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T. H. Approval has kept Inda on the map
Trainer Eduardo Inda came to Churchill Downs in 2000 with one of the heaviest favorites in Breeders' Cup history and came away stunned with disappointment. Inda sent out Riboletta to a seventh-place finish as the 2-5 favorite in the BC Distaff, marking both his last time to Churchill and in the Breeders' Cup.
Six long years later, Inda is returning to Churchill this week from his Southern California base with T. H. Approval, the lone West Coast representative for the $3 million BC Turf and a horse who figures as one of the longer prices in the race. Although he has been very consistent this year, with three wins and three seconds from seven starts and earnings of more than $500,000, T. H. Approval will be ignored by most bettors in favor of more accomplished Turf starters such as Hurricane Run, Cacique, and English Channel.
"We will be a longshot, but I like my chances," said Inda. "This horse is really doing good, and he is a true mile-and-a-half horse. If they want to go longer, we go longer."
T. H. Approval, a gray 5-year-old bred and owned by Tadahiro Hotehama, has a steady closing kick that carried him to victories this year in the San Juan Capistrano Handicap, Sunset BC Handicap, and Del Mar Handicap, all of them Grade 2 races. In his last start, the horse came within a few jumps of catching heavily favored The Tin Man in the Clement Hirsch at Santa Anita.
"It was a super race for us," said Inda. "We had to take him out of his style and follow [The Tin Man] all the way." He added that he hopes the BC Turf will have a faster pace and that T.oH. Approval "can make his one run, the way he likes."
T. H. Approval had his final prerace workout Friday, going six furlongs over a fast Santa Anita main track in 1:13.40, handily, under Mel Batyrkulov.
"I told the boy to go around 13-and-change, so it was perfect," said Inda.
Inda, 63, came to the United States from his native Chile in 1961, when he went to work for Warren Stute before becoming a longtime assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally. With McAnally, he worked with such stars as John Henry, Bayakoa, and Paseana before going out on his own in 1995. Although his stable once included nearly 40 horses when he trained for high-profile clients such as 505 Farms and Aaron Jones, Inda is currently down to a mere three horses.
T. H. Approval, he said, "has kept me on the map. He has been very good to me."
Mile: Miesque's Approval works at Calder
Miesque's Approval, the 7-year-old who has won four stakes this year, worked four furlongs in 49.40 seconds Saturday morning over Calder's main track in preparation for the BC Mile. Exercise rider Jody Giorgio was aboard for the move, the 11th-fastest of 64 at the distance.
"He worked very good, better than I anticipated," trainer Marty Wolfson said. "I didn't want him to go quite that quick, but he did it on his own. That was a real good work for him."
Miesque's Approval is scheduled to ship to Kentucky on Tuesday along with Wolfson's Sprint contender, Pomeroy, and Prospective Saint, who is likely to run in Saturday's Very Subtle Stakes.
This will be Miesque's Approval fourth trip to Kentucky this year. He won the Maker's Mark at Keeneland and the Grade 2 Firecracker at Churchill Downs. Most recently, Miesque's Approval finished in a dead heat for fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, just two lengths behind Aussie Rules.
"He really likes Churchill a lot; it's got a little more give to it," Wolfson said. "At Keeneland, it just had a lot of dirt on it that day. I don't know if it had been dry for a while before that, but it wasn't like it was when he won the Maker's Mark."
* Badge of Silver, who will run in the Mile off a 307-day layoff, worked six furlongs in 1:12.40 over Keeneland's Polytrack.
* In Southern California, Courtnall, who is three deep on the also-eligible list, worked five furlongs in 59 seconds over the Cushion Track at Hollywood Park. It was the fastest of 55 works at the distance.
- David Grening
F&M Turf: Several get busy at Keeneland
As of Saturday, there was exactly one candidate for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf stabled at Churchill Downs - Quiet Royal - but down the road at Keeneland, the action is heavier. Mauralakana had her final Breeders' Cup work Saturday morning in Lexington, Ky., with her more highly touted stablemate Gorella - considered more likely for the Mile than the Filly and Mare Turf - scheduled to breeze there Sunday. Also set to work Sunday at Keeneland is Film Maker, brought to Kentucky from the Fair Hill training center in Maryland this week by trainer Graham Motion.
Mauralakana had been penciled in for a turf breeze, but with the Keeneland grass course sodden from persistent rain, trainer Patrick Biancone moved the work to Polytrack. With Julien Leparoux up, Mauralakana worked in company, turning in the fastest of 30 five-furlongs breezes Saturday morning, 58.80 seconds.
"I have a walkie-talkie, and they go the speed I want them to go," Biancone said. "It was very easy. We're ready for next Saturday."
The move from turf to the all-weather track didn't concern Biancone, though Mauralakana normally works on turf. Three days before finishing second on Oct. 14 in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, Mauralakana posted a bullet half-mile breeze on the Keeneland Polytrack.
"If the turf had been good, we'd have gone, but there was too much water on it," said Biancone. "No big difference for me."
- Marcus Hersh
Juvenile: Two have final preparations
U D Ghetto, the winner of the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, and Principle Secret, who finished second in the Norfolk Stakes in his last start, both turned in their final drills on Saturday for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
U D Ghetto, who is based at Churchill, worked over a track rated "good" following steady rain on Friday. He traveled five furlongs in 1:01, the second-best time of 16 at the distance. Corey Lanerie was aboard for the drill, but Mike Smith will ride U D Ghetto in the Juvenile.
The Juvenile will mark the first start at Churchill for U D Ghetto. He has raced twice at Ellis and twice at Turfway, and has won twice.
"It's funny that this will be his first race at Churchill, even though he's trained here every day of his life," trainer Tony Reinstedler said Saturday morning. "Training at Churchill should be a substantial edge, as far as I'm concerned."
Principle Secret worked at Hollywood Park, where he is based with trainer Christopher Paasch. Principle Secret covered five furlongs in 1:00.40 over Hollywood's Cushion Track. Principle Secret won his first two starts, including the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar, before losing by a neck to Stormello in the Norfolk.
- Jay Privman
Sprint: Leparoux works Commentator
Trainer Nick Zito wasn't at Keeneland on Saturday morning to watch Commentator's final work for the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Not that he would have seen much anyway, with Commentator working well before sunrise.
But Zito couldn't have been more pleased with the report he received from jockey Julien Leparoux, who acquainted himself with Commentator for the first time Saturday and who will be aboard the 5-year-old gelding on Breeders' Cup Day.
"Julien loved him," Zito said at Churchill Downs later Saturday morning. "He was ecstatic."
Commentator worked a half-mile in 47 seconds and galloped out five-eighths in 59.40, according to the Keeneland track clockers.
"This horse worked a half in 46 just galloping the first time and 45 and change last week, and I didn't want that to happen again, so Julien was under instructions to pretty much just gallop him around," said Zito. "He's what I call a comfort rider, so he was perfect for this type of work."
Commentator has started just twice this year, most recently finishing 10th following an awkward start in the Grade 1 Forego on Sept. 2.
"I guess I wish I had a few more races under his belt, but he's a different kind of horse," said Zito. "The type who can lay off for a long time and still run really fast."
- Mike Welsch
Juvenile Fillies: 'Cash' looks powerful
Oak Leaf Stakes winner Cash Included completed her workout preparation for Saturday's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies with a powerful six-furlong breeze in 1:13.80 over Cushion Track at Hollywood Park on Saturday.
Relaxed as she began her workout, Cash Included accelerated through the turn and stretch under limited encouragement from Corey Nakatani to pull well clear of a workmate.
"She did it real nicely," said trainer Craig Dollase. "Corey said he was very pleased."
Dollase declined to name the workmate, saying only that it was a maiden.
Cash Included will travel by plane from her Los Angeles base to Churchill Downs on Sunday, Dollase said. He feels confident in her ability going into the race, which will mark her first start outside California.
"Post position will be key," he said. "I feel like we haven't seen the best from her yet."
The 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies is expected to have a 14-horse field.
She's Included, another Juvenile Fillies prospect based on the West Coast, also breezed Saturday at Hollywood, going five furlongs in 1:01.
The unbeaten Dreaming of Anna, who is expected to vie for favoritism with Cash Included, will breeze Sunday or Monday at Churchill Downs, trainer Wayne Catalano said. She had been training and breezing at Keeneland.
- Byron King