10/29/2011 2:32PM

Breeders' Cup Clocker: Her Smile, Drosselmeyer, Chamberlain Bridge stand out

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Barbara D. Livingston
Defending Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint champion Chamberlain Bridge was among the most impressive workers Saturday morning at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup workout report at Churchill Downs can be summed up in two four-letter words. Cold and busy.

The temperature barely inched above the freezing mark and there was frost on the turf course when the main track opened at 6 a.m. but after several relatively calm mornings, things really got cooking with 11 Breeders’ Cup horses putting in timed workouts on the dirt during the course of the morning and seven others doing likewise over the grass.

Works of the day (main track)

Her Smile (four furlongs in 48.18 seconds): This Filly and Mare Sprint candidate was the last of the three dirt workers under the lights and couldn’t have been more impressive both during her work and even more so galloping out around the turn and into the backstretch. Her Smile was in hand to get her opening quarter-mile in 24.89, then was full of run down the stretch, completing her final quarter in 23.29 while well within herself. She then continued past the wire at a very sharp pace, galloping out five-eighths in 1:00.89 before pulling up six furlongs in 1:14.63. Appears to love this track, looks ready to outrun her odds on Friday.

Drosselmeyer (five furlongs in 1:00.92): The 2010 Belmont winner has made a favorable impression all week long and may have even been better in his final prep for the Classic. Drosselmeyer broke off about a length to 1 1/2 lengths behind stablemate Birdrun, drew even after an opening three furlongs in 36.46, and was going the easier of the pair at the wire, completing his final quarter under no pressure whatsoever in 24.45 before galloping out a sharp six furlongs in 1:14.28 and pulling up seven furlongs in 1:29.28. Looks a bit overmatched, on paper, in the Classic, but another who could exceed expectations in his current form.

Work of the day (turf)

Chamberlain Bridge (four furlongs in 50.28): The reigning Turf Sprint champ won the event despite missing his final work a year ago due to a foot issue but was spot on perfect Saturday. After cruising through an easy opening quarter in 27.59, Chamberlain Bridge looked razor sharp coming down the lane in 22.69 while not asked, stretching out beautifully over the still somewhat boggy course to gallop out five-eighths in 1:04.69. From the looks of this move, he’s more than ready to defend his title.

The remainder of this morning’s works in the order in which they transpired:

Regally Ready (four furlongs in 50.69): I was a bit surprised to see this turf sprint candidate breeze over the main track but perhaps trainer Steve Asmussen was fearful the grass course might be shut for a third consecutive morning. Whatever the reason, Regally Ready worked nicely for a grass horse breezing on dirt as he was restrained through an opening quarter in 26.12 before completing the same distance in 24.57 pretty much under his own courage. He did have his head cocked pretty severely to the outside around the turn, more a factor of the hold his rider took away from the pole than anything else.

Jake Mo (five furlongs in 1:01.40): This Juvenile Sprint candidate fanned about four or five paths wide into the stretch and changed leads a bit late but finished up willingly enough (final quarter in 24.60) under just some mild encouragement nearing the wire. Not much in the gallop out, however, six furlongs in 1:16.

Tar Heel Mom (four furlongs in 47.58): She was the first of the Breeders’ Cup horses to work after the renovation break and while her final time earned a bullet, she was not nearly as impressive as fellow Filly and Mare Sprint hopeful Her Smile. Tar Heel Mom was very aggressive breaking away from the pole, completing her opening quarter in 23.73, but appeared to be bearing out around the turn and came down the stretch with her head cocked slightly inward as her rider struggled to keep her on a straight path down the lane.

Shackleford (five furlongs in 58.15): Although the Preakness winner did not appear to be striding out as smoothly as normal over the last couple of days, he looked very strong when really allowed to stretch out in this morning’s work. Going in company with stablemate Da Price while while equipped in a hood without blinkers with exercise rider Tammy Fox aboard, Shackleford was sizzling right from the start, cutting out splits of 22.46 and 33.84, easing away from his overmatched mate nearing the stretch before drawing well clear at the wire under mild encouragement. He should be able to use his inherent speed to its best advantage in the Dirt Mile.

Super Espresso (five furlongs in 1:01.86): She certainly doesn’t have the prettiest way of going during her routine gallops and she was only marginally better when given the opportunity to stretch out a bit more this morning. Although she easily pulled away from a pretty formidable work mate in Alma d’Oro, Super Expresso was under some pressure to do so while completing her final quarter in 25.72 and galloping out six furlongs in an ordinary 1:16.59.

Birdrun (five furlongs in 1:01.12): As noted above, he was under marginally more pressure than work-mate Drosselmeyer to finish his final quarter in a sharp 24.45. A very solid move but he was not quite as eye-catching as Drosselmeyer.

Aruna (five furlongs in 1:02.92): She was given what amounted to an easy test run over the course to determine her status on Breeders’ Cup Day and while she seemed to handle the going well enough, this wasn’t the kind of “wow” type of work we saw from her stablemate Animal Kingdom a week prior to the Derby. Will hazard a guess she’ll stick to the Filly and Mare Turf.

Dullahan (five furlongs in 1:00.36): Like Shackleford, he went in company with the blinker-less hood under Fox and zipped right along from the outset although not at the same torrid pace as his older stablemate. Appeared to try to lean in just a bit down the lane while tiring slightly under pressure, May be a bit better suited to turf than dirt.

Putthebabiesdown (five furlongs in 1:02.20 according to track clockers): Young filly was very rank leaving the pole, never really settled and was trying to drift out while tiring down the stretch alongside work-mate Yes He’s Trouble, who was certainly going easier and more impressively throughout.

Tequila Factor/Stephanie’s Kitten (five furlongs in 1:12.16 on turf): This was really a quarter-mile blow out down the stretch, the two juveniles just opening galloping for three furlongs before coming home in 24.20 down the lane with Tequila Factor perhaps slightly the better of the set.

Rapport (four furlongs in :49.61 on turf): Went faster than Turf Sprint rival Chamberlain Bridge and while not nearly as impressive did complete his final two furlongs in a very respectable 23.51 after being a bit rank leaving the pole and perhaps bobbling slightly a time or two through midstretch.

Stopshoppingmaria/Sweet Cat (five furlongs in 1:04.39 and 1:04.69, respectively on turf): A test run for Stopshoppingmaria on the grass and she appeared to pass it well enough, finishing up the easier of the pair under jockey Javier Castellano, although Sweet Cat did fight back to be on even terms during the gallop out.

Dynaslew (five furlongs in 1:05.28 on turf): Changed leads a little late in what was nothing more than an easy maintenance move for the Filly and Mare Turf hopeful.