Animal Kingdom – Team Valor International’s Animal Kingdom galloped 1 ½ m over Santa Anita’s main track Tuesday morning before walking through the paddock on the way back to Barn 4. Exercise rider David Nava was aboard the morning exercise for the 2011 Kentucky Derby winner, who is slated to make his first start since February in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile.
“He handled everything well,” said Alice Clapham, assistant to trainer Graham Motion. “He knows he’s going to run. He’s pretty happy with himself.
Motion, who is scheduled to fly to Southern California Wednesday morning, waited out Hurricane Sandy at Fair Hill Training Center.
“We really dodged a bullet. We missed the brunt of it,” Motion said by phone from the Northern Maryland training center.
Animal Kingdom’s long layoff was caused by an injury to his pelvis discovered following an allowance turf win at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 18. It hardly comes as a surprise that the son of Leroidesanimaux will make his return in the Mile.
“To be honest, it was something I thought about even before I started him back training this summer. It was something that I thought was within his grasp,” Motion said. “Of course, everything had to go perfectly to get there, but it wasn’t like it was a last-minute decision.”
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Jeranimo – The 6yo horse galloped 2 1/2m at Betfair Hollywood Park under exercise rider Jesus Medellin Tuesday and will be shipped to Santa Anita Wednesday morning.
"He's doing as well as ever," said trainer Mike Pender, optimistic that Jeranimo will improve upon a seventh-place finish in the Mile at Churchill Downs last year.
"He's had 60 days between starts since the Del Mar Mile," said Pender of the plan to run him fresh. "He's ready to go."
Jeranimo worked 4f in 47 1/5 on Cushion Track Sunday, the second-fastest of 63 works at that distance.
"They're calling this the most competitive Mile field ever assembled," said Pender. "If Jeranimo brings his ‘A’ game, he can run with the best in the world."
Moonlight Cloud – see European report
Mr. Commons – The 4yo colt was shipped to Santa Anita after he "jog-hacked" on the training track at Betfair Hollywood Park Tuesday morning.
Mr. Commons worked 6f in a bullet 1:12 3/5 Sunday on Cushion Track, a drill that trainer John Shirreffs called "a little fast." Shirreffs nevertheless is hopeful that Mr. Commons will unleash a devastating turn of foot in the stretch.
Shirreffs had mixed feelings about drawing the rail in a field of nine, weighing the advantage of a ground-saving post against the disadvantage of the wait after being loaded first.
Obviously – The Irish-bred horse galloped at Hollywood Park Tuesday morning for trainer Mike Mitchell, then shipped to Santa Anita’s Barn 28 shortly thereafter in the company of stablemate Camp Victory.
Obviously, a son of the Danehill dancer stallion Choisir, is the likely pacesetter in Saturday’s Mile, where he’s drawn post 3 in the nine-horse field.
Mitchell will join his horses at Santa Anita Wednesday morning for further training.
Suggestive Boy – While Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally was at his Betfair Hollywood Park stable on Tuesday morning, Suggestive Boy was sent out onto the Santa Anita track for a 1 1/2 m gallop shortly after 9 under regular exercise rider Juan Vasquez.
“He’ll do the same tomorrow and then on Thursday he’s scheduled to go out onto the turf course under Mike Smith,” said Don Landers, who has been McAnally’s assistant for 18 years.
The Eclipse Award-winning and Hall of Fame jockey was in the irons for the 4yo Argentine-bred colt’s final tune-up on Oct. 25 when the colt traveled 6f in 1:13 3/5. It was Suggestive Boy’s second consecutive bullet work.
“It was nice to get on him and he gave me a great feeling,” said Smith, who has the mount in the Mile. “I am excited to ride him and am really looking forward to this race.”
McAnally took over the training of the colt, who started six times with four wins and a second at San Isidro Race Course in Argentina in 2011, for Pozo de Luna Inc. He ran him for the first time at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, when he finished second in the Shoemaker Mile on the grass.
Next out, Suggestive Boy won the Wickerr Stakes on Del Mar’s turf course and then finished fifth in two successive starts in a pair of grade I races, the Pacific Classic on Del Mar’s Polytrack and the Awesome Again on the Santa Anita dirt, respectively.
“I think putting him back on the grass for this race is going to be a very good thing,” Smith said. “He’s the kind of horse that if he gets the trip and doesn’t stub his toe, he’s going to be right there.”
Willcox Inn – The 4yo son of Harlan’s Holiday galloped Tuesday morning under exercise rider Freddy Alvarado, who accompanied the colt on his trip to Santa Anita ahead of trainer Mike Stidham who is slated to arrive Wednesday night and be at the track Thursday morning.
Stidham indicated that Willcox Inn will gallop up to Saturday’s Mile. He had completed his serious work with a 5f drill on Saturday at Keeneland that was clocked in 1:00 4/5 with jockey James Graham aboard.
Graham will ride the multiple graded stakes winner who will leave from post 7 in the nine-horse lineup.
Wise Dan – Morton Fink’s Wise Dan, the 9-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Mile, jogged one turn and galloped a turn and a half on the Keeneland training track Tuesday morning.
“He is going to tack-walk in the morning and is being picked up at 8 to leave,” said Amy Lopresti, wife of trainer Charles Lopresti who caught an early morning flight out of Lexington for Southern California. “It was a little breezy and cool here this morning and we got everything done before a little rain started.”
John Velazquez, fifth all time in Breeders’ Cup victories with 11, has the mount on Wise Dan with whom he has accounted for four victories and a second in five starts and a 2-for-2 mark on turf.
One of Velazquez’s Breeders’ Cup triumphs came in the Mile in 1998 with Da Hoss.