Bridgetown – “He’s very consistent; he shows up every time,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint starter. “He trains well. We’re just hoping that 6 ½ (furlongs) is in his range. His optimal races have been at 5 and 5 ½, but he did run well here as a 2-year-old.”
Bridgetown led all the way to the final strides in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at 1m at Santa Anita before settling for second for then-trainer Ken McPeek.
Bridgetown finished fourth in the Turf Sprint two years ago at Churchill Downs.
California Flag – The 2009 Turf Sprint winner and course record-holder for the downhill turf course at Santa Anita walked the shedrow Thursday.
“What I remember about (2009) was how impressive he was when he spurted away and how easy it was,” trainer Brian Koriner said of a 1 3/4-length victory as the 3-1 favorite. “They kind of gave us the lead, the speed horses took back. Coming down the hill, you knew it was going to be exciting.
“It was a great day in my life, that's for sure. I figured I'd reached one major goal of my life. I didn't celebrate much. All the build-up and anticipation of a big race knocks me out. I think I just went home and crashed.”
Camp Victory – The 5yo Forest Camp gelding was out early Thursday morning at Santa Anita to gallop for trainer Mike Mitchell who thinks the Virginia-bred has a better chance than his 10-1 morning line odds would indicate.
“If you go back on this horse’s lines (past performances) you’ll find a race where he was just beaten by the Steve Asmussen horse (Regally Ready) that won the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last year at Churchill Downs,” Mitchell said.
“That race was here (April 16, 2011) on the downhill course, which my horse loves. We’re back here again and going down that hill once more. I think he’s a great fit in this spot.”
Chosen Miracle – Jerry Hollendorfer’s prospect for the Turf Sprint galloped 1 1/2m, walked through the paddock, and stood in the gate on his way back to the barn Thursday morning.
The routine was overseen by Christina Jelm, who was in charge in Hollendorfer’s absence. Hollendorfer spent Wednesday checking in on his Northern California operation at Golden Gate Fields and was expected to return to Santa Anita later Thursday morning.
Corporate Jungle – Gary and Mary West’s 4yo colt galloped 1 1/2m on the main track Thursday for trainer Chad Brown.
After Corporate Jungle finished seventh of 12 in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6, Brown decided to give the son of Giant’s Causeway a try in the Turf Sprint. It will be Corporate Jungle’s first start under a mile.
Great Attack – Houyhnhnm Stable’s Great Attack continued his regular routine of jogging 1 3/4m and then returning to the barn through the paddock under exercise rider Lindsey Molina on Thursday morning.
Trainer Wesley Ward is not on the scene as he is in Florida for the weekend when his son competes in the state high school cross country championships.
Great Mills/ Unbridled's Note – Trainer Steve Asmussen’s two Turf Sprint starters galloped Thursday morning and were scheduled to school in the paddock later in the day along with their four stablemates who also have Breeders’ Cup engagements.
The 3yo Unbridled’s Note already has mastered the downhill turf course having won the Eddie D. Stakes Sept. 28, while Great Mills will be making his first start over this unique course.
“I have no worries at all about Unbridled’s Note and his post (13) will probably help him,” Asmussen said. “He was in post 12 of 12 last time.
“Great Mills will probably be thinking he’s out there house hunting, but that’s why I have two local riders on them. They know that course.”
Corey Nakatani, who was aboard for Asmussen last year when they won the Turf Sprint with Regally Ready, will ride Unbridled’s Note and Rafael Bejarano, one of the leading riders in Southern California, will ride Great Mills.
Nakatani holds 139 victories in down-the-hill turf sprints at Santa Anita and Asmussen said that he had taken notice of this ability a few years ago, which is how he became one of the main riders for the stable.
Reneesgotzip – In her first full day at Santa Anita, the Peter Miller-trained filly galloped 1 1/2m as she prepared for Saturday’s Turf Sprint.
The daughter of City Zip had been doing her preparation at Miller’s home base of Betfair Hollywood Park and arrived at Santa Anita before noon Wednesday.
Starspangledbanner – see European report