The Breeders’ Cup is just eight days away and as many as 14 horses stabled at Churchill Downs and nearby Trackside Training Center will tune up for the World Championships in Louisville this weekend prior to shipping to Santa Anita Park, where the event will be held for the sixth time.
Whitney Handicap (GI) winner Fort Larned (Classic) is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Sunday or Monday, according to trainer Ian Wilkes. Wilkes added that Fort Larned will ship to Santa Anita on Tuesday.
Trainer Buff Bradley confirmed that Humana Distaff (Grade I) winner Groupie Doll (Filly & Mare Sprint) will fly to California on Saturday and could work at Santa Anita on Monday.
Trainer Mark Casse, who has five Breeders’ Cup contenders stabled at Churchill Downs, said Thursday morning that Spring in the Air (Juvenile Fillies) and Spring Venture (Juvenile Fillies Turf) will have their final works Friday morning at Churchill Downs prior to the renovation break.
Delegation (Dirt Mile), Dynamic Sky (Juvenile) and Pool Play (Classic) will work Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. Delegation and Dynamic Sky are scheduled to work before the renovation break and Pool Play will work after it.
The five Breeders’ Cup hopefuls will ship to Santa Anita on Sunday.
Hall of Fame trainer Wayne Lukas could have as many as four Breeders’ Cup entrants. Broken Spell (Juvenile Fillies), Hamazing Destiny (Sprint), Optimizer (Turf) and Hightail (Juvenile Sprint) are scheduled to fly out Sunday.
Trainer Dale Romans already shipped Breeders’ Cup hopefuls Shackleford (Dirt Mile), Dullahan (Turf or Classic), Moonwalk (Juvenile Fillies Turf), Little Mike (Mile or Turf) and Sustained (Juvenile Fillies Turf) to Santa Anita, but kept Summit County (Juvenile Turf) at Churchill Downs.
“I wasn’t sure he would get in (to the body of the field),” Romans said. “He’s going (to run in the Breeders’ Cup) now.”
Romans added that Summit County would work at Churchill Downs on Friday after the renovation break and ship to Santa Anita on Monday.
Trainer Mike Maker said Joha (Juvenile Turf) will work at Trackside on Saturday and ship to Santa Anita on Sunday. Kindergarden Kid, who won the Sycamore (GIII) for Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, also will leave Sunday. He was pre-entered in the turf with trainer Peter Miller and owners Kevin and Colleen Bamford and David Bernsen as the listed connections.
TAKE CHARGE INDY WILL PREP FOR CLARK IN SATURDAY’S FAYETTE AT KEENELAND – Florida Derby (GI) winner Take Charge Indy will make his first start since finishing 19th of 20 in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) in Saturday’s Fayette (GII) at Keeneland and trainer Pat Byrne is hopeful that race will get him fit for their ultimate goal: the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) at Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 23.
“When we stopped on him after the Derby, I said we’ll try to make the Clark with him,” Byrne said. “We wanted to get a race in him before and landed on the Fayette. It’s just across town and we didn’t have to ship him all over the place. He’s fit now but he’ll be fitter for the Clark. You can breeze a horse and train and train, but there’s nothing like a race (to get a horse fit).”
Take Charge Indy came out of the Derby with a chip in his left front ankle. The chip was removed and the Chuck and Maribeth Sandford-owned colt was then given a few months turned out.
“He’s matured since the spring,” Byrne said. “He really developed during the time he had off at the farm.”
Take Charge Indy, who has had five breezes at Churchill Downs since returning to the track in early August, will break from post five under regular rider Calvin Borel in the Fayette. He is the 3-1 morning-line favorite in the field of 11.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Optimizer, who is pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI), breezed five furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning in 1:00.80, the second fastest work of eight at the distance. The Wayne Lukas-trained Optimizer, winner of the Kent (GIII) in his last start, is scheduled to fly to California on Sunday … A string of 22 horses trained by Todd Pletcher arrived at Churchill Downs early Thursday afternoon and were bedded down in Barn 34. Pletcher’s stable at the Louisville track will be under the care of assistant trainer Michael Dilger … Trainer Nick Zito will have a string of horses stabled at Churchill Downs throughout the Fall Meet and those horses are scheduled to arrive over the course of Friday and Saturday. The horses will be stabled in Barn 43 and will be overseen by assistant trainer Tim Poole … Heaven’s Runway, winner of the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial, is now under the care of Ron Moquett and will make his first start for his new trainer in Sunday’s Iroquois (GIII). “(Heaven’s Runway’s previous trainer Joseph Martin) did a really good job with him, but Mr. Jayaraman wanted to try a few out in Kentucky and so he sent me a few horses. Those are the kind you make room for (in the barn),” Moquett said … Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on Sunday (Oct. 28). Activities, which will take place on the Horsemen’s Balcony overlooking the Paddock, include a Trick or Treat Parade with Churchill Charlie ... The first 5,000 fans through the gates on Opening Day at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28 will receive a free 2013 Churchill Downs calendar compliments of Humana.
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