Updated on 09/15/2011 2:17PM

Classic: Super Euros work sluggishly on dirt


ELMONT, N.Y. - Fantastic Light was the first horse named by Godolphin Racing Inc. as a candidate for the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park. Sakhee did not enter the picture for Godolphin until after his victory earlier this month in the Arc de Triomphe. And though Fantastic Light has been assumed as the most likely of the two to go in the Classic, with the other going in the $2 million Turf, neither worked on the dirt on Friday morning like a horse who would cause Bobby Frankel to lose sleep.

Frankel has said that his greatest fear in the Classic, in which he will send out probable favorite Aptitude, is "the unknown, the Europeans." In contrast to how the American-based horses are trained for dirt racing, both Fantastic Light and Sakhee went through their drills nonchalantly.

Sakhee, working around 7:15 a.m., was timed in 1:05.25 for five furlongs. Of the 23 horses who worked at the distance Friday morning, just one horse had a slower time. Fantastic Light went out later, at 8:45 a.m., after the mid-morning renovation break, and virtually was in a gallop through seven furlongs in 1:32.24. Private clockers had his final furlong in slightly slower than 14 seconds. Both horses were ridden by exercise rider Lee Roebuck.

Both horses worked on a chilly morning. Temperatures dropped so low Thursday night that there was frost on the ground, and on cars parked overnight, before dawn Friday morning. But it was a gorgeous fall day here Friday afternoon, with clear skies, crisp air, and a high in the mid-60's.

The works were far from impressive, yet Tom Albertrani, who is overseeing the training of Godolphin's Breeders' Cup runners, seemed unconcerned. He did say that both horses would come back on Tuesday or Wednesday to work five furlongs and "go a little quicker."

Fantastic Light, according to Albertrani, "went well on the dirt."

"He didn't exactly finish strong, but he doesn't when he works on turf, either," Albertrani said. "I wanted him to go in 1:29. It wasn't too far off." Albertrani said that Fantastic Light usually works in company, but he did not this time because "right now, it's not a question of fitness."

"He knows the difference between race day and when he's just out there for a stroll in the park in the mornings," Albertrani said.

Sakhee acted a little skittish when he first came on the track, but quickly gained his composure once he started galloping and was joined by a pony. Like Fantastic Light, he went off slowly, but finished with more interest than his stablemate.

Fantastic Light and Sakhee were pre-entered on Wednesday in both the Classic and the Turf. Simon Crisford, the racing manager for Godolphin, has said that both horses will not run in the same race. A decision must be made by Wednesday, when final entries are taken and post positions drawn for the eight Breeders' Cup races. Albertrani said a decision as to where both horses would run would not be made until Crisford and Godolphin principals Sheikh Mohammed and Sheikh Hamdan confer.

"It's going to be a tough decision, whatever they do," Albertrani said.

In other Classic developments Freedom Crest, the Goodwood Handicap winner, worked six furlongs in 1:11.80 Friday morning at Hollywood Park.*Want to get a head start handicapping all eight Breeders' Cup races?