Bridgetown – Melnyk Racing Stables 5yo son of Speightstown went out for his daily gallop as part of trainer Todd Pletcher’s first set with assistant trainer Mike McCarthy Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.
“He’s had a couple of good works over the racetrack,” said McCarthy of the Turf Sprint contender who will be making his third Breeders’ Cup appearance. “He’s a consistent sort who always shows up for us. Usually if he trains well he runs well.”
His last 10 starts have been at distances of 5f or 5 1/2f, but he’ll have to negotiate 6 1/2f of grass to win the Turf Sprint.
“I think we’re going to get a little help here with the downhill turf course,” McCarthy said. “That should make it a little easier on him, but he’s gone longer than this before. He’s a professional. He’s a warrior.”
Bridgetown was fourth in the Turf Sprint last year and second in the Juvenile Turf in 2009 for then-trainer Ken McPeek.
California Flag – There's considerable interest in Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, unraced since February, making a comeback in the Mile. In a similar situation, but much more under the radar, is 2009 Turf Sprint champion California Flag.
The 8yo gelding, trained by Brian Koriner, last competed in the San Simeon Handicap on April 21 at Santa Anita.
“I'm not really worried about it," Koriner said. "He's proven himself off the layoff over and over again. He's won off the layoff four or five different times (actually six). He trains hard enough to get him ready.
“Off the layoff-wise, I think this is the best he's ever been. Usually off the layoff we are thinking of another race. This is the first time we're training him off the layoff for the main event. So we've trained him a little harder and he's doing good.”
Chosen Miracle – The 4yo son of Ghostzapper, never worse than third in five starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, took his usual 1 1/2m gallop on the Santa Anita main track as he moved closer to his Saturday date in the Turf Sprint.
His morning exercise, and a trip to the paddock for schooling, was overseen by Christina Jelm, filling in for Hollendorfer while he spent the day at his Northern California base with his large string of horses there.
Corporate Jungle – Gary and Mary West’s 4yo colt galloped 1 1/2m on the main track Wednesday morning for trainer Chad Brown.
The about 6 1/2f Turf Sprint will be a change of pace for the son of Giant’s Causeway. He broke his maiden at 1m and eight of his other nine starts have been at a mile on turf. After he ran seventh in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, Brown decided to try a different approach.
“He’s a Grade 3 winner at Gulfstream and he won another stake at Monmouth,” Brown said. “We moved him up into the big races and he was competitive in a couple of them, particularly in the Fourstardave I thought he ran very well. But he didn’t earn his way in the Breeders’ Cup Mile, that’s for sure.
“Then we started looking at the Turf Sprint because I’m not so sure that a cutback wouldn’t be right up this horse’s alley. He seems to be a little bit of a headstrong horse and can be a touch rank at a mile anyway. Maybe the pace of a shorter race will give him a target to run at where he won’t be pulling the rider so much.
“Also, it was very attractive to get the firm turf here at Santa Anita, which is so hard for us to get up in the northeast on a regular basis. He’s a horse that really prefers firm ground. I think he has a shot in that race.”
Great Attack – Houyhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack, who will be making his first start on Santa Anita’s 6 1/2f downhill course in Saturday’s Turf Sprint, jogged 1 3/4m and then walked through the paddock under exercise rider Lindsey Molina.
Great Attack will be trainer Wesley Ward’s fourth starter in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Great Attack finished fourth in last year’s Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs going 5f with stablemate Holiday for Kitten finishing ninth. In the 2009 Turf Sprint at Santa Anita, Cannonball finished third for Ward.
Molina said that Ward is in Florida this week and would not be here for the Championships.
Great Mills/ Unbridled's Note – The two Turf Sprint starters for trainer Steve Asmussen returned to the track to gallop Wednesday following 4f workouts Monday.
“They’re all doing well,” said Asmussen. “They all just had easy gallops. It’s a matter of keeping them all happy now.”
Reneesgotzip – Trainer Peter Miller put the 3yo daughter of City Zip through her final paces at his Hollywood Park base Wednesday morning before shipping the filly to Santa Anita in advance of Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
The filly galloped 1 1/2m and then boarded a van for the trip across town.