Updated on 10/25/2011 5:30PM

Breeders' Cup Clocker: Havre de Grace, Turallure work at Keeneland

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LEXINGTON, Ky – The daily workout reports for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup began Sunday at Churchill Downs and will continue through Thursday, Nov. 3. The action quickly shifted into high gear Monday morning at Keeneland, where one of the year’s best stories, Havre de Grace, worked five furlongs as a prelude to her battle against the boys in the Classic just 12 days down the road.

The skies were clear and sunny when dawn finally broke shortly before 8 a.m. but they clouded up suddenly about an hour and half later, producing a sudden downpour that threatened to cancel scheduled workouts for three prospective Breeders’ Cup starters later in the morning. Fortunately, the rain subsided quickly and the turf course was deemed safe following a test ride by the track’s outrider.

The Keeneland Polytrack has been extremely fast over the past month, producing not only record-breaking times in the afternoon but watch-breaking workouts during training hours. And it was no different when Havre de Grace stepped onto the track under jockey Gabriel Saez shortly before 8:30 a.m. Monday.

Havre de Grace (five furlongs in 58.57 seconds) – Prior to the beginning of Havre de Grace’s work, trainer Larry Jones, aboard one of his 2-year-olds, galloped about a quarter-mile in front of his star filly, not so much as a target but to put himself in position to “shout at Saez” with any last-minute instructions, if necessary, as he and his mount approached the stretch.

Havre de Grace broke off at the five-furlong pole and settled into a comfortable stride, covering her opening eighth and quarter in 11.56 and 23.28. All was well by Jones’s own admission as she passed by and completed three-eighths in 35.12 while still well within herself. But Havre de Grace did appear to come off the bit slightly approaching the wire, with Saez having to encourage her with several shakes of the reins during the final sixteenth of a mile. The Woodward and Beldame winner completed her final quarter in 23.46 and galloped out willingly enough, finishing six furlongs in 1:11.86 before pulling up rather abruptly on the turn.

From a visual standpoint, the work was good but not exceptional. Several other horses of lesser ability worked faster and did it easier here Monday than Havre de Grace, with the overall impression being that she is probably far less comfortable over the artificial surface than she is on dirt. It is likely nothing for her supporters to be concerned about and a theory she should confirm with a stronger, more focused drill next Monday at Churchill Downs.

Turallure (five furlongs in 59.44 on the turf) – This was the work of the day by far. Despite the dogs, orange cones placed on the racetrack to keep the horses away from the inner part of the course, being out some 30 feet and the turf having some give to it due to the earlier downpour, Turallure skipped along at a swift and steady pace throughout under jockey Julien Leparoux. He broke off full of run, covering his opening quarter in 23.85, and was still able to complete his final quarter down the home straight in 22.93, with his ears pricked and without the need of urging from Leparoux. Turallure continued on willingly around the turn, galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.55. The Woodbine Mile winner gave every indication he is maintaining his razor-sharp form heading into the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

 

Pleasant Prince (three furlongs in 33.08) – Not sure if this was a case of rider error or miscommunication between the barn and the rider, but Pleasant Prince was scheduled to work six furlongs and instead broke off at the three-eighths pole and zipped along at an astounding pace, especially for a horse with the 1 3/4-mile Marathon as his goal on Breeders’ Cup Day. Pleasant Prince sizzled through splits of 11.42 and 21.87, was still in hand as he crossed the finish line, and then galloped out a half in 45.48 before pulling up five-eighths in 1:00.50. Not sure what to make of this one as Pleasant Prince certainly displayed a turn of foot he’s never shown in his races or even previous workouts, according to the local clockers.

 

Great Attack (five furlongs in 1:04.26 on the turf) – He never seemed to handle the course at all, barely shading 27 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 51 seconds for the half while on his left lead throughout in a very disappointing drill.

Holiday for Kitten (five furlongs in 1:00.90 on the turf) – The winner of the Win and You’re In TCA Stakes over the Polytrack may have sewn up a berth in the Turf Sprint after shading 1:01 around the dogs over the less-than-firm course, going off slow (opening three-eighths in 38.24). The best part was her 22.66 final quarter-mile split without the need of more than just some mild encouragement from her rider.