10/22/2007 11:00PM

Street Sense works like a champ

EmailOCEANPORT, N.J. - Is Street Sense the same horse on the road that he is over at his home base at Churchill Downs? Some who may have had their doubts got out of bed a little earlier than normal on Tuesday morning to see exactly how Street Sense would handle the Monmouth Park strip during his all-important final work for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic.

Street Sense was one of four Breeders' Cup starters to record official works at Monmouth on Tuesday, a day that also provided the first look at some of the European invaders who will compete this weekend.

All clockings according to Daily Racing Form.

Work of the day

Street Sense (Classic) five furlongs in 1:00.78: A five-furlong work in a minute and change, especially over the very swift Monmouth Park track, wouldn't seem like anything to rave about. But all minute-and-change works are not created equal, and trainer Carl Nafzger and jockey Calvin Borel had every right to rave after this particular work.

Street Sense arrived at the track, as planned, several minutes after the renovation break and gradually backed around to the wire amid cries of "Go Calvin" and "Go Street Sense" from the handful of spectators lining the rail in the grandstand.

Street Sense was well within himself when he finally broke off at the five-furlong pole, covering his opening furlong in 13.15 seconds while giving the appearance of going much slower. Street Sense picked up the pace just a bit once entering the far turn, posting fractions of 25.69 and 37.34 for the quarter and three furlongs. Holding his line perfectly along the rail exiting the turn, Street Sense almost imperceptibly switched into another gear without need of urging from Borel. He covered the final furlong from the eighth pole to the wire in 11.09 while going as effortlessly as he had through that opening eighth in 13 and change.

But it was the way Street Sense galloped out beyond the finish line that made this work so special. With Borel giving just a hint of encouragement approaching the wire, Street Sense powered on into and around the turn. He went the next eighth of a mile to the seven-furlong pole in an eye-catching 11.64 before continuing back around to the five-eighths pole, still glued to the rail, for what amounted to a "triple gallop-out" mile in 1:38.51!

This work was reminiscent of Street Sense's last, sensational work before the Derby, and far superior to his final works at Saratoga prior to his victories in the Jim Dandy and Travers.

Set Play (Juvenile Fillies) four furlongs in 47.18: The first of the four Breeders' Cup workers after the break. She broke off at the three-furlong pole, posting early fractions of 12.18 and 24.62 to the eighth pole. Completed her next eighth to the wire in a sharp 11 seconds but under pressure from exercise rider Fidel Alferez, and was still being encouraged to complete her work to the seven-eighths pole. Galloped out five furlongs around the turn in 1:00.78.

Balance (Distaff) final four furlongs of a five-furlong work in 49.36: This was a visually unimpressive work since the filly was swishing her tail repeatedly into and through early stretch and had to be strongly encouraged just to cover her final furlong in 12.66, after which she pulled up fairly abruptly for exercise rider Martin De Rubin. But trainer David Hofmans said he was pleased and explained the work.

"If she doesn't have a horse in front of her or doesn't have blinkers on, that's how she goes," said Hofmans. "As for the tail swishing, that's just her. When the rider asks her to run she swishes her tail, whether it's in a work or a race. It usually happens at the quarter pole like it did today."

Park Avenue Ball (Dirt Mile) four furlongs in 46.60: He took a pretty good run to the pole and was really rolling down the backstretch and around the turn, covering an opening quarter in 22.85. Drifted a bit wide coming out of the turn, switched leads just a touch late, and appeared to labor a little near the end under light encouragement, although he still galloped out five furlongs in a brisk 59.55. Looks sharp but is in very tough in the Dirt Mile.

Several gallopers who made good impressions were Gottcha Gold (Dirt Mile) and trainer Doug O'Neill's 2-year-olds Overextended (Juvenile) and Grace Anatomy (Juvenile Fillies).

Gottcha Gold was full of run during his gallop, which came shortly before the renovation break, going at well better than a two-minute lick much of the way under stout restraint. He had to be really firmly handled to avoid getting up too much of a head of steam once turning into the stretch, and was clocked a mile from the five-furlong pole back around again in 1:59.

Overextended also moved along at a nice clip while kept well out in the middle of the track. Grace Anatomy is a big, good-looking filly built more like a male, and she, too, put in a very vigorous gallop.

Jeremy, Timarwa, and Annie Skates were the first three Europeans to visit the turf course, cantering once around the seven-furlong oval. Timarwa got a little hot by the time she completed her relatively light morning exercise.