Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas subsequently confirmed to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman that Bravazo would contest the Dirt Mile, in accordance with his first preference. The Calumet Farm homebred was also pre-entered to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), where he was on the bubble as the 15th on the list.
Taking his spot now in the on-deck circle for the Classic is Gunnevera, who’ll need a defection to get into the main body of the 14-horse field. Indications are that should come courtesy of City of Light, himself reportedly leaning toward the Dirt Mile.
Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols reported that Bravazo posted splits of :11.60, :23, :35 and :47, and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60.
“This horse has done nothing but improve following (his sixth in) the (Kentucky) Derby,” Lukas told the Churchill notes team. “The last race wasn’t too much (seventh in the Pennsylvania Derby [G1]) but this colt has danced in every dance and shows up each time. There’s not much more you can ask of him but I wish we could’ve gotten a little luckier in a couple of his starts.”
Another sophomore pre-entered to both the Classic and Dirt Mile, Lone Sailor, also recorded a move at Churchill Thursday, but his Breeders’ Cup decision is still pending.
“We won’t hold anybody up,” trainer Tom Amoss said of the time frame for choosing. “We will make a decision by tomorrow.”
Listed with the Classic as first preference, Lone Sailor was caught going in :12.20 and :24.20 en route to polishing off a half-mile in :48.20. The G M B Racing colorbearer proceeded through a double gallop-out through five furlongs in 1:01 and six in 1:14.60.
“He had been running all year and today’s work nine days out from the race was by design for maintenance mentally and physically,” Amoss said. “He had done a lot of work previously.”
Stablemate Serengeti Empress, a leading player in the Juvenile Fillies (G1), turned in her half-mile exercise in the same :48.20. Her splits were :12.60, :24.20, and :36.40, followed by gallop-outs in 1:01.00 and 1:14.20.
“Her work was similar to his, just an easy half,” Amoss said. “Her preparation has been different from his. She worked in company last week and has done a lot more than Lone Sailor has.
“The takeaway from this morning was she rated kindly like she did last week in company. I know it is not a full field (of 14), but I think post position will be important. With Bellafina, Jaywalk, Restless Rider and us, something has to give and I want to know that she can rate.”
Distaff (G1) contender Wonder Gadot earned the bullet by drilling her four furlongs in :47.00, set up by fast fractions of :11.60 and :22.80. The Mark Casse pupil galloped out in 1:01 beneath the Twin Spires.
“It’s interesting with Wonder Gadot’s pedigree how well she takes to this track,” Casse said. I’ve always said horses with a little polytrack or turf pedigree tend to do better over this dirt track than others. I think she absolutely loves this surface.”
At Keeneland, Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) threat Oscar Performance negotiated five-eighths on the main track in 1:01.40 in company with Silver Ride, who went in 1:01.60. Under Jose Ortiz, the turf specialist quickened through a last quarter on the dirt in :24 and galloped out in 1:14.
“It was the work we needed going into the race,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “The gallop out and the whole work was a good work. He might have a little blowout at Churchill but nothing serious. This is what he needed, and Jose was thrilled with the work.”
At Santa Anita, likely Juvenile Fillies favorite Bellafina blitzed four furlongs in :47.40, tying for second-fastest of 21 at the distance.
“It was really good,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “She galloped out in a minute and change and she looked like she wanted to keep going, so it was just what we were looking for.
“She will leave early tomorrow morning and we’ll just gallop her into the race. She’ll paddock school and go to the gate one of the days. She’s fit; she’s ready.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news from Santa Anita, Sharp Samurai will miss the Mile. According to published reports in Daily Racing Form and Blood-Horse, the Mark Glatt trainee has come down with a throat infection.
That paves the way for Sir Michael Stoute’s Mushtashry, the first horse on the bubble, to get into the 14-horse field. The Chad Brown-trained Almanaar, like Mustashry a Shadwell homebred, is next on the list needing a defection. Almanaar is eligible to make the cut if stablemate A Raving Beauty sticks with her first preference in the Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
See the complete list of Breeders’ Cup pre-entries, including those on the outside looking in, here.