Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Oct. 24-25
$2.13 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (Grade I)
Three-Year-Olds & Up
1 Mile (Turf)
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Awesome Gem (Tr: Craig Dollase) – Trainer Craig Dollase wrapped up the training details on Awesome Gem, the son of Awesome Again, Thursday morning by sending the 5yo gelding, owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, out to gallop 1 1/4m at Hollywood Park and then ship to Santa Anita to await Saturday’s $2.13 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf.
Following his arrival at Santa Anita, Awesome Gem schooled in the paddock at about 10 o’clock, Dollase said. “We’re through now,” the trainer said of the training schedule.
Bold Chieftain (Tr: Bill Morey Jr.) – The Northern California ace got to stretch his legs Thursday morning at Santa Anita after spending a fair portion of Wednesday on a van traveling south from the Bay Area for his appointment in the Mile.
Just after 7 a.m. he went trackside with exercise rider Robert Anderson aboard and jogged 4f, then did an easy gallop once around.
“He shipped down fine,” said trainer Bill Morey, Jr. “Ate up almost all of his mash last night and that’s good. He’s coming up to it the way I’d want. He’s a happy horse.”
“I drove down and that was fine,” the veteran conditioner noted of his own trip to Santa Anita. “But I’m out here (at Santa Anita) in the dark stumbling around this morning and I tripped over a curb and now I’ve got a swollen ankle. Better me than the horse, though.”
This will be Morey’s first runner in the Breeders’ Cup and he’s delighted by the experience.
“The Breeders’ Cup is the greatest day in racing,” he said. “If we can be a small part of it, we’re honored.”
Russell Baze will ride Bold Chieftain and they’ll break from post eight in the 11-horse lineup. They’re listed at 15-1 in the morning line.
Daytona (Tr: Dan Hendricks) – The 4yo Irish-bred jogged 1 ½ m on Thursday and “all systems are a go,” according to trainer Dan Hendricks.
Goldikova (Tr: Freddie Head) – Trainer Freddie Head remains confident 3yo filly Goldikova is up for the challenge when she meets colts in the Mile.
“I’m very happy with her,” Head said after the filly cantered a mile on the main track Thursday morning. “She’s a true champion, and she has everything she needs to run well here.”
Head, who won the Mile twice aboard Miesque (1987 and 1988) as a jockey, will try to become the first Breeders’ Cup-winning rider to saddle a Breeders’ Cup winner. Goldikva is the morning line favorite to pull off the feat.
When asked who he saw as the main danger in the race, Head went right past the colts and talked about the other mare in the race, Precious Kitten.
“I heard that mare will be the one to watch,” Head said.
Olivier Peslier, who has been aboard Goldikova in all of her eight career starts, has the mount again. The daughter of Anabaa comes into Saturday’s race with a three-race win streak.
Kip Deville (Tr: Rick Dutrow Jr.) – With $2.7 million in the bank and a Breeders’ Cup Mile win on his resume, Kip Deville has nothing to prove. The connections had considered retiring him following Saturday’s run, but Michael Ivarone of IEAH Stables hinted after the draw that the team is leaning heavily towards running their 5yo horse again next season.
“I loved hearing that,” said trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. “He’s been steady all year. We’ve had no issues. I’m all into bringing him back.”
Kip Deville won the first two starts of his 2008 campaign in fine fashion, but he finished a disappointing fifth as the 1-2 favorite in the Woodbine Mile last out. Last year he used a second place run in the same race as a springboard to his Breeders’ Cup Mile victory.
“He had an off day,” Dutrow said. “Maybe it was the (yielding) course.”
Precious Kitten (Tr: Robert Frankel) – Seven-time stakes winner Precious Kitten will take on male rivals for the first time Saturday in the Mile, and in anticipation of that trainer Robert Frankel sent her for a gallop of 1 1/4m Thursday morning.
The trainer obviously thinks his charge has a fighting chance in the traditionally tough field, males or no males. The fact that she’s listed at 8-1 in the 11-horse lineup says that morning line maker Jeff Tufts thinks she might, too.
Frankel has retained Precious Kitten’s regular rider, Rafael Bejarano, to ride in the $2 million test and they’ll break from post three.
Shakis (Tr: Kiaran McLaughlin) – Exercise rider Javier Fragoso took the gritty 8yo out for a 2m gallop on the main track Thursday morning, and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will join his lone Breeders’ Cup starter Friday after a flight from New York.
Shakis had an ideal draw, getting the hedge for jockey Alan Garcia. With a plethora of speed in the field, McLaughlin is hoping for a perfect setup for the son of Machiavellian who spent much of his career overseas.
“I’ve looked over the field, and it’s a quality group,” McLaughlin said from Belmont Park. “It looks like we’re the main closer.” Daytona is just naturally fast and has to go. Thorn Song will be chasing. We figure to be sitting 10th or 11th. We just have to get a clean trip.”
Shakis came from the clouds to finish second in the Shadwell Turf Mile in his last start as Thorn Song went off on an uncontested lead. Shakis also had the inside post in that race. Shakis won the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga with his patented late rally, just outfinishing War Monger.
He was a solid second behind Big Brown in an ungraded stake at Monmouth Park on Sept. 13. His last work was a 47 3/5 breeze over the Keeneland Polytrack.
“All the work and preparation are done that have to be done,” McLaughlin said.
Thorn Song (Tr: Dale Romans) – The 5yo Unbridled’s Song horse jogged 2m on Thursday as he continues his preparations for the Mile.
Since being switched to the turf a year and a half ago, Thorn Song has won seven of 15 starts with two seconds and two thirds. After eight starts on dirt and three previous trainers, he has found his niche, according to trainer Dale Romans, who assumed his care in November 2006.
Thorn Song began his career with a rough trip against Discreet Cat at Saratoga in 2005, made one more start three months later and was then away from the races for a year. He has raced steadily since joining Romans’ barn, but it was not until his debut on turf in May 2007 at Churchill that he started to get good.
“He had some soundness issues early on,” explained Romans. “Since being put on the grass, he’s blossomed. He’s gotten better and better.”
U S Ranger (Tr: Aidan O'Brien) – With his seven Aidan O’Brien stablemates, U S Ranger, a 4yo son of Danzig, cantered 1m on the main track Thursday morning.
O’Brien said the colt is venturing into new territory after running at sprint distances the past two seasons.
“This is U S Ranger’s first run over a mile,” O’Brien said. “His form dropped a little bit after the July Cup. It’s watch and see with him.”
War Monger (Tr: Bill Mott) – The 4yo season began with plenty of promise after the son of War Chant rolled to an impressive victory in the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 26, but that was the last time he visited the winner’s circle.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” said trainer Bill Mott, who has always had high hopes for this colt. “We’re not holding a gun on anybody in there (Mile field), but I keep thinking there’s maybe a little bit more there. He’s run a couple big ones, and he’s run some some big races and been beaten, like when he was second in the Bernard Baruch. He ran a winning race and got nailed.”
That three-quarter length defeat was as close as War Monger has come to winning in the past nine months, but Mott is hoping that drought ends Saturday.
“He’s doing good, he shipped in good – as cool a customer as any of them coming in on the plane and van,” Mott said. “He’s coming off a good work (Keeneland) and he’s trained well here.”
Whatsthescript (tr: John Sadler; ex. rider: David Pineda) – Tommy Town Thoroughbreds’ Whatsthescript galloped 1 1/4m under exercise rider David Pineda on Thursday morning for trainer John Sadler.
A winner of six of 12 career starts, Whatsthescript will break from post position 11 in the Mile under Garrett Gomez.
Whatsthescript has been in Sadler’s barn for only three races after being transferred from Doug O’Neill’s barn.
“I knew the horse from having run against him and getting beat in stakes by him with other trainers,” Sadler said. “He was in good shape when I got him and I just wanted to take him up a bit.”