Caspar Netscher – Caspar Netscher had the services of jockey Richard Hughes Thursday morning when he did a steady canter out on the main track.
“Richard said that he gave him a really nice feel this morning,” trainer Alan McCabe said.
Coalport, Gung Ho, Tequila Factor – The Churchill Downs racing office was informed Thursday morning that Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Gung Ho will not participate in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf because of a minor setback. The defection allows Darrell and Evelyn Yates and Coby Tresner’s Tequila Factor, the lone also eligible, to draw in.
“Mike (trainer Maker) checked him (Gung Ho) this morning and he didn’t like the way he was walking,” Ramsey explained. “He has some muscle soreness in his hocks, and we don’t run our horses if they’re not 100 percent.”
Trainer Wayne Catalano, who trains Juvenile Turf contestant Coalport and Juvenile Fillies Turf contender Stephanie’s Kitten for Ramseys, received a phone call from Ken Ramsey early this morning.
“He said had some bad news for himself which was some good news for me,” Catalano said. “I don’t like to draw in at someone else’s expense, especially Mr. Ramsey. I’m sorry for his loss and appreciated the phone call. It is nice to get into the race with Tequila Factor, and with Coalport in, they (Ramseys) still have a chance to win it.”
Tequila Factor, who twice raced in $25,000 maiden claimers, does have two minor turf stakes wins on his resume.
“If you get in the Breeders’ Cup with a post position, you have a chance,” Catalano said. “Anything can happen. We saw it the other day in the Bourbon. He’ll have a little speed. He’ll be up there, so if the other ones find trouble in the back somehow and he kicks away, who knows what can happen?”
Coalport is the 12th Illinois-bred to compete in the Breeders’ Cup, and the only Illinois-bred winner was Buck’s Boy in the 1998 Turf.
“We have a handful of Illinois-breds for the Ramseys, and we’re very grateful for that,” Catalano said. “Being stabled in Illinois, we can take advantage of the program there, and if the horses are good enough, like Coalport is, we can run open races anywhere.”
Daddy Nose Best – Bob and Cathy Zollars’ Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf contender has a deep closing style that makes him dependant on pace and trip, particularly in a field of 14.
“When you’re in a field like this and two turns on the turf, you’re going to have to work out the trip,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “Having Julien (jockey Leparoux) in that spot gives us a lot of confidence. If anyone can work out the trip, he can.”
Fantastic Song – Trainer Chad Brown sent his Lemon Drop Kid colt out for a routine morning gallop of 1 3/8m.
The Green Hills Farm bay rallied from last to win his debut, a 1 1/16m turf race at Saratoga, by a head over Animal Spirits, who he will face again in the Juvenile Turf. On Oct. 2, he finished third in as the favorite over a soft course at Belmont Park in the Pilgrim.
“The colt definitely needs firm ground,” Brown said. “He didn’t run his “A” race in the Pilgrim. He still almost won, but it’s not his ‘A’ race. His ‘A’ race is the first time out in Saratoga when he came from dead last and won.
“I’m looking for the same type of trip here. I’m looking for a quicker pace and firm ground for him on Saturday. He’s got a nice cozy post on the inside (2), I want to find my way to the fence pretty soon and let them battle up front.”
Finale – One of the likely favorites in the Juvenile Turf, the “turf-perfect” Scat Daddy 2yo went out for a controlled gallop on the main track Thursday.
“Since we put him on the turf, he’s been special,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s 3-for-3 with three convincing wins. I am not crazy about the 13 post. If it weren’t for that, my confidence level would be pretty high.”
Finale broke his maiden in his third start after running third and fourth on the dirt. He since has won a pair of minor stakes in preparation for this assignment
Lucky Chappy, State of Play – Lucky Chappy galloped 1 1/4m on the main track, while State of Play, who had been scheduled to go to the turf, ended up galloping 1 3/4m on the main track when training on the turf horses was halted due to rain Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
Lucky Chappy began his career in Italy, where he won two of three starts in the spring and early summer, before Team Valor International sent him to trainer Graham Motion, who has been impressed at the son of High Chaparral’s progress in adapting to the U.S.
“It is very different. I was just talking to David (Nava) the exercise rider saying what a different horse he is from a month and a half ago. It’s not just coming from a different country. I think 2-year-olds change a lot, and this horse has changed a lot in two months,” Motion said. “I’ve seen a dramatic change in him.”
State of Play, also owned by Team Valor International, impressed Motion right from the start.
“He outworked all of my 2-year-olds. So I felt pretty good about him,” said Motion of the colt who has won both of this starts. “He’s very professional, always has been.”
Joel Rosario will ride Lucky Chappy, who broke last in his first U.S. start before closing to third in the Bourbon at Keeneland.
Majestic City – The City Zip colt walked the shedrow Thursday morning, two days out from his start in the Juvenile Turf.
On Wednesday trainer Peter Miller galloped the son of City Zip on the Churchill Downs turf course for the first time and got an enthusiastic response from the colt.
“He liked it out there,” the trainer said, showing off a picture owner Jeff Bloom had sent him on his phone of Miller high up in the saddle and pulling hard on Majestic City. “He liked it so much he almost got away from me out there. It was all I could do to pull him up.”
Miller indicated that Friday would be a morning to “go stand in the gate, and go to the paddock and do a bit of galloping on the main track. We’ve also got him scheduled to go to the paddock in the afternoon for the second race.
“I like where I am with him right now,” he said, “very much so.”