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Dullahan Set for BC Juvenile; Race Decision Pending for Aruna

Churchill Downs Communications | 10/29/2011 #
  • Dullahan earned a shot at the BC Juvenile with a strong Saturday work. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • 2010 Mrs. Revere (GII) winner Aruna worked on the main track, but her BC target remains uncertain. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott was pleased with workmates Drosselmeyer (outside) and Birdrun. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Reigning Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint champion Chamberlain Bridge worked on the Turf. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Preakness winnerShackleford worked to a run in the BC Dirt Mile. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • BC Filly & Mare Turf hope Dynaslew breezed over the Matt Winn Turf Course on Saturday. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Churchill Downs-based Country Day prepped for the BC Turf Sprint with a work over the Matt Winn Turf Course. (Reed Palmer, CD)

  • Todd Pletcher-trained 2-year-old fillies Sweet Cat (inside) and Stopshoppingmaria worked in company. (Palmer)

DULLAHAN CONFIRMED FOR BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FOLLOWING WORK – Grade I Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity winner Dullahan will be entered in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) after impressing his connections with a five-furlong breeze on the main track in 1:00.80 Saturday morning shortly after the renovation break.

“He looked good this morning and he’s earned the chance to compete for the Juvenile championship and run on the dirt, so that’s what we’ll do,” owner Jerry Crawford of Donegal Racing said. “His pedigree says he should handle the dirt and he’s worked really well over it here and at Saratoga this summer.”

Dullahan, a half-brother to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner Mine That Bird, worked in company with Cars and Trucks and recorded fractions of :11.80, :23.40, :35.40, :47.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.60. He finished five lengths better than his workmate when crossing the wire.

“He looked good and strong,” trainer Dale Romans said. “We wanted him to be on the bit and get a strong work into him.”

Also working from the Romans barn in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup was Preakness (GI) winner Shackleford. The chestnut son of Forestry breezed a “bullet” five furlongs in :58.20 for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI).

“He worked really well and I’m happy with him,” Romans said. “We’re ready for Saturday.”

Working in company with De Price, Shackleford recorded fractions of :22.60, :33.80, :45.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:12.80.

ARUNA’S WORK LEAVES MOTION WITH TOUGH DECISION – Flaxman Holdings Ltd.’s Aruna, with jockey Sheldon Russell up, worked five furlongs over a fast main track in 1:03.20 after the renovation break, a move that left trainer Graham Motion with a difficult decision regarding the 4-year-old filly.

Aruna, who never has run on dirt, is pre-entered in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles and Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf (GI) at 1 3/8 miles with first preference being the Ladies’ Classic.

Fractions for the solo work were :12.60, :25, :37.40, :50 and out six furlongs in 1:16.80 for the 41st fastest of 49 at the distance.

“Sheldon was very happy with her and he said she handled the track fine,” Motion said.  “She was not going to have a flashy work this morning regardless of which race she goes in.”

The dilemma for Motion is whether to test the dirt in the Ladies’ Classic or try Aruna at the 1 3/8-mile distance for the first time.

"The distance of the (Filly & Mare) Turf is a concern because she has never done it,” Motion said. “I wanted to have her go a mile and a quarter (in the Flower Bowl) but we didn’t do it (because of soft turf).

“The (Ladies’ Classic) was not even on our radar until the race began to fall apart (with the likelihood of Havre de Grace going in the Classic and the withdrawal of Blind Luck). I would hate to make the wrong decision and run on dirt and have her not handle it.”

Motion said he would confer with Maria Niarchos-Gouaze and Alan Cooper of Flaxman Holdings over the next couple days with the final decision having to be made by entry time Monday.

Ramon Dominguez is the regular rider for Aruna and would have the mount if Aruna goes in the Ladies’ Classic. Dominguez is the regular rider for Stacelita (FR), one of the favorites for the Filly & Mare Turf. Motion said that Julien Leparoux would ride Aruna if she goes in the Filly & Mare Turf.

“That’s why I didn’t want Julien to work her this morning,” Motion said with a laugh. “They might have worked in 1:06.”

Prior to Aruna’s work that Motion watched from the frontside, the trainer was at Keeneland for a work from Team Valor International’s State of Play. Undefeated in two starts and pre-entered in the Juvenile Turf, State of Play worked six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:13.80.

Sagamore Farm’s Shared Account, the defending champion in the Filly & Mare Turf, is scheduled to work Sunday morning at Fair Hill in Maryland and ship to Louisville on Monday for Motion.

WORK PARTNERS DROSSELMEYER, BIRDRUN PLEASE MOTT IN FINAL BREEDERS’ CUP MOVEWinStar Farm LLC’s Drosselmeyer, the winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (GI) and a contender for next week’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), and Preston Stable LLC’s Birdrun, bound for the $500,000 Marathon, left Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott smiling as they worked in company Saturday morning in the final major training move for their respective races next week.

Drosselmeyer, ridden by Rudolph Brisset, started a length back of Birdrun, who had retired jockey Larry Melancon in the irons, and finished even with his regular workmate at the end of their five-furling drill over fast track.  Churchill Downs clockers timed Drosselmeyer 1:01, while Birdrun was given a final time of 1:01.20.

Fractional times for Drosselmeyer were :12.60, :24.80 and :36.60, and the son of Distorted Humor galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.

Drosselmeyer and Birdrun have worked together over the Churchill Downs main track over the past three Saturdays, and Mott – the all-time win leader among trainers at Churchill Downs – liked what he saw from both horses in today’s move.

“I asked the boys to just go a tick slower than they did last week and last week they went in 1:01,” Mott said.  “It was a very similar work today and they galloped out very good.  Maybe they didn’t gallop out as fast (as last week), but they were both moving well and they were both doing it on the bridle.

“Drosselmeyer was up in the bit when he got to the hip of Birdrun.  He grabbed onto the bit and looked like he was energetic and willing to go, and the rider was very happy with him.”

The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor finished second to Classic contender Flat Out in his most recent start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) and has only one victory in six races since his Belmont Stakes triumph that provided Mott with his first victory in a Triple Crown classic.  But the first of Drosselmeyer’s four career victories was a six-length score in a maiden race at Churchill Downs in the fall of his 2-year-old season.  That race is Drosselmeyer’s only start at the Louisville track.

“It doesn’t hurt anything,” Mott said.  “It’s better than knowing he doesn’t like the track.  He’s had a lot of races since then and in-between, but he’s worked well enough over the track and, with all things being equal, I guess maybe we’re in for a big piece of it.  He’s working well, he’ll come running and he gets the distance – there’s no question about that.  So we’re optimistic that he’s doing well enough that we can get a piece of the pie.”

Mott feels Birdrun, who won the Suburban (GII) at Belmont Park and has split a pair of races with Drosselmeyer this year, should be a major player in the 1 3/4-mile Marathon.

“You’ve gotta love him,” Mott said.  “He’s a barn favorite and he’s worked his way up through the ranks.  He’s kind of done it the hard way, and he’s proven that he gets a mile and a half, anyway, and he actually beat Drosselmeyer at a mile and a half earlier in the year.

"He’s a horse that fits.  We’ve got some new shooters coming from over-the-pond that haven’t displayed form on the dirt, but they’re obviously good stayers.  So I guess with them it’s just a matter of whether or not they handle the dirt as well as we do.  There’s a good horse in there called A.U. Miner that beat us last time in Philadelphia.  So it’ll be a good, competitive race, but we’re anxious to watch Birdrun run his race.”

Mott has three more horses on his Breeders’ Cup team and two of those – Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve (Classic) and Palides InvestmentsRoyal Delta (Ladies’ Classic) would work early Sunday morning.  Those horses are set to work in Mott’s early training sets after the track opens at 6 a.m. (all times Eastern).  Brisset is set to be in the saddle in each of those works.

His fifth Breeders’ Cup hope, Pam and Martin Wygod and William S. Farish’s TVG Mile (GI) hope Courageous Cat, would work on the turf either Sunday or Monday.

PLETCHER WORKS BREEDERS’ CUP FRIDAY HOPEFULS – Four horses pointing toward Breeders’ Cup World Championship races on Friday worked Saturday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Todd Pletcher. The group of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls consisted of Her Smile, Stopshoppingmaria, Super Espresso and Sweet Cat.

Working prior to the renovation break was Bobby Flay’s Her Smile, who breezed four furlongs on the main track in :48.20 in preparation for the Grade I Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. The work was the sixth fastest of 62 at the distance.

“She worked really well,” Pletcher said. “She got over the ground well, finished strongly and galloped out great. I was really happy.”

Her Smile, under exercise rider Annie Finney, recorded fractions of :13, :24.60, :36.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.60 and six furlongs in 1:14.40.

Working after the renovation break on the main track was Super Espresso, who is also owned by Flay. In company with Alma d’Oro, Super Espresso breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 for the Ladies’ Classic (GI). The work was the 20th fastest of 49 at the distance.

“I thought she worked well for her,” Pletcher said. “She’s never been an overachiever in the morning and she sort of lost interest when her workmate fell behind her, but overall it was solid.”

Pletcher also sent two horses to train on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Saturday. Mike Repole’s Stopshoppingmaria, who will run in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (GI) or the Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII), and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ Sweet Cat, who will enter the Juvenile Fillies Turf, breezed four furlongs around the “dogs” in company. Stopshoppingmaria, under Javier Castellano, finished a length better than her workmate and was clocked in 1:04.20 while Sweet Cat was credited with a time of 1:04.40.

"Stopshoppingmaria went over the turf really well,” Pletcher said. “We’ll see how she comes back from the work and I’ll talk with Mike and we’ll make a decision tomorrow (about which race to enter).”

Sunday morning will be another busy one for Pletcher as all six horses in the barn who are entered in races on Breeders’ Cup Saturday are scheduled to work.

CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE PREPS FOR POSSIBLE TURF SPRINT REPEAT - Chamberlain Bridge, winner of last year’s Grade II Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on the Matt Winn Turf Course, breezed four furlongs around the “dogs” in :50.60 Saturday in preparation to defend his crown in the Turf Sprint next weekend.

“He went really well and that was exactly what we wanted,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We wanted him to go out there and enjoy himself on the turf.”

Chamberlain Bridge prepped for the Turf Sprint last year with the Woodford (GIII) at Keeneland, which was four weeks before the Breeders’ Cup; however, this year the 7-year-old gelded son of War Chant will enter the race off a two-month layoff.

“Physically he’s as good as he’s ever been, but he’s not as mentally tough so we wanted to give him plenty of space between races,” Calhoun said. “All of his races this year have been pretty average besides his last one. His run in the Turf Monster (GIII) reminded me of his best races, so he seems like he’s coming up to another big one. We’re looking for the repeat for sure.”

Owned by Carl R. Moore Management LLC, Chamberlain Bridge sports a record of 17-4-8 from 36 lifetime starts and earnings of $1,684,531.

SCHEDULED WORKS FOR SUNDAY – The following horses are scheduled to work Sunday morning on the main track or Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs:

Main track:

Aikenite (Dirt Mile or Sprint)

Havelock (Turf Sprint, before break)

Royal Delta (Ladies’ Classic, before break)

Rule (Dirt Mile)

Satans Quick Chick (Ladies’ Classic, before break)

Stay Thirsty (Classic, after break)

Switch (Filly & Mare Sprint or Ladies’ Classic, after break)

Take Charge Indy (Juvenile, after break)

To Honor and Serve (Classic, before break)

Uncle Mo (Classic, after break)

Matt Winn Turf Course:

Animal Spirits (Juvenile Turf)

Coalport (Juvenile Turf)

Finale (Juvenile Turf)

Sidney’s Candy (Mile)

Other possible workers for Sunday morning include Flat Out (Classic, around 7 a.m.) and Courageous Cat (Mile) on the turf.

WORK TAB – Alex Rankin’s Tar Heel Mom (Filly & Mare Sprint) worked a bullet half-mile in :47.40 after the renovation break with jockey Joe Johnson in the saddle. Fractions for the move that was the best of 62 at the distance were :11.80, :23.80, :35.20 and out five furlongs in 1:00.80. …

Also working after the break was Steven Bell’s Holdin Bullets who covered a half-mile in :48, third fastest of 62. …

J C M Racing’s Putthebabiesdown (Juvenile Fillies), worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 (27th of 49) with a final quarter-mile in :25.20 while working in company with Yes He’s Trouble after the break. …

Stephen Brown’s Jake Mo (Juvenile Sprint) worked five furlongs before the break in 1:01.40 (17th of 49) with fractions of :12.40, :25.20, :37, :49.40 and out six furlongs in 1:16. …

Vinery Stables Regally Ready (Turf Sprint) worked a half-mile on the main track in :50.80 (46th of 62). …

Other grass works around the “dogs” involving Breeders’ Cup horses included the Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable’s Rapport (Turf Sprint) who worked a half-mile in :49.60 under jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. Fractions over the “firm” course were :12.40, :25.40, :37.20 and out five furlongs in 1:04.20. …

The Live Oak Plantation’s Dynaslew (Filly & Mare Turf) worked five furlongs in 1:05.40 under Carlos David, assistant to trainer Seth Benzel. …

Working together for trainer Wayne Catalano were Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten with Mark Guidry up and Darrell and Evelyn Yates and Coby Tresner’s Tequila Factor with Kelsey Danner up. The duo was given a half-mile time of :54.60 beginning at the three-eighths pole.

NOTE - Training hours will run through 10 a.m. daily through Friday with turf training daily. On Saturday, the track will close for training at 8 a.m. with no turf works because of the early first post time 12:05 p.m.