Cogito – The 3yo colt galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Humberto Gomez at Santa Anita Wednesday as he prepared for his first start in the Doug O'Neill stable.
O'Neill hopes the colt follows in the footsteps of Red Rocks, who gave owner Paul Reddam his first Breeders' Cup Turf victory in 2006. Reddam also owns Cogito. Reddam co-owned 2004 Juvenile winner Wilko.
Irish-bred Red Rocks was also a 3yo European import trained by Brian Meehan, who also conditioned Cogito before turning him over to O'Neill following his last start in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont on Oct. 6.
O'Neill also likes the historical link with jockey Frankie Dettori, who has won the Turf a record four times, including Red Rocks and Dangerous Midge in 2010, both for Meehan.
Cogito, by Giant's Causeway, won his first two starts in England this year and finished second in a group II stake in France before shipping him to New York for the Jamaica.
Dullahan/Little Mike – Trainer Dale Romans sent his “big boys” out on the turf course to get a feel for Santa Anita’s downhill course. Both had worked over the course on Oct. 20, but today was their first time over the part of the course that crosses over the dirt track.
“The main thing I wanted was for them to get a feel of the downhill and see the dirt course, so they don’t jump it,” said Romans.
Dullahan and Little Mike have regularly trained together since arriving in California, but they probably won’t be racing near each other on Saturday.
“They certainly won’t be getting in each other’s way,” said Romans. “One (Little Mike) will be in front and the other (Dullahan) will come running late.”
Kindergarden Kid – Turf prospect Kindergarten Kid galloped 1 1/2m on the Santa Anita main track Wednesday and schooled in the paddock as well.
Trainer Peter Miller sent his 5yo son of Dynaformer to Santa Anita ahead of his prospective starter for the Turf Sprint, Reneesgotzip, who is expected by noon Wednesday.
Optimizer – The 3yo son of 2007 Breeders’ Cup Turf champion English Channel galloped 1 /12m for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in what is the trainer’s normal run-up to major races.
Optimizer has run in four straight grass races after a long stretch of main track races that included all three Triple Crown races this spring. Lukas is hopeful the colt, who now has won two straight turf tests, has found his best surface.
Point of Entry – As trainer Shug McGaughey was en route from New York to Southern California Wednesday morning, assistant Jennifer Patterson took the Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry to the track for a 1 1/4m gallop over the Santa Anita main track Wednesday morning. After cooling out, the morning-line favorite for the Turf was taken back to the paddock for a schooling session.
Patterson has been getting on Point of Entry in the mornings since the spring at Keeneland. She recalled the “amazing” feeling of breezing the Point of Entry on turf for the first time.
“He’s a great horse on the dirt, but to breeze him on the turf, he’s a different horse. He’d probably run a good race on the dirt, but he’s a different class on the turf,” said the exercise rider and assistant trainer.
“In that last race in the Joe Hirsch (Turf Classic), it was soft turf, and he didn’t like it,” said Patterson of Point of Entry’s fifth straight triumph. “He didn’t like it at all, but he still did what he had to do to win. That’s the sign of a good horse.”
Shareta – see European report
Slim Shadey – Jogged 1 1/2m Wednesday, going to the track at around 6 a.m.
"It was foggy, but we could see enough," trainer Simon Callaghan said. "The horse trained through it fine and came back fine. He's in really good form, has really good energy, couldn't be going sweeter at the moment and we're really happy with him."
By design, the Breeders' Cup brings together horsemen from around the world, and the week facilitates reunions for Callaghan, a native of England.
"It's kind of nice to see and talk to the old European owners and trainers," Callaghan said. "It's not that I know a lot of people, but it's kind of fun with everyone being here to socialize a little with some of the people I'd worked with and know from England. I went to a client's place in Marina del Rey last night and there's a few of us going out for dinner tonight. So it should be fun."
Among those planning dinner tonight: jockey Jamie Spencer, bloodstock agent Richard Down and Richard Varian, trainer of Nahrain.
St Nicholas Abbey/ Treasure Beach – see European report
Turbo Compressor – Assistant trainer Mike McCarthy believes it has to be of some advantage to have experienced the unusual configuration of Santa Anita’s downhill turf course, and Turbo Compressor has had that opportunity.
The “Win and You’re in” contender from P & G Stable and Off the Hook LLC was sent out to Santa Anita to acquire that experience, and the 4yo son of Halo’s Image responded with a second-place finish in the John Henry Turf Classic on Sept. 30 behind Slim Shadey. Those two are both back for Saturday’s Turf.
“Slim Shadey showed a new dimension setting the pace last time, and there’s no secret about Little Mike, so there’s plenty of speed in the race,” McCarthy said. “I was pleased that (Turbo Compressor) was able to go ahead and sit off a horse and make a run.”
McCarthy said he believes the fact that each horse must take a few strides on dirt when they leave the downhill portion of the turf course is less of a factor in longer grass races at Santa Anita.
“You’ll see a lot of horses go up, go across it, turn around and come back over it again in the post parade or when they’re warming up, just to kind of familiarize themselves with it,” he said.
“You’ll get the odd horse that will kind of veer out, but going a mile and a half they won’t be going at full speed. You’d be a little more concerned coming down the hill in a sprint. I think it’s neat. It’s unique.”
Turbo Compressor earned an automatic bid to the Turf by winning the United Nations Handicap at Monmouth on July 7.