A trio of Breeders’ Cup 2011 contenders from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott – To Honor and Serve (Classic), Royal Delta (Ladies’ Classic) and Courageous Cat (Mile) – worked on Sunday at Churchill Downs to complete a busy weekend for the five horses the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs is pointing toward Breeders’ Cup races on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5.
Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve, the winner of the recent $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (Grade II) who was considered a strong candidate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) before he went to the sidelines with an injury, was credited by Churchill Downs clockers with a four-furlong work over a “fast” track in :50. His official fractions for the work were :13.60, :25.60 and :37.60 and he was credited with a five-furlong gallop-out in :1:03.
Mott was pleased with To Honor and Serve’s work under Rudolph Brisset, but the trainer felt the move was faster than the official time credited to the 3-year-old son of Bernardini.
“Kenny (assistant Kenny McCarthy) had him from the three-eighth (pole) to the seven-eighths in :48-and-three (fifths),” said Mott, who watched the work on the track atop a stable pony. “He galloped our strong over there and my guess is he went a little better than :50. It was his first work here and we weren’t asking for too much.”
Palides Investments’ Royal Delta, winner of the Alabama (GI) and the Black-Eyed Susan (GII), also worked over the Churchill Downs track for the first time and covered four furlongs in :48.40. Brisset was in the irons aboard the 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker as she covered the distance in fractional clockings of :13, :25 and :36.80, with a five-furlong gallop-out of 1:02.60.
“She’s doing well,” Mott said. “It was her first work here and she did it very easily. She came back good.”
Royal Delta’s work tied as the eighth-fastest of 52 moves at the distance.
Courageous Cat, Pam and Martin Wygod and William S. Farish’s winner of the Shoemaker Mile (GI) on turf at Hollywood Park, was the fastest of Mott’s Sunday workers as he breezed four furlongs over the main track in :48.40, which tied as second-fastest of 52 works at the distance. The 5-year-old son of Storm Cat worked in company with stablemate Clear Attempt, who finished his half-mile in :48.40.
The remaining two horses in Mott’s quintet of Breeders’ Cup contenders worked together over a fast track on Saturday. WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer (Classic), winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (GI) and runner-up to Flat Out in the recent Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI), and Preston Stables’ Brooklyn (GII) winner Birdrun (Marathon) worked four furlongs in company. Drosselmeyer finished the work in :47.60, the fastest of Saturday’s 54 half-mile works, while Birdrun completed his workout in :48.40, a time posted as the sixth-best of the day at the distance.
Other Breeders’ Cup 2011 contenders on the Churchill Downs track on Sunday included Hamazing Destiny (Sprint), who worked four furlongs in :48.60 for all-time Breeders’ Cup win leader D. Wayne Lukas. Barry Butzow and Westrock Stable’s 5-year-old son of Salt Lake was the runner-up to Big Drama in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. Bluegrass Hall LLC’s Optimizer (Juvenile or Juvenile Turf), third in the recent Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland and also trained by Lukas, worked a half-mile :48.40. Optimizer’s move also tied as second-fastest work at the distance.