Horses all over the country are gearing up for the 2017 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held November 3-4 at Del Mar in San Diego.
On Saturday, a number of hopefuls took to the tracks at Belmont Park, Keeneland and Santa Anita Park.
English and French highweight Lady Aurelia posted her final move at Keeneland on Saturday, one day before she’s expected to ship to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
With rider Julio Garcia aboard, the Scat Daddy four-year-old breezed a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 while working inside of Master Merion on the firm turf.
“That was beautiful,” trainer Wesley Ward said. “That’s exactly what you want to see. I matched her with a good opponent today, and she kinda pulled away from him with ease. It was a work you want to see before she gets on a plane tomorrow.
“It was very nice. She settled behind him and came right up through on the inside and pricked her ears right there at the finish to where you could tell Julio had her nice and relaxed (with) speed to spare. The turbo button – he didn’t push it today. We still got it left in us.”
Assistant trainer Blake Heap, who has accompanied Lady Aurelia on her Group 1-winning trips to England, will take care of the filly at Del Mar.
“We’ll pony her a couple days just to get her settled in off this work. Just keep her happy,” Ward said about her upcoming schedule. “Then we’ll start galloping her and probably have a nice easy breeze – half-mile breeze – over the weekend.”
Ward also sent out three other Breeders’ Cup workers at Keeneland on Saturday.
Stakes winner Ultima D readied for the November 3 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with a five-furlong move in 1:03.20 over Keeneland’s firm turf.
Fellow stakes scorer Hemp Hemp Hurray, targeting the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on November 3 following a neck second in the Summer Stakes (Can-G2) in September, covered five furlongs on the grass in 1:02.80. The Artie Schiller colt worked in company with stakes-placed McErin, who prepared for the Juvenile Turf Sprint on the November 4 Breeders’ Cup undercard in 1:03.40.
Alcibiades (G1) runner-up Princess Warrior breezed a half-mile in :48.60 on Keeneland’s fast main track for trainer Kenny McPeek on Saturday. The Midshipman juvenile miss is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Brian Hernandez Jr., aboard for both of Princess Warrior’s races, was in the saddle.
“I told Brian to just sit on her for the (first part of the workout) and let her run the last quarter of a mile,” McPeek explained. “She has such a long stride. I love the way she finished and galloped out. She is a real professional for such a young filly.”
Evan Trommer co-owns Princess Warrior along with his sons Andrew and Matthew, and the trio watched the work along with Trommer’s wife, Kathy, from the Keeneland grandstand.
Trommer said he named the filly, who is scheduled to fly to Del Mar from Louisville on Tuesday, for a saying on his wife’s coffee mug: “Some days I am a princess. Some days I am a warrior. Choose wisely.”
“We are a sarcastic family and I told her I wanted to name the filly for her,” Evan Trommer said.
SANTA ANITA PARK
Collected and Stellar Wind headlined the Santa Anita Park worktab on Saturday as they readied for their upcoming Breeders’ Cup races.
Collected clocked six furlongs in a bullet 1:12 with regular jockey Martin Garcia in the irons over Del Santa Anita’s fast main track. The Bob Baffert-trained son of City Zip is riding a four-race win streak into the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), including the Pacific Classic (G1) over track and 1 1/4-mile distance.
“He went very nice. He got some nice company, so it worked out,” said Baffert, who has a total of four horses pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. “All my horses for the Classic will have their works here and then ship for the Breeders’ Cup races.”
Champion Stellar Wind recorded a seven-furlong move Saturday morning in 1:28.20 for trainer John Sadler. The five-year-old daughter of Curlin had regular rider Victor Espinoza aboard and worked in company with recent stakes heroine Shenandoah Queen.
Stellar Wind is headed for a third straight try in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) after finishing a neck second in the 2015 running and fourth by 3 3/4 lengths in last year’s edition.
“She went real nice, outworked her company by a couple lengths, so that was kind of her big long distance work,” Sadler said. “She’ll have her final breeze here next Saturday.”
The trainer also sent out multiple Grade 2 victor Accelerate for a three-quarter work in 1:12.40 under Espinoza on Saturday. The Lookin at Lucky four-year-old finished third in the Pacific Classic (G1) most recently and is targeting the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a race he finished third in last year.
“She felt great. It was an excellent work for her. The track was a little slow that early, but she’s ready to go,” Espinoza said of Stellar Wind, then added, “I worked Accelerate at the 7:45 (a.m. PT) break and the track was more firm, but the times don’t always mean everything. It’s how they felt and how they moved. They were brilliant.”
Champion Finest City turned five-eighths with jockey Corey Nakatani holding the reins on Saturday at Santa Anita for trainer Ian Kruljac. The City Zip filly recorded a time of in 1:02.40, breezing, ahead of her title defense run in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
“Great,” Kruljac stated. “She’s happy.”
Stakes winner My Boy Jack took a spin around Santa Anita for trainer Keith Desormeaux, posting four panels in :51.40 for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on November 3. The Creative Cause colt ran second in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes and captured the Zuma Beach Stakes in his past two.
Encumbered, winner of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf and also headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), turned five-eighths in 1:00.20 for trainer Simon Callaghan.
Grade 2 scorer Blackjackcat traveled five furlongs in 1:00.20 for trainer Mark Glatt. The four-year-old son of Tale of the Cat is riding a four-race win streak into the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) over Del Mar’s turf.
Trainer Chad Brown had his 11-strong contingent take spins around Belmont, including Lady Eli and Dacita. Both mares are candidates for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Lady Eli worked in company with Elysea’s World, clocking five furlongs over Belmont’s firm inner turf in 1:00.09. The five-year-old daughter of Divine Park missed by a nose in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf, and brings a three-race win streak that includes the Gamely Stakes (G1) and Diana Stakes (G1) into this edition.
“They worked terrific,” Brown said. “They breezed again together for the second week in a row. They breezed perfect.”
Dual Chilean champion Dacita, heroine of the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) and second by a head in the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) in her past two, breezed a half-mile over Belmont Park’s fast main track in :50.02. The Scat Daddy six-year-old didn’t run in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf but finished ninth in the 2015 edition at Keeneland.
Grade 3 scorer Grand Jete, also headed to the Filly & Mare Turf, turned four furlongs on the inner turf in :49.67 in company with Roca Rojo. The Dansili four-year-old finished second in the Beverly D. and third in the Flower Bowl behind Dacita in her last two.
“They did terrific. They worked half a mile very sharp,” Brown said. “They looked good.”
Beach Patrol and Fanciful Angel, the respective one-two finishers in the Arlington Million (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in their last two races, worked in company for the second straight time over the inner turf. The duo covered five-eighths in 1:02.23 and are both pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Fellow Brown trainee multiple Grade 1 winner Practical Joke traveled five furlongs on the fast main track in 1:01.87 in company with Business Cycle. The Into Mischief sophomore, hero of the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) most recently at Saratoga, is under consideration for both the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on November 3 and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on November 4.
Juvenile filly Significant Form, a one-length winner of the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) on October 1, breezed in company with multiple Grade 3 winner and last year’s Miss Grillo runner-up Rymska. The Creative Cause filly, who was disqualified from taking her debut on August 27 and placed seventh, covered a bullet five-eighths on the inner turf in :59.76 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) on November 3.
“A touch quick but they did it the right way, so I thought they were good,” Brown said.
Pilgrim Stakes (G3) runner-up Voting Control readied for a possible start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) on November 3 with a half-mile breeze over Belmont’s main track in :50.57 while in company with Grade 2 victor Bricks and Mortar.
Dual Grade 1 vixen Paulassilverlining breezed five furlongs on the main track in 1:01.09 in company with Jamyson ‘n Ginger. The Ghostzapper mare is targeting the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) off her first loss of the year when fifth in the Ballerina Stakes (G1) on August 26 at Saratoga.
“She worked terrific,” Brown said. “It was just more of the same from her. She’s been working well.”
Champagne Stakes (G1) runner-up Good Magic took a half-mile spin in :50.93 in company with Allured on the main track for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
Grade 1 queen Carina Mia, a neck second in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) last out on September 24 at Belmont, traveled four panels in :48.78 on the main track in readiness for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Trainer Chad Summers sent out Grade/Group 1 hero Mind Your Biscuits to breeze a half-mile in :47.88 just after the renovation break at Belmont on Saturday.
Jockey Joel Rosario guided the Posse four-year-old through his in-company move over the fast main track. Mind Your Biscuits galloped out five furlongs in 1:01 and three-quarters in 1:13, according to the NYRA clockers, and will try to improve on his second-placing in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) in the 2017 edition at Del Mar.
“I thought it was fine. It was a useful work, he got what he needed out of it,” Summers said. “If we call the Forego (sixth-place finish) a non-effort (last out on August 26), which is what I think it was, I think he had to get a little work in company there, have a little target to get those competitive juices flowing heading into the Breeders’ Cup.
“He’s gotten a little older and a little wiser and he doesn’t need to put forth everything in the morning. Coming off a flat effort, you could say that you have to make up for it, but he’s got a 16-race body of work that speaks for itself. As long as he got enough out of it, which I think he did, we’ll take this one for what it is and move forward.
“It’s not about time with us, it’s about how they look,” he added. “He galloped out well today. He galloped out all the way to the gate. I got him in 1:41 for a mile and 1:13 for three-quarters. It’s not a bad work; it’s a useful work. It’s your last major work before the Breeders’ Cup. I thought it was fine, it just wasn’t perfect. The last three going into today were perfect. We couldn’t have scripted those better.”
Mind Your Biscuits is scheduled to ship to Southern California on Tuesday and have a blowout at Del Mar in the days leading up to the race, “like we did in Dubai,” Summers said.
World record-setter Disco Partner took to the fast main track at Belmont on Saturday to record a three-furlong breeze in :39.03 for trainer Christophe Clement. The five-year-old son of Disco Rico has captured four of his five races this season, all in stakes, including Belmont’s Jaipur Stakes (G3) where he set a new world record for six furlongs on the turf in 1:05.67.
“It was a slow work by design, but he finished well,” Clement said. “He moved great and I’m very happy. He’ll have another work next Saturday which will be a bit more serious, but he looked good.”
Disco Partner is readying for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and is scheduled to ship to Del Mar on Tuesday, October 31.
Grade 1 victor Firenze Fire clocked an unofficial half-mile in :50.61 over Belmont’s fast training track with regular rider Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard Saturday for trainer Jason Servis. The once-beaten two-year-old son of Poseidon’s Warrior captured the Champagne Stakes (G1) last out on October 7 to earn an all-fees paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
“It went good,” Servis said. “Irad was smiling, and that’s always a good sign.”
The conditioner added that Firenze Fire will ship to California on October 31.