10/12/2011 1:10PM

Breeders' Cup: Connections of California Flag, Havelock, and Hoofit face decisions on Turf Sprint

Shigeki Kikkawa
My Miss Aurelia pulls away from Stopshoppingmaria on her way to a 5 1/2-length win in the Grade 1, $300,000 Frizette Stakes at Belmont Park.

Several horses could join the Turf Sprint field after stakes wins over the Columbus Day weekend, but the connections of California Flag, Havelock, and Hoofit – geldings all – were noncommittal after their respective triumphs in the Morvich, Woodford, and Phoenix Stakes.

California Flag, the 2009 Turf Sprint winner, won the Morvich for a record third time, but he was eighth in the Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs last fall.

“We didn’t do very good last year, but it’s hard not to run for a million,” trainer Brian Koriner said.

Havelock put in a big late run to win the 5 1/2-furlong Woodford for Darrin Miller, but the Turf Sprint is only five furlongs. Perfect Officer, another gelding, was a sharp second in the Woodford for Michael Pino, who claimed the 5-year-old for $50,000 in March.

Graham Motion indicated Hoofit is a possibility for the Turf Sprint after a nose win in the Phoenix, but only if his connections opt to pay the supplemental fee for the New Zealand import.

Meanwhile, two confirmed starters, defending champ Chamberlain Bridge and the California-bred Caracortado – two more geldings – haven’t run since late summer.

Chamberlain Bridge used the Woodford as a stepping-stone to a Turf Sprint victory last year, but the 7-year-old will be making his first start since a fast-closing third in the Turf Monster on Labor Day.

“He’s a year older and he ran well fresh in the Turf Monster – that was his best race of the year,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “Everything’s on schedule.”

On Tuesday, Chamberlain Bridge breezed five furlongs on Churchill’s main track in 1:01.20, second fastest of 27 at the distance.
Caracortado had been under consideration for the Mile, but his connections called an audible last week.

“The horses lining up for the Mile this year are as good as they get, and his style of sitting back and taking one big run would suit him better for the Turf Sprint,” breeder-trainer Mike Machowsky said.