11/05/2010 11:07AM

Workforce decision not expected until Saturday


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A decision on Workforce’s participation in the Breeders’ Cup Turf won’t be made until Saturday, trainer Michael Stoute said after sending Workforce out for easy exercise Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

The possibility of a Workforce scratch arose Tuesday, the first day most of the European shippers were allowed out of quarantine and onto the racetrack this week, with assistant trainer Stuart Messenger voicing concern about the Churchill turf course being too hard. Those concerns were echoed later in the week by Stoute as well as Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager for Juddmonte Farms, and evidently have not subsided.

“We’ll make our decision in the morning,” Stoute said after watching Workforce take an easy lap around the turf oval here.

Asked if Workforce would be scratched if course conditions remained the same Saturday as on Friday, Stoute declined to answer directly. “A big, heavy horse like him, obviously you have concerns,” he said.

Workforce’s connections have been lobbying Churchill to more heavily water the turf course, and Mick Peterson, a racing surfaces consultant, told Stoute while Workforce was out on the track that due to windy weather an additional watering period would be added after training concluded Friday. Since racing began last weekend, Churchill has been watering the turf 10 minutes per night.

Workforce figures to be a strong favorite if he starts in the Turf. He easily won the Epsom Derby earlier in the year, and is coming off a victory in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe last month in Paris.

SHUBACK: The fur continues to fly in the great Churchill Downs turf debate