07/31/2011 12:49PM

Training for Arlington Million, Mission Approved ships in to Saratoga

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Tom Keyser
Mission Approved, upset winner of the Manhattan, is pointing for the Arlington Million on Aug. 13.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Mission Approved is stabled at Belmont Park and his next scheduled start is to come at Arlington Park. But on Sunday, the 7-year-old claimer-turned-Grade 1 winner made a whirlwind trip to Saratoga in order to get a workout over a grass course. And did he ever make the trip worthwhile.

With regular rider Jose Espinoza in the irons, Mission Approved drilled five furlongs in 57.65 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Sunday. He got his final quarter in 22.62 seconds and galloped out six furlongs in 1:09.69 and seven furlongs in 1:22.76.

The work came six days after he worked five furlongs in 58.66 seconds over the Belmont Park inner turf course. Mission Approved, the upset winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day, is training for a start in the Arlington Million on Aug. 13.

Sunday’s workout was reminiscent of a five-furlong move put in by Sidney’s Candy over the Oklahoma turf on July 24. He went in 57.54 seconds and galloped out six furlongs 1:09.35.

Naipaul Chatterpaul, the trainer and part-owner of Mission Approved, said he wasn’t necessarily looking for something that fast on Sunday.

"Not really," Chatterpaul said. "I tried to have my jock slow him down. [Mission Approved] did it all by himself."

Espinoza said he only asked Mission Approved for run the last sixteenth of a mile.

"It surprised me he worked that fast because he did that easy," Espinoza said. "He’s ready. I’m really comfortable."

Naturally, Chatterpaul would have preferred to have worked Mission Approved at Belmont, but there is repair work being done on the turf courses at both that track and Aqueduct. So, Mission Approved boarded a van at 3 a.m. Sunday and shipped to Saratoga. He worked at 10 a.m. and was scheduled to van back to Belmont on Sunday evening.

On Thursday, Mission Approved will board another van bound for Arlington Park. Chatterpaul said he chose the Arlington Million over the $500,000 Sword Dancer at Saratoga because the Million is run at 1 1/4 miles as opposed to the 1 1/2 miles of the Sword Dancer. Also, he had to concede weight to several horses in the Man o’ War, where he finished fourth to Cape Blanco. The Arlington Million is weight for age.

"The weight and distance really caught up with him last time," Chatterpaul said.

Chatterpaul also believes there is a better chance for soft turf at Arlington than at Saratoga. Mission Approved won the Manhattan over yielding turf.