10/31/2017 2:45PM

Breeders' Cup Clocker: Wuheida impresses in turf drill

Barbara D. Livingston
Wuheida breezes five furlongs in 1:01.86 at Del Mar on Tuesday.

Del Mar
Weather: Showery
Temp.: 63
Main track: Fast
Turf: Firm

DEL MAR, Calif . – It was easy to tell the 2017 Breeders’ Cup was only three days away after spending the early morning hours Tuesday at Del Mar, with Breeders’ Cup  contenders just about everywhere one looked from the moment the main track opened at 5:30 a.m. until Bullards Alley walked off the turf course four hours later.

The majority of the 168 horses entered for Friday and Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup races are now on the grounds, including the Aidan O’Brien contingent who are currently in quarantine and will not set foot on the track until Thursday.  The rest of the European contenders trained here Tuesday, the majority over the main track and about a half-dozen on turf, including Wuheida, the only grass worker of the day.

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Intermittent showers fell during the course of the morning, the heaviest band passing through shortly after the renovation break at 7:45 a.m. WUHEIDA stamped herself a horse to watch in the Filly and Mare Turf after a pretty eye-catching five furlong breeze in 1:01.86 around the dogs over the firm turf.  The Group 1 winner was full of run from the outset, posting splits of 24.74 seconds and 37.04 to the top of the stretch. She switched over to her right lead on cue,  something the majority of the Europeans do not do, before finishing up with great energy under just a hint of late encouragement.  She’ll race on Lasix for the first time when making her U.S. bow Saturday.

:: BC Workouts: Watch Mike Welsch's video updates from Del Mar

Both ROY H (Sprint) and HIGHWAY STAR (Filly and Mare Sprint) were in total maintenance mode Tuesday morning, both blowing out an easy three-eighths after the break. Kent Desormeaux was aboard Roy H, angling him out near the middle of the track to prevent him from going too fast. The Grade 1 winner still posted a 36.75 clocking while coming down the lane under a hold in 23.87, ears pricked throughout. He galloped out a half-mile in 49.92. 
Highway Star was placed under wraps by jockey Angel Arroyo the moment he left the pony, barely shading 14 seconds for her opening eighth before completing the three-furlong breeze in 38.08, also with her ears up at the end.

The most aggressive main-track worker of the session was NEZWAAH, who will join Wuheida in the Filly and Mare Turf.  She went  five-eighths in 1:01.80, her final quarter in 23.98, while finishing on her left lead under some late urging.

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Wuheida was among a group of Europeans who visited the turf course at 7:15 and which included ULYSSES, morning-line favorite for the Turf, HOME OF THE BRAVE, who’ll try the Mile rather than the Turf Sprint this year, and QUEEN’S TRUST, the defending Filly and Mare Turf champion.  Both Ulysses and Home of the Brave got a bit warm on a relatively chilly morning, which might be nothing much to worry about, especially after watching Highland Reel train up to his victory at Santa Anita in the 2016 Turf.

It sure appears that trainer Chad Brown’s potent Breeders’ Cup contingent came out of their recent works and subsequent cross-country flight in good order by the way they dragged their riders around the track  here Tuesday.  Among those making very favorable impressions were BEACH PATROL, GRAND JETEFANCIFUL ANGEL, VOTER CONTROL and, of course, LADY ELI, who was full of herself upon breaking away from the pony at the finish line before quickly coming to hand and settling into a nice, relaxed stride shortly thereafter.

PARADISE WOODS came out onto the track along with her stablemate and fellow Breeders’ Cup competitor Avenge equipped with draw reins and for good reason. She dragged her exercise rider around for nearly 1 1/2 miles in a very strong but controlled gallop that indicates she’s on her toes and ready to fire a big effort in the extremely contentious Distaff.

The French trio of SENGA, KARAR, and ZELZAL came onto the main track in company and cantered around from the wire to the three-eighths pole. The riders of Karar and Zelzal then dropped their irons and let them roll at nearly a two-minute clip for a good half-mile down the backstretch and into the stretch,  with Zelzal looking particularly strong in preparation for the Mile. Senga, on the other hand, never left the pony and simply walked the remainder of the way back to the barn.