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Author Topic: Classic  (Read 2812 times)
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« on: October 26, 2005, 11:07:36 PM »

Tuesday, October 25, 2005      Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017


A Bit O’Gold – The Two Bit Racing Stable’s A Bit O’Gold jogged two miles on the Belmont Park training track Tuesday morning under exercise rider Louise McDonald  in preparation for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge.
   Trainer Catherine Day Phillips said A Bit O’Gold arrived at Belmont at 6 p.m. Monday after vanning from Woodbine.
   “It looked like ‘Ghostbusters’ with all the clouds circling the city when we got here yesterday,” said Day Phillips. “We got here before it started raining, but when we started to unload all the equipment it was pouring.”
   Day Phillips is the daughter of trainer Jim Day, who saddled Dance Smartly to victory in the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She along with Kristin Mulhall (Imperialism, Sprint)  represent the first daughters of trainers to follow their dads into the Breeders’ Cup. Mulhall’s father, Richard, saddled three Breeders’ Cup starters.
   A Bit O’Gold is scheduled to gallop on the main track Wednesday, weather permitting, according to Day Phillips. The 4yo gelded son of Gold Fever will be ridden Saturday by Jono Jones, who has ridden A Bit O’Gold in all 17 of his starts.
   “Jono is our main rider and we have had a lot of success with him,” Day Phillips said. “The first time he got on this horse when he was a 2-year-old, he hadn’t even breezed yet, and he said ‘Miss Catherine, he’s going to win the Queen’s Plate.’ ”
   Jones was close in his early assessment: A Bit O’Gold finished second in the Queen’s Plate before taking the remaining two jewels in the Canadian Triple Crown.

A.P. Arrow – The Allen E. Paulson Living Trust’s A.P. Arrow galloped at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Stacy Prior.
   Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said Robby Albarado would ride the homebred son of A.P. Indy if the colt gets in the Classic. A.P. Arrow is second on the preference list for the oversubscribed race.
   Lukas is shipping his two hopefuls for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies to Belmont on Wednesday and said A.P. Arrow would come Thursday if he gets in the Classic. Lukas said he had no other race planned for A.P. Arrow if he did not make the Classic.

Borrego – The 4yo chestnut son of El Prado hand-walked the shedrow for an hour Tuesday after working 5f in 1:01 2/5 Monday, foreman Leonardo Torres said.
   “He’s coming good,” Torres said.
   The foreman said the horse will be fine if he ends up having an off-track for the Classic Saturday. “He likes mud, too,” Torres said. “He was second in the [2004] Arkansas Derby to Smarty Jones by about a length and it was sloppy.” Officially, Borrego was beaten 1 ½ lengths by the eventual Kentucky Derby-Preakness Stakes winner on a track officially rated “muddy.”

Chocktaw Nation – The son of Louis Quatorze, owned by Robert Bone and trained by Jeff Mullins, was due to arrive in New York Tuesday afternoon after a flight that originated in Southern California and stopped off in Louisville to pick up some other Breeders’ Cup prospects.
The 5yo gelding earned his way into the Classic with a third-place finish in Santa Anita’s Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap Oct. 10. He finished his serious pre-Classic training Monday with a 6f work at Santa Anita in 1:12 2/5.

Flower Alley – Like his seven barnmates and nearly every other Breeders’ Cup contender the Travers Stakes winner didn’t venture far from his stall in Todd Pletcher’s barn Tuesday on the morning after his final workout ahead of the Classic.

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   “His work was solid, which is what we were looking for from him,” said Pletcher. “He’s the kind of horse that carries a lot of condition and we wanted to make sure he was tight enough after his last race and it looks like from the way he worked we got what we wanted out of him.”
   Flower Alley was fourth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Oct. 1 in his first attempt against older horses. He was 2-for-2 at Saratoga with wins in the Jim Dandy and Travers in his previous two starts.
   Pletcher’s crew walked the 3yo son of Distorted Humor around the shedrow Tuesday.

Jack Sullivan – The 4yo son of Belong to Me cantered on the main track Tuesday morning. No jockey has yet been named for the British-based runner, who has won four races in his career including a Group III race in Dubai.

Lord of the Game – 2 Blondes Inc.’s Lord of the Game walked the shedrow a day after working 4f in 46 at Belmont Park.
   The Tom Tomillo trainee is first on the preference list for the Classic and needs one defection to get in the race. Tomillo said if the gelded son of Saint Ballado does not make the Classic, he will ship Wednesday afternoon to Keeneland for Saturday’s Fayette Handicap.

Oratorio (IRE) – Trainer Aidan O’Brien’s entrant in the Classic was due to arrive on the backstretch at Belmont Park around 5 p.m. Tuesday after a charter flight from Shannon Airport, on the west coast of Ireland. He will be accompanied by four other runners from Ballydoyle who will contest Breeders’ Cup races. Stable jockey Kieren Fallon will get a leg up on the 3yo on Saturday. O’Brien is due in New York on Thursday.

Perfect Drift – Stonecrest Farm’s 6 yo Dynaformer gelding continued his preparations for a record fourth appearance in the Classic with a 1½-miles gallop at Churchill Downs Trackside on Tuesday. He is scheduled to arrive in New York on Wednesday along with several other Kentucky-based Breeders’ Cup starters.
   “He’s doing super,” said trainer Murray Johnson. “Everything looks good. I’m very happy.”
   When asked about how Perfect Drift has changed since his first Breeders’ Cup appearance as a 3 yo in 2002, Johnson replied, “He’s gradually improved. He’s more experienced now and has learned not to waste his energy. He takes everything in stride. We’ve learned what makes him happy and he lets us know when he’s not happy. Right now he’s a very happy horse.”

Rock Hard Ten – The 4yo colt jogged one mile and galloped 1 ½ miles at Santa Anita Tuesday under exercise rider Paul Nilluang for the Classic. “He galloped great, and everything looks good,” said trainer Richard Mandella. “He leaves tomorrow at 6:30 (a.m.).”
Rock Hard Ten, winner of the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap in his last start at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, was reshod Monday after suffering a bruise to his left front foot in a work Thursday.

Sir Shackleton – With the wind and rain taking over outside, the son of Miswaki, owned by Tracy Farmer and trained by Nick Zito, jogged in the shedrow Tuesday morning. He’s expected to return to the main track on Wednesday, weather permitting.
Trainer Zito has hopes for the 4yo colt, pointing out that “he’s been a gem of consistency all year. He has great credentials. He was third to Ghostzapper in the Met Mile and he was second to Saint Liam last time out in the Woodward. He’s put together some great races.”

Saint Liam – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.'s Saint Liam, who breezed 5f at Aqueduct Monday in 1:01 3/5, walked the shedrow today for trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. 
Saint Liam will jog Wednesday and then gallop into the Classic.
On the track, Saint Liam is the complete package: he's got a high cruising speed, strong finishing kick and as his Whitney Handicap effort showed, a great deal of determination.  Off the track, Saint Liam has undergone extensive work on his feet, which have been troublesome at times. Saint Liam wore glue-on shoes on all four of his feet during Monday’s work.  The shoes were removed after the work and Dutrow said Saint Liam would likely be re-shod on Thursday.
"Alex Leaf does the work on his feet," Dutrow said.  "He's the best guy I have ever seen on a foot.  If it weren't for him, I can't see Saint Liam being as good as he is. Saint Liam has got the best people around his feet."
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Starcraft (NZ) – The Australian Syndicate’s Australian champion was rerouted from the main track to Allen Jerkens’ indoor jogging track in Barn 30 on a blustery Tuesday morning. In company with trainer Luca Cumani’s other Breeders’ Cup entrant, Turf hopeful Alkaased, the son of Soviet Star jogged a half dozen times around right-handed, then reversed direction and did the same number of circuits left-handed. Jerkens told Cumani that seven laps constituted one mile.
Cumani was not particularly concerned with what sort of track Starcraft would face on Saturday. “He’s trying the dirt for the first time, so whatever dirt turns up it will be new to him,” the trainer said. “Tomorrow we’ll take him to the track to see how he likes it. He’ll have a faster canter on Thursday.”
“The owner (Paul Makin, managing partner) and I have talked some strategy and it is an evolving thing. Pat Valenzuela will ride him. He hasn’t ridden for me before but there’s always a first time. The horse can get a little edgy when the jockey gets up, but he is fine on the track.”
“It’s a bold decision to run in the Classic (instead of the Mile), but one I totally agree with. He’s a fully mature, street-wise horse and if you didn’t try the Classic with a horse like him, you’d never try it.      
“There’s less pressure on me to run him in the Classic. If you run him in the Mile, he has to win. If he runs in the Classic and he doesn’t win, we can blame the dirt, so we’re OK!”

Suave – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave jogged two miles early Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs under exercise rider Luis Rodriguez ahead of a scheduled noon ship to Belmont Park.
   “It’s not raining here today, just cold,” trainer Paul McGee said of morning conditions that were decidedly better than the fare offered up at Belmont Park.
   With more rain in the forecast for the week, McGee was asked what an off track would do to Suave’s chances.
   “I think we would be all right with it,” McGee said. “He won a stake here at Churchill, the Northern Dancer, on an off track.”

Sun King – A day after a sharp 5f work that closed out his serious training toward the Classic, Tracy Farmer’s Charismatic colt walked trainer Nick Zito’s shedrow Tuesday morning. He’s expected to return to the track Wednesday.
Zito said he’s eager to see how Sun King will run in Saturday’s race, adding that he believes the 3yo is sitting on a big performance.
Of the veteran of the Triple Crown trail, Zito said, “Sun King is one of the top 3-year-olds of 2005, I think. Other than the Kentucky Derby, he was one of the promising horses in the Triple Crown mix.
“He got a little sidetracked in the Blue Grass [at Keeneland]. Even though he won his first two races of the year, people were waiting to see how he would run in the Blue Grass, and he got sidetracked there for some reason and it wasn’t his best effort. He didn’t do well in the Derby.
“But he was fourth in the Preakness, which wasn’t too bad, and then he just put together some really good races after that – winning the Leonard Richards at Delaware, was second in the Haskell, won the Pennsylvania Derby and was third in the Jockey Gold Cup. I think he’s a worthy horse and he worked great yesterday.”

Super Frolic – The California-based Classic hopeful was aboard the Tex Sutton flight out of Los Angeles that was winging its way to New York Tuesday. Thirteen horses boarded the plane out of Los Angeles for a 5 a.m. takeoff and they jetted to an 11:30 (Eastern) arrival in Louisville to pick up three more runners. The plane was airborne again at 12:15 and scheduled to arrive at Farmingdale Airport on Long Island at 1:45.
   Super Frolic, a 5yo by Pine Bluff, traveled well from California for his most recent start, a photo-finish victory in the Hawthorne Gold Cup outside of Chicago. Trainer Vladimir Cerin, who will join his charge at Belmont Park’s Barn 18 Thursday, was hoping for more of the same for Saturday’s Classic.

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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2005, 12:07:11 PM »

Thursday, October 27, 2005                   Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017


A Bit O’Gold – The Two Bit Racing Stable’s A Bit O’Gold galloped a mile and a half on the main track Thursday morning under exercise rider Louise McDonald as he continued preparations for the Breeders’ Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge.

            “He had a good morning,” trainer Catherine Day Phillips said. “He went to the starting gate and stood behind the gate and introduced himself to the gate crew, and the gate crew introduced themselves to him. He had a nice gallop and then made a trip through the paddock.”

            A Bit O’Gold will break from post position 12 in the 14-horse Classic under first-time Breeders’ Cup jockey Jono Jones.

A model of consistency, A Bit O’Gold has placed in the top four in 16 of 17 starts. The lone exception was in his last race as a 2yo in the Display at Woodbine when he finished the last of five.

            “That was basically a bad training job,” Day Phillips said. “There were two other stakes races two weeks apart and this was the third one two weeks apart, and it was just too much for a 2-year-old at that point. He obviously wasn’t there and Jono did not abuse him. He looked after him. We put him away for the winter and he came back as a nice 3-year-old.

            “We were taking a shot. The Sovereign Award was on the line at the time and he had to beat the horse that wound up winning the race (Judith’s Wild Rush) to win the Sovereign. In the paddock, we kind of knew it was the wrong thing to do. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt, and that’s the most important thing.”

            Day Phillips’ father is Jim Day, who saddled 14 Breeders’ Cup starters, headlined by 1991 Distaff victor Dance Smartly. And what was the best piece of training advice he passed on to his daughter?

            “Hmmm; I’d have to say that every horse is an individual and has to be treated as such,” Day Phillips said.


Borrego – Exercise rider Andy Durnin and the 9-2 third choice galloped a strong 1 ½ miles around the main track Thursday at Belmont Park.

            Trainer Beau Greely took issue with the use of the word “bridesmaid” in connection with Borrego’s 3yo record of 0-5-0 in eight 2004 starts.

            “He’s always been a winner,” Greely said. “They were good seconds. Of course, hindsight is always 20-20, but it’s just good maturing.


Choctaw Nation – The 5yo gelded son of Louis Quatorze stood in the gate Thursday morning before galloping 1 ½ miles on the main track under exercise rider Amy Mullins, wife of trainer Jeff Mullins.

“We just wanted to get him acquainted with the gate,” Mullins said, adding that the millionaire runner is doing very well coming into the race. “Amy says he really likes it here.”

Owner Bob Bone watched his Classic prospect go over the track and has this to say: “He’s going into the race beautiful and I’m really excited about the post position three. From where they start on the turn, post position is a really important factor. Normally, post position is not a factor for him because of his style, but it’s just nice that he doesn’t have to cross over.”


Flower Alley – Trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez are feeling relaxed two days ahead of Saturday’s attempt in the Classic. That’s an attitude both horsemen hope Flower Alley adopts after an agitated trip in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Oct. 1.

            “He’s doing great and training great, but he has to step up and prove himself somewhat,” said Pletcher. “We had a plan in the Jockey Club, and that plan didn’t work. Some of it was our fault. Some of it was his fault. We just have to put that race behind us and hope he can come around the way he did this summer.”

            Flower Alley finished fourth in the Gold Cup and raced near the lead between rivals including a stablemate Bishop Court Hill, who was supposed to soften up the pace for a run similar to his Travers Stakes triumph. Instead both Pletcher trainees were left gasping 15 or more lengths behind Borrego at the finish.

            “The problem was a horse to my outside started chirping right out of the gate and (Bishop Court Hill) didn’t break good,” said Velazquez. “My horse started getting rank because of what he heard and the speed horse had to rush up and that left us in the middle. He never had a chance to relax. This time he needs to relax, settle down and come with his run.”

            Velazquez’s agent, Hall of Famer Angel Cordero Jr., worked Flower Alley Monday, breezing 5f in 58 4/5.


Jack Sullivan – A first Breeders’ Cup runner for trainer Gerard Butler, the 4yo cantered on the Belmont inner turf course a little after 9 a.m. Thursday and then visited the starting gate.


Oratorio (IRE) – Trainer Aidan O’Brien is due in New York Thursday evening and is expected to send his Classic hopeful to the track Friday morning. O’Brien’s five Breeders’ Cup entrants had cleared quarantine but remained in the Quarantine Barn Thursday morning.


Perfect Drift – Stonecrest Farm’s hard-trying gelding arrived in New York at approximately 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and settled into his stall in Shug McGaughey’s Belmont Park barn. He walked the shedrow on Thursday morning and will school in the paddock before the third race.

            “We’ll just walk today and tomorrow,” said trainer Murray Johnson. “He likes it that way. He’s been here before, so going to the track isn’t that important.

            “He’s doing really good. His last race (a fourth in the Hawthorne Gold Cup) wasn’t that good and he was pretty upset by it. He was also a little body sore coming out of it, but he’s doing great now.”

            Perfect Drift, who will be making a record fourth appearance in the Classic, drew post position five in the full field of 14.

“It’s perfect,” said Johnson. “Really, really good. We’re all set.”


Rock Hard Ten – The 4yo colt galloped 1 ½ miles on the main track under exercise rider Paul Nilluang Thursday for the Classic after arriving here Wednesday from California.

Asked about a bruise to the horse’s left front foot on Oct. 20 that delayed his flight east, trainer Richard Mandella said, “We keep icing it and doing therapy to it. It’s coming along good. It’s improved quite a bit but you never quit worrying about it.”

Mandella was not overjoyed with drawing post position one. “It’s not my first choice, but that’s what I’ve got,” he said. “There is not much you can do about it.”

Mandella draws some parallels to his situation in 2003 with Pleasantly Perfect, winner of the Classic at Santa Anita. Both are big powerful horses who came off lengthy layoffs to win the Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Santa Anita as a final prep for the Classic.

“It’s a lot like two years ago except this year we had to travel,” said Mandella, adding with his dry sense of humor, “I invited everyone to come to California again but nobody was interested.”

Veteran groom Felipe Pulido, who began with Mandella when he took out his license in 1974 and handled such stars as Bad N Big and Phone Trick, is taking care of Rock Hard Ten.


Saint Liam – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.’s  morning-line Classic favorite Saint Liam galloped Thursday morning at Aqueduct under Rudy Rodriguez.

            To be ridden by Jerry Bailey in the Classic, Saint Liam will break from post position 13 in the Classic.

            “That (post 13) is not a problem for me; hopefully it will be for others,” trainer Rick Dutrow said. “I was happier with the 13 than the one or two.”

            Of the three Classics run at Belmont, outside portions of the starting gate have produced all the winners. Unbridled broke from the 14 post in 1990, Cigar exited post 10 in an 11-horse field in 1995 and Tiznow had post 10 in the 13-horse Classic in 2001.

            Saint Liam has won three of five starts this year and Dutrow was asked what he thought was the horse’s best race.

            “I would say the Stephen Foster or the race in Florida (the Donn Handicap),” Dutrow said.

            Would a repeat of either of those efforts be good enough to get the job done Saturday?

            “I think so. I’d say any of his last three should get the job done.”


Starcraft (NZ) – The Australian champion worked 4f in 47 2/5 Thursday morning as trainer Luca Cumani looked on. “It was a blowout and he looked good,” he said. “We’re happy.

            “We don’t know how he’ll handle the dirt under racing conditions but from what he did this morning, we’re pleased. The draw (14) is not a great help. I estimate he’ll be running about five or six yards further than the other horses. But if he takes to the surface he might just do it. Flower Alley will probably make the running with Saint Liam pressing, and we don’t want to get into a speed duel.

            “Pat Valenzuela won’t sit on him before the race but he has seen the DVD’s of all his wins and he’s excited about riding him. Psychologically, the horse is fine. The only time he might have a problem is when the jockey gets up, but once he gets to the track he’s fine.”


Suave – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave galloped a mile and three-quarters on the main track at Belmont Park under exercise rider Barry Downes.

            Edgar Prado has the call on Suave, who will break from post position eight.

            Along with Rock Hard Ten, Suave has had the lightest campaign of the Classic starters with only three outs in 2005.

            “He had a quarter crack on a back foot,” trainer Paul McGee said. “We had him down at the Fair Grounds after the Clark Handicap, pointing for some stakes at the Fair Grounds that he did not make because of the crack. Then we pointed for the spring meet at Keeneland, and the quarter crack came back again. We had to keep regrouping with him. There were minor problems that we just couldn’t run him.”

            Suave enters the Classic off a runner-up finish to Saint Liam in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

            “That was a pivotal race for sure,” McGee said. “Going into the Gold Cup, if he did well enough like he did, then we would go forward to the Breeders’ Cup, and sure enough that is what happened. We felt like he ran a very good race in the Gold Cup. He didn’t have the best of trips and still got second.”

            McGee likes having a fresh horse coming into the Classic.

            “I think his form cycle is good,” McGee said. “He has the two wins and a second. He’s fresh. We are going in without any excuses the way I see it. He’s got the three races under his belt; he’s fresh and he’s fit.”


Sir Shackleton – Tracy Farmer’s Woodward Stakes runner-up schooled in the gate and galloped 1 ½ miles over the main track as he moved one day closer to Saturday’s date in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“I’m very happy with his post [No. 6] for the race,” trainer Nick Zito said. “He should be in good position during the race.”


Sun King – Tracy Farmer’s Pennsylvania Derby winner took a trip to the gate for schooling and then galloped 1 ½ miles on the main track for trainer Nick Zito.

The trainer expressed approval for Sun King’s post position 2 for Saturday’s race. “That’s a good spot for him to start from,” the trainer said. Zito has said he believes the colt continues to improve and was impressed with his workout on Monday.


Super Frolic – The Classic hopeful – drawn in the 7 post and listed at 30-1 in the morning line – went about his business Thursday morning with a mile and one-half gallop.

            His regular exercise rider, Jessie Marquez, was up for the exercise and reported his charge was doing famously.

            “It’s all good,” Marquez said. “He shipped well. He looks good and he’s doing good.”

            Marquez noted that trainer Vladimir Cerin would catch a plane out of Los Angeles at noon today and was expected to be bedded down in his hotel in New York this evening.

            Super Frolic, a 5yo horse by Pine Bluff, is one of the most experienced runners scheduled to run on Breeders’ Cup Day with 31 starts already under his belt. He’ll be handled by Eibar Coa.

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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2005, 11:32:32 PM »

Friday, October 28, 2005                        Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017


A Bit O’Gold – The Two Bit Racing Stable’s A Bit O’Gold continued his Breeders’ Cup Classic preparations with a walk through the paddock and a mile and a half gallop on the main track at Belmont Park under exercise rider Louise McDonald before the renovation break.

            A Bit O’Gold arrived at Belmont Park Monday night from his home base at Woodbine and trainer Catherine Day Phillips has been pleased with the gelding’s week in the Big Apple.

            “He has handled everything well and settled in nicely,” said Day Phillips, who currently has 15 horses in training. “It has been kind of uneventful.”

            Jono Jones, who will be riding in his first Breeders’ Cup, will partner A Bit O’Gold from post 12 in the Classic. A Bit O’Gold has run the Classic distance on dirt once this year, a 6 ½-length score in the Dominion Day Handicap at Woodbine.

            “I would like for him to be on the bridle coming out of the gate and for Jono to save a bit of ground on the first turn,” Day Phillips said of how she would like to see things develop. “The post position is fine and I am glad we are drawn to the outside rather than inside.”


Borrego – A confident trainer Beau Greely knocked on wood at Belmont Park’s Barn 33 Friday after bringing his 4yo colt, the 9-2 third choice, back in fine fettle from a gallop 1 ½ miles.

            Asked what he needs to happen to win on Saturday, Greely said, “He’s got to run his race. If he does run his race, I think he’ll win. He’s doing well.

            “You have to respect everybody in the race, but I wouldn’t want to trade spots with anyone. He’s just got to run his race.”


Choctaw Nation – The Jeff Mullins trainee goes to school this afternoon during the day’s second race at Belmont Park as he moves forward toward Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. The 5yo gelding will join that race’s entrants in a get-acquainted session with the paddock.

Choctaw Nation stood in the gate and then went off a 1 ½ mile gallop over the main track for his day’s exercise.

Mullins hasn’t handicapped the race yet, but did say, “I was hoping for a little bit more speed than it appears there is. But then you never know how things change when the gate opens.

He does know what the strategy for Choctaw Nation will be: “We just lead him over and let him go. If he runs his usual race, he’ll be easy to spot – well behind the leaders.”

He’s happy with the post position [three] for the son of Louis Quatorze, saying, “He should have a chance to save ground all the way around. It’s great he’s not on the outside where he’d have to cross the track to get to the inside.”

He expects to see Choctaw Nation make his usual late run from the quarter-pole and believes he’ll be joined by Borrego and Perfect Drift, the winner and runner-up in Del Mar’s Pacific Classic, where the gelding finished fourth.

Choctaw Nation is owned by Bob Bone, who stands fifth in earnings in the nation among owners with $3.2 million in purse money.


Flower Alley – Like a would-be presidential nominee, trainer Todd Pletcher hasn’t yet put Flower Alley on the ballot everywhere, but should his 3yo run to victory in the Classic Saturday, expect a campaign to for an Eclipse Award.

            “Obviously we know we’re in a position that he has to win the Classic to even think about that,” said Pletcher after watching him gallop 1 ¼ miles over the Belmont main track Friday morning. “If that happens then you can start looking at it a number of ways. He’s running against the strongest field any 3-year-old has run against this year. If he’s able to get it done, let’s  soapbox then.”

            Flower Alley is one of eight runners trained by Pletcher racing Saturday. In addition to being a factor on the sophomore scene all year starting with his win in the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway in March, he’s been part of another highly successful year for his reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer.

            “That’s one of the things we’re pleased with is being able to get eight horses here and healthy,” said Pletcher. “That’s some sort of an accomplishment in its own right, but obviously it only matters a lot more if you win one of them or they all run well.”




Jack Sullivan—Although he will be running on the main track Saturday, trainer Gerard Butler has been sending his 4yo to the turf course throughout the week. Today was no exception as the son of Belong to Me galloped on the inner course Friday morning.

            “He goes on the dirt at home and he has raced on the dirt in Dubai, so he knows it,” Butler said afterward. “I just felt with the condition of the main track it was a bit safer and less jarring. He’s done enough work so we don’t need to start training him again.

            “We’ve had this race in mind for a long time and I’m sure he’ll carry the flag very high for us.”


Oratorio (IRE)—The Irish Champion Stakes winner left the Quarantine Barn at 7:30 to canter on the main track Friday morning with trainer Aidan O’Brien and Coolmore’s John Magnier looking on.

            “The only thing we’re not sure about him is the dirt,” said O’Brien afterward. “We’ve always felt that horses that win the Classic are tough, they have speed and they stay a mile and one-quarter real well. He has all those things.

“He cantered around on the dirt this morning very happily and we were very happy with him, but we won’t really know until those gates open. Kieren (Fallon, jockey) knows him better than anyone else and if he breaks well, who knows.

“Bob Duncan, who was a former New York Racing Association starter, has been over working with the horses at Ballydoyle. He has his own method and has been preparing them for the stalls using a bell and other things.”


Perfect Drift – Stonecrest Farm’s durable gelding walked the shedrow for the second straight morning on Friday and is scheduled to school again in the paddock. By design, his first time on the Belmont Park track will be on Saturday when he makes his fourth consecutive start in the Classic.

As the only horse from the 2002 Triple Crown class still in training, Perfect Drift’s only other time at Belmont came in the Belmont Stakes where he finished 10th.

            The Classic will likely be Perfect Drift’s last race of the season and he will soon be sent to his owner’s Kansas farm where he has spent the last four winters “just being a horse.”

Trainer Murray Johnson credits this time at the farm for Perfect Drift’s longevity and Brian Reed, son of owner Dr. William Reed, says the family has received many letters commending them for giving the horse the time off and that Perfect Drift gets lots of visitors each winter.


Rock Hard Ten – Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Pickens’ 4-year-old Rock Hard Ten, the second-choice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 7-2, has been declared by trainer Richard Mandella because of ‘bruised frog’ in his left front foot.

            Details to come.


Saint Liam – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr.’s  Saint Liam galloped Friday morning at Aqueduct under Ruby Rodriguez. The 5 yo son of Saint Ballado was scheduled to leave Aqueduct at 11 a.m. to van to Belmont Park.

            Trainer Rick Dutrow was asked what had to happen for optimize Saint Liam’s chances Saturday.

            “Just get a clean trip,” said Dutrow of the morning-line favorite who will be ridden by Jerry Bailey and exit post position 13.


Sir Shackleton – Trainer Nick Zito watching admiringly as the Tracy Farmer-owned son Miswaki traveled a mile and a half around Belmont Park’s training track Friday morning.

The 4yo has trained sharply for his date in Saturday’s Classic, Zito says, adding that he’s expecting a big race out of the million-dollar earner, who finished second to Saint Liam in Belmont’s Woodward Stakes. During that race, Sir Shackleton followed his usual style, dropping back early and then improving his position at every call, a style that he is expected to follow again.

Zito said he chose the training track for all four of his Breeders’ Cup prospects because it’s much quieter and more laid-back. “My horses have run here and they’ve trained over the main track a lot, so it’s kind of nice to bring them to a different kind of atmosphere.”





Suave – Jay Em Ess Stable’s Suave galloped a mile and five-eighths on the main track at Belmont  under exercise rider Barry Downes after the renovation break.

            Suave will represent the second Breeders’ Cup entrant for trainer Paul McGee and be ridden by Edgar Prado. Suave drew post position eight.

            “He’s eating good, training good and things have gone without a hitch,” said McGee, whose colt arrived at Belmont Park on Tuesday from his home base at Churchill Downs.

            McGee was asked how he would like to see the Classic unfold for Suave.

            “I think he will be on or close to the lead. I talked to Edgar a little this morning, and he agreed. This horse hasn’t been passed much. All of his good races have been when he is on the lead.

“The only time he got passed was the Indiana Derby when he had a horrible trip. He got stuck out in the parking lot going into the first turn. Put it this way; I’d like to see him on the lead at the quarter-pole.”


Starcraft (NZ)—The Australian Syndicate’s Classic hopeful galloped on the turf Friday morning as trainer Luca Cumani awaited the arrival of jockey Pat Valenzuela this evening. “I have a hot jockey,” he said. “I heard he won five races in California yesterday.”

            Cumani noted Starcraft’s last two races “were excellent,” and that his 5yo comes into Saturday’s race very well. He rates Saint Liam and Borrego as the principal dangers to his horse, who will be trying dirt for the first time.


Sun King – It was an early morning exercise period for the other Nick Zito-Tracy Farmer contestant as he galloped 1 ½ miles over the training track. He preceded his Classic partners – Sir Shackleton – in an earlier set sent out by Zito.

Zito expects to see his 3yo son of Charismatic find a stalking position from his post two position in the gate and make a late run in the Classic.


Super Frolic – The Classic contender was trackside Friday morning at 9 for a 1 ½-mile gallop. His regular exercise rider, Jessie Marquez, was up for the exercise and trainer Vladimir Cerin, who had jetted in from California Thursday afternoon, stood in the main gap to watch the proceedings.

            “Jessie has been with me for 25 years,” Cerin noted. “He took off a year or two in there, but otherwise he’s been with me all the way. It’s been a great arrangement.”

            The trainer was asked where he saw his horse fitting in the 1 ¼-mile Classic Saturday.

            “I think he ought to be laying second or third,” he said. “I don’t think he’ll be any worse than that. I know he can get the distances – he’s already done it. We’ll see what happens from there.”           

            Super Frolic will break from post seven and be handled by Eibar Coa.

            Cerin also was asked if he had any strong opinions about any of the other horses running on Breeders’ Cup Day.

            “Bobby’s horse (trainer Robert Frankel) in the Mile (Leroidesanimaux) knocked me out with his last race (a win in the Atto Mile by nearly eight lengths at Woodbine in Canada). I’d say that’s the most impressive grass race I’ve seen in the last decade.

“For him to run that fast early and then exploded (late) like that – you just don’t see that. The best horse usually wins on the grass, but normally by a length or so. For him to win that far, it was remarkable.”

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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2005, 11:33:25 PM »

Friday, October 28, 2005                        Contact: Breeders’ Cup Notes Team (516) 328-6017


Rock Hard Ten – Trainer Richard Mandella declared the 4yo colt from the Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge Friday morning after he shed a frog on his right front foot.

“I saw blood on the back of his heel when he came back from his gallop,” said Mandella of a 1 5/8-mile gallop on the main track under exercise rider Paul Nilluang.

“The frog started to loosen last week and shed during the gallop,” said Mandella. He described the frog as “the cushion between the two heels on the foot that is like a shock absorber. It’s the first thing that meets the ground.”

Mandella added that a bruise detected on the colt’s left front foot following a work Oct. 20 at Santa Anita had improved with treatment and was not the reason for the defection.

“It’s fairly minor, just at a bad time,” said Mandella, summarizing the good news-bad news announcement. “It’s very tender. We can’t run him.

“We just soaked it and are doing it up in a medicinal poultice,” said Mandella of the injury. “We will treat it with a solution of iodine tomorrow. He might miss a week or two of training.”

Rock Hard Ten was flown to New York from California on Wednesday.

Mandella called co-owners Ernie Moody of Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Pickens with the bad news and said they were “great sports” about it.

“I’m very disappointed, but I’ve been training a long time, and once you get your senses about you, you’re thankful it happened here and not on the track (during a race), when he could have broken a leg or gotten hurt badly,” said Mandella.

“He’s been perfect all through the summer,” said Mandella. “I said he hasn’t had a bad day in three months and afterwards said, ‘Why did I say that?’”

Rock Hard Ten won seven of 11 starts and earned $1,870,380. He had won all four starts since being transferred to Mandella in the fall of 2004.

“I just hope they (the owners) consider running him again next year,” said Mandella.

The Head2Head wager between Rock Hard Ten and Borrego has been cancelled.

(Note: Correction to first report in Classic Notes. Problem developed in front right foot.)

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