10/28/2009 11:00PM

Godolphin evaluating Classic possibilities


Workouts this weekend will determine whether Girolamo and Regal Ransom run in the Breeders' Cup Classic, the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, or skip the event alltogether.

Both 3-year-old colts are owned by Godolphin Racing, and were pre-entered in two Breeders' Cup races, both to be run Nov. 7 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting; the Classic was listed as the first choice for both Girolamo and Regal Ransom. Compounding the issue is that Godolphin also has Midshipman and Pyro pointing for the Dirt Mile, so Godolphin is trying to figure out how to fit all the pegs into the proper holes.

"We won't have four in the Dirt Mile," Rick Mettee, the assistant who oversees Godolphin's North American division for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, said Thursday morning. "Both Girolamo and Regal Ransom will have their last piece of work this weekend, either Saturday or Sunday. We'll see how they work, how they come out of it, and make a decision whether we run one or both in the Classic.

"One of them could fall back to the Dirt Mile. We could have two in the Classic, or run one in the Classic and three in the Dirt Mile, or two and two, or two and one. Nothing's definitive."

Girolamo, who won the Jerome in his last start and is 3 for 3 this year, has never raced on a synthetic surface, beyond a mile, around two turns, or outside New York. Regal Ransom, the Super Derby winner, has raced just once on a synthetic surface, finishing eighth of nine in the Norfolk Stakes last year at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting.

Because it has yet to be determined which race the Godolphin horses will run in, riding assignments have not been finalized, Mettee said. The remaining expected field for the 1 1/4-mile Classic, including jockeys, is Awesome Gem (David Flores the rider), Colonel John (Garrett Gomez), Einstein (Julien Leparoux), Gio Ponti (Ramon Dominguez), Mine That Bird (Calvin Borel), Quality Road (John Velazquez), Richard's Kid, Rip Van Winkle (John Murtagh), Summer Bird (Kent Desormeaux), Twice Over (Tom Queally), and Zenyatta (Mike Smith).