10/31/2010 10:53AM

Vineyard Haven, Gayego complete BC works in New York

Email
Barbara D. Livingston
Vineyard Haven, pictured training at Saratoga last summer, completed his preparations for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile with a workout Sunday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Godolphin stablemates Vineyard Haven and Gayego both put in their final workouts Sunday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Working separately just after sunrise, Vineyard Haven went five furlongs in 1:01.41 shortly after Gayego went four furlongs in 48.80 seconds. Both works were done over the main track.

Vineyard Haven, with exercise rider Simon Harris up, went in splits of 13.10, 25.54, 37.25, and got his last quarter in 24.16. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.65 and pulled up seven-eighths in 1:27.77.

“Unless you set him off real fast the first eighth and put him into it, he’ll be on cruise control,” Godolphin assistant trainer Rick Mettee said. “That’s why Simon lets him do more on the gallop out. He really looks fresh and well.”

Vineyard Haven, who won the Grade 1 Champagne going a mile at 2 and the Grade 1 DeFrancis Dash going six furlongs at 3, will be making just his third start of his 4-year-old season in the Breeders’ Cup. In July, Vineyard Haven won the James Marvin overnight stakes at Saratoga before finishing third behind Here Comes Ben in the Grade 1 Forego.

Alan Garcia will ride Vineyard Haven in the Breeders’ Cup. On Sunday, however, Garcia was aboard Gayego who went his first eighth in 13.60 and three furlongs in 36.20 before shading 12 seconds for his final eighth.

Mettee said Gayego, who won the Presque Isle Mile in his last start, had already had a couple of five-furlong breezes, which is why he elected to go only four furlongs Sunday.

“I just want to keep him fresh going into that race,” Mettee said. “He’s coming off a good race and beating Successful Dan is looking even better now that he’s won his last two.”

Successful Dan won Saturday’s Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland.

Vineyard Haven, Gayego, Sara Louise, and Girolamo were to be vanned to Churchill on Monday.

Air Support, winner of the Pilgrim Stakes and a top contender for the Juvenile Turf, worked four furlongs in 48.05 on Sunday over Belmont’s main track. Under exercise rider Jennifer Patterson, Air Support went off a quick opening quarter in 23.16 while coming home a second a quarter in 24.89. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.31.

“Went off a little quicker than we wanted,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “On the dirt, that was fine. He’s a different horse when you put him on the grass.”

Speaking of grass, Breeders’ Cup Turf contender Winchester worked five furlongs in 1:03.41 over a good inner turf course. Working around a triple set of orange cones, referred to as dogs, Winchester, equipped with blinkers that he normally wears in his races, went the first three furlongs in 40.36 but got his last quarter in 23.05 under exercise rider Christophe Lorieul.

“He finished well, willingly, looks great,” trainer Christophe Clement said.

Meanwhile, Clement’s other Breeders’ Cup hopeful, Gio Ponti, had a strong gallop on the dirt Sunday morning. Clement said no decision has been made yet on whether Gio Ponti, second in last year’s Classic, will run this year in the Classic or the Mile on turf.

Clement said he would not work Gio Ponti again – his final breeze was a five-furlong move in 1:03.55 on the turf on Oct. 24 – because the horse has had success with his works 9 to 13 days out from his race.

Yield Bogey, who is the second alternate in the Turf Sprint, worked four furlongs over the turf in 50.23, also getting a final quarter in 23.05.

Winter Memories, the probable favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, had a spirited jog the wrong way around Belmont’s main track. Winter Memories and the McGaughey pair of Air Support and Persistently were scheduled to leave New York by plane for Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.

Filly and Mare Sprint alternate Qualia worked five furlongs in 1:01 on Sunday morning over the training track, but trainer Robert Ribaudo did not send her to Kentucky because it did not look like the filly would get into the race.

“It’s a shame; it’s like we’re all dressed up with no place to go,” Ribaudo said.