Super Saturday runners Breeders' Cup bound
Belmont S. (G1), Travers S. (G1) and newly minted Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) winner SUMMER BIRD (Birdstone) was his usual self Sunday morning -- alternately snoozing and peering alertly out his stall door, depending on when you caught him.
"He was bouncing and playing this morning, and he ate up everything last night," trainer Tim Ice said. "He's feeling better than me -- that rain just killed me yesterday afternoon and now I've got a cold. I couldn't be happier with the way he looks this morning though."
Ice said that he would nominate Kalarikkal and Vilasini Jayaraman's colt to the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) going 1 1/4 miles, as well as the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at 1 1/2 miles, both to be run at Santa Anita Park on November 7. He was confident about Summer Bird's ability to handle either surface, but said the Classic was the more likely choice.
"He's already trained four months (over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride) and he has solid works over it," Ice said. "I think we could put him on anything and he'd run. We'll probably be in against a bunch of turf horses in the Classic anyway."
Summer Bird is scheduled to return to the track at Belmont Park on either Wednesday or Thursday and Ice said he planned to ship to California on October 12.
"I think he showed the fight that he had yesterday," Ice said of the colt's performance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, which he won by a length over QUALITY ROAD (Elusive Quality), making him the first three-year-old since Easy Goer in 1989 to have won the Belmont, the Travers and the Gold Cup in a single year. "But, I always say, I hope his next race is his best race."
Quality Road came out of the Jockey Club Gold Cup well, trainer Todd Pletcher said Sunday morning, adding that UNBRIDLED BELLE (Broken Vow) (2nd), CAPTAIN'S LOVER (SAf) (Captain Al) (4th) and WITH FLYING COLORS (A.P. Indy) (5th) exited the Beldame S. (G1) in good order, with MUNNINGS (Speightstown) coming out of his third-place finish in the Vosburgh S. (G1) in good shape as well.
"They all came back fine," he said.
ASIATIC BOY (Arg) (Not for Sale), who was eased and finished seventh in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, bled during the race, said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin Sunday morning.
"We'll adjust, and treat him," McLaughlin said. "It's something we can deal with, but you won't see him in the entry box anytime soon."
A winner of more than $3.3 million the six-year-old Asiatic Boy was making his fourth start in the United States, having finished second in the Stephen Foster H. (G1) and Suburban H. (G2) as well as fourth to Rachel Alexandra (Medaglia d'Oro) in the Woodward S. (G1).
Godolphin Racing's MUSIC NOTE (A.P. Indy) exited her victory in the Beldame in good order and will depart Tuesday for California to await her next start, the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) on November 6. Music Note, now a five-time Grade 1 winner, finished third behind Zenyatta (Street Cry [Ire]) and stablemate COCOA BEACH (Chi) (Doneraile Court) in the 2008 Ladies' Classic.
"We'll go to California and see how everything plays out," said Godolphin assistant Henry Spiller, noting that Cocoa Beach, also being pointed to a return engagement in the Ladies' Classic, will run next week in the Lady's Secret S. (G1) at Santa Anita. "The way Music Note relaxed yesterday, we believe nine furlongs will be better for her."
Trainer Bobby Barbara's cell phone was still ringing Sunday morning with congratulatory calls for INTERPATATION's (Langfuhr) stunning upset of GIO PONTI (Tale of the Cat) in Saturday's $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1).
"It's great - I'm hearing from people I haven't heard from in years," said Barbara, who trains the seven-year-old gelding for Elliot Mavorah. Making his 50th lifetime start, Interpatation battled back in the stretch to earn his first victory in more than two years.
"It was amazing -- he switched back to his left lead at the end so he could dig in," Barbara said. "And he did it against the best turf horse in the country -- Gio Ponti!"
Barbara had to make some changes in the horse's schedule in the week leading up to the race. Although he had been planning to breeze Interpatation on Monday, he canceled the work after receiving a phone call last Friday from Mavorah.
"The owner, who's Orthodox, told me he had spoken to the rabbi and the rabbi told him please not to work the horse because of the holiday (Yom Kippur)," Barbara explained. "I asked Elliot, since it's a fasting holiday, if I could feed the horse and he said yeah, I could feed him, just don't work him."
Sunday morning, Interpataion appeared feisty and happy in his stall, accepting peppermints from visitors after having cleaned out his feed tub.
"What I'd like to do next is get an invitation to the (November 29) Japan Cup ([Jpn-G1] at Tokyo Race Course)," Barbara admitted. "I think that would be a great thing."
Trainer Christophe Clement reported that Gio Ponti, the heavy favorite in the Turf Classic, came out of the race in good order.
"He's tired, yes," said Clement, who trains the four-year-old for Castleton Lyons' principal Shane Ryan. "A mile and a half on that turf course yesterday was very trying, but I thought he ran a great race. He came from off the pace, cruising, and tired. Even if he didn't win, he did everything I could have expected from him, which was to try so hard."
Clement said he would stick to his existing plan to use the Joe Hirsch as a prep for the Breeders' Cup, and would discuss further with Ryan whether the colt would start in the Turf or the Classic.
"Because of what he's done so far on turf -- winning four Grade 1 races in a row -- we don't think he's got much more to prove on the grass in America," Clement said. "I believe that the mile and a quarter of the Classic is the perfect distance for him and I'm very excited about the prospect of running him there because I think the artificial surface is very fair for both turf and dirt horses. The first two finishers in last year's Classic (Raven's Pass and Henrythenavigator) were both turf horses, and that makes it fun."
Clement said that if it remained dry in New York he would keep Gio Ponti in training at Belmont for as long as possible before shipping to Santa Anita.
A day after PURE CLAN's (Pure Prize) authoritative 2 3/4-length score in the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (G1), trainer Robert Holthus was back home in Kentucky and beginning to lean toward a run next month in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Heading into the Flower Bowl, Holthus had said, "This is our Breeders' Cup right here," but after Pure Clan defeated a talented field of runners from the United States and Europe, he began thinking differently about a return to Santa Anita. Pure Clan finished last in the Breeders' Cup race last year as a sophomore.
"The thing is, if we could win the Breeders' Cup, she'd probably win the Eclipse Award; that would increase her value," Holthus said. "We're going to do what's best for her. We plan on running her next year. She's a homebred (by owner Lewis Lakin). Mr. Lakin and I don't have too many years left, so we just might (run her)."
Pure Clan won the Flower Bowl, defeating CRITICISM ((GB) (Machiavellian) in a torrential rain, running the1 1/4-mile turf race in a deceptively slow 2:12.43 on a soft, drenched track under jockey Julien Leparoux. Holthus said the filly, who also won the Modesty H. (G3) and finished third in the Beverly D. S. (G1) this year, ate her supper and looked great after the race.
"I think it was her best race," Holthus said. "I think she's a little more mature. It's easy to say now, but I thought she was going to win going into the first turn."
A decision on the next race for KODIAK KOWBOY (Posse), winner of the $400,000 Vosburgh S. (G1), will not be made for 10 to 12 days, according to Scott Blasi, assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen. Owned by Fox Hill Farm and Vinery Stables, Kodiak Kowboy defeated FABULOUS STRIKE (Smart Strike) in a sloppy running of the Vosburgh on Saturday by a half-length.
"He came out of the race good. No plans," Blasi said.
Kodiak Kowboy, who also won the Carter H. (G1) this past April at Aqueduct, will walk for three days before returning to the track to resume training. Blasi said a decision must be made on whether to run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) on the artificial surface at Santa Anita. The horse has one victory in three starts on synthetic tracks, that coming as a two-year-old in a race at Woodbine.
"And I think he won that on talent alone," Blasi said. "It's definitely not his best surface."
Other options, Blasi said, are Aqueduct's $300,000 Cigar Mile (G1) on November 28 or the $300,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G1) on October 24 at Laurel Park.
Fabulous Strike, winner of the 2007 Vosburgh but now second for the past two years, came out of the race in good shape and will run next in either the $100,000 Fall Highweight (G3) on November 26 at Aqueduct or the De Francis Dash, trainer Todd Beattie said.
"I'm pretty sure we're not going to go in the Breeders' Cup," Beattie said.
Beattie said the deep dirt track at Belmont, labeled sloppy for the Vosburgh, may have affected Fabulous Strike, as he lost by a half-length in the six-furlong race.
"The track got deep and heavy for those horses to run in 1:10," he said. "I'm disappointed, but we can't win them all, can we?"
Beattie said he leans toward running in the Fall Highweight, because it gives Fabulous Strike more rest between races, but he will discuss the decision with owner Walter Downey and choose within two weeks.
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