Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 24-25
$1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint
Three-Year-Olds & Up
About 6 ½ Furlongs (Turf)
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
California Flag (Tr: Brian Koriner; ex. rider: Colleen Hartford) – Trainer Brian Koriner was going about his business at Barn 17 on the Santa Anita backstretch Wednesday morning, training his string of horses, which this week includes a pair of Breeders’ Cup starters in Black Seventeen and California Flag.
The latter, who’ll run Saturday in the first Turf Sprint conducted on a Breeders’ Cup card, had already been to the track for a 2m jog under assistant trainer/exercise rider Colleen Hartford, but Kornier was having some fun kidding with the quick gelding’s rider – Joseph Talamo – as the young native of New Orleans worked several other horses from the barn.
“You don’t want to be telling these riders too much,” the trainer joshed. “Besides, whatever I tell Joe, he forgets it right away and does what he wants to do anyway.”
“Aw, now, boss, you know that’s not true,” said Talamo with a smile. “I always do what I’m told.”
Talamo and California Flag will break from post 10 in the 12-horse Turf Sprint. The gray 4yo by the Seattle Slew stallion Avenue of Flags is listed at 15-1 in the morning line, which might look enticing to some off his most recent start. That came on Sept. 24 in the Morvich Handicap on the same Downhill Turf Course they’ll travel on Saturday, a race in which Talamo sent him to the front early and then never looked back, stopping the teletimer in 1:11 for the about 6 1/2f, a course record.
All told, Talamo has ridden the California-bred in eight of his 11 starts and has been on board for all four of his victories.
Diabolical (Tr: Saeed bin Suroor) – The 5yo, who has raced in Dubai and Europe this year after three seasons in the U.S., jogged on the main track here this morning.
“He jogged easy today,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “Tomorrow he’ll canter a mile.”
Bin Suroor took over the training of Diabolical at the beginning of this year, and the son of Artax has won once in eight starts for the Godolphin Stable, taking a sprint on the main track at Nad al Sheba in March. Most recently he was beaten a neck in the Diadem Stakes on grass at Ascot last month.
Diabolical drew post eight in the Turf Sprint, with Frankie Dettori again aboard.
“The draw was perfect,” bin Suroor said. “He’s got a good turn of foot, plenty of speed, and the middle of the gate is perfect for him.”
Fleeting Spirit (Tr: Jeremy Noseda) – Since clearing quarantine on Tuesday, Fleeting Spirit has made two trips to the main track at Santa Anita.
Trainer Jeremy Noseda said the 3yo traveled well and has adjusted well to her new surroundings.
All four of Fleeting Spirit’s victories have come at 5f. She will be trying 6½ furlongs for the first time Saturday, 20 days after finishing fifth, three lengths behind Europe’s top sprinter, Marchand d’Or in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. In that race, the filly lacked room about half through the race.
“Things didn’t go very well for us in France, but I’ve got no problems,” Noseda said. “She’s a class filly. She’s a Group 1 filly at her best and she fits the race well.”
Noseda said he never considered running her in the Sprint and does not anticipate that the filly will have any trouble handling the start on Santa Anita’s downhill track.
“No problem,” he said. “She’s run on different tracks all her life. It shouldn’t be any issue to her at all.”
Get Funky (Tr: John Sadler) – – Keith Abrahams’ Get Funky galloped 1 1/4m under exercise rider Ricardo Peniche on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita for trainer John Sadler.
Regular rider Jose Valdivia Jr., will have the mount Saturday and break from post position 13 in the about 6 1/2f test down the hillside course.
“That was the best draw I got,” said Sadler, who will saddle seven starters over the two days of the Breeders’ Cup. “That is just terrific, because the outside is the place to be coming down the hill.”
Get Funky has won two of three starts at the Turf Sprint distance at Santa Anita and Sadler feels the 5yo son of Straight Man will have a bit of a home-course edge in the full field of 14.
“He is kind of a course specialist. He is very reliable coming down the hill and runs his race every time,” Sadler said.
Idiot Proof (Tr: Clifford Sise Jr.) – The 4yo son of Benchmark walked Wednesday for trainer Clifford Sise Jr., following his introduction to Santa Anita’s Hillside turf course during a workout Tuesday as final preparation for Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
The California-bred colt is owned and bred by Martin and Pam Wygod, who stand his sire at their River Edge Farm in Buellton, Calif.
Mr. Nightlinger (Tr: Bret Calhoun) – Since morphing into a turf sprinter this spring, a win streak spanning five starts, the speedy 4yo son of Indian Charlie has been in front past the opening quarter, at the wire, and at every call in between. Saturday’s draw of post 14 will put that string to the test.
“I never thought it would be a problem for him to run from off the pace, he’s just never been in a race where anyone has been faster than him early on,” trainer Bret Calhoun said.
Mr. Nightlinger has won over three different turf courses, and Calhoun is confident he will handle Santa Anita’s downhill configuration without raising a hair.
“Nothing bothers him,” Calhoun said. “He’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him.”
One Union (Tr: Richard Mandella) – The Richard Mandella-trained son of Dixie Union galloped 1m Wednesday at Santa Anita as he heads toward the Turf Sprint on Saturday.
The colt is owned by Herman Sarkowski, a long time client of Mandella and owner of 1993 Juvenile Fillies winner Phone Chatter, who also won the Eclipse Award as North America’s top juvenile filly.
Only Answer (Tr: Andre Fabre) – A 4yo filly, Only Answer jogged on the main track Wednesday morning as she prepares to take on colts again in the Turf Sprint.
The daughter of Green Desert, trained by French master Andre Fabre, has run only once against fillies in 12 career starts, with five victories against the male rivals.
Olivier Peslier, who has been aboard in all but one of her starts, rides Only Answer from post four as she tries the downhill turf course for the first time.
Salute the Count (Tr: Rick Dutrow Jr.) – His Breeders’ Cup status in doubt earlier in the week, 8-year-old gelding Salute the Count is now back on track for a run in Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
“He looks fine,” trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said of Salute the Count, who arrived at Santa Anita on Tuesday along with defending Mile champ Kip Deville. “He had a little swelling in a hind leg on Monday. He must have kicked the wall. It’s gone now. We have him right where he needs to be.”
A 12-time winner over his 44-race career, the Count the Time gelding scored his only win from seven tries this season in Saratoga’s Quick Call on Sept. 1. He's also posted four seconds and a third in 2008.
“Ever since my brother (Anthony Dutrow) claimed him (for $20,000 in June 2006 at Delaware Park) he’s fit in the races we’ve put him in,” Dutrow said. “Hopefully he fits the race on Saturday.”
Salute the Count, who missed his scheduled Aqueduct work on Monday, is slated to “blow out three-eighths” at Santa Anita Thursday morning.
Storm Treasure (Tr: Steve Asmussen) – Mike McCarty’s 5yo horse Storm Treasure breezed 4f in 49 3/5 at Santa Anita on Wednesday morning under exercise rider Carlos Rosas. It was his first recorded workout at Santa Anita since arriving from Canada on Sunday.
Assistant trainer Scott Blasi said, “He worked good. We just blew him out a half mile. We’re looking forward to running him down the hill on Saturday.”
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Storm Treasure in the about 6 1/2f Turf Sprint. “I’ve won a couple races with him,” said Bridgmohan via cell phone this week from Kentucky. “He’s always closing and I think going down the hill will give him plenty of room and something to run at. The set up is ideal for him.
“Earlier in his career, he showed lots of promise – he ran in the Kentucky Derby – but the way he’s taken to the grass has been phenomenal,” Bridgmohan said.