ATTA BOY ROY WORKS HALF IN :48 UNDER BOREL – R.E.V. Racing’s Atta Boy Roy, winner of the Churchill Downs (GII) here on Kentucky Derby Day, worked a half-mile in :48 over a fast track after the renovation break under jockey Calvin Borel. The move was third fastest of 33 at the distance on a cool, clear Friday morning.
“Calvin was very happy with him,” trainer Valorie Lund said. “He said, ‘He’s back in his house.’ He loves the track here.”
Lund brought Atta Boy Roy to Churchill Downs from the nearby Trackside Training Center, where the 5-year-old has been stabled since April.
“I like it at Trackside, because it is peaceful and quiet,” Lund said. “They (Churchill Downs) said I could come over at any time, but I just like it there. Now he will come back to work next Saturday and then I will bring him over Monday or Tuesday of Breeders’ Cup week.”
A $4,500 purchase, the Washington-bred Atta Boy Roy’s road to the Breeders’ Cup actually began last year.
“We had planned to run him in the Breeders’ Cup last year at Santa Anita and we took him out there and ran him (in the Ancient Title) and he hated the Polytrack,” Lund said. “So, we said, ‘No Breeders’ Cup for us this year’ and started planning for next year.”
After a getting a break over the winter, the wheels were put in motion for the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs.
“A lot of people were saying I was making a huge mistake. There was tremendous risk and a lot of naysayers,” said Lund, who has 12 horses stabled at Turf Paradise in addition to “Roy” and two 2-year-olds at Trackside. “But the horse is that good and they had to give him a chance. I would have gotten down on my knees and begged to come here.”
Lund’s belief in her horse was validated when he won on Derby Day.
“I think everybody I saw that day got a hug,” Lund said with a laugh. “It was tremendous relief and verified that we had made the right decision.”
Since his victory in the Churchill Downs, Atta Boy Roy finished second in the Aristides (GIII) here when he broke in the air, finished second in the Iowa Sprint Handicap and won the Remington Park Sprint Championship before finishing eighth in the Woodford (GIII) on grass two weeks ago at Keeneland.
“We have been focusing for the one race and getting him there,” Lund said of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. “There have been no bumps in the road and everything has gone well.”
Atta Boy Roy is one of five confirmed mounts for Borel in the Breeders’ Cup. Other mounts for Borel, whose lone Breeders’ Cup victory came here in 2006 in the Juvenile on Street Sense, are A.U. Miner (Marathon), Tell a Kelly (Juvenile Fillies), Hurricane Ike (Dirt Mile) and Seeking the Title (Ladies’ Classic).
PADDY O’PRADO HEADED TO BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC – It appears that trainer Dale Romans will now have two runners in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) to be run Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
Donald Dizney’s Preakness (GI) runner-up First Dude, who has hit the board in five Grade I races this year, already was penciled in for the Classic and on Thursday, the ownership of Paddy O’Prado opted for the Classic over the Emirates’ Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) or the Nov. 27 Japan Cup (GI).
“My personal belief is his chances of hitting the board were about the same in either race,” Jerry Crawford, managing partner of Donegal Racing, told the Des Moines (Iowa) Register. “We’re not going to short-change Paddy O’Prado by playing it safe. We’re going to swing for the fences.”
Paddy O’Prado has run the Classic distance of 1 ¼ miles before on the main track here, finishing third in this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). After running sixth in the Preakness (GI), Paddy O’Prado returned to the grass and reeled off victories in the Colonial Turf Cup (GII), Virginia Derby (GII) and the Secretariat (GI) before running second in the Turf Classic Invitational (GI) in his first test against older horses.
Asked if there was a chance that Paddy O’Prado would be pre-entered in both the Classic and the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Monday, Romans said, “I don’t think so.”
Both horses are scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
BRASS HAT JUST KEEPS ROLLING ALONG FOR BRADLEY – When Buff Bradley started Brass Hat for the first time on a snowy night at Turfway Park in January 2004, it was for a $15,000 claiming tag.
“I figured he’d be a useful horse,” Bradley said after Brass Hat ran second. “I just didn’t know how useful.”
Fast forward to Thursday at Keeneland when Brass Hat rallied from last in the field of 12 to win the 1 ½-mile $100,000 Sycamore (GIII) on turf by a length under Calvin Borel.
“He was 20 lengths out of it at one point in the race,” said Bradley, who trains the 9-year-old gelding for his father Fred Bradley. “I had to watch the replay to believe it. It never looked like he would get there. When he got back to the barn, he didn’t take a deep breath.
The reception from the fans in the grandstand after the race was tremendous. (Keeneland president) Nick Nicholson said he had not heard one louder. After the presentation (on the turf course) we took him back to the regular winner’s circle for another picture with friends and family. Calvin jumped back on him bareback.”
For Brass Hat, who has turned into a turf marathon specialist the past three years, the victory improved his record to 39-10-8-5 for earnings of $2,167,921. Brass Hat’s only venture off the turf this year was an eighth-place finish in the Cornhusker Handicap (GII) at Prairie Meadows in June.
“That was not him,” Bradley said. “It was my fault. I trained him hard to get him ready and then shipped him out there in the heat.”
Although there are no distance grass stakes in the condition book for the Churchill Downs fall meeting that begins Oct. 31 and runs through Nov. 28, Bradley said Brass Hat could make an appearance here.
“I might run him on the dirt,” Bradley said of Brass Hat, who returned to the family farm in Frankfort on Friday morning. “He is doing so well right now.”
BARN TALK – Vision Racing’s Soundwave, winner of three of four career starts who is being pointed to the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) on Nov. 5, worked six furlongs in company with Frijiana in 1:16.60. Fractions for the work were :14, :27, :39.60, :52 and 1:04.20 with a gallop-out time for seven furlongs in 1:31. Jockey Robby Albarado was aboard. ..
Also working at Churchill Downs was Casa Farms I’s Prince Will I Am, winner of Belmont Park’s Grade I Jamaica Handicap in his most recent start. Trained by Michelle Nihei and pointing to the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) or the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII), Prince Will I Am worked five furlongs in 1:02.20, 16th fastest of 25 at the distance. …
Columbine Stable’s J. B.’s Thunder, winner of the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 9, worked a half-mile in company in :47 on Friday morning at Keeneland. Fractions for the work were :11.60, :23.60, :35.40 and out five furlongs in 1:00 and six furlongs in 1:14.60. Trained by Al Stall Jr., and a candidate for the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI), J. B.’s Thunder is scheduled to ship to Churchill Downs on Wednesday. …
Arriving at Churchill Downs from California shortly after 3 p.m. (EDT) on Friday Breeders’ Cup Sprint hopeful Smiling Tiger, owned by Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz and trained by Jeff Bonde, and owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho’s Riveting Reason for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.