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Balletto headed to Dubai
OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Balletto, the Grade 1-winning 2-year-old filly who finished second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, will spend the winter in Dubai, trainer Tom Albertrani confirmed on Wednesday.
Balletto will be transferred to trainer Saeed bin Suroor and run in the blue silks of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum's Godolphin Racing Inc. In North America, Balletto ran under Sheikh Mohammed's Darley Stud banner. One of Balletto's early-season objectives is likely to be the $250,000 UAE Oaks, run March 10 at Nad al Sheba.
Albertrani said it was uncertain whether Balletto would come back to North America for a race such as the Kentucky Oaks. Albertrani said he was disappointed but not surprised that Balletto would be leaving his care.
"If they become good enough they join the Godolphin team,'' Albertrani said. "I'm just happy to have had a chance to have her.''
Wednesday, Balletto was vanned from Albertrani's Belmont Park barn to Payson Park in south Florida where she must spend 30 days in quarantine before shipping to Dubai in late December.
Balletto, a daughter of Timber Country, became the first horse bred in the United Arab Emirates to win a Grade 1 in North America when she took the Frizette at Belmont in October. In the Breeders' Cup, Balletto ran a game second behind Sweet Catomine.
Artie Schiller out, Timo in
Trainer Jimmy Jerkens said Wednesday that Artie Schiller, the beaten favorite in the Breeders' Cup Mile, would not run in the $500,000 Hollywood Derby. Jockey John Velazquez, who was scheduled to ride Artie Schiller, picked up the mount on Timo for the Grade 1 race, to be run on Nov. 28 at Hollywood Park.
Jerkens said there was no concrete reason why he decided to skip the Hollywood Derby. "I just had a bad feeling about shipping down there,'' he said.
Artie Schiller is getting a freshening on owner Denise and Thomas Walsh's farm in Southern Pines, N.C. Jerkens said that Artie Schiller would probably rejoin his stable in February at Palm Meadows.
Meanwhile, the Hollywood Derby will be the first start for Timo since he won the Kent Breeders' Cup at Delaware Park on June 26. Timo missed the summer due to a foot abscess. On Monday, Timo worked six furlongs in 1:14.09 over Belmont's main track.
"He's doing really well,'' trainer Bill Badgett said. "He's been getting a lot out of his gallops.
"He seems pretty fit and happy.''
Irish Colonial eyes Red Smith
Irish Colonial broke a 17-month losing streak when he won the Mohawk Handicap for statebreds last month at Belmont. The 5-year-old Irish Colonial will attempt to keep the momentum rolling when he tries open company in Saturday's Grade 2, $150,000 Red Smith Handicap.
The Red Smith is scheduled for 11 furlongs on turf, which is farther than Irish Colonial has run. But trainer Randy Schulhofer believes Irish Colonial can be successful going that far.
"That's what he's going to relish,'' Schulhofer said. "At least we hope so. He's run good going far before.''
As a 3-year-old, Irish Colonial was beaten a half-length in both the Saranac at 1 3/16 miles and the Lexington Stakes run at 1 1/4 miles.
Though he is just 1 for 7 this year, Irish Colonial has put forth some solid efforts. He was third, beaten three-quarters of a length in the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga, and third, beaten a half-length in the West Point Handicap, also at Saratoga.
"He's had a good year,'' Schulhofer said. "Everything went perfect last time.''
A field of seven to nine is shaping up for the Red Smith, the final turf stakes of the year scheduled in New York. Dr. Brendler is the likely starting highweight at 120 pounds. Also expected are Alost, Rochester, Dreadnaught, Second Performance, and Navesink River. Possible starters include Revved Up and Gunning For.
Spencer rides at Aqueduct
Jamie Spencer made a rare appearance at Aqueduct on Wednesday, riding Larger Than Life to a sixth-place finish in a second-level allowance race on the turf.
Spencer, the first-call rider for Irish-based trainer Aidan O'Brien, has been galloping horses for trainer Todd Pletcher in the mornings for about a week. He will stay in this country until next week, when he travels to Japan for the Japan Cup.
Spencer, who is 0 for 15 in this country, including an 0-for-4 day in last month's Breeders' Cup, has been going over films with Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr.
Pico will have plenty of challengers
Pico Central will not lack for competition when he ships here next week for the Grade 1 Cigar Mile on Nov. 27. Led by Breeders' Cup Sprint runner-up Kela, Pico Central will likely face seven or eight challengers in the $350,000 Cigar Mile.
Pico Central is seeking his fourth Grade 1 win of the year as he tries to win back Eclipse Award voters who may have been swayed by Speightstown's victory in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Purge, who won the Peter Pan and Jim Dandy, is expected to make his first start since the Travers in the Cigar Mile. Three-year-olds have won five of the first 15 runnings of this race. Others under consideration are Aggadan, Badge of Silver, During, Gygistar, Spite the Devil, and Voodoo.
On Monday, Purge worked five furlongs in 1:01 in company with West Virginia.
Medallist likely for Fall Highweight
Three-year-olds have also enjoyed good success in the Fall Highweight Handicap, and three of the top 3-year-old sprinters will tangle in next Thursday's 91st running of the six-furlong race.
Bwana Charlie, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Sprint; Medallist, who won the Dwyer in July; and the New York-bred stakes winner Friendly Island are all being pointed to the Fall Highweight, which kicks off NYRA's stakes-filled holiday weekend.
Medallist has been sidelined since running seventh in the King's Bishop due to a quarter crack. He has been training very well for trainer Allen Jerkens, including a five-furlong bullet move in 1:00.26 at Belmont Park on Tuesday.
A 3-year-old has won the Fall Highweight each of the last three years and six times since 1990.
Others pointing to the race are Don Six, Dubai Sheikh, and Thunder Touch. Bocca Al Lupo, Eavesdropper, and Wildcat Heir are possible.
Four winners of pick six
An upset victory by Broadway Lady ($88) in Wednesday's eighth race made four handicappers very happy. That victory helped inflate the pick six payoff to $99,695. Broadway Lady combined with three favorites and two second choices to make up the pick six sequence.
The winning combination of 1-2-3-6-6-8 consisted of Lycense to Win ($7.20), Halo Malone ($7.10), Country Judge ($5.60), Exploit Lad ($7.30), Broadway Lady, and Hurricane Hannah ($5.50).
There was a $105,610 carryover entering Wednesday's card. An additional $521,192 was wagered into the pool.
Entry schedule change
Beginning with the Dec. 1 opening of the inner track, there will be a change in the entry schedule.
Entries for Wednesdays will be taken on Saturday. Previously, they were taken on Sunday. Entries for Thursday will be taken on Sunday. Previously, they will be taken on Tuesday.
Entries for Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays will still be taken 48 hours out.