Animal Spirits – Trainer Al Stall Jr. reported that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf contender galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Scotty LeLeux Friday morning.
“No gate, no paddock. Nothing,” Stall said.
Stall was watching TVG footage of the competition in his office and has determined the race sets up well for the 2yo son of Arch.
“I counted quite a bit of speed in there,” said the trainer of last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, Blame. “The soft going shouldn’t bug us, and he’ll be able to lay off it and come running. And he’s training great.”
Caspar Netscher – The colt cantered on the main track Friday morning.
“He is in great form,” trainer Alan McCabe said. “He was even bucking out there this morning, which is a really good sign.”
Fantastic Song – Trainer Chad Brown sent the Lemon Drop Kid colt out for a routine morning gallop of 1 3/8m Friday morning.
Brown, 32, grew up 16 miles from Saratoga Race Course in Mechanicville, N.Y., and began working with standardbreds when he was in high school. He switched to thoroughbreds while he was a student at Cornell and worked for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.
After spending five years with the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel, Brown opened his own stable in November 2007 with 10 horses. Now he trains between 90 and 100 horses and currently ranks 12th in seasonal purse earning with more than $4.6 million. Brown has had at least one Breeders’ Cup starter in each of his four years as a head trainer. This year he has three.
Brown said that the experience of big race days with Frankel was invaluable and made him want to compete at the highest levels right away.
“It feels like I’ve been doing this for a decade,” Brown said. “On my own, I haven’t. For me, it’s just a constant continuation. Only the horses change.
“I’m very lucky to get back to these days as soon as I have since leaving him because, when I left him, I didn’t have these type horses and we had to get our own.
“It has come around quickly, but I just kept the same mind-set of that’s where I belong on these days and that’s what I’m going to focus on, no matter what’s in my barn. I just try to go into work with that mentality; to try to make these horses get me to those days because that’s what I want to do.”
Farraaj – The Roger Varian trainee visited the paddock Friday morning before cantering on the turf track.
Finale – Unbeaten in three starts on grass, the promising son of Scat Daddy galloped 1 1/4m on the main track Friday morning for trainer Todd Pletcher.
“It was fine,” Pletcher said. “He hasn’t missed a beat.”
Owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor, Finale will try to give Pletcher his second consecutive winner in this race. Pluck won the Juvenile Turf last year, ending a two-year run by Europeans in the race.
Lucky Chappy/State of Play – Trainer Graham Motion sent Lucky Chappy to the turf course and State of Play to the main track Friday morning at Churchill Downs.
Lucky Chappy galloped 1 1/2m on the yielding turf course under David Nava.
“I thought he handled it well, which I thought he would be comfortable on it because of his European breeding,” Motion said. “I think he kind of liked the going.”
State of Play galloped 1 3/4m on the main sloppy track, and his trainer expressed concerns about how the undefeated 2yo son of War Front may respond to the footing if it should come up particularly soft.
“I worry about it with State of Play,” Motion said. “I don’t worry about it with Lucky Chappy.”
Majestic City – “We just jogged him this morning; took him to the gate, through the paddock. Nothing special,” trainer Peter Miller said in reference to Majestic City, who has been made the 4-1 morning-line favorite for the Juvenile Turf.
Wrote – The colt went to the track for the first time and stretched his legs with a moderate canter.