10/25/2007 12:00AM

BC runners test soggy conditions

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - Thursday was both the nastiest and busiest day for training here this past week, with temperatures dipping into the low 50s and some intermittent rain adding even more moisture to a track and turf course already soaked by heavy downpours the previous evening.

The starting gate was particularly busy, with dozens of Breeders' Cup starters paying a visit for some last-minute schooling Thursday. Despite the rain, the turf course did open for training, with the lone work turned in by Jeremy (Turf) who went a half-mile around the dogs in 53.69 seconds but flew through the final furlong in 11.02.

The cooler weather and high winds had most of the Breeders' Cup horses on their toes, including Corinthian - who was to run in Friday's Dirt Mile - who ran off down the backstretch and blew out an inadvertent quarter-mile or so before pulling up approaching the quarter pole.

Several of the Classic contenders made impressive appearances, including Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun, although none more so than Curlin. The Preakness winner has filled out into a massive specimen since the Triple Crown and was prancing around confidently, bucking, and kicking, while hobby horsing and jogging an easy five furlongs following a brief visit to the starting gate.

Obviously, it's impossible to see all or even a majority of Saturday's 90 Breeders' Cup starters train. The following is a breakdown of the eight events from what has been observed during training hours at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park during the past nine mornings.

All clockings by Daily Racing Form.


Lawyer Ron: Worked five furlongs in 1:01 over the tight, Monmouth-like turns of the Belmont training track Sunday. Finished up willingly without pressure, although he was somewhat rank to begin, which along with his inside post likely assures he'll be a pace factor from the outset in the Classic.

Street Sense: Training up to his career finale in the same manner he did prior to the Kentucky Derby. Turned in an eye-catching five-furlong work here Tuesday that featured an unbelievably strong gallop-out of a mile in 1:38.51. Looks much sharper in the morning than he did training up to his earlier victories in the Jim Dandy and Travers, and seems to be handling the Monmouth strip in the same manner he does his home track at Churchill Downs.

Any Given Saturday: Was given just an easy final maintenance work of 1:02.09 over the Belmont training track Sunday. Didn't gallop out as strong as some of his stablemates that morning, but did look very sharp galloping in draw reins over a Monmouth strip he obviously likes Thursday.

Curlin: Didn't get to see any of his works leading up to the Classic, but he made just an awesome appearance when coming out to visit the starting gate and gallop Thursday. Looks like he's been lifting weights since the Triple Crown, the way he's filled out and muscled up. The most impressive-looking physical specimen in this year's Breeders' Cup.

Hard Spun: Another who did most of his training out of town, but he has been training enthusiastically since arriving here earlier in the week.

Tiago: Has done little more than gallop since shipping here from the West Coast. Another member of the field who has made a good impression during training hours this past week. Worth a look at a square price.


English Channel: Worked an easy five furlongs in 1:03.83 over a soft course at Belmont on Sunday and handled the going well, a pertinent fact considering he's likely to encounter a less- than-firm course Saturday.

Shamdinan: Like English Channel, he went an easy five-eighths around the dogs at Belmont on Sunday, and while he didn't finish quite as strong as English Channel, he did put in an enthusiastic gallop over the wet main track here Thursday. Has handled soft turf.


Balance: Was visually unimpressive during her half-mile work in 49.36 seconds at Monmouth on Tuesday, especially when she had to be put to severe pressure to complete her work through a final furlong of 12.66. Trainer David Hofmans said she's not much of a work horse when breezing alone.

Ginger Punch: Disappointed in the Beldame but gave every indication she'll bounce back with an improved effort with a sharp but well-controlled half-mile under jockey Kent Desormeaux in 48.06 seconds at Belmont on Sunday. Was well within herself during a strong gallop-out.

Bear Now: Haven't seen her work, but she's had several good days over the Monmouth track. Might outrun her odds.

Lear's Princess: Her final work of 49.96 seconds at Belmont was a little slower than trainer Kiaran McLaughlin probably would have preferred but probably nothing to be overly concerned about considering she's never been a real fast work horse. Holding her form remarkably well all season.

Octave: Looked a little lackadaisical galloping a couple of mornings last week at Belmont, but was all business when put in company to work Sunday morning, dragging Hall of Famer Angel Cordero through the stretch and out beyond the wire while changing leads on cue. Another filly who gives her best every time.

Indian Vale: Worked an easy five furlongs in 1:01.54 over the Belmont training track on Sunday, but did not finish or gallop out as strong as expected from the morning-line favorite in such a wide-open race.

Unbridled Belle: The most impressive of the potent Pletcher contingent in this field from a workout standpoint last weekend. Galloped out like a machine after her five-furlong drill in 1:01.28 over the Belmont training strip. Couldn't be doing better coming into the race, but she drew a poor post (11).


Rebellion: Trained up to the race at Fair Hill but looked very sharp galloping over the soft course here Thursday morning. Might be a sleeper.

Icy Atlantic: Worked an easy half-mile around the dogs in 51.51 seconds last weekend at Belmont. Has won over the local course but perhaps a bit overmatched in this field.

After Market: Prepped on the West Coast but hard not to like from his local gallops over the main track this week.

Jeremy: Sizzled a final furlong in 11 seconds over a soft course at the end of a half-mile work Thursday and appears to be very sharp for his U.S. debut.

Remarkable News: Worked willingly enough on soft turf last Sunday in New York but must overcome a terrible outside post and has never raced on a soft course.


Smokey Stover: Wasn't asked to do much during an easy five-furlong work here Monday. Looks like a million bucks and coming up to the race in good order.

Benny the Bull: In contrast to Smokey Stover, zipped five furlongs in 57.86 seconds and galloped out three-quarters in 1:09.98 here Monday while showing a lot more speed than one might expect from a horse likely to be rallying from the rear of the pack. On top of his game. Hoping the work wasn't a little too fast just five days out from the race.

Greg's Gold: Worked on the West Coast but has looked very sharp during his local gallops since shipping east. Dangerous with the right trip.

Filly and Mare Turf

Honey Ryder: Breezed in company over the turf at Belmont with stablemate Host and held her own, although she was under slightly more pressure to finish and gallop out. Has run well on soft ground.

Passage of Time: Put in a busy morning over the soggy turf here Thursday, galloping three times around the course in company with an unidentified horse from trainer Bobby Frankel's barn. Appeared to have all she could handle to keep pace with her rabbit during the latter stages of the trip.

Wait a While: Did not appear to care for the soft course in her final prep at Belmont on Sunday, which does not bode well considering the prospects of encountering similar footing Saturday.

Lahudood: Turned in an eye-catching half-mile drill in 46.94 seconds over the Belmont main track last week. Couldn't be coming into her race any better.

Argentina: Handled the soft course willingly enough in an easy final prep under Desormeaux last Sunday at Belmont.


Z Humor: Labored during the final stages of his Monday workout at Belmont when outfinished by his stablemate Sunday Holiday, a juvenile filly who was third in the Frizette. Did get over the ground extremely well during an impressive-looking gallop here Thursday.

Tale of Ekati: Worked a fast half-mile in 45.79 seconds Monday at Belmont. Obviously doing well, but, like his trainer, must be concerned the work could be a little too much too close to the race.

Juvenile Fillies

Indian Blessing: Was very impressive in her final tune-up at Belmont on Sunday, hitting another gear when dropped to the rail in early stretch during a 58.26-second five-furlong drill. Galloped out in a manner suggesting she'll handle the stretch around two turns Saturday.

Backseat Rhythm: No match for Indian Blessing in the Frizette but trained well for the rematch, going six furlongs in 1:13.94 at Belmont on Friday.

Grace Anatomy: Impressive- looking filly doing very well since her arrival here over the weekend. Must overcome outside post-position draw.