11/02/2016 11:56AM

Melatonin finishes preparation for Breeders' Cup Classic

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Barbara D. Livingston
Melatonin and trainer David Hofmans will try to pull off an upset in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. – David Hofmans, trying to pull off one of the great training achievements in Breeders’ Cup history, gave Melatonin a sharp final work Wednesday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Saturday.

Melatonin has not raced since winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in June owing to an illness he had at Del Mar that prevented him from starting in the summer and fall. So, Hofmans has had to train Melatonin up to the race, and he’s done so in aggressive fashion to have him fit for a 1 1/4-mile race against the likes of California Chrome and Arrogate.

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Melatonin has had 10 works since Sept. 6, including six in the past 31 days. His final series was a mile on Oct. 22, five furlongs five days later on Oct. 27, and then a half-mile Wednesday in 47.98 seconds, according to Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch.

“That was a little faster than I wanted, but he did it so easy,” Hofmans said. “He was in a high canter. He did it well within himself.”

Joe Talamo, Melatonin’s regular rider, was aboard for the work.

“How was he?” Hofmans asked Talamo as Melatonin came through the paddock after the work.

“A-plus” Talamo replied.

Hofmans said he could envision Melatonin being on the lead Saturday, depending on how he breaks and the tactics used early by California Chrome to his inside and Arrogate to his outside.

“He may be sitting third, but if he breaks running, who wouldn’t mind being up a length and a half?” Hofmans said. “Just as long as he’s not going head-and-head.”

Melatonin’s layoff numbers 133 days. Invasor, 10 years ago, won the Classic off a 91-day layoff, the longest for a winner of the Classic.