Delegation – Gary Barber’s graded stakes-winner Delegation, whom trainer Mark Casse termed as “a little wound up” earlier in the week, is settling into a routine with two days remaining before his start in the $1 million Dirt Mile.
“Delegation galloped this morning and then went back to school in the gate because he was a little antsy there yesterday,” said Casse, who brings a contingent of five horses into the Breeders’ Cup. “He was much better today and I’m pleased with him.”
Now it’s a matter of keeping the 3yo son of 2004 Sprint champion Speightstown and the rest (Pool Play in the Classic, Dynamic Sky in the Juvenile, Spring in the Air in the Juvenile Filles and Spring Venture in the Juvenile Fillies Turf) on target until the gates open.
“All systems are go and we’re in countdown to blast off,” said Casse, who is looking for his first Breeders’ Cup win after 10 previous tries. “At this point, you hope everybody stays healthy and stays safe.”
Emcee – Godolphin Racing’s Emcee prepared for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Dirt Mile by galloping 1 1/2m at Santa Anita Thursday morning.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle the Forego Stakes winner for the Dirt Mile with a high level of confidence.
“Any figures you look at – the Daily Racing Form Beyer Figures, Rags (Ragozin) Sheets, Thoro-Graph, anything you want to look at – he’s much the best on all figures,” McLaughlin said. “Now we have to work out a great trip and hope he can go two turns and go a mile. But I don’t think that should be too difficult.”
Fed Biz – The Giant’s Causeway 3yo galloped once around Santa Anita Thursday morning as he draws closer to his Saturday start in the Dirt Mile.
Trainer Bob Baffert looked on as Fed Biz went through his exercise and had good thoughts about the colt when asked.
“He’s a very good horse and he’s going to be even better down the road,” the trainer said. “He got knocked out a bit in that comeback race (Aug 31 at Del Mar), but he’s coming back around. The (Dirt) Mile is a good spot for him. I expect he’ll run well.”
Jersey Town – Charles Fipke’s Jersey Town jogged once around the track Thursday, the morning after arriving at Santa Anita following a flight from New York.
“He traveled well. He ate well. He’s ready,” said groom Norbel Lebron, who reported that the Kelso winner’s trainer, Barclay Tagg, was scheduled to arrive in Southern California in the afternoon.
Rail Trip – The 7yo gelding walked shedrow at Santa Anita Park Thursday after being shipped from Betfair Hollywood Park Wednesday following a 4f work for trainer Ron Ellis.
Shackleford – Last year’s Dirt Mile runner-up will be among the favorites for this year’s race as he nears the end of a stellar career.
Shackleford was to be among trainer Dale Romans’ Breeders’ Cup starters scheduled to school in the paddock Thursday, but the trainer said he still expects his horse to be on his toes.
“He’s still not going to want me to saddle him,” Romans said. “He’s going to make me work for it like he always does, but if he didn’t, that’s when I’d worry.”
Tapizar – Winchell Thoroughbred’s Tapit colt, already a two-time winner at Santa Anita, schooled in the gate and then had an easy gallop Thursday morning.
Trainer Steve Asmussen said that Tapizar had some trouble in the gate early in his 3yo year, but does not expect any issues on Saturday.
“We have a good group of horses,” Asmussen said. “They’re all good mentally. Tapizar is a big, physical horse, so you expect him to get a little hot in the post parade, but he’s never been a problem.”