10/31/2010 5:27PM

Work tab fills up with Breeders' Cup hopefuls


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It was another busy and somewhat unconventional morning on the Breeders’ Cup watch that included a gate workout from a former Kentucky Derby winner and a four-furlong drill for a Classic hopeful that began at the wire and ended at the half-mile pole instead of the other way around.

The temperatures moderated some following the chill that greeted Breeders’ Cup workers here Saturday, although the main track was somewhat on the dull side and noticeably slower than the previous morning. The turf course was again firm, with the dogs out approximately 20 to 25 feet from the rail.

Work of the day

Haynesfield (Classic, four furlongs in 50 seconds): The final time was less important than the manner in which the Jockey Club Gold Cup winner went about this easy half-mile breeze. Breaking off about two jumps from the pole rather than taking the long run up that’s common place before any nongate work, Haynesfield completed his opening eighth-mile in 13.05, and with exercise rider Cesare Chavez grabbing into him a couple of times around the turn went an opening quarter in a pedestrian 25.96. He proceeded to shade 25 seconds for the final quarter while just cruising along on his own courage and then did his best running in the gallop out from the wire to the seven-eighths pole, tugging his rider through another furlong in 12.55 while striding out smoothly and effortlessly around the bend. He has made a good appearance all week and appears to really be flourishing coming up to Breeders’ Cup Day.

CLOCKER ARCHIVE: Find Mike Welsch's previous Breeders' Cup workout reports

Quality Road (Classic, four furlongs in 48.56): Warmed up extensively before this work, jogging nearly 1 1/8 miles alongside the stable pony prior to heading off toward the half-mile pole with stablemate Aikenite. Quality Road broke off outside and about a half-length behind his partner, pulled even after an opening quarter in 24.04, and was kept in hand to the wire with Aikenite needing some mild urging to keep pace approaching the finish line. Like Haynesfield, Quality Road also galloped out very willingly, going five-eighths in 1:01.72 while pulling well clear of his workmate around the turn.

Espoir City (Classic, four furlongs in 49.82): As noted earlier, this was quite an unusual work for the Japanese Classic hopeful who spent nearly 30 minutes warming up and jogging in the mile chute before finally heading out onto the main track. Espoir City put in a high-energy, six-furlong gallop before even arriving at the wire to begin his work, coming down the stretch on the wrong lead (left) as he has in most of his regular gallops while also bobbling a couple of times prior to and just after beginning his work. He leveled out a bit better and did switch back to his right lead entering the backstretch, finishing willingly enough with a final quarter in 24.40 before pulling up rather abruptly and galloping out five-eighths in a slow 1:05. Continues to give the impression he is just not acclimating well to the local strip.

Pleasant Prince (Classic, five furlongs in 1:01.66): Breezed in hand working alongside stablemate Aegean, breaking off a length behind before joining up with his company after an opening quarter-mile in 24.60. He did appear to tire coming to the wire under a little late urging and failed to gallop out with the same energy I’d seen earlier from both Haynesfield and Quality Road, pulling up six furlongs in 1:16.58.

Acoma (Ladies’ Classic, four furlongs in 49.87): Was expecting a little more from Acoma, considering the strong impression she made galloping here a couple of mornings earlier, although granted the intention here was simply an easy maintenance move from the recent Grade 1 winner. With jockey Robby Albarado up, Acoma went an easy opening quarter in 25.09 and came home in a nearly identical 24.78 while under some pressure to finish. However, she just did not gallop out as strong as I’d have hoped, completing five furlongs in a relatively slow 1:04.18.

Mine That Bird (Dirt Mile, three furlongs in 37.47 from the gate): Can’t remember the last time I saw a Breeders’ Cup horse have his final prep from the gate, especially an older one like former Derby winner Mine That Bird. Worked in company and struggled to keep up with a 2-year-old maiden Derivative while under pressure and displaying some high leg action in the run through the stretch. Finished about a half-length behind his young stablemate before galloping out a half-length to the good in 50.59.

Aikenite (Dirt Mile, four furlongs in 48.76): As noted above, he went in company with Quality Road, breaking off a half-length in front and finishing a half-length behind while under some mild urging in an attempt to keep pace coming to the wire. He could not keep up at all during the gallop out, pulling up nearly five lengths in arrears of Quality Road at the seven-furlong pole.

Uncle Mo and Stay Thirsty (Juvenile, four furlongs in 50.36): Trainer Todd Pletcher’s top 2-year-old hopefuls went in company, Uncle Mo breaking a half-length behind and kept outside through splits of 24.70 and 37.51 for the opening three furlongs. Both horses seemed a bit anxious coming to the pole but settled in nicely and were never asked to do much at any point, galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.58 with little to choose between them from the top of the stretch to the wire. Would have liked the opportunity to see a little more from the pair, especially Uncle Mo, but the intent of this move was obvious right from the start.

Riveting Reason (Juvenile, five furlongs in 1:02.11): Went off a little quick with an opening three-eighths in 36.22, albeit while well reserved but did tire noticeably at the end, needing nearly 26 seconds to complete his final quarter while under pressure to finish. He galloped out a slow six furlongs in 1:17.28.

Jordy Y (Juvenile Fillies/Juvenile Fillies Turf, five furlongs in 1:01.98): The fact trainer Wayne Catalano put Jordy Y on the dirt this morning rather than the turf might be an indication of which direction he’ll be leaning when entering his filly for the Breeders’ Cup. Cruised along at a fairly even pace, posting splits of 12.40, 24.90, 37.11, and 49.56 for her opening half but tired under pressure to the wire and did not gallop out particularly strong, pulling up six panels in 1:16.60.

Atoned (Marathon, four furlongs in 49.60): Wasn’t asked to do too much this morning after having his major prep for the Marathon last week, going along at a relatively easy pace while posting nearly identical quarter-mile splits of 24.71 and 24.89 while just given a light tap or two with the stick from the eighth pole home.

Rose Catherine (Turf Sprint, four furlongs in 49.60 on the turf): They saved the best for last on the grass, with Rose Catherine easily the most impressive of the morning’s four turf workers after spending several minutes on the main track waiting for the inner course to clear. Despite possessing blazing early speed, Rose Catherine settled in beautifully away from the pole, going an opening quarter-mile around the dogs in 26.66 before really quickening down the home straight to complete her final quarter in a tick under 23 without need of urging. Gives every indication she’s sitting on another big one.

Madman Diaries (Juvenile/Juvenile Turf, five furlongs in 1:03.66 on turf) with Nina Fever (Juvenile Fillies Turf, five furlongs in 1:03.86 on turf): Wesley Ward duo worked in company on the grass, the filly Nina Fever the more impressive of the pair finishing up under less pressure while on even terms with Madman Diaries at the wire before galloping out slightly in front around the turn.

Keertana (Filly and Mare Turf, five furlongs in 1:01.69): Showed good speed around the dogs, finished up willingly enough under some mild urging down the home straight but shut down fairly abruptly once clearing the wire, galloping out six furlongs in 1:18.43.