WARRIOR’S REWARD WORKS HALF-MILE IN :48.80 – A. Stevens Miles Jr.’s Warrior’s Reward, winner of the Carter Handicap (GI) and runner-up in the Churchill Downs (GII), worked a half-mile before the renovation break in :48.80 over a fast track Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) to be run Nov. 6.
Working solo and with exercise rider Tracey Wilkes up, Warrior’s Reward posted fractions of :25.60 and :37 with a five-furlong gallop-out time of 1:01.80 and 1:16.20 for six furlongs.
“I got the last eighth in 11 and 3. This was fine,” trainer Ian Wilkes said of Warrior’s Reward, who will be ridden in the Breeders’ Cup by Julien Leparoux.
Warrior’s Reward, who has posted a 4-1-3-0 mark at Churchill Downs, enters the Breeders’ Cup off a third-place finish over Polytrack at Keeneland in the Oct. 8 Phoenix (GIII). Prior to the Phoenix, Warrior’s Reward returned from a three-month layoff in the Forego (GI) at Saratoga.
“I messed up (running him in the May 31 Metropolitan Handicap) and made a bad decision to run there,” Wilkes said. “We gave him a break and freshened him with this (the Breeders’ Cup) in mind.”
Wilkes had a choice between the Sprint and the Dirt Mile (GI) for the 4-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro.
“I just think the Sprint is a better race for him,” Wilkes said. “It is just my gut feeling.”
LUKAS HOPING MINE THAT BIRD GETS BREEDERS’ CUP CHANCE – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won more Breeders’ Cup races (18) than any other conditioner and his six World Championships victories at Churchill Downs are the most at one venue, a mark he shares with Richard Mandella’s six triumphs at Santa Anita.
The Hall of Fame trainer hopes he gets a chance to add to those numbers with Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
“I don’t think he will get in,” Lukas said of the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI), “but he has done very well since he got back here from Saratoga.”
Lukas said Mike Smith would have the mount on Mine That Bird.
Mine That Bird has been with Lukas for five months and had three starts in 2010, a comeback race on the turf in the Firecracker Handicap (GII) here in July and two off-the-board finishes at Saratoga in the Whitney (GI) and Woodward (GI), both at 1 1/8 miles.
Since returning to Churchill Downs, where he is 1-for-1 on the main track, he has had five works, two of them bullets. Lukas said if Mine That Bird does not get in the Dirt Mile the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track on Nov. 5 is a possibility.
“It is up to them,” Lukas said of owners Mark Allen of Double Eagle Ranch and Dr. Leonard Blach of Buena Suerte Equine.
Lukas has two other possible Breeders’ Cup horses but acknowledges they are on the bubble to get in: Westrock Stables’ Tidal Pool for the Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) and Westrock Stables and Barry Butzow’s Hamazing Destiny for the Sentient Jet Sprint (GI). Smith would have the mount on Tidal Pool and Terry Thompson would ride Hamazing Destiny.
ATONED GETS MARATHON TEST DRIVE FROM ALBARADO – Dogwood Stable’s Atoned worked a mile in 1:44 before the renovation break Wednesday morning under jockey Robby Albarado in preparation for a bid for the 1 ¾-mile Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII).
Fractions for the work were :13, :26, :39, 1:18 and 1:30.80 with a gallop-out time for 1:58.40 for 1 1/8 miles and 2:13.60 for the mile and a quarter.
“I wanted to put a jock on him this morning because we were doing something a bit more significant,” trainer Neil Howard said. “I was extremely happy with the work.”
Howard has had Atoned for only his past three races, the most recent being a third-place finish in the Turfway Park Fall Championship (GIII) on Sept. 11.
“He is doing good,” Howard said. “He is one of those horses that can get the distance and horses like that are in the minority, so we figured we’d take a shot.”
Atoned is one of five confirmed Breeders’ Cup mounts for Albarado, according to his agent, Lenny Pike. Other Albarado mounts are First Dude (Classic), Acoma (Ladies’ Classic), Central City (Turf Sprint) and Court Vision (TVG Mile).
BARN TALK – Trainer Dale Romans said a decision on where four-time graded stakes winner Paddy O’Prado would run next would be announced Friday. “All of us are having a conference call tomorrow and we hope to come to a decision as to where we will run next by sometime on Thursday,” Romans said of the colt who is owned by Donegal Racing, which is headed by Jerry Crawford. “We will let everyone know Friday morning where we are running.” Under consideration for Paddy O’Prado are the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI), the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) to be run Nov. 6 and the Nov. 28 Japan Cup (GI). …
Ron Anderson, agent for nine-time Breeders’ Cup-winning rider Garrett Gomez, has four definite rides lined up for this year’s World Championships, headlined by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Blame in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). Other confirmed Gomez mounts include Alcomo (BRZ) in the Marathon (GIII), More Than Real in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII) and Jessica Is Back for the Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint (GI). …
Trainers Clark Hanna (A.U. Miner) and Tom Amoss (Falling Knife) reported that their runners came out of Tuesday works at Churchill Downs in good order in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon. …
Defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag, owned by Hi Card Ranch, is scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Thursday. Trained by Brian Koriner, California Flag has been at Keeneland since running 11th in the Woodford (GIII) on Oct. 9. Another Koriner trainee, Legacy Ranch and Shirley MacPherson’s Sweet August Moon, also is coming from Keeneland after a fifth-place finish in the Thoroughbred Club of America (GII) on Oct. 9. Sweet August Moon is being pointed to the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) on Nov. 5. The Koriner duo will be stabled in Barn 17. …
Scheduled for a Friday arrival from California is Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz’s Smiling Tiger for the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI). Trained by Jeff Bonde, the 3-year-old Smiling Tiger won the Bing Crosby (GI) at Del Mar in August and in his most recent start won the Grade I Ancient Title on Oct. 9 at Hollywood Park.