10/29/2017 1:56PM

Elate has sharp workout for Breeders' Cup Distaff

Barbara D. Livingston
Elate works at Del Mar on Sunday in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Bill Mott has won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff five times, and it appears he’ll have a strong chance to make it a six-pack Friday, the way Elate has been training since arriving at Del Mar.

The positive impression Elate gave in recent gallops was confirmed with an eye-catching workout Sunday morning that Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch caught in 48.78 for a half-mile, with a final quarter-mile in 23.60 seconds. Exercise rider Neil Poznansky was aboard.

“She went off easy, he nudged her, and she finished up good once he gave her her cue,” Mott said back at the barn. “She’s doing great.”

Mott said he has used a travel schedule for this year’s Breeders’ Cup similar to what he used last year at Santa Anita, where he won the Mile on turf with Tourist. He said among the reasons he wanted to come in early this year was to have his dirt horses get used to Del Mar’s main track.

“It seems that some dirt horses do better after working over the track,” he said. “I had heard the track was uncharacteristically deep.

“It’s pretty deep. Big Sandy has nothing on this," he said, referring to the nickname of Belmont Park. "You can’t hear the horses go by. Obviously it has a very good cushion.”

Elate was one of 19 Breeders’ Cup runners who worked Sunday at Del Mar, including 11 who worked on the turf.

Two likely race favorites turned in drills: Moonshine Memories on dirt for the Juvenile Fillies, and Lady Aurelia on grass for the Turf Sprint. Both races are Saturday. Moonshine Memories went a half-mile in 48.09 seconds with exercise rider Serafin Carmona. She is unbeaten in three starts, including the Del Mar Debutante.

“I’m delighted. I thought she looked fantastic,” said her trainer, Simon Callaghan. “She glided over the track, did it easily.”

Callaghan said he thought the main track “had some bounce.”

“It’s not as slow as it was at the beginning of the summer meet. The track got tighter for sure toward the end of the summer meet,” Callaghan said. “It’s got a good bounce to it. I think it’s a really good surface.”

Lady Aurelia, working in company for trainer Wesley Ward, went a half-mile in 49.23 seconds over a course on which orange cones, known as dogs, were placed well past what is usually the middle of the course.

Ward also worked Hemp Hemp Hurray for the Juvenile Turf and Ultima D for the Juvenile Fillies Turf; both races are Friday. They went in company and finished evenly after Hemp Hemp Hurray started a length back, so Hemp Hemp Hurray got a final time of 47.98 seconds to Ultima D’s 48.18 seconds.

It was a busy and early morning for trainer Steve Asmussen, who sent out Tap Daddy, Snapper Sinclair, and Iron Fist for half-mile works on the dirt before the renovation break. Tap Daddy and Snapper Sinclair are both in the Juvenile Turf, and Iron Fist is in the Dirt Mile; both races are Friday.

Tap Daddy was timed in 49.83 seconds, Snapper Sinclair went officially in 49.80 seconds – with DRF getting his final three furlongs in 36 seconds – and Iron Fist was caught in 50.03 seconds.

Also working on the main track were Princess Warrior, who went a half-mile in 48.40 seconds for trainer Kenny McPeek for the Juvenile Fillies; Bigger Picture, who was timed in 50.86 seconds for his half-mile drill for trainer Mike Maker in preparation for the Turf; and Curlin’s Approval, who zipped a half-mile in 47.61 seconds – the best time of 12 at the distance -- for the Filly and Mare Sprint for trainer and co-owner Happy Alter. Those three races are Saturday.

On the turf, Oscar Performance went a half-mile in 47.41 seconds for trainer Brian Lynch, and Hunt went six furlongs in 1:14.88 for trainer Phil D’Amato, both in preparation for the Turf on Saturday.

Three females worked on grass for the Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday. Cambodia went five furlongs in 1:01.29 for trainer Tom Proctor, War Flag went officially in 1:03.20 for five furlongs – with DRF getting her last quarter-mile in 25.25 seconds – for trainer Shug McGaughey, and Birdie Gold went a half-mile in 49.73 seconds for trainer Gary Mandella.

Also on turf, Om zipped three furlongs in 35.25 seconds for trainer Dan Hendricks for the Mile on Saturday, Catholic Boy went a half-mile in 48.01 seconds for trainer Jonathan Thomas for the Juvenile Turf on Friday, and Capla Temptress worked three furlongs in 37.98 seconds for Mott for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, also on Friday.