10/10/2008 11:00PM

McGaughey loaded for Breeders' Cup


ELMONT, N.Y. - Despite running just three horses in the Breeders' Cup the last five years, trainer Shug McGaughey's nine wins still rank him second in the history of the event.

This year, McGaughey is expected to have four chances to add to his total. As of Saturday, McGaughey was hoping to run Carriage Trail in the Ladies' Classic, Consequence in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Persistently in the Juvenile Fillies, and Dancing Forever in the Turf.

Dancing Forever, Consequence, and Persistently were all expected to ship to California on Tuesday, while Carriage Trail, who won the Grade 1 Spinster on Oct. 5, will remain in New York until Sunday.

Dancing Forever is coming off disappointing efforts in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic and Sword Dancer. Those races were run on soft or yielding ground. Prior to that, Dancing Forever won the Grade 1 Manhattan and Grade 2 Elkhorn, both on firm ground.

"He deserves a chance on firm turf," McGaughey said. "I don't know what's around, but I ain't going to duck Red Giant."

On Saturday, Dancing Forever worked four furlongs in 48.01 seconds over Belmont's main track.

"I thought he worked terrific," said McGaughey, who plans to breeze Dancing Forever over Santa Anita's turf course next weekend.

McGaughey is hoping Consequence gets into the Juvenile Fillies Turf. She finished fourth, beaten just a half-length by Moram in the Grade 3 Miss Grillo Stakes here Oct. 1.

"She was trapped when the three horses in front of her were making their move," McGaughey said. "You weren't going to be able to finish fast on that track. I think she deserves a chance on firm turf."

Persistently enters the Juvenile Fillies off second-place finishes in both the Matron and Frizette. After enduring a wide trip in the Matron, Persistently received a ground-saving trip in the Frizette but didn't seem to enjoy being down on the inside.

"On the inside she wasn't dong any running; when he got her to the outside she finished fine, so I think we learned something about her," McGaughey said. "If I take her out there and she doesn't like the [synthetic], I can always bring her back here and run in the Demoiselle."

McGaughey said he elected to keep Carriage Trail in New York for another week to give her additional time to recover from her race.

Music Note works for Ladies' Classic

Multiple Grade 1 winner Music Note continued preparations for the $2 million Ladies' Classic by working a solid five furlongs in 1:00.04 over Belmont Park's main track Saturday. It was her third breeze since she romped to victory in the Grade 1 Gazelle Handicap on Sept. 13.

"She went really good this morning," said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "A perfect piece of work. She's really going well right now. She's going as well now as she has all year."

Music Note brings solid credentials to the Ladies' Classic, having won the Mother Goose, Coaching Club, and Gazelle while finishing a narrowly-beaten second to Proud Spell in the Alabama. Still, she figures to be no better than fourth choice in a field that's expected to include Zenyatta, Ginger Punch, and Hystericalady.

"There's nothing in there that can't run from what I've seen," Mettee said.

Mettee said Music Note will ship to California on Tuesday along with Cocoa Beach, the Godolphin-owned runner who also is pointing to the Ladies' Classic. Cocoa Beach is coming off a victory over Ginger Punch in the Grade 1 Beldame on Sept. 27. Cocoa Beach worked four furlongs in a bullet 47.53 seconds Thursday over the main track.

Arroyo returns to winner's circle

Jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr.'s two victories on Friday's card were his first since he returned to New York a few weeks ago and first in five months overall. Arroyo, 32, left New York in the spring to attend to his ailing father in Boston. While there, Arroyo rode sparingly at Suffolk Downs.

Arroyo stopped riding in June and during the summer his father received a kidney transplant and his health has improved. Arroyo returned to riding Sept. 30 at The Meadowlands and is 2 for 22 at Belmont since returning here. He is represented by Michael Monroe, who most recently served as a stable agent for trainer Gary Contessa. Arroyo rode Bedford Arch ($19.80) to victory for Contessa in Friday's opener.

Arroyo, who has had a troubled history in New York on and off the track, is hoping for a fresh start.

"I'm as healthy as I've ever been," said Arroyo, who was this circuit's leading rider in 2000 as an apprentice. "I just want them to keep an eye on me, they'll see the difference."