A slew of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls from trainer Chad Brown’s shedrow strutted their stuff at Belmont Park on Saturday one week before the November 3-4 World Championships at Del Mar.
They were joined on the worktab by runners from across the country readying for the Breeders’ Cup.
Beach Patrol and Fanciful Angel once again kept each other company as the duo breezed five furlongs over Belmont’s firm inner turf in 1:02.54 for Brown on Saturday.
The duo, the respective winner and runner-up in the Arlington Million (G1) and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1), will face off for the third straight time in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Brown also sent out a trio of distaffers to work in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), headed by multiple Grade 1 queen Lady Eli.
That five-year-old daughter of Divine Park, winner of her last three including a pair of Grade 1s, recorded a bullet furlongs in 1:01.19 over the inner turf working in company with Grade 2 heroine Roca Rojo.
Lady Eli captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) in 2014 and just missed last year’s 1 1/4-mile Filly & Mare Turf by a nose. The race has been cut back to nine furlongs at Del Mar, a distance Lady Eli is three-for-three at currently.
Chilean champion and multiple Grade/Group 1 heroine Dacita readied for the Filly & Mare Turf with a half-mile breeze over Belmont’s fast main track in :49.34 in company with Uni. The Scat Daddy mare, winner of the Beverly D. Stakes (G1) and a head second in the Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) in her past pair, covered the first quarter-mile in :24.80.
Grade 3 scorer Grand Jete completed the Brown triad of Filly & Mare Turf distaffers working on Saturday when breezing five-eighths in 1:01.79 on the firm inner turf in company with dual Grade 1 vixen New Money Honey. The Dansili four-year-old ran second and third, respectively, behind Dacita in the Beverly D. and Flower Bowl Invitational.
Multiple Grade 1 winner Practical Joke posted four panels in :49.44 on Belmont’s fast main track for Brown ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). Winner of the August 26 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (G1) most recently at Saratoga, the Into Mischief sophomore breezed in company with Grade 2 victor Favorable Outcome, logging a :24.80 first quarter-mile.
Stablemate and Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) winner Significant Form clocked a half-mile :50.02 over Belmont’s firm inner turf in company with dual Grade 3 vixen Rymska. The Creative Cause lass has been pre-entered for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Brown sent Grade 1 heroine Carina Mia out for a solo work, and the Malibu Moon filly turned a half-mile on the fast main track at Belmont in :49.44 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1). Third in the Ballerina Stakes (G1) and a neck second in the Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) in her past two, the four-year-old filly posted an opening split of :25.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.60.
Brown will also saddle Paulassilverlining for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, and that Ghostzapper mare readied for the seven-furlong contest with a four-furlong breeze in :49.65 over Belmont’s main track in company with Grade 2 runner-up Jamyson ‘n Ginger. Paulassilverlining covered the opening quarter :24.40 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:02.
Good Magic will attempt to break his maiden when starting in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) for Brown. The chestnut son of Curlin colt has been close while second in his two starts thus far, including the Champagne Stakes (G1), and breezed five furlongs in 1:01.67 on Saturday over Belmont’s fast main track. Good Magic recorded an opening quarter in :25.60.
Pilgrim Stakes (G3) runner-up Voting Control, a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), logged his final major move for that contest when going four furlongs in :49.76 over the main track. The Kitten’s Joy colt worked in company with Grade 2 victor Bricks and Mortar.
Frizette Stakes (G1) vixen Separationofpowers rounded out the Brown workers on Saturday readying for the Breeders’ Cup, breezing five furlongs in 1:02.31 on Big Sandy’s main track. The bay daughter of Candy Ride is headed to the Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Grade 3 scorer Disco Partner breezed four furlongs in :50.72 over Belmont’s fast main track in his final major move for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). The world record-setting five-year-old captured the October 7 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational last out for trainer Christophe Clement.
“It was a slow work by design,” Clement said. “I thought he looked well. He was moving very well and sound. He came back in great shape from the work and rolled around in the pen afterwards. He just ran in October so he’s very fit. He doesn’t need to do much, only stretch his legs and to keep him happy.”
Disco Partner, who set a world record for six furlongs when taking the Jaipur Invitational Stakes (G3) in 1:05.67 on June 10, will be cutting back to five-eighths for the Turf Sprint and running outside of New York for the first time in his 20-race career.
“I’m pretty excited to see him run in California,” Clement said. “He loves firm turf and he’s got plenty of speed. At the end of the day, he’s got the world record for going six furlongs. We’ve been taking him back when he goes six or seven [furlongs] and we won’t have to do that here. We can just let him roll. I don’t think we’ll be on the pace either, but that’s perfectly okay.”
Clement is also sending multiple Grade 3 veteran Pure Sensation to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The Zensational six-year-old, last seen taking the Turf Monster Stakes (G3) at Parx Racing, covered three-eighths on October 23 in :36.98 on Belmont’s fast main track.
“It’s fun to have two competitive horses in the race,” Clement said. “When I first started training, for 15 years, people said I could only train mile-and-a-half turf fillies. Now, the other day I heard someone say I could only train turf sprinters; so, I thought great, I must have forgot how to train the other type.
“Next, I’d like to be known as a trainer who can only train on the dirt going long, so hopefully we can get more of those horses in the barn.”
Disco Partner and Pure Sensation are scheduled to ship to California on Tuesday.
Dual Grade 3-placed Best Performance is also headed to the Breeders’ Cup for Clement, and breezed five furlongs in 1:01.45 on Belmont’s main track October 23. The Broken Vow miss has been runner-up in four consecutive stakes, including the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) most recently on October 1, and is pre-entered to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
“She’s actually doing fabulous,” Clement said. “She had a really good work on the dirt on Monday and she’s come out of it very well. She had a great day this morning. I’m very excited about her.
“I think she’s a nice filly on the dirt, it’s just that one day I worked her on the turf in Saratoga and she was so spectacular on the firm going, I told the owners it’d be nice to try her on the grass,” he added. “I don’t think she’s bad on the dirt. We’ll run in the Breeder’s Cup and bring her back next spring on the dirt, if anything. She’s very versatile.”
Champagne Stakes (G1) winner Firenze Fire readied for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.10 over Belmont’s fast dirt training track.
“It was just a maintenance breeze today,” trainer Jason Servis said. “Coming out of the Champagne, we just have to keep him tight and on his toes. He’s doing been doing well since that race.”
Firenze Fire, who is scheduled to ship to California on Tuesday, has suffered only one loss in his four-race career thus far, finishing fourth in the Hopeful Stakes (G1) on September 4 at Saratoga prior to taking the Champagne by a half-length one month later.
SANTA ANITA PARK
Pacific Classic (G1) hero Collected posted his final major move for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) on Saturday over the fast main track at Santa Anita Park for trainer Bob Baffert. The four-year-old son of City Zip clocked three-quarters with regular rider Martin Garcia aboard in 1:13.40.
“He went nice,” Baffert said. “He just cruised around there like he always does.”
Trainer John Sadler sent out champion Stellar Wind for a six-furlong bullet move in :59.80 with exercise rider Jose Contreras holding the reins. Working in company with Grade 2-placed Kristo, the Curlin mare was readying for a third straight try in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) after placing second in 2015 and fourth last year.
“I had her in a minute flat and out in (one) 14,” Sadler said. “I’d give the work a B-plus. She’s not a super-fast worker.
“If you look at her works the last three years they’re kind of like 1:01, (one) 14 and change, so this was a nice work for her. The track’s been slow this fall meet, so it was a very good work for her, I thought.”
Stellar Wind has captured all three of her races thus far this season and enters the Distaff off a neck score in the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on July 30.
“The plan all along was not to run again until the Breeders’ Cup, and she’s ready to go,” Sadler said. “It was a good work on this track. She loves Del Mar and she’s leaving tomorrow. We’ll look at her in the morning and then off we’ll go.”
Accelerate also took a spin around Santa Anita for Sadler on Saturday in preparation for another try in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), a race he finished third in last year. The Lookin at Lucky four-year-old, a dominate winner of the San Diego Handicap (G2) and third in the Pacific Classic (G1) in his past pair, had Victor Espinoza aboard as he covered five-eighths from the gate in 1:00.80.
“I like him sharp from the gate,” Sadler said. “It’s going to be a big field, and going a mile at Del Mar, the post position and how you get to that first turn is key, so I just wanted to sharpen him up from the gate a bit. We did that last year before the San Diego Handicap, so I told Victor to just get a nice little breeze from the gate.
“He had a good work last week; he went in (1:)12(.40 on October 21) so this was kind of a maintenance work to get him sharp from the gate at the same time. It was a good work for him, and Victor’s got a really good feel for when he works horses in the morning.”
Four-time Grade 1 queen Abel Tasman readied for a first try against her elders in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) with a six-furlong bullet work in 1:12.80 on Saturday at Santa Anita.
“She went great,” Baffert said. “I’m very happy with her.”
Champion Finest City will attempt to defend her title in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) next Saturday, and prepared for that contest by clocking a bullet half-mile in :47 for trainer Ian Kruljac on Saturday on Santa Anita’s main track.
Also working at the Southern California venue were Grade 2 conqueror Blackjackcat, who turned five-eighths for trainer Mark Glatt in 1:00.40 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), and multiple Grade 2 hero Itsinthepost, who worked five furlongs in 1:03 on the fast training track for conditioner Jeff Mullins in advance of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Zuma Beach Stakes victor My Boy Jack traveled five furlongs on the main track in 1:02.40 for trainer Keith Desormeaux, who gave his Hall of Fame brother Kent Desormeaux a leg up for the move.
“It was a pretty fancy effort,” said Kent Desormeaux, who pre-entered My Boy Jack to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). The Creative Cause colt is currently not listed in the main part of that field.
Trainer Jorge Navarro brought Sharp Azteca and War Story cross-country from the Northeast to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup, and the duo posted their final major moves over that fast track on Saturday ahead of next weekend’s races.
Dual Grade 2 scorer Sharp Azteca traveled five furlongs in a bullet :58.60 under jockey Paco Lopez for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1). The Freud four-year-old was caught in splits of :11.80, :23.40 and :35.60 by Del Mar clocker John Malone.
“We had high expectations for (Sharp Azteca) from the start, but he had some issues and had to miss his two-year-old season,” Navarro said. “Those issues have gone away and he’s shown his talent.”
Grade 2 hero War Story went the same distance with Lopez up in :59, posting splits of :12, :23.60 and :35.60 for a final quarter of :23.40 and a six-furlong gallop out in :1:11.80. The Northern Afleet gelding is pre-entered to both the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) and Turf (G1), though not selected in the main field in the latter.
“He’s been around, for sure,” Navarro said in regards to the Northern Afleet gelding. “We considered another race, but we’re going to go in the Classic. He’s doing well. He’s been training like good horse.
“Both horses worked well, it took enough out of them, but they recovered quickly,” Navarro added. “I’m walking Sharp Azteca as we speak (45 minutes after the work), he wasn’t blowing hard after and he’s cooled out already.
“What more could you want? They both are on their A games and they’ll have to bring them next Friday and Saturday.”
Trainer Richard Mandella sent out Paradise Woods and Avenge for five-furlong works Saturday morning as final major exercises for their Breeders’ Cup assignments. Jockey Flavien Prat, who has the call on both next Saturday, piloted the distaffers in their moves.
Paradise Woods, a 5 1/4-length wire winner of the Zenyatta Stakes (G1) last out, traveled five-eighths in 1:00.20 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Avenge, who defended her title in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) last out for a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), logged five furlongs in :59.60 after splits of :11.60, :23.40 and :35.60. The War Front mare galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.20.
“I couldn’t be happier, everything’s good,” Mandella said.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hopefuls Hollywood Star and Free Drop Billy each took a spin around Del Mar on Saturday for trainer Dale Romans with Tammy Fox in the irons.
Grade 2-placed Hollywood Star recorded five furlongs in 1:02 while Breeders’ Futurity (G1) romper Free Drop Billy logged three-quarters in 1:14.40.
Romans said Free Drop Billy’s work was actually only five furlongs, which he clocked in 1:01 with a six-furlong gallop-out time of 1:13.60. He said the plan was to “just sit on him and without encouraging him, see what he wanted to do on his own. He had a fast work last week, and this week we wanted to leave a little bit in the tank. Hard to fill your tank up with seven days to a race if you empty it out.”
“He felt stronger to me,” Fox added. “He just skips over this racetrack. You don’t hear anything from him. He could sneak up a horse and neither the rider or the other horse would ever know it. That’s how quiet he is.
“Going into a big race like this a week out, everything is good. You couldn’t ask him to do any better. He’s not a big horse, but for his size, his stride is bigger than what you’d think. Just so fluent, and he reaches. Every step he makes on that dirt is just more of a reach for him. You can feel the acceleration and the power that he brings to me. That’s what I feel in my hands. It’s a pretty cool feeling.”
Hollywood Star sported blinkers for his move.
“Sure didn’t look like he liked them,” Romans said of the blinkers. “He didn’t work near as well as Billy did.
“Even his last work at Santa Anita, he’ll work a while then drop the bit. His ears go back and forth. He’s never been focused from start to finish of a work or a race. When he figures it all out, he’s going to be a superstar. And I was thinking the blinkers might keep him focused all the way through. But they might just have aggravated him.”
Despite the lackluster work, Romans believes Hollywood Star is fit enough for the Breeders’ Cup.
“He’s plenty fit,” he said. “That’s plenty for him. I just wish he’d breeze on his own like he would in company and work like we know he can run.”
Maiden Tell Your Mama clocked six furlongs over Del Mar’s fast dirt in 1:13.60 on Saturday for new trainer Bob Hess Jr. in advance of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
“She worked very nicely, galloped out well and we’re excited,” said Hess, who has taken over training duties from Geoff Mulcahy.