Arlington International Notes (9/21/14)
Contact: Michael Adolphson
In today's notes:
WORK ALL WEEK HOPING PHOENIX WILL FLY HIM TO THE BREEDERS’ CUP
Reigning Illinois Horse of the Year Work All Week is putting the finishing touches on his preparation for his next start and final preparation for a possible run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Nov. 1. The Illinois-bred son of City Zip – a homebred of Midwest Thoroughbreds – is set to embark for Keeneland at the end of the Arlington International Racecourse meet for its marquee Sprint prep.
“He’s being pointed to the (Grade III $200,000) Phoenix in Kentucky,” said Richard Papiese, principal of Midwest Thoroughbreds. “If he keeps working well and all goes well there, we’ll look at the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Phoenix – despite being a mere Grade III – has been conquered by some of the fastest horses of the last few years, including Breeders’ Cup Sprint second-place finishers Xtra Heat and Fatal Bullet, the twice Sprint third-place finisher Bet on Sunshine and a very young Wise Dan, who annexed the event in his sophomore year – giving fans an initial added-money glimpse of what was to come.
The very swift Work All Week, who has impressively won 10 of 13 and comes off a heartbreaking defeat while carrying 130 pounds – giving 11 pounds to the winner – in the Addison Cammack Handicap on July 26 at Arlington, has continued to train extremely well in Illinois. After a series of impressive moves over the Arlington oval, he switched to Hawthorne Race Course’s dirt course on Sunday morning to prepare him for Keeneland’s newly installed dirt course, going five furlongs in a rapid :59.60.
“He’s working really well,” Papiese said. “I expect a big race on the dirt with him. It’s probably his best surface. He ships well and he doesn’t care where he’s at – he runs his race. I would say right now he’s training like a million dollars and I’m very happy with him and confident in his chances.”
The Phoenix is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” race, allotting the winner guaranteed entry to the race and a substantial travel allowance.
LA TIA ON SCHEDULE FOR GOLDIKOVA
Salvador Hernandez’s Illinois racing star filly La Tia has exited her excellent third in the Grade II $300,000 Canadian Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 14 in fine fashion. After setting out for her usual spot on the lead, the daughter of City Place was pestered by 71-1 longshot Skylander Girl through testing fractions of :23.53 and :47.21 on the soft going under new jockey Joel Rosario. Entering the sizable Woodbine stretch, she fought gamely with eventual impressive winner Deceptive Vision before eventually finishing behind Royal Fury in third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths.
“She came back pretty good,” said trainer Armando De La Cerda. “She came back home OK and has been galloping good and feels strong and happy. Joel said she was a nice filly to ride and they never stopped pressuring her, but she never gave up and has a lot of heart. It was really soft and the stretch was very long. I don’t know if I would have beaten the winner but I probably could have been second.”
Having to race in the Canadian in lieu of a $100,000 overnight handicap the previous week which didn’t fill, De La Cerda now will be forced to make some tough decisions regarding the future. “I don't think I want to run at Keeneland (in the Grade I $400,000 First Lady Stakes on Oct. 4) – it’s too close. I think I will probably wait and train her up to the (Grade II $200,000) Goldikova at Santa Anita on Breeders’ Cup weekend.”
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