Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Nov. 5-6
$1 Million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (Grade II)
Three-Year-Olds & Up
5 Furlongs (Turf)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Bridgetown – The Eugene Melnyk homebred jogged 1m and galloped 1m Thursday in preparation for this start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Trainer Ken McPeek said it was a “routine” gallop and everything was fine.
California Flag – The defending champion in the Turf Sprint galloped 1 ½ m Thursday at 9 a.m. with assistant trainer/exercise rider Colleen Hartford aboard. The gray went about his business as trainer Brian Koriner looked on.
California Flag, a homebred by the late Seattle Slew stallion Avenue of Flags, won last year’s Turf Sprint in front-running fashion, finishing 1 ¾-lengths best at the end of 6 ½ f on Santa Anita’s downhill turf course. This year at Churchill Downs, the California-bred gelding will only have to run 5f.
Kornier said he’d school California Flag among the runners for Thursday afternoon’s card.
California Flag will be ridden by Victor Espinoza and they’ll start from post 12 in the full field of 14.
Central City – The 4yo City Place colt jogged 1m on Thursday for trainer Ronny Werner as he prepares for the Turf Sprint. Werner reported all was well with his runner.
Chamberlain Bridge – The 6yo War Chant gelding galloped 1 ½ m at Churchill Downs Thursday morning, and trainer Bret Calhoun was just hoping he wouldn’t run into traffic in Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
“We weren’t very happy with the draw, it’s a pretty competitive group top to bottom and I think we’re at a disadvantage being in the one-hole,” he said. “We’re just going to have to get lucky and get through.”
Calhoun’s only previous Breeders’ Cup starter to date was Mr. Nightlinger, who finished 11th in the 2008 Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.
“He didn’t finish anywhere,” Calhoun said. “He was on the lead going 40 and change and 21 going down the hill. I thought he was going to sprout wings. He looked good until he hit that synthetic and then he just checked out.”
The trainer said it’s good to be back (at the Breeders’ Cup) with competitive horses (Dubai Majesty in the Filly & Mare Sprint is his other starter).
“It’s nice to have two horses of this caliber, two live horses,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to come over here just to be here, I want to be here with some competitive horses, and I think they are if they get the right trips.”
Due Date – The El Prado homebred, who runs for owners Richard, Elaine and Bertram Klein, galloped 1m over the Churchill turf course on Thursday.
“He’s great,” said Margolis. “He looked really good. We just have to hope now that he runs as well as we think he can.”
Grand Adventure – The 4yo Grand Slam colt, second in the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine last out, was out for some light exercise on the main track Thursday morning as he jogged 1m and galloped 1 ½ m.
Trainer Mark Frostad said Grand Adventure, who has never raced at 5f before, may be able to benefit from all the speed in the race.
“There’s tons of speed in there,” the trainer said. “He can sit off a hot pace. He usually goes farther, so there’s a better chance he’ll have something left at the end when he needs it.”
Owned by Sam-Son Farms, Grand Adventure has won two of seven starts this year, taking the 1m King Edward in June and 7f Connaught Cup in May. Patrick Husbands, who has been the colt’s regular rider most of the season, will have the mount on Saturday.
Rose Catherine – The speedy daughter of Speightstown galloped on the main track Thursday and will get a first look at the Churchill Downs paddock on Friday for trainer Todd Pletcher. Her only loss this year in six starts came going 1m at Keeneland, and this will be her first go-round with males.
“She’s obviously a very talented, very fast filly,” Pletcher said. “Sprinting on the turf is her niche. Any time you take a 3-year-old filly and run her against older males, it’s always a tall order, but she’s never lost sprinting on the grass. This is kind of the one opportunity you have to run for a big purse in that situation.”
The Paul Pompa-owned filly has won her last four starts, and drew post 9 in a full field of 14 that includes three females.
“We’re very excited about her,” Pletcher said. “She’s been a real sweet filly to train, very straightforward. It’s been a lot of fun for us.”
Silver Timber – The Chad Brown-trained Turf Sprint contender jogged 1 1/8 m under exercise rider Anna Hollander after the renovation break on Thursday morning, an exact repetition of his Wednesday routine.
“He likes the track here and he’s happy, moving well and eating well,” Brown said of the 7yo son of Prime Timber. “He’s just himself, he’s coming off a good race.”
Silver Timber, the 4-1 favorite in the Turf Sprint, won the Oct. 9 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland last time out.
Stradivinsky – Claimed out of a winning effort at Churchill for $50,000 on May 27, Michael Dubb, Jack Mandato and Bethlehem Stable’s Turf Sprint contender has run twice for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr., posting a win in the Jaipur at Belmont and a close third behind Chamberlain Bridge in the Turf Monster.
“It’s been nothing but good stuff since we claimed him”, Dutrow said. “The horse is happy, loves that Churchill turf course and is going to run big. In these races you’re going to catch some very fast horses and with a horse like him, there’s really nothing you can do about it. We’re telling Johnny (Velazquez) to send him to the lead and we’re going to go hard.”
Dutrow brings a fresh horse into Saturday’s race, since Stradivinsky has not started since Sept. 6.
“I like the spacing between the race in Pennsylvania and the Turf Sprint and if you watched his work the other day (47 3/5 on Nov. 1 at Aqueduct) you’d see he’s ready to run. His last two races for us have been very, very good and he’s been keeping solid company. You’ve just got to love those older hard-knocking horses like he is.”
Tropic Storm – “He’ll load late and we’re hoping he’ll be able to shoot right out there,” said trainer Craig Dollase about Tropic Storm, who will leave from post 13 in the 14-horse field for Saturday’s Turf Sprint, a 5f dash.
“You want to be ready to roll in a short race like that,” he continued. “A step slow and it’s all over. Fortunately, I have one of the best gate riders around in David Flores.”
Tropic Storm continued to prep for the race with a gallop of 1 1/8 m. “We shortened his gallop up a bit today [Thursday]. We don’t want him to get used to that leisurely long gallop.”