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Updated on 09/16/2011 8:30AM
Important works abound as Cup nears
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Three of the fillies scheduled to run in next Saturday's $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff completed their serious training for the race with workouts on Saturday morning.
The three - Mandy's Gold, Summer Colony, and Take Charge Lady - are training at different tracks and are scheduled to arrive here at Arlington Park in upcoming days.
Mandy's Gold, who is based at Delaware Park, worked an easy half-mile in 51.40 seconds. Her trainer, Michael Gorham, said he prefers to give Mandy's Gold an easy breeze just prior to her races.
"I don't want to get too nuts," Gorham said. "She did it right, and galloped out well."
Mandy's Gold was scheduled to be sent by van from Delaware Park on Sunday afternoon, and was scheduled to arrive here very early Monday morning.
Mandy's Gold most recently finished second in the Beldame Stakes.
At Belmont Park, the Beldame's third-place finisher, Summer Colony, worked five furlongs in 1:01.38, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.67.
Summer Colony backed up to the mile pole, but was reluctant to break off for the work. Exercise rider Juan Tapia called the outrider for assistance. Once the pony arrived, he accompanied Summer Colony for less than a sixteenth of a mile before Summer Colony broke into her gallop. Mark Hennig, Summer Colony's trainer, said this was not an uncommon occurrence.
"That's her," Hennig said. "I know she hates the one turn here. She's done that consistently throughout her career. When she first walks on the track she likes to stand there for about 10 minutes, which we do a lot of times when she's galloping."
Hennig said he doesn't have that luxury on work days because he doesn't want the track to get too chewed up after the break. "She gets frustrated when she doesn't get to stand," Hennig said. "It's no big deal, it's just part of her make-up."
Summer Colony is scheduled to be flown here on Thursday.
At Churchill Downs, Take Charge Lady, the winner of the Spinster Stakes, breezed under jockey Patti Cooksey. Although Churchill clockers caught her half-mile in 48.40 seconds, the workout appeared to be at five furlongs, which her trainer, Ken McPeek, timed in 1:01.80. In any case, Take Charge Lady finished well and galloped strongly for another quarter-mile or so.
"It was a good, solid work," McPeek said. "She can go 58 if you want her to, but she's been eating great, and I didn't want to knock her out of the feed tub."
Take Charge Lady will be sent by van to Arlington on Tuesday.
- Jay Privman
Filly and Mare Turf
Developments on the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf front were minimal Saturday, with Voodoo Dancer's final workout before the race the only significant action.
Breezing over the Belmont main track, Voodoo Dancer picked up an unexpected workmate during her move. With her competitive juices turned on she turned in one of Saturday's quicker works at the distance, clocking 47.96 seconds, slightly faster than trainer Christophe Clement had intended.
Voodoo Dancer, along with most of the Filly and Mare Turf starters, will ship to Arlington next week. Voodoo Dancer has raced at the Filly and Mare Turf distance of 1 1/4 miles only once, finishing second to Golden Apples in the Oct. 5 Yellow Ribbon at Santa Anita. Clement feels Voodoo Dancer is a better horse at nine furlongs and said she might be scratched if Arlington's turf course comes up soft and tiring on Breeders' Cup Day.
Riskaverse, the lone Filly and Mare Turf pre-entry stabled at Arlington, remains on the fence for the race.
- Marcus Hersh
Kafwain and Bull Market, the one-two finishers in the Norfolk Stakes, breezed seven furlongs in 1:25.60 in company at Santa Anita.
Kafwain, with Victor Espinoza up, started just behind Bull Market, under Dana Barnes. Coming into the stretch, Barnes gave Bull Market a few taps on the shoulder with her whip while Espinoza was giving his horse just a mild hand ride. Bull Market finished a half-length in front of Kafwain.
Baffert said those two worked at 8 a.m. when "the track was a little dry and loose. It changes. They galloped out a mile in 1:38.40. They worked well. I wanted a good stiff work and they went off slowly and finished up nice."
At Arlington, Most Feared breezed six furlongs in 1:12.20 under jockey Ray Sibille. It was the fastest of six moves at the distance. Track clockers had him in fractions of 11.60 seconds, 23.60, 34.80, 46.80, 59.40, and caught him galloping out in 1:26.20.
Trainer Ronny Werner said Most Feared worked better than his stablemate Touch Tone, who is running in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Touch Tone worked six furlongs in 1:13.
"He worked quite a bit faster than I thought he would," Werner said of Most Feared. "His fractions were faster at every pole than Touch Tone and we squeezed on Touch Tone."
- David Grening
Juvenile Fillies contenders Buffythecenterfold and Atlantic Ocean each worked seven furlongs Saturday at Santa Anita.
Buffythecenterfold, winner of the Landaluce and Sorrento stakes, worked in 1:27.20. Under regular rider Matt Garcia, Buffythecenterfold worked behind a horse early, then pulled away from the horse in midstretch with very little urging. Buffythecenterfold has raced on the lead in all five of her starts. Trainer Mel Stute said he had Garcia work Buffythecenterfold behind horses "to see how she would like it.
"Matt said she seemed to like it okay," Stute said. "He said she could have went by her any time he wanted, but she just kind of waited. She came off the track good, like she hadn't even worked."
Stute plans to ship Buffythecenterfold to Chicago on Tuesday.
Atlantic Ocean, winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, went in 1:23 under exercise rider Dana Barnes. It was the fastest of eight moves at the distance that morning by more than two seconds.
Atlantic Ocean's trainer, Bob Baffert, was hoping Barnes could slow Atlantic Ocean down, "but she got a little tough," he said. "She's a little bit fresh. Hopefully this will take a little of the edge off her."
Baffert noted that he worked Atlantic Ocean after the renovation break when the track was quicker.
Gil Campbell, the owner of Ivanavinalot, said he is contemplating making a rider change for the Juvenile Fillies. Though M.R. Cruz has ridden Ivanavinalot to five wins from six starts, Campbell said he might want someone with Breeders' Cup experience.
- David Grening
With all indications pointing to Rock of Gibraltar running in the $4 million Classic instead of the $1 million Mile, it appears that the Mile once again will be one of the most wide-open wagering races on the Breeders' Cup card.
Last year at Belmont, Noverre was the 4-1 favorite before finishing seventh. Such high-priced favorites are the recent norm in the Mile - only twice in the last seven runnings has a horse been sent away less than 5-2, and the last three favorites have been 7-2 or higher.
Without Rock of Gibraltar, who surely would have been a heavy favorite, the Mile again is shaping up with an anything-goes kind of look.
Shadwell Mile winner Landseer, the only one of three Aidan O'Brien pre-entrants (with Rock of Gibraltar and Hawk Wing) likely to run, figures as one of the favorites. Others likely to take solid action are Beat Hollow and Good Journey.
Good Journey was flown early Saturday from Southern California to Chicago, becoming one of the first Mile pre-entrants to pull into the Arlington grounds.
- Marty McGee
Trainer Ronnie Werner watched Touch Tone work six furlongs in 1:13 under jockey Frank Lovato at Arlington Park on Saturday and was thrilled with the move. That is until he saw his 2-year-old Most Feared breeze the same distance in 1:12.20 a half-hour later.
Touch Tone will be among the longshots in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. He has started just once in 14 months, finishing third behind Xtra Heat in Keeneland's Phoenix Handicap on Oct. 5.
"I really liked his work until I saw the baby's," said Werner. "The 2-year-old's times were better at every pole, although I was still pleased with the way Touch Tone went. I wanted a little harder work, pressed on him a little more this morning, and he got the work he needed."
Although Touch Tone was beaten nearly four lengths by the filly Xtra Heat in the Phoenix, Werner is confident Touch Tone will run well in the Sprint.
"I think my horse will move forward off that race, and if he does I believe he can be right there," said Werner. "And I won't have him eyeballing the filly like he did at Keeneland."
At Santa Anita, Swept Overboard worked five furlongs from the gate in 59 seconds on Saturday. It was his first work since finishing fourth in the Ancient Title Handicap on Oct. 5.
"Corey [Nakatani] was on him and gave us a thumbs up," said trainer Craig Dollase. "He needed that last race. We all knew that. He's good to go."
- Mike Welsch
Ballingarry, the winner of the Canadian International at Woodbine on Sept. 29, had his final workout for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday at Chantilly, France.
Ballingarry returned to Europe following his win in the Canadian International to complete quarantine restrictions. He had previously been trained in Ireland by Aidan O'Brien, but was sent to France in early October after being sold.
The 3-year-old Ballingarry will make his debut for trainer Laura de Seroux in the Turf, run over 1 1/2 miles. For the last few weeks, Jeff Ford, an assistant trainer to de Seroux, has been in France with Ballingarry.
According to de Seroux, Ballingarry worked approximately six furlongs and started behind a lead horse.
"He did enough," she said. "He had a nice little blow, which is understandable because we've been going easy with him and he's been eating to the bottom out of the feed tub."
Ballingarry is one of two 3-year-old pre-entered for the Turf, along with the O'Brien-trained High Chaparral, the expected favorite. High Chaparral won the English and Irish derbies earlier this year and finished third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
The longshot Perfect Soul, who was fourth in the Canadian International for trainer Roger Attfield, will be ridden by John Velazquez in the Turf.
- Steve Andersen