Ad Valorem/Aussie Rules/Ivan Denisovich – Mrs. John Magnier has an interest in all three of trainer Aidan O’Brien’s hopefuls for the Mile although Ivan Denisovich, second to Showing Up in Arlington Park’s Secretariat Stakes in August, will need two defections to draw into the field.
However, with Super Frolic holding a first preference in the Classic and Mauralakana holding a first preference in the Filly & Mare Turf, Ivan Denisovich looks a likely participant in the Mile.
The three horses are due to arrive in Louisville Tuesday afternoon on a flight from Ireland along with O’Brien’s George Washington and Scorpion, destined for the Classic and Turf, respectively. If blood tests return negative from the USDA testing lab in Ames, Iowa, the Mile trio can be expected to go to the track Thursday morning.
Queen Anne Stakes winner Ad Valorem will be partnered by Jamie Spencer on Saturday while Garrett Gomez will continue his association with Aussie Rules after they teamed to win the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland this month. Michael Kinane has been named to ride Ivan Denisovich.
Araafa – The 3yo Irish-bred colt, who arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday evening after a flight that brought eight Breeders’ Cup starters from England and France, will clear quarantine Sunday night, and is expected to be out on the track Tuesday morning for light exercise.
The son of Mull of Kintyre became a Group I winner at the mile distance when he took the St. James’s Palace Stakes at Ascot in July. He is trained by Jeremy Noseda, who saddled Wilko to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 2004. Noseda has elected to go with an American jockey for Saturday’s race, booking Eclipse Award champion John Velazquez to ride the colt for the first time.
Aragorn – “Well, he’s out for a bit of a trot, or a jog if you’d prefer,” said trainer Neil Drysdale, when asked about his Breeders’ Cup Mile charge Monday morning. “He’ll go a mile with Debora Biggs riding.”
The Hall of Fame trainer was speaking from his Hollywood Park headquarters the day after he had sent his 4yo son of Giant’s Causeway through a 6f drill of 1:14 on the Inglewood track’s new “Cushion Track” surface. The move was rated fifth-best of 21 accomplished at the distance.
“He went very well Sunday,” Drysdale noted. “I was pleased with it and am happy with the way he’s trained coming to his race. He should be ready.
“I am also a fan of the ‘Cushion Track.’ I think it is very good for the horses and if I had one word to describe it it would be ‘excellent.’ ”
Drysdale, who has won five Breeders’ Cup races, noted that Aragorn would be on the 5 a.m. flight leaving Tuesday morning from nearby Ontario Airport heading to Louisville. The trainer is due in on Wednesday.
Corey Nakatani has ridden Aragorn in six of his eight stateside starts and he’ll be aboard the Irish-bred this Saturday.
Badge of Silver – The Silver Deputy 6yo, who will attempt to win the Mile off more than nine months of down time, jogged a mile around Churchill Downs Monday morning after the renovation break under exercise rider Jose Cuevas.
The Robert Frankel trainee worked 5f in a bullet 1:02 2/5 Saturday morning on the Polytrack at Keeneland in his last major exercise leading up to this Saturday’s championship event.
Badge of Silver was last seen in action on Jan. 1 winning the San Gabriel Handicap at Santa Anita at nine furlongs on the turf. He did so in wire-to-wire fashion and is expected to be on or near the front end in the Mile.
Hall of Famer Frankel said Edgar Prado will ride his charge for the first time Saturday.
Courtnall – The 5yo son of Cherokee Run walked the shedrow Monday morning following a flight to Louisville on Sunday. He is stabled in the barn of trainer Wallace Dollase, father of the gelding’s trainer, Craig Dollase, who was scheduled to fly to Louisville today.
Courtnall worked last on Oct. 21 at Hollywood Park, going 4f in 47 4/5. The horse, owned by J. Paul Reddam, is listed third on the order of preference for horses not making the main field.
Echo of Light/Librettist – Godolphin's two Newmarket-based Mile hopefuls arrived mid-afternoon Sunday in Louisville after a flight from England. Also on the plane was Godolphin's Silca's Sister who is nominated to the Cardinal Stakes on Sunday. Godolphin's U.S.-based Discreet Cat has been pre-entered in the Classic.
The Sunday arrivals had blood drawn at the airport in Louisville for testing at the USDA lab in Ames, Iowa. If all is well, the horses could go to the track Tuesday morning. Stable rider Frankie Dettori will partner Echo of Light, winner of the Prix Daniel Wildenstein in his last start, while Christophe Soumillon will be aboard Librettist for the first time.
Free Thinking – The Kelso Breeders’ Cup runner-up walked the shedrow at his Turfway Park base on Monday following his workout over the weekend. Despite getting advice from his cousin, trainer Mark Danner, to bring his Mile starter to Churchill before Saturday, trainer Doug Danner said he will continue to train Free Thinking at the Northern Kentucky track through Friday.
“He’s doing so dang good where he’s at, I don’t want to change anything,” said Danner. “Mark said that the turf course is different in the fall than it is in the spring, but if he doesn’t like the course in training, he’s not going to like running on it on Saturday. I don’t see any advantages.
“He’s run some good races at Churchill, so we know he likes the course. If he had gotten some room in the Firecracker this summer, things might have been different. He still finished second and Miesque’s Approval was at the top of his game then.
Jockey Jose Santos, aboard in the Kelso Breeders’ Cup, retains the mount in the Breeders’ Cup.
“He hadn’t even gotten off the horse yet, and was asking to ride him in the Breeders’ Cup,” said Danner. “I wasn’t sure if we’d get in at the time, but this is a thrill of a lifetime.”
Gorella – Gorella jogged 1 ½ miles at Keeneland Monday, the day after a 5f work over the Polytrack in 58 flat. “I’m very happy [with the move],” trainer Patrick Biancone said. “There will be no breeze. That was her last work.”
Gorella also has a second preference to race in the Filly & Mare Turf.
Biancone said he will ship his four Breeders’ Cup starters – besides Gorella they include Asi Siempre, Her Majesty and Mauralakana – to Churchill Downs Thursday afternoon.
Biancone confirmed that his former exercise rider Julien Leparoux, who just lost his apprentice allowance in late September, will ride all four on Saturday.
Lewis Michael – Frank Calabrese’s homebred Lewis Michael walked the shedrow at Barn 28 Monday, a day after working 5f in 1:04 2/5 on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Wayne Catalano was asked where Lewis Michael would run if he could not make the Breeders’ Cup off the preference list.
“He would probably run on the 11th here for 3-year-olds on the turf (the Commonwealth Turf),” Catalano said. “I would like to run him, because he is doing very, very well and how many chances do you get to run in the Breeders’ Cup? But there is always next year and he is a young horse. We know there are other races, so I am not that disappointed (if he doesn’t get in).”
Mauralakana – See Filly & Mare Turf
Miesque's Approval – Live Oak Plantation’s 7yo horse Miesque’s Approval walked the shedrow of his barn at Calder Race Course in Miami, Fla., on Monday morning. He worked 4f at Calder on Saturday in 49 2/5.
“I’m very happy with him,” said trainer Marty Wolfson. “I think he’s a sleeper…it seems that they (others) are discounting him because of his last race, but he is very sharp right now. Other than him, I think Aussie Rules is the horse to beat.”
Miesque’s Approval will board a plane Tuesday afternoon headed for Louisville along with stablemates Pomeroy and Prospective Saint. Pomeroy will contest the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Jockey Eddie Castro will ride Miesque’s Approval in the Mile. The young rider has ridden the horse ever since he arrived in Wolfson’s barn late last year.
Rob Roy – The Kentucky-bred son of Lear Fan arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday evening and will be in quarantine until Monday night. He is expected to be out on the track Tuesday morning for light exercise.
The 4yo, who won the Sandown Mile earlier this year, is trained by Michael Stoute, who saddled Kalanisi to win theTurf the last time the Breeders’ Cup was run at Churchill Downs in 2000. Stoute has given the mount to Frankie Dettori, who will be aboard Rob Roy for the first time Saturday.
Silent Name – A light gallop at Hollywood Park was the order of the day for the Japanese-bred son of Sunday Silence as he prepared to travel on Tuesday to Churchill Downs for his date on Saturday in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
Gary Mandella said the 4yo bay colt is coming to the race in good shape and won’t do anything significant after arriving at Churchill Downs. Mandella will travel to Kentucky by commercial airliner on Tuesday, arriving late in the day.
Silent Name put in his final work Saturday, going 5f in 59 4/5 under regular exercise rider Felipe Guerrero. Victor Espinoza has the mount on Saturday.
Sleeping Indian – The 5yo son of Indian Ridge, who has won two of his three starts this year, arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday evening and will remain in quarantine until Monday night. He is expected to be out on the track Tuesday morning for some light exercise.
John Gosden, who saddled the English-based Royal Heroine to win the first running of the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Hollywood Park in 1984, has given the mount to California-based jockey Alex Solis for Saturday’s race.
Super Frolic – See Classic