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Friday, October 25, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (GI)
Came Home -- The 3yo colt "jogged and galloped about 1 ¼ or 1 3/8 miles" under trainer Paco Gonzalez during a rainy Friday morning for the Classic.
"The track was very sloppy and I didn't want to take any chances with him," said Gonzalez. "It was kind of deep and needs to start drying out soon."
Gonzalez experienced mixed emotions about the colt's farewell race before going to stud at Lane's End Farm next year after a great two-year run with nine victories in 11 starts and earnings of $1,835,940.
Came Home was the little horse that could, a compact colt who continued to prove his skeptics wrong. Some doubted that he could get two turns: then he won the San Rafael Stakes at one mile. A mile and an eighth: no way. Then he won the Santa Anita Derby. A mile and a quarter: you've got to be kidding. Then he won the Pacific Classic, leaving older horses and Kentucky Derby winner War Emblem in his wake.
Gonzalez was irritated that the colt has not earned the respect he feels he deserves. "He always has to prove himself," said Gonzalez. "In every race, somebody else had an excuse or the time was too slow or something."
Gonzalez is optimistic Came Home will go out with a bang but will miss his presence in the barn after his finale. "It has been a wonderful time with him," said Gonzalez. "He's a nice horse to be around: alert and friendly. He bites you a little but never tries to hurt you. It's sad to say goodbye to a horse like this, but he has done almost everything we have asked."
Dollar Bill -- Gary and Mary West's Dollar Bill had an easy morning of training on Friday, one day before the richest race of his career. The 4yo Peaks and Valleys colt, who has turned heads with his gallops at Arlington on Wednesday and Thursday, walked the shedrow of Dallas Stewart's barn.
"He's feeling good," said Stewart. "He's at the top of his game right now. I feel good about our chances. He's trained well and seems to like the track."
Last year, Dollar Bill become best known from his hard-luck trips in such prominent races as the Louisiana and Kentucky Derbys, and following a third-place finish in the Travers Stakes, he did not race again until winning an allowance race at the Fair Grounds in March, his only victory in 2002. He has however, finished second or third in five Grade I or Grade II races.
"Last year, he did have some hard luck, but he's been very consistent this year," said Stewart. "I think those races had more to do with him being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I feel like he'll run his race on Saturday. He will be closing.
"All Pat (Day) will have to do is whip, (swing) him out and let him make his run. His last race (a second in the Kentucky Cup Classic) was a very good race. This race is for a lot of money, if he runs one, two or three, it will be big payday. All we can do is lead him over and see what happens. We're not here to lose."
E Dubai -- Godolphin Racing's E Dubai galloped a mile and a quarter on the main track Friday morning at Arlington Park. It was his first trip to the track here after arriving Thursday afternoon from Belmont Park.
"He has been doing very well and I think he has a big chance," trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. E Dubai will be ridden for the first time Saturday by Jorge Chavez and break from post position 1.
In his 10-race career, E Dubai has caught an off track four times with a win, two seconds and a fourth-place finish. The fourth-place finish came in his 2002 debut in the Brooklyn Handicap off a nine-month layoff.
Evening Attire -- The gray horse with the lofty expectations jogged on Arlington's main track Friday morning, then went back for a few turns around the shedrow. He stopped only to greedily gobble pieces of apple from trainer Pat Kelly's wife, Karen, or to check out the morning visitors.
"I guess it is going to keep on raining," Pat Kelly said, and couldn't conceal the smile that stretched across his face.
A 10-length victory in the slop at Aqueduct back in May has convinced many that Evening Attire is a mud lark and that rain will only help his chances in the Classic. Kelly doesn't disagree, but wants to be sure this son of 1991 Classic winner and Horse of the Year Black Tie Affair gets the proper respect.
"He's won a graded stakes race at every track in New York over the last year," Kelly said. "He won on the main track and inner track at Aqueduct, at Belmont and at Saratoga. He's run on fast tracks and sloppy tracks and we even ran him on the turf. I really believe he'll handle anything."
Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Evening Attire in the Classic. Back in September, Bridgmohan started a week by winning five races on one card at Belmont Park. A few days later, on Sept. 28, he rode Evening Attire to a victory over Lido Palace and Harlan's Holiday in The Jockey Club Gold Cup.
"Shaun's not a household word, but he has done right by us," Kelly said. "He deserves to ride this horse in this race."
Someone who has followed Evening Attire's career closely over the last few months is Arlington regular Dee Poulos, who has made it part of her morning routine to stop by to visit the Classic starter. Poulos' late husband, Ernie, trained Black Tie Affair.
"He doesn't look much like his father other than he's a gray," Poulos said. "Evening Attire's more slightly built, but he definitely has the same personality. I'll be pulling for him on Saturday."
Harlan's Holiday -- The 3yo colt galloped 1 ¼ miles, and trainer Todd Pletcher said he handled it well.
The son of Harlan has raced on off tracks three times and come away with a win, a second and third, so Pletcher isn't worried about the track drying out in time for Saturday's race.
"I think he handles it well. I'd just as soon see it fast, but I'm not going to worry about it."
Hawk Wing -- Jockey Michael Kinane was on the backstretch Friday morning with the Aidan O'Brien team as the Irish trainer's seven horses intended for the World Thoroughbred Championships exited the quarantine area to get a feel for the surfaces they will be racing over on Saturday.
"He's had a tough year and has been a bit unlucky," Kinane said. "He's probably had the hardest races of all of them, but if he turns up with his best game I can see him running a big race. He'll take his chance and it's a very open affair. Even the Americans are having trouble picking out which of their three or four can win it. It's a big ask for my colt, but we're here to give it a crack and see what we can get out of it."
Kinane was aboard Juvenile hope Tomahawk as the O'Brien horses went to the track at 9 a.m. but noted that Hawk Wing "seemed to be enjoying himself out there today. He's bred to handle it (dirt) so it's just a question of how much fight he has left in him after this year.
"There isn't so much pressure this year because of Johannesburg winning last year. This is such a big meeting that if you can come here and get a result (one win) then anything above that is a bonus. I've got two exceptional rides on High Chaparral and "the Rock" (Rock of Gibraltar) and either of them winning would be great, but I'll take anything.
"I'm well prepared for tomorrow and I'm going to enjoy it," Kinane continued. "To do anything well you've got to enjoy it, and to do it better you've got to crave it, and I crave it."
Macho Uno -- Stronach Stable's Macho Uno walked the shedrow under tack Friday morning.
"I hadn't planned to do much this morning, and with the rain, it is just as well he stayed in," trainer Joe Orseno said. "If they are not fit by now, they never will be."
Gary Stevens will have the mount Saturday and exit post position 6.
Orseno was asked what it would take for Macho Uno to win Saturday.
"I am not worried about the way the race shapes up," Orseno said. "I am not worried about who gets the breaks. If Macho Uno runs his 'A' race, he's as competitive as anything in there."
Medaglia d'Oro/Milwaukee Brew -- On the eve of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, trainer Bobby Frankel expressed confidence with each of his seven contenders.
Classic entrants Medaglia d'Oro, the Travers Stakes hero, and Santa Anita Handicap champ Milwaukee Brew trotted on the "muddy" main track at Arlington Park on Friday.
"It's been a good year," Frankel said. "All of them are coming up to their races the way I like them to. I can't make any excuses. They're all doing great."
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey rides Medaglia d'Oro in hope of collecting his record-equaling fifth Classic win.
"In the Travers, he had to work a little bit, but it was a pretty impressive race, especially since he came into it off that huge effort in the Jim Dandy." Bailey said. "You would expect him not to run as good as he did [in the Travers], but he still ran good enough to win.
"This guy really runs well fresh and he's been working good. I expect a monumental race. He's developed better than any three-year-old I've ever been on. A lot of times, they'll get through the [Kentucky] Derby, Preakness and Belmont and then tail off toward the end of the year. He actually seems to have gotten stronger, so that's a positive."
Bailey's Classic victories came aboard Black Tie Affair (1991), Arcangues (1993), Concern (1994) and Cigar (1995). Only Chris McCarron has more victories with five.
Milwaukee Brew will be piloted by Edgar Prado, who seeks his first Breeders' Cup win.
Milwaukee Brew's owner, Magna Entertainment Corp. chairman Frank Stronach, is expected to attend Saturday's races.
Perfect Drift -- Trainer Murray Johnson, aboard a pony, led his multiple stakes winner to the track Friday morning for his final 1 1/8-mile gallop at Arlington in preparation for the Classic.
Johnson said that he is not concerned with the possibility of an off track for Perfect Drift, who has a win and a second over the off going, and that his only instructions to jockey Robby Albarado would be to let the horse make all the calls.
"You just have to let him roll out there," said Johnson. "The horse knows more than we do and he doesn't like to be messed with. You just have to take a light hold and let him get himself into position. That's how Eddie (Delahoussaye) rode him (in the Lane's End Spiral and Kentucky Derby). He just sat down and let him get where he needed to be."
Johnson said Perfect Drift would walk the shedrow on race day and not go to the track.
"We're really excited to be here. This is the second biggest race of the weekend," said Johnson as he pointed to this Cox Plate cap. Johnson, a native of Victoria, Australia, is the grandson of William Samuel Cox, the namesake of Australia's most prestigious race.
Volponi -- The 4yo colt has never raced on an off track in 22 lifetime starts, and Heriberto Cedan, assistant to trainer P.G. Johnson, said Friday he is confident the weather will improve enough to allow him to stretch that remarkable stretch to 23.
"It's gonna be all right tomorrow," Cedan said. Despite the sloppy track, Volponi went out and "jogged a couple times (around). Bad track, heavy track, rain."
Cedan said Volponi's chances Saturday depend on the start. "He's got to break good, get good position," he said. "There's a lot of speed in there, and he should be right there, a couple lengths behind, and then go from there."
War Emblem -- Trainer Bob Baffert is well aware of his record in the Breeders' Cup (2-for-29), but insists that it is not as bad as it looks.
"The only really disappointments I've had in the Breeders' Cup were with Officer (fifth, 2001 Juvenile) and Chilukki (second, 1999 Juvenile Fillies)," Baffert said. "We've had a lot of seconds (four), and some other on-the-board finishes, and we've done that with horses that we were really just taking a shot with. So, I'm not that concerned about the record. This year, I am really happy with the horses I've brought here. I really believe that they have the benefit of our experience this year and they are well-prepared."
War Emblem, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell winner, is the morning line favorite, and Baffert believes he will run a big race.
"I've been saying it all week: he has the best credentials and he will be on the lead," Baffert said. "After that, it is anybody's guess what happens. I am convinced that when he is on his game, he is the best horse. Period. He is acting like his old self and, hopefully, I've done my job to keep him happy so he can run his best on Saturday."
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Thursday, October 24, 2002
Contact: Notes Team (847) 385-7472/7473
$4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (GI)
Came Home -- The 3yo colt, who arrived from California Wednesday, had his first look at the track Thursday and jogged and galloped about 1 ¼ miles on a showery morning under trainer Paco Gonzalez for the Classic.
"He feels very good," said Gonzalez confidently. "He likes the colder weather." Gonzalez and groom Israel Garcia accompanied the colt on the flight.
Gonzalez hopes for a fast track since Came Home has never run in off going. "I don't know how the track is going to be, but I hope it will be fine by Saturday," said Gonzalez, crossing his fingers at weather reports of drying conditions.
"Every time I come here, it's raining," said Gonzalez, shaking his head at the memories of bringing Bienamado to the Arlington Million twice and watching him spin his wheels on soft turf.
He hopes for better luck in a race that he thinks should earn Came Home Horse of the Year honors with a victory.
"He's doing very good, and I like his post (11)," added Gonzalez. "It's a lot like the Pacific Classic, when he had post 9 (and won Aug. 25 at Del Mar). Mike (Smith) knows the horse now and can sit wherever he wants."
Gonzalez answered a cell phone call from retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron, who had been Came Home's regular rider and went out with career victory number 7,141 aboard the colt in the Affirmed Handicap at Hollywood Park June 23. McCarron, busy with an advisory role in the filming of "Seabiscuit" in California, wished him luck. He gave Smith tips on riding the colt during the transition.
Came Home will make his last start in the Classic before retirement to stud at Lane's End Farm in Kentucky. Lane's End owner Will Farish is co-owner of the colt along with John Goodman of Texas and breeders John Toffan and Trudy McCaffery.
With victories in nine of 11 starts and earnings of $1,835,940, Came Home ranks among the best of Gonzalez's trainees along with Free House and Bien Bien. He is optimistic the compact colt will end his career on a high note.
Dollar Bill -- Trainer Dallas Stewart sent Gary and Mary West's Dollar Bill to the main Arlington track on Thursday for an easy gallop in preparation for Saturday's Classic.
"He went great," said Stewart. "We're very happy with him."
E Dubai -- Godolphin Racing's E Dubai, winner of the Suburban Handicap in his last start, was scheduled to arrive at Arlington Park Thursday afternoon after a flight from New York.
Jorge Chavez will ride the son of Mr. Prospector, who will exit post position 1. E Dubai is 12-1 on the morning line.
Evening Attire -- Trainer Pat Kelly believes there are good omens regarding Evening Attire's chances for the Classic. The improving gelding, a 4yo son of 1991 Classic winner Black Tie Affair, drew Post 8 for the Classic with jockey Shaun Bridgmohan.
"Someone pointed out to me that Black Tie Affair was also No. 8, so I hope that means something good for us," Kelly said, after Evening Attire galloped once around the sealed main track Thursday morning with exercise rider Danny Vogt. "We've been here for a while, and Evening Attire really seems to like it here."
Kelly said he still hasn't gotten confirmation if his father, Hall of Fame trainer Tommy "T.J." Kelly will make it to Arlington. The elder Kelly is co-owner and co-breeder of Evening Attire, along with Joseph and Mary Grant
"He's in Kentucky visiting my brother, Larry, and his kids," Pat Kelly said. "We still don't know if he's coming or not. We'll know for sure on Saturday."
Harlan's Holiday -- The colt galloped 1 ¼ miles and trainer Todd Pletcher said the track seemed fine.
"He's rounding into form," Pletcher said. "He's got two races under his belt (since his break). I think he can compete with anybody, and I'm confident he's going to run well."
Pletcher also said he's happy with Harlan's Holiday's No. 10 post.
Hawk Wing -- The 3yo son of Woodman remained in his stall in the Quarantine Barn Thursday morning awaiting clearance of his blood tests by the USDA. Trainer Aidan O'Brien plans a canter for his seven Breeders' Cup runners Friday morning.
"He's been unlucky this year in that he's never had fast ground which he wants to be seen at his best," said O'Brien. "He hasn't been disappointing because he's been beaten by good horses: Rock of Gibraltar, High Chaparral and Grandera, who's a year older. He's had a long hard season and plenty of hard races, but he's never flinched from a battle.
"We've always said that he would handle the dirt and he's a 3yo at the end of the season, so you would hope that he'd run a good race. He's a huge, big horse and if he's coming to the end (season), you'd have to forgive him for it.
"At Ascot (Queen Elizabeth II Stakes), he had been running over 1 ½ miles and strong miles-and-a-quarter, so to bring him back to a quick sprint was always going to catch him a little bit. The winner (Where of When) ran very well and quickened by him and got a couple of lengths and Hawk Wing just couldn't peg him back.
"I think all the horses have done well just to be here. After they were sick in the middle of the season (a virus affected O'Brien's yard for some six weeks) I thought we'd have no horses at the Breeders' Cup. They're only two- and three-year-olds, so they're 'soft' horses, but the likes of Hawk Wing and High Chaparral, if they're okay, we'll have them here next year."
Macho Uno -- Stronach Stable's Macho Uno walked the shedrow under tack Thursday morning at Arlington Park.
The 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner, who will be competing in his second Classic on Saturday, drew post position 6 and is 20-1 on the morning line. Gary Stevens will ride.
Trainer Joe Orseno said Macho Uno may go to the track Friday morning, depending on the weather.
The 4yo son of Holy Bull has raced only nine times since winning the Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Of the older horses in the Classic, only E Dubai with 10 career starts, has had a lighter racing career than Macho Uno with 13 starts.
"The only thing that was frustrating was taking him off the Derby trail," Orseno said. "Everything else has been pretty rewarding.
"As a 2-year-old, he did everything we asked of him. For maturity reasons, we couldn't really campaign at the level we needed him to be on the Derby trail. To miss the Derby with a horse like this with his potential as a 3-year-old ... I know Point Given shined. But we beat him as a 2-year-old.
"They both developed and both matured. Point Given had a great year, and I had to watch the whole thing, knowing in my heart I had a horse sitting on the bench that I thought was equally as good. That was the only frustrating part.
"After we accepted that fact (that he wouldn't run in the Kentucky Derby), we went forward from there. I thought we had a pretty decent year last year, considering we got a late start. The Pennsylvania Derby was a fun race to win. The Ohio Derby, there were circumstances there. He had a bout of colic before, and he wasn't quite right, but we knew we had to get a race in him before the Breeders' Cup.
"In the Breeders' Cup, he ran tremendous. He was fourth (beaten 4 ½ lengths). All the 3-year-olds they had talked about all year; they were in there and we beat all of them. I think it was very rewarding."
Medaglia d'Oro/Milwaukee Brew -- Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel galloped his Classic contenders, Medaglia d'Oro and Milwaukee Brew, 1 3/8 miles on a "good" main track at Arlington Park on Thursday.
Frankel continues to beam about Travers Stakes winner Medaglia d'Oro. When asked about Milwaukee Brew, Frankel said: "He needs to beat Medaglia d'Oro, that's what he needs to do. Right? If he can. 'Medaglia' is a pretty good horse.
"Any one of four horses can be Horse of the Year: Medaglia d'Oro, Came Home, War Emblem and maybe Evening Attire. If a 50-to-1 shot comes in, then maybe you go searching elsewhere.
"Everybody keeps knocking these three-year-olds, but I think they're a pretty good bunch. Only time will tell."
Perfect Drift -- The Lane's End Spiral Stakes winner and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher took his first spin over the Arlington Park track on Thursday under jockey Joe Deegan. The Murray Johnson-trained Dynaformer gelding arrived Wednesday afternoon from Louisville.
"We had a good trip here, no problems," said Johnson. "He couldn't be doing any better. The foot's good and cold (Perfect Drift missed one day of training because of a minor foot infection in the left front hoof) and we're ready."
Perfect Drift began the year with a victory in the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes in January and quickly climbed the ladder to becoming one of the year's top three-year-olds. Following a poor performance in the Belmont Stakes, he was given time off before returning on Oct. 5 with a victory in the Indiana Derby.
"I knew this colt would take us somewhere good after the Turfway Prevue, I just didn't know it would be the Breeders' Cup," said Johnson. "He's been training really good. The time off did him a lot of good. He's matured and the blinkers have kept him focused."
Jockey Joe Deegan, who has been Perfect Drift's regular exercise and work rider since the start of his career, agrees with Johnson on the progress their Classic starter has made.
"He's definitely matured," said Deegan. "He's bigger and stronger. He's still the same horse, but he's gotten pretty tough. The time off has really made a difference."
Volponi -- The colt jogged 1 ½ miles at Arlington Park Thursday after flying from New York to Chicago Wednesday.
"He take to it real good," assistant trainer Heriberto Cedeno said of the horse's trip around the track.
Trainer P.G. Johnson will not arrive until Friday.
War Emblem -- Trainer Bob Baffert's biggest problem so far at Arlington Park is getting into the place.
"I left my hotel downtown at 6:30 (Thursday morning), and it took me an hour and a half to get here," Baffert said. "Then, when I was coming back from the track with War Emblem they locked the gate on us. We had to go down and around on the pavement. I wanted to get my car and drive through the fence."
Baffert's seven-horse Breeders' Cup delegation, including Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell winner War Emblem, arrived here from California on Wednesday. Thursday, they were greeted with a cloudy, raw morning, complete with a gray sky unable to make up its mind as to whether or not it wanted rain. The result was spitting raindrops that were incredibly annoying.
Still, War Emblem seemed unconcerned.
"We stood him in the gate today," Baffert said. "We wanted to make sure all was right, and you never want to mess with the man with the button (the starter)."
According to Baffert, War Emblem's Classic will be determined at the start.
"War Emblem is fast," Baffert said of the 3-1 morning line favorite, who drew Post 3 with jockey Victor Espinoza. "I don't think Medaglia d'Oro can keep up with him. E Dubai, I don't think, will be in front of him. He better not be."
Baffert has long said that War Emblem's strategy for the Classic is simply to go to the lead and stay there for as long as he can.
"At this point, I don't worry about post positions, or who is in or anything like that," Baffert said. "We've done all we can to get War Emblem to this race. If he runs his race on Saturday, he's the man."
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