Cogito – “I'm really pumped about him," said trainer Doug O'Neill after the 3yo colt galloped 1 1/4m on the main track at Santa Anita Tuesday under exercise rider Beto Gomez.
Cogito, owned by Paul Reddam, will make his first start for the O'Neill stable after winning two of four starts in Europe and finishing fourth in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 6 in his United States debut, all for trainer Brian Meehan.
"He's a distance turf horse, real laid back with a good mind," said O'Neill. "And he drew really well (post six).”
Dullahan/Little Mike – Dullahan, with trainer Dale Romans’ significant other Tammy Fox aboard, went to the track following the 8:30 renovation, stood in the gate and then galloped 1 ½m over the main track. Little Mike followed a similar routine in the last set before the break.
“I couldn’t be happier with both of them,” said Romans.
The last time Santa Anita hosted the Breeders’ Cup, Romans won his first Breeders’ Cup race when Tapitsfly pulled a mild upset in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. Despite that win, Romans felt like the West Coast horses had a distinct advantage that Breeders’ Cup and decided to send his horses from Kentucky to California nearly three weeks ago. That decision looks like a good one in light of the weather that has delayed one Kentucky flight until Wednesday.
“I don’t know if it will give us an advantage, but I wanted to take shipping out of the equation,” said Romans. “I felt like the West Coast horses had an edge last time and I wanted to give our horses plenty of time.”
Kindergarden Kid – The 5yo son of Dynaformer, who is considered one of the outsiders in the Turf, galloped 1 1/2m over the Hollywood Park main track Tuesday in preparation for Saturday’s date on the Santa Anita turf.
Optimizer – Even though the 3yo son of English Channel comes into the Turf on a two-race win streak, his Hall of Fame trainer, D. Wayne Lukas said Tuesday morning the colt “will have to bring his ‘A’ game if he’s going to win this race. It’s very competitive and very deep.”
In his most recent outing, Optimizer, who galloped 1m on the main track Tuesday, won the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park by a widening 4 ¼ lengths.
The Turf will mark Optimizer’s 12th start this year. Among those was racing’s Triple Crown, where his highest finish was a sixth in the Preakness Stakes. He finished eighth in the 2011 Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile won by Hansen.
Point of Entry – Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry, who will be seeking his sixth straight win when he goes to post in the Turf, galloped 1m over Santa Anita’s main track Tuesday morning.
“He was really good, very relaxed, but in the bridle taking everything in,” said Jennifer Patterson, exercise rider and an assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who is scheduled to fly from New York to Southern California on Wednesday. “I couldn’t be happier with how he’s been since he got here.”
Point of Entry began his winning streak in an allowance race at Keeneland on April 12 that was followed by a victory in the Elkhorn Stakes at the Kentucky track. The 4yo son of Dynaformer subsequently won three grade I stakes in New York: Man o’War, Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
“He’s always been a big, powerful horse, but he’s really matured this summer. Every time he runs he gets stronger. He’s really grown up mentally,” Patterson said. “He’s been a bit of a late bloomer. We knew that was going to happen, anyway, but between mentally and physically, everything has come together.”
Shareta – see European report
Slim Shadey – The 4yo, English-bred gelded son of Val Royal jogged 1m on the Santa Anita main track Tuesday morning.
"Slim really seemed full of energy and looks great and couldn't be any happier," trainer Simon Callaghan said. "He'll gallop a mile and a half each day leading up to the race, which is the usual routine. He usually goes out about 7:45 a.m.
"We'll probably get him out Saturday morning and jog him a mile."
Slim Shadey showed marked improvement from a last-of-five performance in the 1 1/8m Eddie Read Stakes on July 21 at Del Mar to a first-of-nine victory in the 1 1/4m John Henry Turf Championship on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita.
"In the Eddie Read, I think we ran him back too quickly off the race at Monmouth and he just bounced," Callaghan said. The Read was only two weeks after finishing behind Turf rival Turbo Compressor in the United Nations at Monmouth.
"Then we freshened him up and gave him some time and it's fair to say that it was his best run the last time, showing great improvement, and he's going in the right direction. And there's good spacing for him between this race and the last one as well."
St Nicholas Abbey/ Treasure Beach – see European report
Trailblazer - The Japanese representative worked 5f on Cushion Track in a bullet 1:00 1/5 under jockey Yutaka Take in thick fog Tuesday morning at Betfair Hollywood Park. The time was the fastest of 40 horses clocked at that distance.
"It was a nice work, according to plan," said trainer Yasutoshi Ikee through interpreter Mikki Tsuge. Trailblazer worked in tandem with a maiden from the Gary Mandella barn, whom he passed on the turn and drew off from in the stretch.
Several Japanese journalists and photographers followed the 5yo Japanese-bred horse, who has won six of 21 starts and prepped for the Turf with a second-place finish in the Arroyo Seco Mile on the Santa Anita turf Oct. 6 in his United States debut.
Ikee explained that he was persuaded to test the Breeders' Cup after a visit to Japan in June by Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders' Cup Ltd., and that he stabled at Betfair Hollywood Park – arriving on Sept. 14 – because of familiarity with the facility.
"I worked for Neil Drysdale here twice for six months each, 16 years ago and again 10 years ago," said Ikee, 43, who went on his own nine years ago and currently trains 60 horses in Japan.
"He's acclimated well," said Ikee. "He acts a bit immature on the grounds but once on the track, he's all business."
Trailblazer is scheduled to be shipped to the quarantine barn at Santa Anita early Wednesday morning and will return to Japan after the Breeders' Cup. Japanese owner Koji Maeda is scheduled to arrive Wednesday.
Turbo Compressor – Nerina and Carlos Morales of P & G Stable, part-owners of the 4yo son of Halo’s Image, benefited from the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge series after their victory in the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth in early July secured a spot in the field for the $3 million Turf. By winning the U.N., Breeders’ Cup paid the $90,000 entry fee and provided a $10,000 travel allowance to the connections for Turbo Compressor to start in the Turf.
“We hoped to come to the Breeders’ Cup, but that made it really nice for us,” said Nerina Morales, whose stable is partners with Off the Hook LLC in the ridgling. “It’s a long race, but we’ll try and see. He had a pretty good race here at Santa Anita (second in the John Henry on Sept. 30), so we’re hoping for the best.”
The John Henry was a quarter of a mile shorter than the Turf, the distance of this runner’s worst career outing in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga. He was last in a field of nine going 1 1/2m on Aug. 18 after setting the early pace.
“That was kind of a surprise,” said Todd Pletcher’s assistant trainer Mike McCarthy. “Normally when he gets to the front, he’s pretty tough. We were a little surprised when he didn’t get to the lead in the John Henry, but he ran well.”
Joe Bravo, who has been aboard for Turbo Compressor’s last four starts, will get the ride again from post 2 in the field of 12 grass specialists. He is 3-for-6 lifetime on the turf, including the Colonial Turf Cup in Virginia in June.
The Moraleses were also part-owners of 2010 Cup runner Pashito the Che, who finished out of the money in the Sprint for trainer Scott Lake.