Doneraile Court finished second to Zenyatta in the 2008 edition of the Ladies’ Classic; stablemate Music Note was third.
Lethal Heat – Trainer Barry Abrams sent out his Ladies’ Classic prospect to gallop 1 1/2m after a walk in the Santa Anita paddock as she continued her preparation for Friday’s premier race.
The trainer had little quarrel with the 20-1 morning line on his 4yo daughter of Unusual Heat, but was quick to say that he believes his super-consistent filly will be even-money to be in most bettors’ exotic wagers.
Lethal Heat has been no worse than fourth in her last 10 races, dating back to a sixth-place finish in Hollywood Park’s Flawlessly Stakes July 4, 2008. In only one of those 10 starts did the filly finish worse than third. She’s been second in her last three starts.
Life Is Sweet – Asked if Life Is Sweet would miss stablemate Zenyatta in the Ladies’ Classic, trainer John Shirreffs just smiled and did not say a word.
Since winning three straight stakes at Santa Anita last winter, including the Santa Margarita Handicap, Life Is Sweet has lost four straight starts, three in races won by Zenyatta and a third-place finish behind males in the Hollywood Gold Cup.
Life Is Sweet galloped once around the main track at Santa Anita Wednesday under exercise rider Isabelle Bournez after being shipped from her training base at Hollywood Park on Tuesday.
A full-sister to 2004 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Eclipse Award winner Sweet Catomine, Life Is Sweet is a homebred owned by Pam and Marty Wygod.
Mushka – Brushwood Stable’s Mushka went out for a leisurely gallop with exercise rider Leanna Willford Wednesday morning in preparation for her fourth stakes start since Aug. 1 in Friday’s Ladies’ Classic. The 4yo filly won two of those races, including the Spinster on the Polytrack at Keeneland in her most recent outing.
“She’s 2-for-2 on the synthetics (won an allowance at Keeneland in April), so that’s encouraging,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who won this race with Ajina (1997) and Escena (1998) when it was known as the Distaff. “She’s also 3-for-4 at the distance (1 1/8 m).”
A $1.6 million purchase at the Saratoga Sale of 2006, Mushka has won 6-of-16 starts, 10 of which came on grass. She took the Glens Falls Handicap on the Saratoga Inner Turf Course before winning the Spinster via disqualification.
Music Note – The 4yo A.P. Indy filly took to the Santa Anita main track before sunrise at 5:10 a.m. on Wednesday morning. As is usual with Godolphin Breeders’ Cup runners, Music Note will shedrow Thursday before making her start Friday.
Last year Music Note ran third behind Zenyatta and Cocoa Beach in the Ladies’ Classic. This year she comes into the race off a pair of New York victories in the Beldame at Belmont Park and the Ballerina at Saratoga.
“She can lay anywhere. She stalked the Ballerina going seven-eighths in the mud, so she doesn’t have to get that far back in the race,” Rick Mettee, U.S. assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. “I’d like to think both her and Cocoa Beach are coming up to the race in good shape.”
Music Note’s final prep for the Ladies’ Classic was an Oct. 29 move through 5f in 59 2/5, third of 35 timed works at the distance. Rajiv Maragh, aboard for her last two victories, gets the mount.
Proviso – The 4yo filly Proviso got her first look at Santa Anita Park Wednesday, galloping 1 1/4m under exercise rider Salvador Martinez after being shipped from Hollywood Park on Tuesday.
"She has adapted well," said Ruben Loza, an assistant to trainer Bobby Frankel. The Juddmonte Farms homebred joined the Frankel stable in California after her United States debut in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 10. She finished first but was disqualified to second for interference in the stretch.
Proviso, who was trained in France by Andre Fabre in her first 15 starts, will break from post five under John Velazquez.
Rainbow View – Proven as a top-level performer on grass in Europe, the 3yo filly Rainbow View will run in the Ladies’ Classic because Forever Together, also bred and owned by George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable, will try for a repeat victory in the Filly & Mare Turf.
All 11 of Rainbow View’s career starts have been made on turf.
“I think Mr. Strawbridge is right,” trainer John Gosden said. “Rather than run them together, he’d rather run in two races. And she’s training well. She likes this main track. She worked in 1:00 4/5. I’m happy with it. I’m pleased with the way she moved on the track.”
Rainbow View, a daughter of Dynaformer, finished second as the favorite in the E.P. Taylor at Woodbine on Oct. 17 and was shipped directly from Toronto to Santa Anita. The E.P. Taylor was her seventh start of the season.
“She’s raced quite a bit,” Gosden said. “She’s a tough little character. I think to that extent she’s handled it very well. She’s come down fine from Woodbine. I think she’s a filly that the more you challenge her, the more she likes it.”
Julien Leparoux, who rode Rainbow View at Woodbine, will be up again on Friday.