Seventeen Breeders’ Cup horses arrived at Santa Anita Park at 9:12 a.m. Monday after a cross-country Tex Sutton flight that originated at Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y.
Greg Otteson of Tex Sutton said his company changed the starting point for the flight from Long Island to Newburgh, which is located north of New York City, and pushed its departure ahead by eight hours to 1 a.m. to avoid the leading winds of Hurricane Sandy.
Trainer Bill’s Mott’s three Breeders’ Cup Classic candidates - Flat Out, Ron the Greek and To Honour and Serve - and the likely Ladies’ Classic favorite Royal Delta were on the flight. The other New York-based trainers with horses on the flight were Chad Brown, Shug McGaughey, Michael Hushion, Michael Trombetta and Diane Alvarado. The flight stopped in Louisville, Ky., to pick up horses trained by Tom Amoss and continued on to LA/Ontario Airport.
The horses traveled by van from LA/Ontario to Santa Anita Park.
The flight was originally scheduled to leave from McArthur Airport in Islip at 9 a.m., but was switched to the upstate airport as the hurricane moved up the East Coast.
“We just tried to get in there and beat the storm,” Otteson said. “Long Island, even as early as Sunday, was unacceptable to fly in and out of there.
“We usually use Islip Airport there and it only has one runway with one heading. So if you get any crosswind it shuts them down pretty much. Newburgh is a much bigger airport with different runway directions. We were able to get out of there.”
Otteson said the trip was uneventful.
The horses that made the trip on Monday: Chad Brown (Awesome Feather, Balance the Books, Corporate Jungle, Noble Tune, Watsdachances, Zagora); Bill Mott (Ron the Greek, Royal Delta, Flat Out, To Honour and Serve); Mike Hushion (The Lumber Guy); Mike Trombetta (Next Question, Strike the Moon); Diane Alvarado (Eldaafer); Shug McGaughey (Point of Entry); Tom Amoss (Global Power, Sum of the Parts).
A final Tex Sutton Forwarding charter flight is tentatively scheduled for some time Tuesday with a full load of major contenders based in New York and Kentucky for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park with the status of the flight and timing dependent on Hurricane Sandy as it moves into the northeast.
Trainers with horses booked on this flight from New York include Todd Pletcher (Dreaming of Julia, Kauai Katie, Turbulent Descent, and Shanghai Bobby), Tom Albertrani (Brilliant Speed and Belle of the Hall), Kathy Ritvo (Mucho Macho Man), Tony Dutrow (Grace Hall) and Barclay Tagg (Jersey Town) from New York. The flight will then stop in Louisville, Ky. to pick up Wise Dan for trainer Charles Lopresti and Fort Larned for trainer Ian Wilkes before proceeding on to Los Angeles.
Trainer Todd Pletcher’s chief assistant Mike McCarthy reported Monday morning that the six horses already on the Santa Anita grounds are all doing well and have completed their works for the Breeders’ Cup.
“They’ll all just gallop the rest of the week,” McCarthy said. “I’m just worried about everybody back there (New York), not just the horses.”
Zenyatta Stakes winner Love and Pride, a contender in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, has been here since the week of her Sept. 29 victory over the Santa Anita dirt.
“She’s doing well, and she’s had a couple nice works here since the race,” McCarthy said. “She seems to get over the race track well.”
Also at Santa Anita is Turbo Compressor, who ran second in the John Henry on Sept. 30 and has been entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
Other Pletcher runners already on the grounds at Barn 89 are In Lingerie, who will run in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf rather than the Ladies’ Classic; Mile contender Doubles Partner, who was fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile; Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf candidate Tara From the Cape; and Bridgetown, who will be asked to stretch out to 6 ½f in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Trainer Tom Albertrani is still hopeful that his two Breeders’ Cup starters, Brilliant Speed and Belle of the Hall, would be able to fly from New York to California on Tuesday. Both horses are still stabled at their Belmont Park base.
Brilliant Speed is scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic while Belle of the Hall is pointing to the Filly & Mare Sprint.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed and obviously monitoring this storm,” Albertrani said.
Wind gusts early Monday at Belmont Park were around 45 mph as Hurricane Sandy continued to make its way up the eastern seaboard.
An early morning phone call to Ballydoyle confirmed that all of the Aidan O’Brien Breeders’ Cup entries were on schedule for a 9 p.m. arrival at Los Angeles International airport Monday.
Foremost amongst them is Breeders’ Cup Turf defending champion, St Nicholas Abbey, who will again have Joseph O’Brien, son of trainer Aidan O’Brien, in the saddle. Also in the team is leading Breeders’ Cup Mile hope Excelebration, who will be hoping to continue his winning streak having recently won the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.
The rest of the shipment consists of Fame And Glory (Marathon), George Vancouver (Juvenile Turf), Infanta Branca, (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Lines of Battle (Juvenile Turf), Treasure Beach (Turf), Up (Filly & Mare Turf) and Starspangledbanner, who rounded off his preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint with a fourth place in a Listed 5f event at Dundalk on Friday.
The first European trainer on the grounds at Santa Anita was Jeremy Noseda, who will saddle Fantastic Moon (Juvenile Turf) and The Gold Cheongsam (Juvenile Fillies Turf).
“I think this race will suit Fantastic Moon,” Noseda said. “He was impeded in his last run in the Royal Lodge at Newmarket, but I liked the way he put his head down and ran on at the finish. The Gold Cheongsam is a tough filly, who has plenty of experience.”
Also at the quarantine barn was Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who saddles Artigiano in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
“He seems to have traveled well,” Al Zarooni said. “He has some good form with the top 2-year-olds in England and I am hopeful he will run well on Saturday. Frankie Dettori who rides him knows the horse well and knows the track.”
Artigiano, and the John Gosden-trained Snow King, were the first European runners out on to the Santa Anita track.
Snow King did a circuit of the main dirt track at a walk and a gentle trot while Artigiano jogged two circuits of the training track before going on to the main track for a light canter.
Fred Bradley, trainer Buff Bradley, Carl Hurst, and Brent Burns’ Groupie Doll worked 3f in 34 2/5 Monday morning at Santa Anita with regular exercise rider Jada Schlenk aboard in preparation for Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint. The work was the co-fastest of 19 at the distance.
After standing for a time with a pony on the backstretch, Groupie Doll and the pony galloped once around with Groupie Doll breaking away from the pony nearing the three-eighths pole. Clockers got the first quarter-mile in 22 4/5 and had her galloping out 4f in 47.
“She works the same anywhere,” Schlenk said of the move that was accomplished in the blinkers Groupie Doll has worn in her past four starts, all victories. “She did it all on her own. We got away from the pony and I eased her into it. I didn’t ask her at all. I just gave her a little nudge at the quarter pole.”
Groupie Doll arrived Saturday and galloped on the main track at Santa Anita for the first time Sunday.
“She likes this track,” Schlenk said.
Maria Kabel, assistant to Buff Bradley, said Groupie Doll would walk Tuesday and return to the track Wednesday for light exercise.
Buff Bradley is scheduled to arrive Thursday.
Nonios, a 3yo son of 2003 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect, will follow his sire by running in Saturday’s Classic. The colt will get a final tune-up for the race with a 4f workout Tuesday morning over Santa Anita’s main track. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said the colt would work after the first track renovation break at about 7:30.
“For the opportunity of running in the premier race and because the distance fit him better than the mile,” Hollendorfer said when asked why the trainer chose the 1 1/4m Classic over the Dirt Mile for the double pre-entered colt.
Janis Whitham’s Fort Larned walked at Churchill Downs Monday morning, a day after working 5f in 1:00 2/5 under exercise rider Kate Merritt.
“I changed it up a bit and just walked today,” said trainer Ian Wilkes, who usually takes his horses back to the track a day after a work.”Most likely he’ll train tomorrow before he leaves, but I am not sure about the plane situation because of the weather in New York.”
Wilkes is scheduled to fly west on Tuesday.
Morton Fink’s Wise Dan, the top U.S. candidate for Saturday’s Mile, galloped on the training track at Keeneland Monday morning.
Wise Dan is scheduled to ship to California on Tuesday, but because of Hurricane Sandy, planned flights are in a holding pattern.
“I could just keep training him here at Keeneland, but I want to get him out there and get him on the turf one time to look around and school in the paddock,” said Lopresti, who initially was going to fly to California Monday.
Trainer Dale Romans has confirmed that Pacific Classic winner Dullahan and Arlington Million winner Little Mike will both start in the Turf. Dullahan had been pre-entered for the Classic, while Little Mike had been considered for the Mile.
“With Dullahan, it was just a surface decision,” Romans said. “He seemed to work a little better on the turf. His gallop out was stronger on the turf.
“With (Little) Mike it came down to the pace scenario. The Mile looks like the toughest race on the card and there is plenty of speed in there already. We felt like the downhill slope of this course would help him stretch out in the Turf.”
It was a busy morning for trainer Steve Asmussen as he sent five of his six Breeders’ Cup contenders to the track for workouts Monday. Champion My Miss Aurelia, a leading Ladies’ Classic contender, worked an easy half mile in 48 on Sunday.
“I’ve really liked what I’ve seen in all their works. I’m happy and excited about all of them,” Asmussen said. “The only anxious thing is what posts they’ll draw. That’s going to be extremely important for several of them.”
Dirt Mile contender Tapizar, who enters the race off a sixth-place finish in the Kelso Handicap after a rough trip, worked 4f in 48 4/5.
“He’s training really well,” Asmussen said. “I was disappointed in his race last year (5th in the Dirt Mile), but excited to bring him back here where he’s had two good wins.”
Tapizar won the 2011 Sham and 2012 San Fernando Stakes at Santa Anita.
Sprint runner Justin Phillip worked 4f in 48 2/5 Monday.
“He’s just a machine,” Asmussen said. “He’s as much fun as any horse to train and as solid as they come. He just eats, sleeps, and trains.”
Unbridled’s Note and Great Mills, who will face each other in the Turf Sprint, worked 4f in 49 3/5 and 48 2/5, respectively.
“Unbridled’s Note is a lot like Justin Phillip,” Asmussen said. “He just loves to train. He has a nice win over the course, so a lot will depend on his draw and how the race unfolds.
“Great Mills is doing very good and has been training very good.”
Dust and Diamonds, on target for the Filly & Mare Sprint, was the only filly among the five Breeders’ Cup workers from the barn and she covered 4f in 49 2/5.
“She’s very sharp right now,” Asmussen said. “She’s entering the race off a very good win (in the Gallant Bloom). The only question with her will be the extra half-furlong. She’s never been seven-eighths before.”
A winner in six of seven starts this year, Michael and Amy Feuerborn’s Class Included will contest the Ladies’ Classic instead of the Filly & Mare Sprint, where the daughter of Include was also pre-entered.
“She won three straight stakes at a mile and an eighth and has five wins and a second that was very impressive at the distance,” said Kate Cooper, trainer Jim Penney’s daughter and assistant. “The Ladies’ Classic is a very tough race, but we came to here to run.”
A sharp 5f workout in 59 2/5 over the Santa Anita turf course on Saturday sealed the deal for trainer Peter Miller who will run Reneesgotzip in the Turf Sprint instead of the Filly & Mare Sprint, in which she was also pre-entered.
“She worked really great on the turf and she’s bred top and bottom for turf, so that went together to help me make the decision,” Miller said Monday.
Working in company shortly after the mid-morning renovation break, Jaycito covered 5f in 1:02 2/5 for trainer Bob Baffert with Rafael Bejarano aboard.
Jaycito, a 4yo colt by Victory Gallop, will be running the farthest he’s gone in Friday’s 1 3/4m Marathon. His longest previous effort was Del Mar’s 1 1/4m TVG Pacific Classic in August in which he finished seventh behind Dullahan.
At Betfair Hollywood Park Monday, Include Me Out and Teddy's Promise each worked 4f on Cushion Track for weekend Breeders' Cup engagements to the satisfaction of trainer Ron Ellis.
"She breezed a half and galloped out well," said Ellis after Include Me Out was timed in 49 2/5 under regular rider Joe Talamo in advance of the Ladies’ Classic Friday. "She did her serious work here last week. I couldn't be happier."
Samantha Siegel, the filly's owner, was on hand for the drill.
"She's a happy girl, bouncing off the track in the morning," Siegel said.
Teddy's Promise was clocked in 48 4/5 under exercise rider Baltazar Contreras ahead of the Filly & Mare Sprint.
"She's doing great," Ellis said. "She just worked a 47 best in the morning last week. She'll be up close."
Ellis said that Include Me Out would be shipped to Santa Anita Tuesday and Teddy's Promise will be shipped across town Wednesday.
Breeders’ Cup workouts at Santa Anita - Groupie Doll (FMS) – 3f in 34 2/5; Handsome Mike (C/DM) – 3f in 34 2/5; Dust and Diamonds (FMS) – 4f in 49 2/5; Great Mills (TS) – 4f in 48 2/5; Justin Phillip (S) – 4f in 48 2/5; Rumor (FMS) – 4f in 46 4/5; Tapizar (DM) – 4f in 48 4/5; Unbridled’s Note (TS) 4f in 49 3/5; Calidoscopio (MAR) – 5f in 1:01; Jaycito (Mar) 5f in 1:02 2/5.
Breeders’ Cup workouts at Betfair Hollywood Park – Include Me Out (LC) – 4f in 49 2/5; Teddy’s Promise (FMS) – 4f in 48 4/5.