Royal Ascot Preview
Belmont Stakes Contenders
Black-Eyed Susan Day
With clear skies and a drying-out track after days of rain, Breeders' Cup contenders that had stayed in their shedrows finally came out for much-needed work. It was still very chilly with temperatures in the 40's during training hours, accompanied by strong winds although not as strong as Wednesday. Only the outer edge of the inner turf course was open for workouts late in the morning, but not many horses went on it. We were able to capture 39 of the Breeders' Cup starters on Thursday morning, so a very busy day.
Tuesday workouts - rained out
Wednesday workouts - 21 horses
Friday workouts - 22 horses (all different from previous days)
Suave galloped 1 3/4 miles on the main track. Trainer Paul McGee said, "I think his form cycle is good, 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."
Starcraft breezed 4f in 47 2/5 on the main track. Trainer Luca Cumani said, "It was a blowout and he looked good. 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."
Borrego galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track with exercise rider Andy Durnin aboard. 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 galloped 1 1/2 miles and stood in the starting gate. 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."
Super Frolic galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "It's all good," exercise rider Jesse Marquez said. "He shipped well. He looks good and he's doing good."
Shakespeare galloped 2 miles on the main track. "I don't have high expectations. My only hopes are they all run well," trainer Bill Mott said. "I think I trained only one (offspring of) Theatrical that handled soft turf, Broadway Flyer."
Shirocco galloped on the main track then schooled in the paddock.
Bago worked 4f in 53 2/5 on the inner turf under jockey Thierry Gillet. "He had a nice, strong canter," said Niarchos racing manager Alan Cooper. "Thierry was very pleased with him and so is Jonathan (Pease, trainer) with the way he traveled and has settled in. Thierry said the ground is quite heavy. We'll see how it dries out in the next 48 hours. 'Good' ground is best for him and is fair for everybody, but he's won on soft ground and heavy ground so it isn't a big issue."
Hollywood Story jogged 7f then galloped 1 1/2 mi. "She shipped very well and she handled the track very well," said exercise rider Michelle Jensen, assistant to trainer John Shirreffs. "It was deep out there. She loved it. She is coming up to the race very good,"
Sweet Symphony galloped 1 1/4 mi on the main track. "Two of my Breeders' Cup horses were maidens at the beginning of the year, so you'd think they'd go on to have good years next year if we don't do too much with them this year," said trainer Bill Mott, also referring to his Filly & Mare Turf entrant, Wend.
Singletary galloped 1 1/8 mi on the main track. "The White Sox got it done last night," said trainer Don Chatlos Jr, who grew up on the south side of Chicago and celebrated the baseball team's first World Series victory since 1917. He also learned of another positive omen. "A friend of mine in San Francisco called me yesterday and said he was walking down the street, and Mike Singletary was standing there right in front of him."
Valixir galloped on the inner turf and schooled in the paddock, supervised by Elizabeth Fabre, wife of trainer Andre.
Lifestyle galloped 1 1/2 mile with an open gallop in the stretch. "He went so good, my toes are wiggling. He was just outstanding," said trainer Wesley Ward. "I'll jog him on Friday and try to do the same thing on race day before I have to send him to the (detention barn)."
Taste of Paradise jogged 6f then galloped 1 1/16 mile. Trainer Gary Mandella said, "He galloped great." Mandella and owner David Bloom said that Taste of Paradise would probably race once more after the Sprint, probably in the Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in November, before retirement to stud.
Wildcat Heir galloped 1 1/4 miles on the main track under exercise rider Peter Lacey.
Favourable Terms breezed 3f in 39 4/5 on the inner turf with trainer Sir Michael Stoute looking on.
Ouija Board galloped on the inner turf course. "She's moving as well as I've ever seen her," trainer Ed Dunlop said. "I think she's better than she was a year ago. It was always my goal to bring her back to win another Breeders' Cup race. There was never much thought of retiring her. It was past the breeding season when she was injured, and we just waited for her to recuperate."
Riskaverse jogged 1 1/2 miles on the main track. Trainer Patrick Kelly explains why she's back for a third try. "The first time [at Arlington Park] it was just two weeks after [a win] in the Queen Elizabeth [II Challenge Cup] and we took a chance. We were already in Chicago with Evening Attire. She was a 3-year-old going against older fillies and it didn't work out." In her second F&M Turf at Santa Anita, he said, "she didn't particularly like California. It was hot, smoky, and the track played to the speed." Last year, Kelly added, he initially planned to skip the race because it was at 1 3/8 miles and because of the configuration of the Lone Star Park track. But when she won the Flower Bowl, a traditional prep to the F&M Turf, he changed his mind. "We were right in the first place. She was out-finished, but she had a wide trip the whole way. "This year we decided to try at home where she's had good luck."
Intercontinental galloped 1 3/8 miles under exercise rider Nuno Santos.
Wonder Again galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "A horse takes you to the Breeders' Cup," trainer James Toner said. He figures having the home track will work to the advantage of Wonder Again. "It helps to be here. They're on a regular routine. It's better this year, though she shipped well last year."
Leo breezed 4f in 47 2/5 under jockey Frankie Dettori. "He breezed behind two Christophe Clement horses and both Frankie and the horse came back covered with dirt. I think he'll do well on the dirt," trainer John Gosden said. "He's got a good foot for it, and he's handled the Polytrack very well at home. I think he'll stay the distance Saturday because he's already had a stiff mile in the Royal Lodge. He might outstay some of the American runners."
Sorcerer's Stone galloped 1 3/4 miles. "I really think he's going to run better than his 12-to-1 odds," said trainer Patrick Byrne. "He's a straight forward colt to train. Nothing seems to bother him." When asked if there were any comparisons between this colt and Favorite Trick, Byrne replied, "He's a Derby horse. Favorite Trick was not."
Henny Hughes galloped 1 3/8 miles then stood in the gate. New trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said he has no doubts his speedy 2-year-old can get the distance Saturday. "In his last race he ran a mile and this is just 1 1/16. There's not that much difference. And that (43 3/5 opening half in the Champagne) we won't have Saturday. Wherever we are (the pace) will be more sensible. Some of that might have been due to the sloppy track, but as far as instructions to go, we won't be giving them to our jock Saturday."
Dr. Pleasure jogged 1 1/4 miles. "This is the first time I've seen him in about a month," said trainer John Ward. "(Wife and assistant trainer) Donna has been with him. He looks good, wonderful in fact. He couldn't be doing any better. The 14 post will be just fine for him."
Stevie Wonderboy galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "Both (Stevie Wonderboy and stablemate Jealous Profit) went very well," said trainer Doug O'Neill. "They showed signs that they are acclimating well, they're at home now. (Exercise rider) Antonio (Romero) talked about how they're getting used to switching leads at the proper time."
Jealous Profit galloped 1 1/2 miles for trainer Doug O'Neill.
Dawn of War stood in the starting gate and jogged a mile and a half on the main track, his first time over the Belmont surface. "He doesn’t need much," said trainer Dale Romans. "He’s hardly raced on the track he’s trained on. He’s been all over the country and nothing gets to him. That kind of attitude is an advantage."
Original Spin galloped 1 1/4 miles on the main track. "If she was a different horse, we'd probably be more upset (about the 2 post)," said owner Jennifer McCutcheon, granddaughter of Russell Reineman. "She does have natural speed. It's not our first choice, but it's not the end of the world." McCutcheon has been helping Sherrie Mitchell, assistant and wife of trainer Tony Mitchell, with the care of the filly. Sherrie Mitchell said, "It looks like our race is one of the most evenly matched races,"
She Says It Best galloped 1 1/2 miles on the main track. "She's fine, knock on wood," said trainer and co-owner Vickie Foley. "She shipped well. She's relaxed and comfortable."
Wild Fit jogged to gate and galloped 1 mile on the main track. Trainer Jeff Mullins expressed concern over the need for the roan filly to be in the detention barn by 7 a.m. Saturday. "I'm not sure I'm even going to be able to train her that morning and get her to the detention barn on time," since the track won't open for training until 6 a.m.
Along the Sea galloped 1 1/4 miles. Due to Hurricane Wilma, trainer Ralph Ziadie will be "I have an excellent assistant, but I feel I should be here (in Miami). My foreman and crew in New York are doing a great job with the four horses I have there," said Ziadie, who also sends out Silver Wagon on Saturday in the Sport Page Handicap prior to the Breeders' Cup races at Belmont.
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