09/23/2011 5:17PM

Belmont: Stablemates Winchester, Grassy breeze together for Joe Hirsch


In an attempt to beat the rain, trainer Christophe Clement sent out his stakes-winning pair of Winchester and Grassy for an in-company workout Friday morning in preparation for next Saturday’s Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont Park.

Winchester, under Christophe Lorieul, broke off 1 1/2 lengths in front of Grassy and finished about a head in front at the wire. Winchester was credited with a five-furlong time of 1:02.46, while Grassy went in 1:02.19 under Jerry Fogarty.

“They started slow, they finished well, they both looked willing,’’ Clement said. “When you work two good horses together you want to be careful not to overdo it.’’

Winchester, who won the Turf Classic last year, is coming off a win in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga. That was just his second start of the year after having twice injured his splint bone. While the Turf Classic is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, Clement said he could run Winchester back in the Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 16.

BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners >>

Meanwhile, Grassy, who won the Bowling Green in his last start, is slated for the Turf Classic and the Red Smith at Aqueduct before being put through the auction ring in November.

Cape Blanco, the Man o’ War and Arlington Million winner, is due to arrive Wednesday from Ireland. Others pointing to the Turf Classic include Derby Kitten, Mission Approved, and Teas North.