Updated on 09/16/2011 8:31AM

BC Countdown - Turf: Blazing Fury gets good at right time


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - There were times earlier this year that trainer Jim Toner wondered if Blazing Fury would ever return to the form of his fourth-place finish in the 2001 Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont Park.

Blazing Fury finished fifth in the Manhattan Handicap in his 2002 debut in June, which was followed a month later by a seventh in the United Nations Handicap.

"About July, I wasn't sure," Toner said. "I thought we blew the Breeders' Cup."

But following a win by Blazing Fury in an allowance race at Saratoga in July and a second in the Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Sept. 29, the Breeders' Cup Turf became a more realistic goal.

On Saturday, the 4-year-old Blazing Fury will start against eight others in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Arlington Park. Although he has not won a stakes race this year, he remains a longshot to respect. If recent stakes winners The Tin Man and Ballingarry set a quick pace, Blazing Fury could be a factor in the stretch.

"At least it looks like there will be some pace in the race," Toner said.

Owned by Caesar Kimmel and Ronald Nicholson, Blazing Fury has one career stakes win - the Grade 3 Saranac Handicap at Saratoga in September 2001.

In the Turf Classic, Blazing Fury finished second by a half-length to Denon, considered the best hope among the American-based horses for the BC Turf.

"We got some pace and he was able to run his race," Toner said. "I know we'll be taking a shot. I have all the confidence."

So much so that Toner passed an early-week workout for Blazing Fury, preferring to gallop him into Saturday's race. Blazing Fury will ship from Belmont to Arlington Park on Wednesday afternoon.

"We were debating to have another breeze," Toner said. "I thought he's better going into the race fresh. He gets good and sharp and aggressive. I don't want him to do too much work."

Blazing Fury will be among the last hopefuls for the Turf to arrive at Arlington Park.

Golan was the first on the scene early Monday morning, following a flight from England.

The winner of the King George VI Stakes at Ascot in July, Golan is likely to be well bet in the Turf, but not favored. That role will go to High Chaparral, the winner of the English and Irish derbies, who finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris on Oct. 6.

Denon, who has had an outstanding summer and fall campaign, worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 on Belmont Park's main track Monday.

"He worked great," trainer Bobby Frankel said. "He always does good."

A 4-year-old who won the Hollywood Derby in his U.S. debut last fall, Denon has won two stakes this year - the Charles Whittingham Handicap at Hollywood Park in July and the Turf Classic.

In between, he lost twice to With Anticipation, missing by a neck in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth Park on July 6 and by a head in the Sword Dancer Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 10 after appearing to be the winner in deep stretch. With Anticipation is another American candidate for the BC Turf.

Denon's results make him an attractive alternative to European shippers High Chaparral and Golan.

"I'll probably be the favorite among the American horses," Frankel said.