Cogito – The 3yo colt galloped 1 1/2m on the Santa Anita main track Thursday under exercise rider Humberto Gomez for his first start in the Doug O'Neill barn.
Jamie McCalmont, racing and bloodstock manager for owner Paul Reddam, explained how he acquired the Virginia-bred colt, who began his career in Europe with trainer Brian Meehan.
"He was sold as a foal in Kentucky, but didn't sell as a yearling," said McCalmont after watching the gallop. "I looked at him as a 2-year-old at a farm in Yeomanstown, Ireland. He didn't breeze well, and we took him on a 30-day trial."
The Giant's Causeway colt blossomed under Meehan and won his first two starts in England this year. "He finished second to the horse who won the Secretariat Stakes (Bayrir) in a Group II stakes in France in July," continued McCalmont.
Meehan shipped the colt to the United States, where he finished fourth in the Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park in his last start on Oct. 6. "There was no pace in the race," said McCalmont. "Frankie (jockey Frankie Dettori) got off and said he would be much better going further."
Dettori and Meehan have enjoyed great success in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Dettori has won the race a record four times, including the last two for Meehan with the Reddam-owned Red Rocks in 2006 and Dangerous Midge in 2010.
McCalmont said Reddam named the horse in connection with his philosophy background. Cogito means "I think" in Latin and is associated with "Cogito Ergo Sum," the 16th century Latin statement proposed by French philosopher Rene Descartes that means "I think, therefore I am.”
Dullahan/Little Mike – Donegal Racing’s Pacific Classic winner Dullahan and Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Arlington Million winner Little Mike returned to the main track after galloping over the turf course Wednesday.
“I was happy with what I saw,” said trainer Dale Romans. “I was more concerned about Little Mike, but it was Dullahan that looked sideways at it (the dirt coming off the turf course), which is why we did it.”
Both Dullahan and Little Mike also schooled in the paddock and starting gate.
Kindergarden Kid – A strong gallop on Wednesday led to a day of walking the shedrow for the Peter Miller-trained Turf entry, according to Ruben Alvarado, Miller’s assistant trainer.
The son of Dynaformer came to Miller’s stable this week after a private purchase by the partnership of David Bernsen and Australians Kevin and Colleen Bamford from previous owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey following a victory in Keeneland’s Sycamore Stakes Oct. 18. The horse was bought primarily as a prospect for the 2013 Melbourne Cup.
Previously the horse was trained by Mike Maker.
Optimizer – In a world of change, D. Wayne Lukas stands firm for routine for his horses, so the 4yo English Channel colt went through the trainer’s normal routine of a 1 1/4m gallop over the main track.
Owned by Brad Kelley’s Bluegrass Hall, the 3yo Optimizer will be making his second Breeders’ Cup start. He was eighth in the 2011 Juvenile.
Point of Entry – After his delayed arrival in Southern California on Wednesday, trainer Shug McGaughey was on hand to supervise the morning activity for Point of Entry at Santa Anita Park Thursday. The morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Turf galloped 1 1/2m under Jennifer Patterson.
Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry is riding a five-racing winning streak into the Turf, including victories in an allowance race and Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland before reeling off triumphs in the Man o’War, Sword Dancer and Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.
“It’s just the maturity factor – his being such a big horse and letting it all came together. When I got him to Keeneland, he turned it around,” the Hall of Fame trainer said. “The eye-opener was that stakes race at Keeneland. After he won that race at Keeneland, I knew what I wanted to do.”
His most recent triumph on soft turf showed his trainer an ability to overcome adversity.
“He handled it fine, but I don’t think it was his best race. I think he likes it like he’s going to get it here on Saturday – firm. Not only was the turf soft but it was a funny-run race,” McGaughey said. “He showed me a lot that day.”
McGaughey has trained several champions, including undefeated 1988 Distaff (now named Ladies’ Classic) winner Personal Ensign and 1989 Belmont Stakes winner Easy Goer, but Point of Entry has provided him with a new experience.
“He’s new to me, because I never had a horse as good as him that wants to run long on the grass,” McGaughey said. “I never won the Man o’War, I never won the Sword Dancer, I never won the Turf Classic, so he opened up a lot of doors for me that’s been fun to participate in. He’s been fun.”
Shareta – see European report
Slim Shadey – Slim Shadey was put through a routine 1 1/2m gallop that elicited praise from trainer Simon Callaghan for its form and energy.
The 4yo son of 2001 Mile winner Val Royal is the second Breeders' Cup starter for English-born but now Southern California-based trainer Simon Callaghan. Callaghan saddled Dubawi Heights in the 2011 Filly & Mare Turf and she set the fractions for the first 6f of the 1 3/8m race before fading to sixth.
Has the second time through the Breeders' Cup experience been more comfortable for Callaghan than the first? "I think so," Callaghan said. "Particularly with it being in our local home track, it's easier."
A change in racing tactics, putting Slim Shadey on the lead for the first time in five races dating back to February, resulted in a wire-to-wire victory in the 1 1/4m John Henry Turf Championship on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita. Should something similar be expected for the 1 1/2m Turf?
"He'll be close to the lead, but he doesn't necessarily have to be on it," Callaghan said. "If he finds himself on the lead it would be all right, but Little Mike (wire-to-wire Arlington Million winner) will probably be the one in front. (The Turf field) is very solid. The European filly (Shareta) is very good and Point of Entry is possibly the best route turf horse that's been around in several years."
St Nicholas Abbey/ Treasure Beach – see European report
Trailblazer – see European report
Turbo Compressor – Trainer Todd Pletcher expressed some concerns about the pace of the 1 1/2m Turf with the ridgling, who typically runs at the front of the pack.
“I don’t really like the way the dynamics of the race are shaping up for a horse that likes to be on the lead,” Pletcher said after supervising a routine gallop Thursday morning. “With Slim Shadey and Little Mike in there it’s a tough scenario. It depends on the break, too.”
The son of Halo’s Image earned an early automatic berth in the Turf by winning the United Nations on July 7, but he took a step backward when finishing a distant ninth in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga at the Turf distance of 1 1/2m.
“After the United Nations and the Colonial Turf Cup (both wins), we just figured we had to forgive him for not liking the turf course that day (Sword Dancer),” Pletcher said. “Once he gave it up, the jock (Joe Bravo) didn’t persevere with him.”
Turbo Compressor is one of two Pletcher runners to have come out here early to get ready for a Cup assignment.
“It was the same idea as Love and Pride,” Pletcher said. “He shipped out early and got a race over the surface here in hopes of creating a little bit of an advantage for him by doing that.”
The P & G Stable and Off the Hook LLC ridgling responded with a second-place finish in the John Henry Turf Classic on Sept. 30 behind Slim Shadey.