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Updated on 09/15/2011 1:17PM
BC Roundup: 'Elaine' back in Stewart barn
ELMONT, N.Y. - In a shocking development just one week before the Oct. 27 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Belmont Park, the 3-year-old filly Unbridled Elaine, who is scheduled to run in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff, was removed from the barn of trainer David Vance and was returned to her original trainer, Dallas Stewart.
The decision was made by 81-year-old owner Roger Devenport, who has had Unbridled Elaine throughout her nine-race career. She was 3 for 5 for Stewart, and 2 for 4 for Vance. Unbridled Elaine, who finished fourth in the Spinster Stakes in her last start, will still run in the Distaff, Devenport said from his home near Lexington, Ky. Devenport said he will not attend the Breeders' Cup because he is receiving radiation treatment for cancer.
Most of Saturday's developments centered on key workouts of major Breeders' Cup contenders, including the Bobby Frankel-trained trio of Aptitude (Classic), Flute (Distaff), and You (Juvenile Fillies), all of whom worked at Belmont Park. But the day's most startling news took place at Churchill Downs, where Unbridled Elaine has been based with Vance. Stewart also is based there.
Vance, reached at his home, said he got a call at his barn at 8 a.m., shortly after Unbridled Elaine had her daily exercise, and was told Stewart would be at his barn at 10 a.m. to take Unbridled Elaine and the owner's other nine horses. Vance, a veteran trainer who won last year's Juvenile Fillies with Caressing, said he was shocked.
"I had sat with him at the races the last couple of days, and talked to him yesterday and the day before. He said nothing," Vance said of Devenport. "This is a pretty good blow. I only maintain 30 horses, by choice, so losing 10 hurts. It's tough to take."
Vance said Devenport was upset Unbridled Elaine had not gone to New York earlier to prepare for the Breeders' Cup. She is scheduled to travel here Wednesday, with about a dozen other Kentucky-based runners. Vance said he had discussed the reasons for remaining at Churchill with Devenport weeks ago, and said Devenport seemingly had agreed.
Devenport confirmed that not going to New York earlier was a factor. "I thought she should be there a week or two ahead of time," he said.
Devenport also said he was upset that Cielo Girl, a 2-year-old filly for whom Vance had high hopes, ran sixth in her debut on Thursday at Keeneland. "I didn't have any confidence in the other guy," Devenport said, referring to Vance.
Asked why he had taken Unbridled Elaine from Stewart initially, Devenport replied, "I was stupid."
* Several leading contenders for the Distaff had workouts on Saturday, most notably Kentucky Oaks winner Flute, who worked five furlongs at Belmont Park in 59.24 seconds under exercise rider Anna Hollander. Her time was the best of 33 at the distance. Also at Belmont, Spinster winner Miss Linda worked five furlongs in 1:00.54 with jockey Richard Migliore. And at Churchill, Personal Ensign Stakes winner Pompeii covered five furlongs in 1:00.40. All the works were on tracks rated fast.
In other Breeders' Cup developments Saturday:
Both Aptitude, the race's likely favorite, and Macho Uno had their final workouts. Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Aptitude, working in company with stablemate Sumitas, was timed in 1:00.87 for five furlongs with jockey Rudy Rodriguez. Jerry Bailey rides him in the Classic. Macho Uno, who went off slowly and finished well, covered six furlongs in 1:15.65 with jockey Gary Stevens.
After the work, Stevens confirmed he would ride Macho Uno, last year's champion 2-year-old colt. Stevens also was being wooed by trainer John Terranova, who will send out Gander. Terranova said he would now use Victor Espinoza on Gander.
The winner in all this jockey maneuvering was agent Tony Matos, who represents both Espinoza and Stevens. "Tony didn't ask me about this. I don't think he expected it," Terranova said.
Said an appreciative Matos later: "I was shocked."
Tiznow, who earned Horse of the Year with his victory in last year's Classic, arrived here from California on Saturday afternoon.
- Jay Privman
Blueprint was declared out of the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday after straining the suspensory ligament in his right foreleg during a workout at Santa Anita, trainer Bob Hess said.
Blueprint worked five furlongs in 1:00.40, according to Hess, who said that track clockers missed him because the work was so early and in the dark. Hess said the injury was not necessarily career-ending, "but given his value, it might be," Hess said.
Blueprint, a 6-year-old son of Generous, won the San Luis Rey and the Sunset Handicap, both Grade 2 events, earlier this year. He has a record of 9-2-4 from 24 starts with earnings of $569,481.
* Quiet Resolve ran one of the best races of his career in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Turf, leading briefly in midstretch and finishing second by a half-length to Kalanisi at 41-1.
The 6-year-old Quiet Resolve will be back for another try in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Turf. On Saturday at Keeneland, he worked six furlongs in 1:14 on the main track.
Quiet Resolve, who was 14th in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Mile, could give owner Sam-Son Farm and trainer Mark Frostad their second Breeders' Cup Turf win, four years after Chief Bearhart scored at Hollywood Park.
This year, Quiet Resolve has one victory in seven starts - the Grade 2 King Edward Breeders' Cup Handicap at Woodbine. He was third by a head in the Atto Mile and fifth in the Keeneland Turf Mile on Oct. 7.
"He was unlucky in the Atto Mile," Frostad said.
Quiet Resolve should be close to the pace, but Frostad does not intend for jockey Robby Albarado to insist on showing the way.
* Brahms, who will be a longshot in the
$1 million Mile, worked five furlongs in 58.60 seconds on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
"It was a monstrous work, especially for Churchill Downs this morning," said trainer Elliott Walden.
Brahms was not selected to the Breeders' Cup Mile field last year, but won the River City Handicap at Churchill Downs the following day. This year, he is winless in six starts, including third-place finishes in the Woodford Reserve at Churchill Downs and Shoemaker Breeders' Cup Mile at Hollywood Park.
In the Keeneland Mile, he finished fourth after being blocked briefly in early stretch.
"I hate to make excuses, but I know he can run with these horses," Walden said.
Alex Solis will ride Brahms for the first time in the Mile, as the 4-year-old's previous riders, Gary Stevens and Pat Day, are committed to Irish Prize and Balto Star, respectively.
* Chorwon, who will be a longshot in the Breeders Cup Turf, worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 at Churchill Downs. Trainer Hal Wiggins timed him galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.80.
"It was a good strong work," Wiggins said. "It looks like everything is okay."
- David Grening, Steve Andersen
Filly and Mare Turf
For a horse who is at her best when rallying from the back of the pack, Spook Express showed an unexpected turn of speed when breezing a half-mile in 48.38 seconds over the Widener turf course at Belmont on Saturday morning. But to trainer Tom Skiffington, Spook Express's show of speed was not so surprising.
"She was a champion 2-year-old in South Africa, and all her races that year were at five furlongs," Skiffington said. "She could work a half in 46 or faster if we wanted. A sprinter who relaxes makes the best distance horse. She actually went a little faster than I preferred but all my horses always work faster than I like. I'm not too scientific when it comes to these things. I don't want them working too fast or too slow; somewhere in the middle. The only thing I told my rider this morning was to 'go happy' and that's exactly what she did."
Spook Express comes into the Filly and Mare Turf off perhaps the best performance of her career, a last-to-first 1 1/4-length victory in the Grade 2 Winstar Galaxy Stakes at Keeneland.
* Christophe Clement confirmed that Jose Santos will ride Volga in the Filly and Mare Turf. Clement started training Volga, an Irish bred 3-year-old, shortly after her second-place finish in the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine Sept. 30.
- Mike Welsch
You, who has become more aggressive with each passing day, dragged jockey Edgar Prado through a five-furlong move in 59.87 seconds Saturday over Belmont's main track, in preparation for the $1 million Juvenile Fillies, in which she will be the favorite. It was the third-fastest move of the morning at the distance.
You worked alongside Extra Fancy for the first three furlongs, but disposed of that filly in the stretch with Prado asking for run only in the last sixteenth.
"She was cruising along, I didn't really ask her," he said. "She did everything under her own courage. I'm just hoping she stays that way for another seven days."
Earlier this week, Frankel changed exercise riders on You because she had become so aggressive. Because of Saturday's fast move, Frankel said he would adjust You's training during the week. He plans to jog her an extra day or two rather than gallop her.
"I could walk her into the race and she'd be all right," Frankel said. "But, I'm not going to do that. I'm not brave enough."
- David Grening
Striking Song, who won his maiden on Oct. 8, breezed five furlongs in 59.40 seconds Saturday at Santa Anita in preparation for the $1 million Juvenile. Corey Nakatani, who will ride the colt in the race, was aboard for the move.
"He went extremely well, better than the trainer wanted," trainer Bob Hess Jr. said. "I think the track was a bit fast today. My instructions to Nakatani were go as slow as you could without fighting him. I was looking for 1:01 or 1:02, but he did it in an Officer-like way. He could not have worked any better."
Striking Song has raced four times, including a fourth-place finish behind Officer in the Del Mar Futurity. Striking Song is a son of Unbridled's Song, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in 1995, the last time it was held at Belmont Park.
"We always thought the world of the horse," Hess said. "At Del Mar, we lost some time, some conditioning. Realistically, he won't be able to beat Officer, but he has a big shot to get a significant portion of the purse. He was a high-dollar horse. From the get-go we expected big things from the horse."
* In other Juvenile developments, trainer Terry Knight has named Mike Smith to ride Publication, the undefeated winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity. It'sallinthechase, runner-up to Publication in that race, arrived from Oklahoma on Saturday.
- David Grening
Bet on Sunshine had his final work for the $1 million Sprint on Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. The 9-year-old, under jockey Joe Johnson, worked five furlongs in 1:00.20, breezing, over a fast track.
"He did it exceptionally well," said trainer Paul McGee, who timed Bet on Sunshine's final eighth in 11.40 seconds. "He went a little faster than I thought he would, but he did it easily and with his ears pricked."
Bet on Sunshine, who will be ridden by Calvin Borel in the Sprint, arrives in New York on Wednesday. McGee, who gets into town on Thursday, said Bet on Sunshine will gallop up to the Sprint, after a couple days of walking the shed row.
Bet on Sunshine will be making his third Sprint appearance after finishing third in 1997 and 2000.
* Caller One, the fleet-footed California sprinter who worked brilliantly at Hollywood Park on Friday, arrived at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon, along with another Sprint contender from the West Coast, Swept Overboard.
- Karen M. Johnson