10/22/2012 5:21PM

Breeders' Cup clocker report: Royal Delta cruises in five-furlong drill for Ladies' Classic or Classic

Barbara D. Livingston
Ron the Greek works five furlongs Monday for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Belmont Park

Sunny, 55

Main track fast
Training track fast
Turf yielding

ELMONT, N.Y. – Monday morning was the Bill Mott and Chad Brown show at Belmont Park with eight of the nine prospective Breeders’ Cup starters to work coming from those two barns. The only other Breeders’ Cup worker was none other than the Shug McGaughey-trained Point of Entry, the leading U.S. contender for the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

[BREEDERS' CUP WORKOUTS: Full DRF coverage, Mike Welsch video reports]

For the second straight day, conditions were perfect during training hours with the sun shining and the temperature in the low to mid-50s throughout the morning.


Royal Delta (five furlongs in 59.45 seconds on the main track for Ladies’ Classic or Classic): The reigning Ladies’ Classic winner, she trained brilliantly at Churchill Downs in the weeks leading up to her victory in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup but never looked any sharper than she did here early Monday morning.

With regular exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset aboard, Royal Delta was relaxed and going easily leaving the pole, posting a 13.02 opening eighth-mile split before picking up the pace steadily thereafter while appearing to be doing little more than galloping the entire way. Royal Delta completed her final half-mile in 46.43 under cruise control before galloping out six furlongs in 1:12.23 and pulling up seven-eighths in 1:27.39. She couldn’t be doing any better. The lone caveat is whether she will handle the Santa Anita surface as well as Churchill Downs and her home course at Belmont Park.

Ron the Greek (five furlongs in 1:00.39 on the training track for the Classic): He was the first of Mott’s three male Classic contenders to work over the training track and the only one to go in company, likely an indication that he needs some type of a target to extend himself in the morning.

Breezing with Grand Berry, a Group 1 winner in South America, Ron the Greek encountered a little traffic over a very busy track as the team turned into the stretch and, as a result, was forced to fan well wide exiting the turn. He was also put to some pressure to finish on even terms with his mate, with the duo completing the final quarter in 23.96 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14.42.

Not an eye-catching work, but, according to Mott, it was “as good as any of his works,” which is an encouraging sign considering that Ron the Greek is coming off an atypical off-the-board performance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Flat Out (five furlongs in 1:00.04 on the training track for Classic): Gold Cup winner Flat Out went a little faster, all around, than stablemates Ron the Greek and To Honor and Serve. Flat Out, with exercise rider Steve Schmez up, posted splits of 12.64, 24.36, and 36.07 through his opening three-eighths, was allowed to drift about four or five paths off the rail leaving the turn, then finished well without being asked, shading 24 for his final quarter. He remained on his left lead out past the finish line, however – something I do not recall having seen from him in previous works. He also galloped out a bit stronger, six furlongs in 1:13.59, than his other two Breeders’ Cup-bound stablemates who worked over the training track on Monday.

Mott said afterward that Flat Out lost one of the bar shoes he wears while training somewhere during the work, which may have been responsible for his failure to change leads until well past the wire.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

To Honor and Serve (five furlongs in 1:00.54 on the training track for Classic): Although he came out on the track with Flat Out, To Honor and Serve worked nearly a half-hour later over a nearly empty track that was a bit chewed up from a bevy of earlier activity. To Honor and Serve went off a leisurely opening furlong in 13.10 and, like Flat Out, was allowed to ease well off the rail entering the stretch. He completed his final quarter without urging in 23.97 and galloped out the best of all three of Mott’s Breeders’ Cup training track workers, in 1:13.82.

Point of Entry (five furlongs in 1:02.51 on the turf for Turf): With the turf course decidedly less than firm, Point of Entry was given little more than a maintenance five furlongs in company with stablemate Reload and, considering the conditions, turned in a nice morning’s work.

Point of Entry broke off inside his company, went along on even terms to the furlong marker, then readily edged several lengths clear while never urged, completing his final quarter in 24.56 before extending his advantage during the gallop-out. Would expect something a little stronger from the multiple Grade 1 winner if he catches firmer ground for his final prep next weekend.

Balance the Books and Noble Tune (four furlongs in 49.16 on the turf for Juvenile Turf): Hard to separate these two promising juvenile grass runners, who went along easily and in company while not asked to do much over the softer ground. Despite being in hand throughout, they still shaded 24 for their final quarter-mile before galloping out five-eighths in 1:02.36, a very solid move under the conditions.

Zagora (five furlongs in 1:04.80 on the turf for Filly and Mare Turf): Zagora worked in company with recent 2-year-old maiden breaker Flashy Gal, with the duo barely getting out of a two-minute lick during an opening three furlongs that went in a slow 40.11. The two did pick up the pace down the stretch, covering the final quarter in 24.69 with Zagora under wraps over what is apparently not her favorite type of surface. As with Point of Entry, she might be expected to be allowed to stretch out a little more if she gets a firm course for her final prep next weekend.

Watsdachances (four furlongs in 50.20, according to track clockers, on the turf for Juvenile Fillies Turf): I did not see the Grade 3 winner, who worked on the turf course at the same time Flat Out and To Honor and Serve were breezing at the training track. Watsdachances went with European invader La Conquerante, a Group 2-placed 3-year-old, and reportedly was edging clear of her older mate while going comfortably at the wire.