Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup worktab was concentrated in Southern California as top runners took to both the main track and turf course in a final push to prepare for next weekend’s World Championships at Del Mar.
A few of the biggest stars, such as Arrogate and Gun Runner, have Monday works scheduled, but a nice cross section of the Breeders’ Cup itself was on display at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar on Sunday.
SANTA ANITA PARK
Undefeated multiple Grade 1 winner Bolt d’Oro, the probable favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), recorded his final major move at Santa Anita Park ahead of Saturday’s contest.
The Medaglia d’Oro colt clocked five furlongs in 1:02.20 over Santa Anita’s fast main track with regular rider Corey Nakatani in the irons for owner/trainer Mick Ruis. Bolt d’Oro went in company with Midnight Harbor, who was caught in 1:03.40 under Juan Ochoa, following the renovation break.
“He looked perfect,” said Ruis, who watched the colt’s work along with his wife and co-owner, Wendy. “His stride looked good. I just wanted to give him a little air today and then bring him into the race just where he is right now.
“He worked in company with Midnight Harbor, who we used as gauge. Ochoa has a really good clock in his head and we were hoping to get about a minute flat for Bolt.
“Corey didn’t really move on him. He looked really, really good.”
Trainer Bob Baffert sent out dual Grade 1 hero West Coast to work five furlongs in 1:00.40 on the fast dirt at Santa Anita. The Flatter sophomore, winner of his last five including the Travers Stakes (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G1), worked in company with Red Kite ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).
West Coast’s multiple Grade 1-winning stablemate Mor Spirit readied for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) with a three-quarter move from the gate in company with Cat Burglar. The Eskendereya four-year-old, a 6 1/4-length romper in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) when last seen on June 10, was caught in 1:13.40.
“It has nothing to do with how he breaks in a race,” Baffert said in explaining Mor Spirit’s past six works being from the gate. “He’s always been sort of a lazy work horse, and working from the gate, he gets a lot more out of it. I was really happy with his breeze and I feel really good about the way he’s training.”
Fellow Dirt Mile candidate Cupid, who has also been pre-entered to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), covered five furlongs for Baffert in 1:00.40. The Tapit colt captured the Gold Cup at Santa Anita Stakes (G1) to kick off his four-year-old campaign in late May and enters the Breeders’ Cup off a fourth-place run in the September 30 Awesome Again Stakes (G1).
Barnmate and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) hopeful Solomini, runner-up in the FrontRunner Stakes (G1) behind Bolt d’Oro, turned five-eighths in 1:01.
The Phil D’Amato-trained Grade 1 victor Midnight Storm, second in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1) most recently, worked a half-mile in :48.40 for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
D’Amato also sent out Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) hopeful Ransom the Moon to sizzle a bullet four furlongs in :47, best of 47 other moves at that distance on the day. The Malibu Moon five-year-old captured the Bing Crosby Stakes (G1) and was fourth in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) in his past two.
Multiple Grade 1 king Oscar Performance worked a half-mile over Del Mar’s firm turf Sunday in :47 for trainer Brian Lynch. The Kitten’s Joy sophomore, hero of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last year, is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) next weekend.
“He went as comfortable as a horse could work,” Lynch said. “The way he did it, I thought he went in :49.
“It was quicker than his work last week at Keeneland (over the turf when getting four furlongs in :51.40). The main work was done last week at Keeneland and this was very good as well.”
Multiple Group 1 vixen Lady Aurelia, a nose second in the Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-G1) most recently on August 25, readied for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) by going four furlongs over Del Mar’s turf in :48.60 in company with stakes winner Master Merion, who was caught in :49.
Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) heroine War Flag, pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), covered five-eighths in 1:03.20 on the green.
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) hopeful Capla Temptress, winner of the Natalma Stakes (Can-G1) while making her North American debut last out on September 17, covered three grassy furlongs in :37.
Group 1 winner Birdie Gold, headed for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), traveled a half-mile on the turf in :49.60.
Cambodia, targeting the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) off victories in the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) and Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) in her past two, clocked five-eighths on the green in 1:01.40.
Undefeated Catholic Boy, winner of the of the With Anticipation Stakes (G3) in his stakes bow most recently on August 30, logged four grassy panels in :47.80 in advance of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) hopeful Ultima D, who broke her maiden when taking the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies on September 6, worked four furlongs over the turf in :47.80 in company with stakes winner and Summer Stakes (Can-G2) runner-up Hemp Hemp Hooray, who went the same distance in :47.60 for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Multiple Grade 2 winner Hunt, unplaced in the John Henry Turf Championship (G2) last out, worked six grassy furlongs in 1:14.80 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Multiple Grade 2 victor Om, third in the Eddie D. Stakes (G3), blew out a bullet three furlongs over the turf in :35.20. The five-year-old is pre-entered on the also-eligible list for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
Assistant trainer Scott Blasi oversaw moves from Snapper Sinclair and Tap Daddy, who are both on the also-eligible list of pre-entrants for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), on Del Mar’s fast main track Sunday.
Last-out Kentucky Downs Turf Juvenile Stakes winner Snapper Sinclair logged a half-mile in :49.80 while Tap Daddy, third by a head in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) most recently on October 8 but elevated to second via disqualification, worked four furlongs on Del Mar’s dirt in :49.60.
“Almost identical works,” Blasi said of the separate exercises under Angel Garcia. “We’re trying not to do too much with them on top of the race but we’re excited about getting an opportunity, hopefully, to run them.”
Snapper Sinclair needs two defections from the pre-entrants in order to make the body of the field when entries are taken Monday, while Tap Daddy needs at least one horse to come out to even make the two-horse also-eligible list.
“It’s kind of frustrating that he didn’t make it into the body of the race,” said Jeff Bloom, head of the Bloom Racing partnership that owns Snapper Sinclair. “But from what we’re hearing it sounds like we have a really good chance to make it in. So (trainer) Steve Asmussen, Scott Blasi, the whole team, we’re preparing as if we are and that it’s all ‘go’ time for the race.”
Bloom and partners Chuck and Lori Allen watched Snappy Sinclair’s move on Sunday morning in the dark, though only part of it was visible in the stretch. Chuck Allen actually named Snapper Sinclair after a Mickey Rooney character in the “Down the Stretch.”
“If you think about it, you go to the barn and they get him tacked up,” Bloom said. “You stand around and you wait. You walk for a half-mile to come over and watch the horse take like three steps in front of you going down the stretch.
“But those brief moments, watching the horse in the final stages of his workout in their final prep, tell you everything. So I can tell you this: He could not look any better. I loved the way he got over the track. He worked over the dirt, even though he’s running on the turf. But he’s training so well. The horse really is an old pro. He takes to any situation or setting that he has.”
Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) hopeful Elate, who captured the Alabama Stakes (G1) and Beldame Stakes (G1) in her past two by a combined 13 3/4 lengths, logged four furlongs in :49.
United Nations Stakes (G1) scorer Bigger Picture, a half-length third in the August 26 Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) most recently, toured four furlongs on Del Mar’s main track in :51 ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
“We didn’t want him to do anything special,” trainer Mike Maker said. “He did it well in hand. I was pleased.
“I think we’re undefeated running him fresh,” Maker added in regards to the more than two-month gap between the gelding’s last start and the Breeders’ Cup.
Undefeated Grade 1 vixen Moonshine Memories, the likely favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) off nice wins in the Del Mar Debutante (G1) and Chandelier Stakes (G1), clocked a half-mile in :48.00 Sunday on Del Mar’s dirt.
Fellow Juvenile Fillies candidate Princess Warrior, runner-up in the October 6 Alcibiades Stakes (G1) most recently, covered four furlongs in :48.40.
Dual Grade 2 heroine Curlin’s Approval, a 4 3/4-length romper in the Barely Even Handicap on October 1 at Gulfstream Park, blazed a bullet half-mile in :47.40 in readiness for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1).
Grade 3 conqueror Iron Fist, winner of the Governor’s Cup Stakes last out on September 24 at Remington Park, breezed four panels in :49.60 in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1).
In other Breeders’ Cup news
Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) defending champion Arrogate is scheduled to work “probably a half-mile” Monday morning at Santa Anita Park, trainer Bob Baffert said, before shipping with the rest of the conditioner’s Breeders’ Cup contingent to Del Mar on Tuesday.
Fellow Classic hopeful Gun Runner took a spin around Del Mar on Sunday, galloping two miles, ahead of a scheduled work on Monday morning.
“He’s doing great,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “We’ll put another half-mile (work) in him tomorrow morning just to let him get acquainted with the track. He was just bouncing over it this morning and pulling up he didn’t get much of a blow out of it and I like to see that.”
Gun Runner is riding a three-race win streak comprised of the Woodward Stakes (G1), Whitney Stakes (G1) and Stephen Foster Handicap (G1). He captured those contests by a combined 22 1/2 lengths.
“He’s physically more mature and stronger this year than he was last year at Santa Anita (when second in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile [G1]) and he’s just gotten faster,” Blasi added.
Trainer Bill Spawr said that Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) pre-entrant Skye Diamonds , victorious in the Great Lady M Stakes (G2) and Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3) in her past pair, would breeze through the Del Mar stretch on Wednesday.
Agent Tony Matos reports that Santa Anita’s leading rider, Evin Roman, has gained his first Breeders’ Cup mount in Golden Dragon. The Skipshot colt is pre-entered to both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) and Juvenile Turf (G1), though in the latter race he’s last on the list of those not selected in the main field.
In advance of his stakes bow, Golden Dragon is scheduled to work over Del Mar’s turf Monday morning with the 19-year-old Roman aboard.
A plane bearing 16 European-based horses from Godolphin Racing landed at Lindbergh Field Saturday evening. The horses were transported to the quarantine area for international runners in the Del Mar stable area early Sunday morning.
The last batch of Europeans, representatives of trainer Aidan O’Brien from Ireland, is scheduled to arrive Monday at Los Angeles International Airport.