Calidoscopio – It’s been hard to miss the Argentina import Calidoscopio since his arrival in California nearly two months ago to prepare for the Marathon as he is the only horse to be galloped bareback every morning and he wears a white “bonnet.” The bonnet not only helps make the horse easy to spot, but is supposed to also to help prevent, “head colds,” according to his trainer Guillermo Frenkel.
It is traditional for all horses to train without saddles in Argentina and Frenkel explained that his horse is “too old to change his routine.” The only time he has worn a saddle was the three times that jockey Aaron Gryder has been aboard for workouts, including an unusual 1 ¼m workout Oct. 20, that was only given the 1m time of 1:43 2/5.
“He’s an old, smart horse,” said Gryder, who has the mount Friday. “And, he has a great kick for a distance horse.”
The other unusual thing about Calidoscopio, who earned his way into the Breeders’ Cup by winning the General Belgrano Stakes in his home country, is that he will wear a blindfold that covers his entire face and comes all the way down to his chest as he enters the starting gate.
Frenkel, 54, is from Buenos Aires and based at San Isidro racetrack. His family was in the horse business and he grew up on a ranch. He became a veterinarian, and after about 10 years trying to build a vet business, he shifted to training, largely because it was nearly impossible to do both jobs in Argentina.
He's won all the major races including the Gran Primio de Republica Argentina and races in the Estrellas series (the South American championships).
Calidoscopio’s owner, Juan Carlos Echeverz, heads seven partners. He is a rancher/farmer in Cordoba province and has a residence in Buenos Aires. He is on the board of San Isidro racetrack.
Eldaafer – When the 7yo son of A.P. Indy starts in his fourth consecutive Marathon on Friday and tries for his second win of the endurance test, he’ll step into the starting gate for the 41st time. Trainer Diane Alvarado hopes there is more left in the gelding’s tank, in both the short and long terms.
“God willing, he’ll race next year,” she said of the 2010 Marathon winner who was bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm. “He’s doing really good, and he’s the soundest horse in my barn.”
Alvarado remains convinced that when Eldaafer lines up in the starting gate, he’ll put forth his best effort and give her all he has.
“One thing I know for sure is that he’s going to try. He always does,” she said.
Nonetheless, Alvarado is uncertain how much his travel itinerary may compromise his chances. He was on a delayed trans-continental flight that didn’t arrive on the grounds until Monday and his last effort was a hard-fought third in the Hawthorne Gold Cup in Chicago on Oct. 6. He was shipped halfway across the country from and back to Alvarado’s base in New Jersey for that effort.
Fame And Glory – see European report
Jaycito – The Marathon candidate stretched his legs one more time Thursday morning prior to his Friday journey of 1 3/4m, this time galloping around the Santa Anita oval as part of Hall of Famer Bob Baffert’s 10-horse Breeders’ Cup contingent.
The trainer was asked if – after having made the decision to send his 4yo colt a full half-mile farther than he’d been tried before – he’d altered his training style to perhaps search for extra stamina for the son of Victory Gallop.
“No, you can’t really do that,” Baffert said. “If you start galloping them farther in this kind of deal all you do is get them tired. You’ve just got to go on with it. We’re taking a shot. We hope it works out.”
Sense of Purpose – see European report