Updated on 09/16/2011 8:31AM

BC Countdown - Classic: Scene starting to heat up

Email
Horsephotos
Evening Attire completes his serious work for the $4 million Classic with an easy five-furlong workout in 1:02.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - One of the reasons trainer Patrick Kelly sent Evening Attire to Arlington Park well in advance of Saturday's Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships was to allow the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner to get acclimated to both the track and the weather.

Evening Attire has thrived here, making a positive impression for the past week, and he continued that trend on Monday, when he completed his serious work for the $4 million Classic with an easy five-furlong workout in 1:02 with exercise rider Danny Vogt.

"That's usually what we do. I told Danny to go five-eighths in 1:02 and gallop out," Kelly said. "Everything's hitting on all cylinders."

Evening Attire was one of five Classic runners who had timed workouts on Monday, and two additional runners worked Sunday. Evening Attire and Macho Uno had been the lone Classic runners here for the past week, but the sparsely filled stable area was beginning to fill up late Monday and promised to be buzzing over the next few days, as horses arrive from California, Kentucky, New York, and Europe.

As many as 13 horses could enter the Classic on Wednesday, when final entries are due and post positions will be drawn for the eight Breeders' Cup races. Horses who last week were pre-entered in two races must be declared for one of the races on Wednesday morning. Included in that group are Hawk Wing and Rock of Gibraltar, both of whom were pre-entered in the Classic, as well as the Mile.

Hawk Wing and Rock of Gibraltar were scheduled to fly to Chicago from Ireland on Tuesday with the remainder of the runners trained by Aidan O'Brien. They will be in a quarantine facility at Arlington until their blood work is cleared by the United States Department of Agriculture, a process that usually takes a little less than 48 hours, meaning they will not be permitted to train on the racecourse until Thursday.

O'Brien on Monday said no decision would be made on the races in which Hawk Wing and Rock of Gibraltar would compete in until Wednesday morning.

"We're trying to wait and see how they take the journey," O'Brien said from his Ballydoyle training facility in Ireland. "Rock of Gibraltar is not a definite for the Classic by any means. We're just juggling around. We have to see how he travels."

O'Brien seemed more certain that Hawk Wing would go in the Classic.

"He ships well usually," O'Brien said. "The plan was to go to the dirt with him. Obviously, he's eligible to the Mile." Asked if Hawk Wing would go in the Classic provided he ships in good order, O'Brien replied, "That's the way it looks."

If Rock of Gibraltar runs in the Classic with Hawk Wing, the field will number 13. He also would open another spot in the field for the Mile, which was oversubscribed with 24 pre-entries. Several horses in the Mile will be denied starting spots at the time of entry, because a maximum of 14 horses are permitted in each Breeders' Cup race. Once post positions are drawn, there is no also-eligible list for a Breeders' Cup race.

The National Weather Service is forecasting cool, sunny, dry weather for Saturday, with a high of around 50 degrees. There is, however, a chance of showers on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with high temperatures in the low 50's or upper 40's on those days, and overnight lows in the mid-30's.

It was clear and brisk Monday at Arlington Park, a combination that the horses stabled here seemed to find invigorating. Macho Uno, in fact, went along so strongly during a spirited gallop with exercise rider Tim McCanick that track clockers timed his final three furlongs in 40.20 seconds, and put that on the work tab.

"He was feeling spunky on the track. He was squealing at horses going to the track. I tried to take some of that spunk out of him, but he was squealing at the same horses coming back from the track," said Joe Orseno, Macho Uno's trainer. "That's a very good sign. He's getting his act together. He's getting competitive."

At Belmont Park, the Bobby Frankel-trained duo of Medaglia d'Oro and Milwaukee Brew worked five furlongs in company. Medaglia d'Oro, with Aaron Gryder aboard for the drill, was timed in 1:00.97, and Milwaukee Brew, with Edgar Prado up, was timed in 1:01.73.

"I wanted Medaglia to go in 1:01. Gryder missed by three-hundredths. I'm very unhappy," Frankel deadpanned. "They both worked well. They're dead fit. Everything went perfect."

Medaglia d'Oro and Milwaukee Brew both were flown to Chicago later Monday, and arrived Monday afternoon.

Also at Belmont, Volponi breezed a half-mile in 48.04 seconds for Hall of Fame trainer P.G. Johnson. "He couldn't be better," said Johnson, who is fighting laryngitis. "I've got absolutely no excuses."

Volponi will be adding blinkers for the Classic. He has not worn them since May 30, but is 4 for 9 when using them. "This will get him a little closer," Johnson said. "I don't want him on the pace, but it'll make him concentrate."

Volponi was scheduled to be flown here on Wednesday, the same day California-based runners Came Home and War Emblem are scheduled to fly from the West Coast.

Both Dollar Bill and Harlan's Holiday worked on Sunday.

Dollar Bill, working on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, covered a half-mile in 50.20 seconds. He was scheduled to be sent by van here on Tuesday.

Harlan's Holiday was timed in 1:13.20 for six furlongs at Belmont Park with exercise rider Judy Elias aboard. He was scheduled to be on the same flight as Volponi on Wednesday.

Perfect Drift had his final workout postponed one day until Tuesday at Churchill Downs Training Center because of a minor foot bruise. He galloped on Monday.

The Classic field is Came Home (Mike Smith the jockey), Dollar Bill (Pat Day), E Dubai (Jorge Chavez), Evening Attire (Shaun Bridgmohan), Harlan's Holiday (John Velazquez), Hawk Wing (Mick Kinane), Macho Uno (Gary Stevens), Medaglia d'Oro (Jerry Bailey), Milwaukee Brew (Prado), Perfect Drift (Robby Albarado), Rock of Gibraltar (Kinane, perhaps), Volponi (Jose Santos), and War Emblem (Victor Espinoza).

- additional reporting by David Grening