Updated on 11/01/2011 5:39PM

Breeders' Cup Clocker: Goldikova reacquaints herself with familiar setting


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Tuesday’s Breeders’ Cup workout report from Churchill Downs would be better called the “gallop” report since nary a single Cup contender turned in an officially timed trial either over the main track or turf course throughout the four-hour training session which began under clear but once again near-frigid conditions.

Two horses who came the closest to an actual work were trainer D. Wayne Lukas’s Breeders’ Cup duo of Optimizer (Juvenile) and Hamazing Destiny (Sprint). Both blew out two furlongs down the lane in 24 seconds and change before pulling up quickly into the turn, Optimizer breezing the entire quarter-mile on his left lead.

The main stories of the morning focused on  two of the  marquee names in this year’s Breeders’ Cup, Goldikova (Mile), who visited the racetrack for the first time since being released from quarantine the previous evening,  and Uncle Mo (Classic), who did not go to the track at all on Tuesday.

Goldikova was one of a handful of likely Cup favorites who trained for the first time on Tuesday. Other members of that prestigious group included Turbulent Descent (Filly and Mare Sprint), Union Rags (Juvenile), and Elusive Kate (Juvenile Fillies Turf), as well as Midday and Sarafina, who figure to vie for favoritism in the Turf.

Goldikova was one of a large contingent of European horses to see the track for the first time on Tuesday and part of a set of seven French shippers to come out on the main track for a routine jog shortly after the renovation break. That group did little more than stretch their legs with Goldikova getting a bit playful at times while checking out the surroundings. Among those who paraded around with Goldikova were Sarafina and Announce, the latter among the more highly regarded participants in the Filly and Mare Turf.

In contrast to the French horses, trainer Aidan O’Brien’s trio of Misty For Me (Filly and Mare Turf), Homecoming Queen (Juvenile Fillies), and Up (Juvenile Fillies Turf) had a very busy morning, not only jogging but also galloping a mile during their lengthy visit to the main track.

Turbulent Descent appeared after the break for some light exercise. Turbulent Descent doesn’t have the prettiest action when she gallops but she hoping to complete a championship season with a victory in the Filly and Mare Sprint.    

Union Rags, another to come out after sunrise, made a spectacular appearance and is so big and well developed he strikes one as looking more like a 3-year-old than a 2-year-old as well as a youngster who can only get better the farther he goes.

A second surprise on the Classic front, along with the absence of Uncle Mo this morning, was a brief appearance by Havre de Grace, who jogged in the mile chute with trainer Larry Jones aboard.

Among the horses who have really moved forward over the past several days are Stay Thirsty (Classic) and Shackleford (Dirt Mile), both of whom have come full circle since giving the impression they were not galloping as smoothly as usual less than a week earlier.

Stay Thirsty went right back to the track following Sunday’s sharp work and was even more eye-catching this morning when coming out in the first set shortly after 6 a.m. The same can be said for Shackleford, who has obviously bounced out of Saturday’s 58-and-change bullet drill none the worse for wear,  turning in a very impressive training session of his own about three hours later. 

Fort Loudon (Juvenile) did not work on Tuesday but gave some the impression he might when zipping past the five-furlong pole in full flight. It was actually the beginning of a very strong, one-mile open gallop which the Florida invader completed in 2:01 and change. This was the second very good morning in a row for the Calder-based 2-year-old Fort Loudon, who figures to fly well below the radar in the Juvenile.

Another south Florida regular, trainer Marty Wolfson, also had to be beaming after his duo of Ask the Moon (Ladies’ Classic) and Ann of the Dance (Juvenile Fillies Turf) both turned in very aggressive gallops under assistant trainer Heather Irion.

Like  Havre de Grace, Courageous Cat (Mile) wasted little time getting right back to the track despite having worked over the turf 24 hours earlier,  looking like his usual imposing self during a routine gallop well before the break.

I will keep a close eye over the next several days on Trinniberg (Juvenile Sprint), who was not extending real well  during his pre-dawn gallop and Dynaslew (Filly and Mare Turf), who was curiously ponied for the second consecutive morning sans tack or rider and with the pony wearing her Breeders’ Cup identification towel.