10/28/2009 11:00PM

Music Note now faster and fresher


It is a far different Music Note who heads into this year's $2 million Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. She's a year older, stronger, faster, and - with just three starts this year - far more fresh than she was for last year's running. And she likely won't have to go up against the unbeaten Zenyatta, last year's Ladies' Classic winner, who is being pointed for the Classic against males on Nov. 7.

That makes Music Note one of the elite contenders in the featured event of the first of the two Breeders' Cup cards next week. On Thursday morning at Santa Anita, she signaled her readiness for the 1 1/8-mile Ladies' Classic with a five-furlong work in 59.40 seconds under jockey Richard Migliore. It was the third-fastest work of 35 at the distance.

"She worked really well," said Rick Mettee, the assistant who oversees Godolphin Racing's North American string for trainer Saeed bin Suroor. "I was really happy with the work. She worked in 1:01 and change last week, and Richard thought she came on from that work. We feel we've got a filly who's going the right way. We thought she might have been a little over the top before last year's race. We feel like we've got a filly who's a better filly than last year, who we haven't gotten to the bottom of yet."

Music Note finished third in last year's Ladies' Classic at the end of a 3-year-old campaign that featured victories in the Mother Goose, Gazelle, and Coaching Club American Oaks, and a heart-breaking loss to Proud Spell in the Alabama that determined the Eclipse Award winner in that division. This year, Music Note did not race until June, and after a poor comeback effort in the Ogden Phipps, she has come on with a pair of powerful victories in the Ballerina and Beldame.

"She's coming off two big races, but she's still relatively fresh," Mettee said. "That was the idea this year, to have her fresh for the end of the year. She's still on the way up."

Godolphin will also have Cocoa Beach in the Ladies' Classic. Cocoa Beach, who finished second in the Ladies' Classic last year, is scheduled to have her final work for this year's race on Saturday.

Rajiv Maragh, who has ridden Music Note to her last two victories, has the mount in the Breeders' Cup. Migliore will be aboard Cocoa Beach. The other expected starters, including jockeys, are Careless Jewel (Robert Landry the rider), Lethal Heat (Alex Solis), Life Is Sweet (Garrett Gomez), Mushka (Kent Desormeaux), Proviso (John Velazquez), and Rainbow View (Julien Leparoux).