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Breeders' Cup Clocker Report: Groupie Doll works like a champion
By Mike Welsch
ARCADIA, Calif. – Steve Asmussen has one style of training, Doug O’Neill another. And Groupie Doll, well she has a style all her own.
All three of those elements were on display Monday morning at Santa Anita, where the weather was once again picture perfect for a five-hour training session highlighted early by a handful of Asmussen Breeders’ Cup workers and later by the much-anticipated final prep of Filly and Mare Sprint favorite Groupie Doll. Before, during, and after those highlights, O’Neill sent wave after wave of his interval trainers blasting through the stretch, none more impressive than Classic contender Handsome Mike.
The main track was fast, but clearly not as tight as it had been the previous morning.
Work of the day
Groupie Doll (three furlongs in 34.74 seconds for Filly and Mare Sprint): Gave every indication she remains in peak form after just cruising through an eye-catching three-furlong blowout over a somewhat loose and chewed up surface nearly 20 minutes after the second renovation break. With exercise rider Jeda Schlink aboard, Groupie Doll just glided away from the three-eighths pole on the far turn and settled into a nice, comfortable stride, cruising through an opening eighth in 11.51. She cut the corner and changed leads on cue, before picking up some unexpected company at the top of the stretch in none other than O’Neill’s Classic hopeful Richard’s Kid, who was open galloping out near the center of the course at the time. Groupie Doll seemed to sense the challenge, grabbed hold of the bit, and gradually pulled away from Richard’s Kid without a hint of urging from Schlink, completing her final quarter in 23.23 before galloping out a half-mile in 47.16. Anyone looking for a chink in Groupie Doll’s armor heading into the Filly and Mare Sprint didn’t find it this morning.
Tapizar (four furlongs in 48.97 for Dirt Mile): Was the first of the five Asmussen Breeders’ Cup horses to breeze shortly after the track opened at 5 a.m. All of the works were similarly orchestrated and patented Asmussen – maintenance half-mile breezes five days out before a big race with exercise rider Carlos Rosas aboard. Rosas appeared to have his hands full with Tapizar approaching the half-mile pole, but got him to settle into stride on the turn and finish willingly without being asked to the wire. It was pretty much a scenario that would unfold once every half-hour for the next couple of hours.
Unbridled’s Note (four furlongs in 50.28 for Turf Sprint): Was a lot more relaxed to the pole than Tapizar and, as a result, completed his half-mile in slower time, but again in a similar manner, with Rosas allowing him to finish on his own through a final quarter-mile in 24.78 before he eased up shortly past the wire to gallop out five-eighths in a slow 1:04.62.
Dust and Diamonds (four furlongs in 50.10 for Filly and Mare Sprint): Posted almost a carbon copy of Unbridled’s Note’s breeze 30 minutes earlier, both from a visual standpoint and on the watch, as she completed her final quarter in nearly an identical 24.74 before being grabbed just beyond the wire and galloping out five furlongs in 1:04.45.
Justin Phillip (four furlongs in 48.57 for Sprint): Was the most impressive of the five Asmussen workers, shading 24 from the quarter pole to the wire while also under no encouragement from Rosas at any point before galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.36.
Great Mills (four furlongs in 48.70 for Turf Sprint): Has sprinter speed on the grass, and it was in evidence even over the main track as he was full of run coming to the pole and had to be restrained early through a 24.02 opening quarter. Great Mills may have tired just a bit at the end while not asked and pulled up a little more abruptly than the four previous Asmussen trainees during the gallop out.
Calidocopio (five furlongs in 1:01.29 for Marathon): Inadvertently blew out three-eighths on Sunday and came right back to work a scheduled five furlongs in company with an unidentified member of the Ron McAnally barn. Equipped in some sort of scarf to seemingly protect his ears, Calidoscopio turned in just an average-looking drill, during which he was carried about four or five paths wide leaving the bend by his workmate. Calidoscopio remained on even terms with his partner to the wire after a 24.87 final quarter, with both horses under little to no pressure, and he did not gallop out particularly strongly, pulling up six furlongs in 1:14.86.
Rumor (three furlongs in 34.84 for Filly and Mare Sprint): Was a little more headstrong away from the pole than fellow Filly and Mare Sprint candidate Groupie Doll, but equally as swift, posting an 11.16 opening eighth and continuing strongly without being asked down the stretch and into the turn, galloping out a half-mile in sizzling 46.85.
Jaycito (five furlongs in 1:01.29 for Marathon): Broke off about a length behind a stablemate, quickly drew on even terms while a little headstrong through a quick opening three-eighths in 35.90, but didn’t have much punch down the stretch, going easily but needing 26.29 to complete his final quarter while barely maintaining a slight advantage on his partner, who was under similar handling at the end.
Nancy O (four furlongs in 52.66 over training track for Juvenile Fillies Turf): Went a very slow half-mile over the training track and, while never asked, did not appear to be striding out very smoothly over the dirt surface.
Handsome Mike (three furlongs in 37.50 for Classic): Didn’t really turn in an official work – he was simply blowing out down the stretch – but was impressive enough to be put on the watch covering a quarter-mile in 25.50 from the quarter pole to the wire while out in the middle of the track, then posting another 12.02 eighth from the finish line into the turn. Looked great, but facing an imposing task Saturday.
The same can be said for Alpha, who’ll be among the longshots in the Classic but made a great appearance in his first gallop over the track since arriving from New York on Saturday.
Good thing the Breeders Cup wasn't back East this year or else there would be no B.C. This year. I hope the powers that be pay attention to what just happened and continue to keep the B.C. On the West Coast where weather is not an issue and is more predictable
Oh yea, Mike Welsch out there timing horses with a stopwatch and his eyes. ha ha I'm going to put thousands on this information. LOL Welsch is getting pretty old, his reflexes aren't what they used to be. How often is he slow or fast with the button on his stopwatch? Do you think he nails it perfect every time the horse crosses the finish line? This sport is ludicrous when you think about it.
the storm has blown fort erie all the way to tokyo
Please say something about Fort Erie racetrack closing today. Hurricane cancelled tomorrow. The announcer gave a great closing speech, I wish you could reprint it here.
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