10/24/2010 4:40PM

Clocker Report: Blame looks strong in Classic breeze

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Audrey C. Crosby
Blame, under Casey Chavez, breezes outside of stablemate Apart on Sunday at Keeneland.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Sunday morning marked the first of 12 consecutive days of Clocker Reports leading up to the 2010 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Nov. 5-6. And with it came the first major decision of the Breeders’ Cup season: Stay onsite in Louisville where a handful of Breeders’ Cup horses were scheduled to work, including Classic contenders Haynesfield and Espoir City, or head up the turnpike to Keeneland where only two Cup hopefuls were expected to breeze.

It takes a very talented horse to make the choice to embark on a 75-mile ride before dawn pretty much a no-brainer, but that’s exactly what was waiting up the road in Lexington, where Blame put in his final serious prep prior to the Classic. The two-time Grade 1 winner worked under absolutely perfect conditions, clear and cool, over a Keeneland Polytrack surface that remains very glib.

COMING MONDAY: Mike Welsch's daily video report on Breeders' Cup workouts

Blame (five furlongs in 58.82 seconds): Blame again went in company with his familiar work partner, Apart, breaking off about a half-length behind his mate at the five-furlong pole. The pair went along at a relatively even pace during the opening three furlongs, posting splits of 12.09, 23.96 and 35.81, with Blame kept well in hand by his rider, Casey Chavez. The two then picked up the pace without any real urging down the stretch, completing their final quarter-mile in 23 rather effortlessly, with little to choose between them at the wire. The duo remained inseparable through a six furlong gallop-out of 1:11.68.

Not a bad way to kick off the new season of Breeders’ Cup workout reports with such a dynamic and impressive drill by not only Blame but his stablemate Apart, who is prepping for the Ack Ack at Churchill on Nov. 5.

“They went fast but we’re used to that around here,” said Al Stall Jr., who trains both Blame and Apart for Claiborne Farm. “Blame has never worked a bad day in his life, so I never expect anything less than that type of an effort. His mind is right where it needs to be right now, and the best thing about this morning’s work is that he cooled out well and we’ve gotten it out of the way.”

Stall will ship Blame to Churchill Downs later this week where he is scheduled to work one last time prior to the Classic.

“He’ll probably just have a little blowout next Sunday with Garrett Gomez aboard,” said Stall.

Moontune Missy (six furlongs in 1:11.69 ): Another fast work but not nearly as impressive as Blame's. Going in company with stablemate Anthony’s Cross, a 2-year-old who is still winless after three starts, the Filly-Mare Sprint-bound Moontune Missy posted splits of 12.16, 23.91, 35.52 and 47.38 for the opening half-mile. She did not finish up nearly as sharply as Blame, covering her final quarter-mile in 24.30 over the extremely fast strip while put under some mild urging just to keep pace with her younger partner coming to the wire. The maiden then galloped out the strongest of the pair, about three lengths in front of Moontune Missy, who pulled up seven-eighths in 1:26.12.

Haynesfield and Espoir City, like Blame, are training up to the Classic. They worked in different manners Sunday at Churchill Downs.

Haynesfield, who upset Blame in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup earlier this month, worked six furlongs in 1:13.60 in company with Kensei after the renovation break, completing his final quarter in 24.40 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:27.40, according to track clockers.

Espoir City, Japan’s hope in the Classic, just galloped along for the opening half-mile of his six-furlong drill in a pedestrian 54.20 before completing his final quarter in 24 and galloping out seven-eighths in 1:33.60 with jockey Tetsuzo Sato up.

Other Breeders’ Cup workers Sunday morning at Churchill Downs included Acoma (Ladies' Classic), five furlongs in 1:01.60; Switch (F&M Sprint), five furlongs in 1:00.20; and Pluck (Juvenile Turf), five furlongs in 1:01.20 under Gomez in company with Hammock Beach.