Breeders Cup Tune-Up
Pletcher, Godolphin runners tune up for Breeders' Cup
Members of the "Todd Squad" continued their preparations for the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs on November 5 and 6 as several turned in workouts over Belmont Park's fast training track on Sunday.
Multiple Grade 1 king and last-out Woodward S. (G1) hero QUALITY ROAD (Elusive Quality), Todd Pletcher's hopeful for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), breezed six furlongs in 1:13 2/5 as he continues to build stamina in the lead-up to the 1 1/4-mile race.
With jockey John Velazquez aboard, Quality Road worked in company with Brazilian champion Jeune-Turc (Brz) (Know Heights [Ire]), who was caught in 1:14 1/5.
"We're running 1 1/4 miles off a little bit of a layoff, so we want to make sure we have him fit enough," Pletcher said of the Edward P. Evans homebred. "He finished strongly and galloped out well, which is what we wanted."
Hopeful S. (G1) runner-up STAY THIRSTY (Bernardini), who will be joining fellow Repole Stable representative and Champagne S. (G1) winner Uncle Mo (Indian Charlie) in the starting gate for the Juvenile (G1), covered five furlongs in 1:00 1/5. Stay Thirsty turned in the second quickest of 28 moves at the distance.
"We were looking to get a good, solid five-eighths into him," Pletcher said. "He galloped out strongly, and we are pleased."
Turf Sprint (G2) contender ROSE CATHERINE (Speightstown), who earned her fourth straight victory in the Turf Amazon H., strode a half-mile in: 48 1/5.
Grade 1 victor BRIBON (Fr) (Mark of Esteem [Ire]), most recently sixth in the Forego S. (G1), traveled five furlongs in 1:00 2/5 and is under consideration for either the Sprint (G1) or the Dirt Mile (G1).
LIFE AT TEN (Malibu Moon) and MALIBU PRAYER (Malibu Moon), both probable starters in the Ladies' Classic (G1), turned in separate works on Saturday, and Pletcher expressed satisfaction with their progress.
Winner of four graded stakes this year, including the October 2 Beldame S. (G1) last time out, Life at Ten breezed four furlongs on the training track in :49 4/5.
"That was Life at Ten's first workout since the Beldame, and she looked good," Pletcher said.
Malibu Prayer, an Evans homebred who captured the Ruffian H. (G1) at Saratoga on August 1 and was second as the favorite in the Molly Pitcher S. (G2) at Monmouth Park on August 29 most recently, traversed five furlongs in 1:01 1/5.
"I thought she worked well and galloped out strongly," Pletcher said.
On Sunday, Godolphin Stable sent out three of its Breeders' Cup candidates for works on the fast main track.
Grade 1 star GAYEGO (Gilded Time), coming off a track record-setting win in the September 10 Presque Isle Mile S., blitzed five-eighths in 1:00 2/5 for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.
Also gearing up for the Dirt Mile, multiple Grade 1 hero VINEYARD HAVEN (Lido Palace [Chi]) finished his five-furlong trial in 1:01 4/5. The gray is exiting a third in the Forego.
Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) candidate SARA LOUISE (Malibu Moon) zipped a half-mile in :48. The winner of the Top Flight H. (G2) over last Thanksgiving weekend, she made her belated reappearance in the September 25 Gallant Bloom H. (G2) and finished third after losing a shoe.
The trio, along with Sprint hopeful GIROLAMO (A.P. Indy), who went three furlongs Thursday morning in his first timed move since his Vosburgh S. (G1) victory, will have two more works at Belmont before departing for Churchill Downs, according to Godolphin assistant Rick Mettee.
"None of the races are easy, but our hopes are higher this year than last year, with the races on dirt instead of synthetic," Mettee said. "Last year, we had a lot of horses going, but we knew we were up against it, especially with the way some of them worked out there (at Santa Anita).
"You could see going into it with Seventh Street and Pyro that it was going to be a long day for them. We only had two horses that had proven themselves on synthetics, Midshipman and Gayego, and they both ran pretty well."
Vineyard Haven, who will be supplemented to the Breeders' Cup, and Gayego should appreciate both the conventional dirt and the one-turn mile, Mettee noted.
"They both have a lot of speed; it should be a good race for both of them," he said. "Then you have Sara Louise going seven furlongs -- her comeback race was good, not great, but she's done well since then and worked well this morning. You'd like to think Girolamo will run well in the Sprint; it's a much tougher race than he won, but at least you know it's a dirt track."
On the Breeders' Cup worktab
HAYNESFIELD (Speightstown), mild upset winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last out, tuned up for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) with a five-eighths breeze in 1:02 1/5 over the fast main dirt at Churchill Downs on Sunday. The Steve Asmussen-trained New York-bred, who has also captured the Suburban H. (G2) and run fourth in the Whitney H. (G1) this year, was caught by Churchill clockers recording his final quarter-mile in :23 4/5.
MINE THAT BIRD (Birdstone), winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby (G1), logged five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is pointing the four-year-old toward a possible run in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The bay gelding, unplaced in all three of his starts this year, posted the sixth-fastest move of 25 at
Hollywood Oaks (G2) victress SWITCH (Quiet American) sizzled a bullet half-mile in :47, quickest of 40 moves at the distance. The John Sadler-trained sophomore covered the distance in fractional times of :11 4/5, :23 and :34 4/5 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. Switch is headed to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) off a half-length second in the recent Lady's Secret S. (G1) to defending Breeders' Cup Classic queen Zenyatta (Street Cry [Ire]).
Multiple Grade 2 veteran and Filly & Mare Sprint hopeful SECRET GYPSY (Sea of Secrets) breezed four furlongs in :47 4/5 for trainer Ronny Werner. The five-year-old mare, who captured the Endine S. (G3), Honorable Miss H. (G2) and Saylorville S. in her last three, covered her first quarter in :24 1/5 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 3/5.
PLUCK (More Than Ready), who earned a spot in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) with a victory in the Summer S. (Can-G3) last out, clocked five panels in 1:02. The Todd Pletcher runner finished second by a neck in the Continental Mile S. two back but was disqualified to fourth.
Derby Trial (G3) victor and recent Super Derby (G2) third HURRICANE IKE (Graeme Hall) sped five furlongs in a bullet :59, fastest of 25 moves at the distance. The Sadler pupil is under consideration for the Sprint (G1) or Dirt Mile.
In New York, Pennsylvania Derby (G2) winner MORNING LINE (Tiznow) blitzed four furlongs in :48 2/5 on the fast Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. The Nick Zito pupil will try to emulate his sire's feat of capturing the Breeders' Cup Classic as a late-developing sophomore.
Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) candidate ARCH SUPPORT (Arch), runner-up in the Miss Grillo S. (G3), strolled five-eighths in 1:03 2/5 over Aqueduct's fast track.
In Florida, trainer Marty Wolfson stepped up the tempo for Princess Rooney H. (G1) heroine JESSICA IS BACK (Put It Back) as she trains for her next start in the Filly & Mare Sprint. The six-year-old mare, who was third in the Ballerina S. (G1) last out, breezed a solid half-mile in :48 over Calder's fast main track, the second quickest of 39 moves at the distance.
At Hollywood Park, multiple Grade 1 queen BLIND LUCK (Pollard's Vision), second by just a neck in the Cotillion S. (G2) last out, worked five Cushion Track furlongs in 1:01 1/5. The Jerry Hollendorfer charge, who has yet to finish worse than third from 14 career starts, is headed to the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1).
Beverly D. S. (G1) heroine ECLAIR DE LUNE (Ger) (Marchand de Sable) traveled a firm-turf mile in 1:40 2/5 in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Dual Grade 1 victress GABBY'S GOLDEN GAL (Medaglia d'Oro), last seen taking the January 31 Santa Monica H. (G1), logged three-quarters from the Hollywood gate in 1:12 4/5. The Bob Baffert trainee could try the Filly & Mare Sprint off the nine-month vacation.
Also, trainer Carl O'Callaghan said that Breeders' Cup Sprint aspirant KINSALE KING (Yankee Victor) was in good order in his barn at Hollywood Park Sunday after shipping to Fresno Saturday for a work on a dirt track.
"We worked between the 2ND and 3RD races," said O'Callaghan, who was aboard. "He officially went five furlongs in :59 breezing and galloped out in 1:10 2/5. He got over the track real well."
O'Callaghan said the five-year-old gelding left Hollywood at 2:30 a.m. (PDT) Saturday and returned at 9:30 p.m. He said Kinsale King was "good this morning" before a scheduled weekly visit from a chiropractor.
"He works again here Saturday, then another three-eighths here, and we ship on the 31st," O'Callaghan said, adding that Garrett Gomez has the Breeders' Cup call.
Kinsale King, who captured the Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-G1) and finished an admirable third in the Golden Jubilee S. (Eng-G1), was last seen finishing a weary-looking 12th in the July Cup (Eng-G1).
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