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Workout report: A great week for Tiznow
ELMONT, N Y - After watching the world's greatest trainers put the finishing touches on their Breeders' Cup hopefuls during training hours in the final days leading up to Saturday's World Thoroughbred Championships one conclusion is certain. No two do it alike. Fast works, slow works, turf horses working on dirt, dirt horses working on turf, open gallops, slow jogs going the right way and the wrong. You name it and we saw it all here during an eight-day span that featured unseasonably warm weather and near perfect track conditions on both Belmont Park's main and turf courses.
Thursday was the busiest morning yet traffic wise for Breeders' Cup entrants with nearly all the contenders now on the grounds and taking a turn around the course. The only official work was turned in by Mutamam who was again a bit lathered up while breezing an easy half mile on the turf in :50.02 seconds.
Defending champion Tiznow has touted himself as having an excellent chance to repeat after putting in several days of strong gallops including Wednesday's eye-catching mile in 1:46 while merely open galloping in the middle of the racetrack. Has also appeared to relax more each day after acting up and having to be sent back to the track a second time upon first arriving from California earlier this week.
Gander also made a huge impression when breezing five furlongs in :59.42 on Monday, doing so in such an easy and graceful manner it hardly appeared he was working at all.
Sakhee was a surprise entrant into the race. Especially after turning in a pair of less than enthusiastic works over the main track that left the impression he really did not handle the surface all that well and is much better suited to the turf.
Aptitude breezed in company on Saturday and did not pass his workmate through the stretch which may be cause for some concern although that seemed more by design as trainer Bobby Frankel seems content simply to maintain his horse's current career-best form.
Macho Uno worked a slow six furlongs (1:16.05 seconds) on Saturday but the final time was irrelevant after he loped through a very easy opening half mile before finishing strong and galloping out powerfully past the wire
Albert The Great's final work was on the slow side with Jorge Chavez up although much faster than his final breeze before his fourth-place finish in the 2000 Classic. Still would have preferred to have seen a bit more considering he is coming off a disappointing effort in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Orientate will be among the longest prices in the race but did turn in a very impressive six furlong work on Sunday.
Both of Fantastic Light's final works were on the dirt. The first was a very dull and lackluster seven-eighths in a slow 1:31.90 last Friday. The second was a much improved and encouraging five furlongs in 1:00.04 with jockey Frankie Dettori aboard five days later. Reminiscent of his final work (also on dirt) prior to the 2000 Turf when he was a troubled fifth in a race he might have won with a clean trip.
Hap couldn't have been more impressive in his final prep for the Turf going five furlongs in 1:00.17 around the dogs (set almost 30 feet out from the rail) that featured an extremely strong final quarter and gallop out.
Timboroa was a little disappointing in his six-furlong turf breeze on Sunday in which he broke off in front of a workmate who appeared capable of making it a horse race to the wire had his rider been so inclined.
Longshot Jump Start made perhaps the best impression of all the Juvenile hopefuls we saw actually work this week with an excellent five-furlong move in 1:00.51 on Monday. Started off extremely slow before finishing up the final half in :46.98 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.49. Might be worth a long look at the price.
Siphonic also worked well the same morning going six furlongs in 1:12.87 with Jerry Bailey up. Finished strong and also looked well during a late morning gallop on Thursday.
Ibn Al Haitham was the more impressive of the two Godolphin contenders to work, turning in a much more inspiring breeze than his stablemate, Essence Of Dubai, who was under some pressure to go five furlongs in a relatively slow 1:02.45 on Monday.
Saarland finished up extremely well during his half mile prep and gives the impression of being a late developing youngster who'll appreciate the added distance of the Juvenile.
Officer galloped over the track for the first time on Thursday and made a grand appearance as expected.
FILLY AND MARE TURF:
Likely favorite Lailani turned in a couple of less than enthusiastic works, the most disconcerting coming on the grass last Thursday when she caught but then was outfinished by her workmate Zahway going five furlongs on the turf. Returned on the dirt five days later and while this time she was able to draw away from her company who was under stout restraint throughout she still did not finish up as well as might be expected while galloping out a slow seven-eighths in 1:32.32. Could be showing signs of a possible Euro-bounce off her sensational U.S. debut in the Flower Bowl.
Kalypso Katie has trained spectacularly up to the race and may prove a viable longshot prospect as will Spook Express who worked an extremely easy half mile in :48.38 seconds while giving the impression she could have gone in :46 if asked.
Starine had only a maintenance type five furlong work in 1:01.06 on the grass after breaking off perhaps a bit quicker than intended.
Several Sprint contenders have trained in exceptional fashion, the best of whom has been Delaware Township. Not only did he turn in one of the most impressive works of the week in any category, a half mile in :45.22 with a final quarter in :22 and change, he has been full of himself during his daily jogs and gallops. Is so sharp he was even back on the track the morning after his big work.
Swept Overboard does not appear to be feeling any ill effects from his upset victory over Kona Gold in the Ancient Title Handicap. Couldn't have been any more impressive working three-eighths in :34.45 and galloping out a half in :46.40 on Wednesday while under snug restraint the entire way.
Both Squirtle Squirt and Five Star Day worked very fast for the Sprint but both were rank doing so, the former bursting from the pole and going an opening quarter in :21.06. These too appear destined for a suicidal early duel Saturday with Caller One.
Left Bank was given a slow, easy final work for the Sprint while Hook And Ladder was taken in hand early and allowed to finish up nicely in a breeze which suggests he's going to be taken back off the pace instead of showing his usual early speed.
Peeping Tom breezed a comfortable three-eighths but could not get more than a head in front of his workmate, a maiden, even during the gallop out.
Didn't see Kona Gold other than during a late morning gallop on Thursday when he was his usual self loping along and continually switching leads. Will never instill much confidence watching him during training hours but he went in much the same manner prior to his explosive performance in the 2000 Sprint.
Noverre worked a good but not brilliant five furlongs on dirt last week but returned with a much more encouraging five-furlong drill on the turf Wednesday morning, showing his obvious fondness for the course while striding out effortlessly over the surface.
Balto Star is s good a looking horse as there is running in the Breeders Cup this week. Went an easy five-eighths on Sunday with the only glitch coming when he switched leads inside the final sixteenth.
Affirmed Success got a bit warm and washed out prior to his half-mile grass work on Tuesday which was orchestrated in a somewhat unorthodox fashion as he broke off from a standstill at the pole and was rank during the early going before settling down and leveling out through the stretch. Should be a strong pace factor on Saturday.
Irish Prize has not been asked for much in two half mile works leading up to the Mile but continues to make an excellent appearance.
Express Tour and City Zip are both trying to transfer their very good dirt form to the grass although neither seemed comfortable working over the surface this week.
Two fillies stood out this week. You and Bella Bellucci.
You worked the easiest kind of five furlongs in 1:00.20 on Saturday with jockey Edgar Prado sitting rock still the entire way. Galloped out an additional furlong in :12.30 and has continued to make a marvelous appearance since returning to the track.
Bella Bellucci has been equally impressive all week. Worked six furlongs on Sunday in such an effortless manner he appeared to be merely galloping but still covered the final five-eighths in 1:00.44.
Both Exogenous and Spain turned in excellent final preps for the Distaff. The former worked effortlessly but finished up extremely strong galloping out an additional furlong in under :12 seconds. Worked in the blinkers which have raised her game to another level. Spain will not relinquish her Distaff title easily if she runs as well as she's trained up to the race.
Flute was a bit anxious breaking from the pole but settled nicely once turning into the stretch, although she may have worked (five furlongs in :59.20 seconds) a trifle faster than trainer Bobby Frankel might have liked one week out from the race.
Miss Linda appears to be coming up to the Distaff in peak form. Finished powerfully and galloped out even better in her last five furlong work for what may be the most contentious and evenly matched race of the day.