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Breeders' Cup Clocker: Friday report card
By Mike Welsch
ARCADIA, Calif. – The following are final impressions of selected horses competing on Friday’s Breeders’ Cup program from observations made at Belmont Park and Santa Anita over the past two weeks.
Merit Man did not make much of an impression in his final Breeders’ Cup prep, although from the looks of his resume, he’s never been a very good work horse in the morning. Crawled away from pole, ate a lot of dirt lugging in behind mate, and finished on wrong lead and without a lot of energy over a very cuppy racetrack last Friday.
Super Ninety Nine looked very sharp in company here last weekend, breezing five-eighths in 59.57 seconds without being asked and galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.74, although he did not appear to go quite as smoothly in his routine gallops midweek.
Hazardous did all his major prep work at Betfair Hollywood Park, but made a favorable first impression galloping over the main track Wednesday.
Atigun had his final two works at Keeneland, but looks great and proved a handful for his rider during a routine gallop Tuesday.
Jaycito, very average looking in his final Marathon prep, was surprisingly headstrong early, zipping through an opening three-eighths in 35 and change going in company. He had no punch at the end while barely matching strides with his well-held workmate.
Calidoscopio was striding out extremely well in an impromptu three-furlong blowout down the lane last Sunday, but was not as impressive during his scheduled five-furlong drill the following afternoon, turning in an average 1:01.29 move in company with a lackluster gallop out.
Almudena zipped an easy three-eighths in 35.86 and galloped out a half-mile in 48.76, but with her head cocked sideways in her only local work preparing for U.S. debut. She came back with an extremely strong gallop, pulling her rider around at faster than a two-minute clip on Wednesday.
Juniper Pass looked like a long-distance specialist finishing up with good energy going five-eighths in 1:00.89 on Sunday, then galloping out very willingly around the turn and into the backstretch, pulling up seven-eighths in 1:27.67 at a time when the track was not quite as tight as later that same morning.
Juvenile Fillies Turf
Spring Venture had her final two works in Kentucky, but made a very nice appearance galloping over the track in the dark with jockey Patrick Husbands aboard Tuesday.
Watsdachances got the better of older, Group 2-placed workmate La Conquerante going an easy half-mile over a yielding course at Belmont on Oct. 22 and was traveling easier at the wire breezing in company with the older, Grade 1 winner Zagora in a similarly designed work over firmer ground at Belmont last weekend, according to colleague David Grening.
Tara From the Cape held her own nicely with Ladies’ Classic contender Love and Pride, finishing about a head back of her more experienced partner while among only a few Breeders’ Cup horses to shade 24 seconds for the final quarter-mile over a cuppy main track last Saturday morning.
Nancy O was not striding out very well at the wire, concluding an easy, but unimpressive, 52-and-change half-mile breeze over the training track here Monday.
Moonwalk finished willingly enough, but under moderate pressure, and galloped out with some interest over the turf one week ago.
Beholder had difficulty getting by a stoutly restrained workmate while breezing an average five furlongs in 1:01.22, barely shading 1:15 galloping out six furlongs on Oct. 25. She exits a monster effort over speed-biased strip in her last.
Executiveprivilege struggled during the latter stages of a less than impressive 1:14.48 six-furlong work last weekend, had to be urged to complete gallop out in 1:27.85 for seven furlongs while struggling to narrowly outfinish her unpressured workmate. She did rebound with her best-looking gallop of the week Wednesday.
Renee’s Queen turned in a very labored six-furlong work last weekend, completing her final quarter in a slow 26.41 under pressure with nothing left at the end for a recorded gallop out.
Dreaming of Julia cruised to the wire a head in front of the Grade 2-placed older mare Maristar, breezing an easy half-mile in 48.02 at Belmont on Oct. 21, although she completed her final quarter-mile slower than the opening quarter and was passed by her mate during the latter stages of an average gallop out. She returned to finish stronger, breezing four furlongs in company with Shanghai Bobby a week later at Belmont, according to Grening.
Kauai Katie was pressured to stay with Grade 1-winning, older mate Turbulent Descent late when going five furlongs in 1:01.02 on Oct. 21 at Belmont, but could not keep up during the gallop out. Grening reported that she had to be urged to match strides late with an unraced 2-year-old partner breezing five furlongs six days later.
Filly and Mare Turf
Zagora was given little more than a maintenance-type half-mile breeze over a yielding course at Belmont on Oct. 22, but did finish well under wraps. She was under a little more pressure to finish than 2-year-old mate Watsdachances going the same distance six days later over firmer ground, according to Grening.
The Fugue looked the best of all the Europeans who galloped seven furlongs over the main track Wednesday.
Lady of Shamrock was being asked for more at the finish than her workmate, breezing seven furlongs in a lackluster 1:28.06, and did her best running when finally pulling about three lengths clear of her partner, galloping out a mile in 1:41.65 over the main track Oct. 27.
In Lingerie looked very sharp in company with male mate Turbo Compressor, working a swift half-mile in 47.08 over the turf last weekend while being restrained to the wire. She bounced out of the work with a nice-looking main-track gallop Wednesday. She gives the impression she should have little trouble handling the grass in her turf debut.
My Miss Aurelia exits a patented Steve Asmussen half-mile maintenance breeze five days out from the race, but was full of run and had to be reined in to keep from doing more, posting matching 24-second quarter-mile splits before galloping out a strong five-eighths in 1:00.57. Undefeated miss looks sharp for Ladies’ Classic.
Class Included breezed a fast half and did it easily, galloping out five-eighths in 59.59, despite having to alter course into the turn Saturday. She obviously retains her top form, although still a decided longshot in this spot.
Questing did all her major Breeders’ Cup preparations at Greentree and did not appear particularly comfortable galloping over the local surface Wednesday morning.
Awesome Feather was given a maintenance-type 1:12.22 six- furlong work from the five-furlong pole out past the wire while asked through the final eighth-mile only at Belmont on Oct. 21. She looked great during a strong and very eye-catching gallop over the local strip Wednesday.
Royal Delta couldn’t have gone any easier or looked any better working over her home course at Belmont on Oct. 22, completing the final half-mile of a 59.45-second five-furlong breeze in an eye-catching 46.43 while under cruise control the entire way before ultimately “pulling up” seven panels in 1:27.39. She also appeared full of energy galloping over the local strip here Wednesday.
Love and Pride has had a very good final week leading up to the Ladies’ Classic, cruising through an easy half-mile work in 48.69 in company with the younger Tara From the Cape while among only a trio of horses to shade 24 seconds for the final quarter over a cuppy main track Saturday. She bounced out of the drill with several nice gallops earlier this week.
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