10/30/2017 2:50PM

Golden Dragon bound for Juvenile following sharp main track work

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Barbara D. Livingston
Golden Dragon worked five furlongs in 58.91 over the Del Mar main track Monday morning.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Trainer Mikhail Yanakov listed the Juvenile Turf as his first preference over the Juvenile for Golden Dragon when he pre-entered him for both races on Oct. 23. On Monday, Golden Dragon seemed to show a preference for the dirt as he blazed five furlongs in 58.91 seconds over Del Mar’s main track in preparation for his dirt debut in Saturday’s $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Golden Dragon, whose only two wins have come on the turf, would not have made it into Friday’s Juvenile Turf field as he was too far down the preference list in a race that drew 27 pre-entrants. Only 13 were pre-entered for the Juvenile, a race that permits 14 and drew a field of 12.

Yanakov said he decided to pre-enter the Juvenile because he was impressed with how well Golden Dragon had trained over that surface at Keeneland. He impressed yet again Monday as, under jockey Evin Roman, he went in splits of 11.69 seconds, 23.26, 35.15, and a final quarter of 23.76. seconds. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.09.

“Amazing,” Yanakov said. “He never touched him. The jockey said, ‘If I touched him he’s going to go 57.’ But a breeze is a breeze and a race is different. Let’s see what happens Saturday.”

Roman, the leading apprentice rider in the nation who was the second leading rider at Del Mar’s summer meet, will ride Golden Dragon. Carlos Marquez Jr., who rode Golden Dragon to victories in his last two starts, was injured last week in a spill at Hawthorne.

Yanakov said a more high-profile rider “may not try too hard,” on Golden Dragon, who will be a longshot in the Juvenile. “This kid is doing good,” Yanakov said. “This his first Breeders’ Cup, this is my first Breeders’ Cup, he’s a good jockey, let’s go.”

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◗ Also working Monday for the Juvenile was the maiden Bahamian, who went a half-mile in 49.63 seconds.

Bahamian finished second in both of his starts at Del Mar during the summer. He finished ninth in the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont after stumbling at the break.