10/29/2017 6:33PM

Breeders' Cup clocker: Elate impresses ahead of Distaff

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Barbara D. Livingston
Cambodia breezes five furlongs Sunday for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

DEL MAR   
Main Track: Fast 
Turf: Firm
Weather: Cloudy 
Temp.: 64

DEL MAR, Calif. – There was action aplenty on all fronts,  turf and dirt, at Del Mar on Sunday, with 19 potential Breeders’ Cup starters recording works during the busiest day yet at the site of the 2017 Breeders’ Cup.

Skies were again overcast, with a little haze hanging around throughout the morning and temperatures pleasantly in the low to mid-60s. The main track was fast but not overly quick, while the turf course is firm with the dogs set out a good 15-20 feet for the dual work sessions, one at 7:15 a.m. and the second coming after the main track shut down for business at 9:30.

WORK OF THE DAY      

After having seen the way she’s galloped here the last several mornings, it came as no surprise that ELATE (Distaff) looked absolutely brilliant when really getting to stretch her legs over the local strip for the first time on Sunday, cruising an easy half-mile in 48.78 seconds while really accelerating down the lane, completing her final quarter effortlessly in 23.68 before galloping out five panels in 1:01.93. Everything I’ve seen from Elate this week suggests she’s sitting on her best yet in the Distaff. 

Seven other Breeders’ Cup pre-entrants worked over the main track on Sunday, including MOONSHINE MEMORIES (Juvenile Fillies), who also looked very sharp breezing a very easy half-mile in 48.09, posting a steady series of 12-second splits while well within herself and looking happy throughout.                                                                                                   
IRON FIST (Dirt Mile) turned in one of the slower half-mile clockings of the morning, not surprising for a Steve Asmussen-trained runner breezing the week of the race, but he gave off very positive signs, finishing under a big hold while showing great energy both during and especially after the breeze, bucking and playing and generally feeling good about himself on the way back to the barn.

CURLIN’S APPROVAL (Filly and Mare Sprint) turned in the fastest work of the morning over the main track and did so while not appearing to be going that quickly, always a positive sign, four furlongs in 24.38, 47.61, finishing nicely under a loose rein with Flavien Prat aboard. 

PRINCESS WARRIOR will come into her meeting with Moonshine Memories in the Juvenile Fillies off a 48.40 half-mile during which she too shaded 24 for her final quarter and looked good doing so.              

Three horses pre-entered in turf races turned in maintenance-type half-mile breezes over the main track on Sunday. From the Asmussen barn, TAP DADDY (Juvenile Turf) in 49.83 and SNAPPER SINCLAIR (Juvenile Turf) in 49.90 worked under the cloak of darkness, with BIGGER PICTURE (Turf) covering the same distance in 50.86. 

CAMBODIA (Filly and Mare Turf) and CATHOLIC BOY (Juvenile Turf) shared honors for the best turf work of the morning. Cambodia just skipped over the ground, changing leads on cue at the top of the stretch en route to completing a visually impressive and very easy five furlongs in 36.53, 1:01.29 around the dogs for trainer Tom Proctor. 

Catholic Boy, built more like a 3-year-old than a juvenile, was full of run from the outset, zipping four furlongs in 48.01 outside the cones, with blinkers, striding out powerfully to the wire and continuing very willingly both into and around the turn. He has looked as good as anybody here all week.

LADY AURELIA (Turf Sprint) worked in company inside a stablemate and was well in reserve much of the way, breezing an easy half-mile in 49.23 in maintenance mode. She preceded stablemates HEMP HEMP HOORAY (Juvenile Turf) and ULTIMA D (Juvenile Fillies Turf), the former breaking a length behind and finishing even up after a 47.98 half-mile but with the latter extremely impressive, readily pulling away into and around the turn in what may have been the best gallop-out of the morning. 

OSCAR PERFORMANCE tuned up his speed as the likely pacesetter in the Turf, going four furlongs in 47.40. WAR FLAG finished strong and galloped out with good energy in typical Shug McGaughey fashion for the Filly and mare Turf.

OM blew out a quick three-eighths around the dogs in 35.40 for the Mile. HUNT breezed six furlongs in 1:14.88 in fairly handy fashion for the Turf, and BIRDIE GOLD went an okay-looking half-mile, going easily throughout in 49.73 for her U.S. debut in the Filly and Mare Turf.

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