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Japan's Classic Contender Espoir City Set For Early Tuesday Arrival

| Churchill Downs Communications | 10/18/2010 #

ESPOIR CITY SLATED TO ARRIVE TUESDAY FOR BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSICEspoir City (JPN), Japan’s hope for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs early Tuesday morning.

“He is in the air now,” said Mikki Tsuge of the International Racing Bureau, who will serve as interpreter for trainer Akio Adachi and jockey Tetsuzo Sato at the Breeders’ Cup. “The trainer is coming in this afternoon and the jockey will be here on the 22nd.”

Espoir City was being flown from Japan to Chicago, where he would change planes for the flight to Louisville with an expected arrival at Louisville International Airport of 3 a.m. (EDT).  He will be in quarantine at Churchill Downs for 48 hours.

A three-time Grade I winner in Japan, Espoir City has won 11 of 20 career starts with a record on dirt of 13-10-2-0-1. In his most recent start, which followed a five-month layoff, Espoir City finished second in the Oct. 11 Nambu Hai Mile Championship.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME FOR ACOMA TO CLOSE OUT CAREER – The Juddmonte Spinster (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 10 was supposed to be the last hurrah for Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the farm: Acoma upset a stellar field of 10 and became a millionaire in the process. Now, trainer David Carroll is getting the regally bred 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker ready for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (GI) to be run Nov. 5.

“She came out of the race fine,” said Carroll, who plans to give Acoma two works leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. “She is two-for-two on the dirt here and she likes it here. We know she can handle the dirt here. If the Breeders’ Cup were at Santa Anita or someplace else, we would not be going.

“Plus, Zenyatta (who is slated for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 6) is not going to be there. There are a lot of factors involved.”

In addition to being perfect on the dirt here, Acoma has compiled a 5-3-1-0 mark on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Despite that mark, the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) was not a consideration.

“It is a mile and three-eighths and way too tough,” Carroll said. “Plus, the ground is likely to be soft, which she doesn’t like.”

PRINCE WILL I AM COULD GO IN BC MARATHON OR TURF FOR NIHEI – Trainer Michelle Nihei said Monday morning that Casa Farms One’s Prince Will I Am may be pre-entered next Monday in the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) as well as the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII).

“It is hard to believe he was a maiden here last fall,” said Nihei, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher. “You could tell then that he would mature late. He has a great mind, but his body didn’t catch up.”

Prince Will I Am entered the Breeders’ Cup picture with a victory Oct. 9 in the Jamaica Handicap (GI) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park going 1 1/8 miles on the grass. The Breeders’ Cup Turf is 1 ½ miles and the Marathon is 1 ¾ miles on the main track.

“I am not worried about the distance either on turf or dirt, but there will be some strong Europeans for the Turf,” Nihei said.  “It is up to Susie (owner Susan Atkins).”

Nihei said that Prince Will I Am, who broke his maiden at first asking at odds of 45-1, “bounced out of the Jamaica great and would have two works prior to the Breeders’ Cup.

BARN TALK Atta Boy Roy, winner of the Churchill Downs (GII) this spring, is scheduled to come to Churchill Downs from the Trackside Training Center for two works before the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) according to trainer Valerie Lund. “He will work Friday or Saturday with Calvin (Borel) up and then on Saturday the 30th,” Lund said. “I will probably bring him over for the Breeders’ Cup on the Monday or Tuesday of Breeders’ Cup week.” Atta Boy Roy finished eighth in the 5 ½-furlong Woodford (GIII) on the grass at Keeneland on Oct. 9 in his most start. “He has done well since that race,” Lund said. “The timing of the race was right, but after the race he told me ‘No grass and don’t run me in the Turf Sprint.’ ” Lund said. …

Three Breeders’ Cup possible starters from the Steve Asmussen barn worked Monday morning over a “fast” track at Churchill Downs. Thiskyhasnolimit, winner of the 2009 Iroquois (GIII) who may go in the Dirt Mile (GI), worked five furlongs in 1:01, third-fastest of 44 at the distance. Also working were Astrology (Juvenile) in 1:01.80 (11th fastest) and Riley Tucker (Sprint) in 1:03.60 (30th fastest). …

    Scheduled to work Tuesday morning for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII) is A.U. Miner for trainer Clark Hanna. Calvin Borel will have the mount in the Marathon. …

Track superintendent Butch Lehr said the Matt Winn Turf Course would be open for training daily from 9:30-10 a.m. beginning next Monday, Oct. 25, through the Breeders’ Cup.