BREEDERS' CUP NOTES
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"RACING TO THE BREEDERS' CUP" NEWSLETTER
STRONACH-ORSENO TEAM GEARING UP FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Owner-breeder Frank Stronach and trainer Joe Orseno had a sensational 2000 season highlighted by RED BULLET’s Preakness victory over Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus and climaxed by Breeders’ Cup Championship victories by PERFECT STING and MACHO UNO at Churchill Downs.
Orseno has the stable gearing up for another major assault on the Breeders’ Cup at Belmont Park on Oct. 27. However, he is currently focusing on the more immediate business of preparing the stable’s three-year-old THUNDER BLITZ for the Belmont Stakes and Eclipse champion turf mare Perfect Sting for a start against male rivals in the Manhattan Handicap, both of which will be run at Belmont on June 9.
Official Equibase Past Performances for THUNDER BLITZ
“I was concerned that I wouldn’t have Perfect Sting ready to go a mile and a quarter against colts until I got that work into her Saturday,” said Orseno on Sunday morning from Belmont. “We had to miss about four days of training here because of the weather, but with that work in her, I’m leaning toward running in the Manhattan.”
Orseno had considered running her against fillies going a mile in the Just A Game Breeders’ Cup, also on Belmont Day. “It may be hard to believe, but I think she may be even better this year than last year. I think a horse’s five-year-old season can be their best. She trains more aggressively this year and really wants to go out there every morning.” Perfect Sting won the Black Helen Handicap at Hialeah on April 14 in her only start this year.
Not more than a few days after the Belmont, Orseno expects both Red Bullet and Macho Uno to return to the stable from Stronach’s Adena Springs South farm in Ocala, Fla. “The reports on both of them are excellent. They are up to breezing three-eighths at the farm and should be half-mile fit by the time they get here.
“If all goes well, I would hope to have them ready for a race sometime during the Saratoga meet and then have time for another two races each before the Breeders’ Cup.” Macho Uno hasn’t run since his thrilling nose victory over POINT GIVEN in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile to seal an Eclipse Award campaign.
Official Equibase Past Performances for POINT GIVEN
Red Bullet finished third in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont last July 9 in his only start after winning the Preakness. Orseno also thinks highly of the stable’s four-year-old MILWAUKEE BREW, who finished a disappointing fourth in the Pimlico Special on May 12.
Official Equibase Past Performances for MILWAUKEE BREW
“I was really puzzled with that race until we scoped him afterward and found a lot of mucous and some blood in his lungs. I still think he’ll be a factor in the big races after we give him some time.” Winner of the Ohio Derby last year, the son of Wild Again is expected to make his next start in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont on July 1.
Stronach’s first starter in the Breeders’ Cup was in the inaugural event at Hollywood Park in 1984, in which Canadian Factor finished sixth in the Classic behind Wild Again. The stable’s first Breeders’ Cup victory was Awesome Again’s memorable Classic score at Churchill Downs in 1998 over Silver Charm and Swain (IRE).
INCLUDE EMERGES AS MAJOR PLAYER IN HANDICAP RANKS
Robert E. Meyerhoff’s lightly raced four-year-old INCLUDE appears ready to join the elite list of serious contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Classic after edging past Tracy Farmer’s four-year-old ALBERT THE GREAT to win the $1 million Pimlico Special on May 12.
Trained by Bud Delp of Spectacular Bid fame, Include was winning his fourth consecutive stakes and eighth race in 11 career starts. Ridden in the Special by jockey Jerry Bailey, the Maryland homebred son of Broad Brush is being pointed next for the Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs this Saturday.
Albert the Great, ridden by Jorge Chavez, gave Include seven pounds in the Special and may not have seen his rival rallying out in the middle of the track. Trainer Nick Zito indicated the son of Go for Gin would likely start next in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont on July 1.
Michael Cooper and the Cecilia Straub Revocable Trust’s 2000 Horse of the Year TIZNOW and Mike Pegram’s Dubai World Cup winner CAPTAIN STEVE had been targeted for the Pimlico Special, but the connections of both decided to pass. Tiznow sealed his Horse of the Year title with a dramatic victory over Giant’s Causeway in the Breeders’ Cup Classic with Captain Steve a game third.
Tiznow strained his back while training for the Special and is not expected to run again until Del Mar later this summer, according to trainer Jay Robbins. Trainer Bob Baffert felt that Captain Steve needed more time to recover from his demanding trip and race in Dubai and is now pointing the Fly So Free colt for the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 16. Tiznow won the Santa Anita Handicap in his last start on March 3 and is now back to jogging at Santa Anita after a month of walking.
BEAUTIFUL PLEASURE TO RETURN IN HEMPSTEAD
John Oxley’s 1999 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner and Eclipse champion BEAUTIFUL PLEASURE is set to make her 2001 season debut in the Hempstead Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday, June 23 with regular rider Jorge Chavez aboard.
Official Equibase Past Performances for BEAUTIFUL PLEASURE
The now six-year-old daughter of Maudlin finished a disappointing sixth in her Breeders’ Cup Distaff defense at Churchill Downs last fall and some thought was given to retiring her to be bred this spring.
Beautiful Pleasure is trained by John Ward Jr., who is on the Triple Crown trail with Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos. Through much of Beautiful Pleasure’s career the mare has often been called ‘Donna’s mare,’ referring to the fact that Ward’s wife and assistant Donna has made a special project of keeping Beautiful Pleasure happy. She also is her regular exercise rider.
“She’s doing just fine,” said Donna on Monday morning from the Wards’ farm just behind Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky. “She’ll work tomorrow and we’ll get her up to New York pretty soon. I think she will probably do most of her racing this year between Belmont, Saratoga and back at Belmont in the fall. We decided to keep her racing this year because she seemed so eager to train after she came back from some rest after the Breeders’ Cup.”
Finishing seventh behind Beautiful Pleasure in last year’s Distaff was Aaron and Marie Jones’ Brazilian-bred RIBOLETTA, sent off as the 2-to-5 favorite. Despite her disappointing performance in that race, she was voted Eclipse champion, having reeled off six consecutive stakes victories prior to the Breeders’ Cup for trainer Eduardo Inda.
Equibase Past Performances for RIBOLETTA
Riboletta’s connections decided to retire and breed her this spring but she aborted her foal by Forestry early this month, attributed to Mare Reproductive Loss Syndrome, which has been observed among pregnant mares in Kentucky this spring. She is being put back in training with Inda after several veterinarians advised that there was no reason she could not come back in top condition.
KALANISI (IRE) THIRD IN SEASON DEBUT AT THE CURRAGH
H H Aga Khan’s 2000 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner and Eclipse champion KALANISI (IRE) finished third in Sunday’s Tattersall’s Gold Cup at The Curragh in Ireland, his first start since the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.
Official Equibase Past Performances for KALANISI (IRE)
Winning the 1 5/16-miles test was Godolphin’s five-year-old FANTASTIC LIGHT, fifth in the Turf last year behind Kalanisi. Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Fantastic Light was making his fourth start since the Breeders' Cup.
Official Equibase Past Performances for FANTASTIC LIGHT
The son of Rahy finished third, beaten a neck for it all in the Japan Cup in November, won the Hong Kong Cup in December and finished second in a photo to Japanese-trained seven-year-old Stay Gold in the Dubai Sheema Classic in late March.
Kalanisi was beaten a little more than three lengths Sunday and should move forward for the effort. The five-year-old Irish homebred is trained in England by Michael Stoute. Prior to the Breeders’ Cup last year, the son of Doyoun (IRE) defeated Montjeu (IRE) to win the Dubai Champion Stakes after a pair of photo-finish defeats to Giant’s Causeway.
AFFIRMED SUCCESS RETURNS: POINTED FOR MILE AGAIN
Albert Fried Jr.’s seven-year-old AFFIRMED SUCCESS made a winning season debut Sunday at Belmont Park as he edged by Texas Glitter for a one-length victory under Jerry Bailey in the Jaipur Stakes, contested at seven furlongs on a muddy main track.
Official Equibase Past Performances for AFFIRMED SUCCESS
Only three went postward in the ‘off the turf’ race, which marked Affirmed Success’ first start since finishing second in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in late November. Trained by Richard Schosberg, the Affirmed gelding ran a big race to finish fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last fall, beaten only a half-length for it all by War Chant.
Affirmed Success had finished unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs (1998) and Gulfstream Park (1999). Schosberg reaffirmed his plan to go for the Mile again this fall at Belmont. He indicated the probable schedule for Affirmed Success leading up to the Breeders’ Cup will include starts in the Poker and Kelso at Belmont and the Atto Mile at Woodbine.
CALLER ONE SHARP IN LOS ANGELES SCORE SUNDAY
Theresa McArthur and Carolyn Chapman’s sprint star CALLER ONE finished a respectable fourth last year as a three-year-old in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint behind Eclipse champion KONA GOLD after setting a torrid pace past the furlong marker.
Trained by James K. Chapman, Caller One may be a more dangerous rival for Kona Gold this year as a four-year-old after a pair of stunning victories this season, including Sunday’s Los Angeles Handicap at Hollywood Park. The son of Phone Trick won rather easily by 2 ½ lengths under jockey Corey Nakatani in excellent time of 1:08 1/5.
Prior to Sunday’s race, Caller One had shipped to Dubai in March where he won the Dubai Golden Shaheen by 4 ½ lengths in track record time of 1:08 2/5. After Sunday’s race, Chapman said, “You can’t take anything away from Kona Gold, he’s a great horse, but he will deal with a different horse [Caller One] this year in the Breeders’ Cup.”
Kona Gold, a seven-year-old gelding trained and co-owned by Bruce Headley, returned to competition on April 1 at Santa Anita and earned a hard-fought victory in the Potrero Grande Breeders’ Cup Handicap. After that race, Headley said the son of Java Gold would not race again until Del Mar this summer.
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