Animal Spirits – The 2yo son of Arch galloped 1m Wednesday morning in his first trip back to the track after walking Tuesday following his final pre-race work Monday. Exercise rider Scotty LeLeux was in the saddle aboard the Al Stall Jr. trainee.
Animal Spirits will gallop a similar distance Thursday morning and was slated to school in the paddock Wednesday afternoon.
“The more seasoning you can get, the better off you are,” Stall said. “We’re not trying to crash-course him, but every little bit you get right until the very last minute helps.”
It is quieter at Stall’s barn this year compared to last year, when the Louisiana native sent another son of Arch – Blame – to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“It’s different, that’s for sure,” Stall remarked. “But I wouldn’t mind trying for another Breeders’ Cup win, now.”
Caspar Netscher – Caspar Netscher, trained by Alan McCabe took to the dirt Wednesday morning and upped the tempo with a much stronger canter than he did Tuesday. McCabe is pleased with his progress.
Coalport – Six weeks ago, the 2yo son of Kitten’s Joy was an unraced maiden. Now he’s a 15-1 morning-line shot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“He’s a young, inexperienced horse who ran a big race last time out in the stake (2nd in the Bourbon),” trainer Wayne Catalano said. “I thought he was a winner for a second there. With that accident happening (frontrunner Here Comes Frazier attempting to jump the rail) everybody got a little discombobulated, including my jockey and my horse. I think everybody not knowing what was happening got a little leery. My horse checked a little, and that horse (winner Animal Spirits) got the momentum and ran by me.”
Fantastic Song – Trainer Chad Brown sent the Lemon Drop Kid colt out for a routine morning gallop of 1 3/8m.
Farraaj – With traveling head lad Paul Rutter on board, Farraaj took quite awhile to get used to the Churchill Downs main track Wednsday morning. The son of Dubai Destination found the early morning track work a bit daunting and on a couple of occasions appeared not to want to go forward, but once settled he did a gentle canter of about half a circuit.
“He is still not quite used to it,” trainer Roger Varian said. “He was not sure which way to go – either left or right. He will get better every day. Neil Callan who will ride him on Saturday, will be on him tomorrow and Friday and that will help”.
Finale – Unbeaten on grass, the son of Scat Daddy has already earned more than the purchase price of $175,000 risked by owners Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor.
“He’s really taken to it,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who started the colt on the dirt and failed to break his maiden in two tries. Once on the grass at Belmont, he won off by more than five lengths and since has taken a pair of minor stakes. “He’s as sharp as he can be.”
Finale galloped 1 1/4m on the main track Wednesday and then stood in the gate.
Gung Ho – Off a seventh-place run in the Breeders’ Futurity, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Juvenile Turf performer may be 20-1 in the morning line, but trainer Mike Maker is optimistic about his chances.
“He’s run at a different racetrack in all four starts and has experience on his side,” Maker said. “The 12-hole at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity didn’t work in his favor, but you have to play the cards that are dealt to you.
“He’s a talented horse looking for redemption. He works fast, but is always well within himself. We started him out sprinting, but since he’s a Kitten’s Joy, the plan all along was to progress to routes and hopefully get to this stage with him.”
Lucky Chappy/ State of Play – Lucky Chappy galloped 1 1/4m on the main track and State of Play galloped 1 3/4m on turf Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
Both colts are owned by Barry Irwin’s Team Valor International, whose colors were carried to victory by Animal Kingdom in this year’s Kentucky Derby. Trainer Graham Motion, who saddled Animal Kingdom for his 20-1 upset triumph, was flooded with memories when he returned to Churchill with his five Breeders’ Cup hopefuls.
“It was somewhat emotional the first day I came back here. It still is. It wasn’t that long ago. It’s an amazing memory. It’s different in that more people know me now. It’s funny, when you’re walking around most people know you won the Kentucky Derby in this area. It’s great to be back,” said Motion, who reported Animal Kingdom will begin galloping next week in Fair Hill, Md.
Majestic City – The 4-1 morning-line favorite for the Juvenile Turf got his first feel for the turf at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning at about 9:45 when he backtracked from the backside to the frontside, then galloped once around with enthusiasm under a strong hold by trainer/exercise rider Peter Miller.
“You can call me the Junior Larry Jones,” Miller joked, referencing the taller and larger trainer who gallops his own horses, including the Havre de Grace, one of the favorites for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Majestic City, a chestnut by City Zip who has been first or second in all five of his starts this year, will be making his grass debut in the 8f test. Miller worked him twice on the turf at Santa Anita in late October and the colt handled the assignments without any problems.
Garrett Gomez, a 12-time Breeders’ Cup winner, including last year’s Juvenile Turf on Pluck, has the call on Majestic City Saturday and they’ll start from post 8.
Wrote – Wrote was part of the final contingent of eight colts from the powerful stable of Aidan O’Brien that arrived at Churchill Downs Tuesday at 8:22 p.m. and are housed in the second quarantine barn.