CLASSIC HOPES PADDY O’PRADO, FIRST DUDE WORK OVER HOME TRACK FOR ROMANS – Louisville-born trainer Dale Romans’ pair of 3-year-old contenders for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) – Paddy O’Prado and First Dude – topped the roster of works by Breeders’ Cup hopefuls Saturday over their home track at Churchill Downs.
Donegal Racing’s Paddy O’Prado, third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and winner of the Secretariat (GI) on turf at Arlington Park, breezed five furlongs over a “fast” track in 1:01. Exercise rider Tammy Fox was up for the move, which came just after the mid-morning break for track maintenance. The 3-year-old son of El Prado covered the distance in fractional times of :12.40, :24.40 and :36.20 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.40.
Donald Dizney’s homebred First Dude, runner-up in the Preakness (GI) and the Pennsylvania Derby (GII), breezed six furlongs under Fox a short time later and covered the distance in 1:15. The 3-year-old Stephen Got Even colt was timed in fractions of :12.60, :24.60, :36.60, :49.20 and 1:01.80 and galloped out seven furlongs 1:29.60.
First Dude’s move was the slowest of five works at six furlongs.
“They’re both fit,” Romans said. “We were looking for maintenance and we’ll come back and work them again next Saturday.”
Paddy O’Prado’s work, which ranked as the seventh fastest of 34 at the distance, was the first since his owners and Romans decided that the Classic would be the colt’s Breeders’ Cup target. The Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) was also an option, as was the Japan Cup in Tokyo on Nov. 27.
"It was a tough decision,” said Romans of the Classic choice for Paddy O’Prado. “There really wasn’t a wrong choice. You’re running for big money in all three races, but the bottom line is that if he runs well in the Classic it does so much more for him as a stallion prospect. That’s what kind of sealed the deal.”
And, Romans added, a victory over the star-studded Classic field headed by unbeaten Zenyatta, Blame and Quality Road could give Paddy O’Prado a shot at 3-year-old championship honors. Preakness (GI) winner Lookin At Lucky, a Classic rival, is the current front-runner for that Eclipse Award honor.
“The one thing he needs to do is to show up in another dirt race and show everybody he’s dirt or turf,” he said. “Even if wins the Turf and ‘Lucky’ runs well on the dirt, it’s still an uphill battle to be 3-year-old of the year. If he runs big here, he’s got a legitimate shot.”
Romans noted that First Dude, a winner of just one of 11 races but second or third in nine of those races with earnings of $860,160, might be the most accomplished horse ever to still be eliglble for a “non-winners of two” race.
“He shows up every single time and we expect him to show up in this race, too,” Romans said. “He’s showed he can run with anybody. We’re right here in our back door, he runs well over this racetrack and trains here everyday. He’s gonna run well.”
HURRICANE IKE SHARP IN WORK FOR BC DIRT MILE – With jockey Calvin Borel up, Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Hurricane Ike tuned up for his engagement by working six furlongs in 1:12.40 in company with Third Dawn after the renovation break Saturday morning.
Fractions for the move, which was the fastest of five at the distance, were :12.20, :24, :35.80, :47.80 and :59.80 with a seven-furlong gallop-out time of 1:27.80.
"He worked super this morning,” trainer John Sadler said of Hurricane Ike, who also worked a bullet five-eighths in :59 here on Oct. 17. “He might be a horse for course. He worked OK on it here in the spring, but he also won on it (in the Grade III Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial).”
Hurricane Ike and Third Dawn started off together with Hurricane Ike on the inside. At the head of the stretch, Hurricane Ike began to steadily pull away, finishing eight lengths in front of his workmate at the wire.
Prior to the Hurricane Ike work, Borel was aboard Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) hopeful Tell a Kelly for the Thrashes and Sadler through a five-furlong work in 1:00.80, fifth fastest of 34 at the distance.
Fractions on the work were :12.60, :24.40, :36, :48 and out six furlongs in 1:15.40.
“They both went well,” Borel said. “That Hurricane Ike, he really likes this track.”
Sadler’s Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) candidate Switch, owned by C R K Stable, is scheduled to work on Sunday after the break.
Sadler will head back to California on Sunday night to supervise a Monday work for TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) hopeful Sidney’s Candy.
“Sidney’s Candy will fly here on the next Tex Sutton flight,” Sadler said. “And, we have to make up our minds on (Gary and Cecil Barber’s) Cost of Freedom (for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint). We will bring in a couple more horses for the (Breeders’ Cup) undercard races.”
STEWART HOPING FOR SOME REPEAT MAGIC IN LADIES’ CLASSIC – Dallas Stewart has flown below the radar before at Breeders’ Cup time. In 2001, he saddled Unbridled Elaine to a 12-1 upset victory in the Grade I Distaff (now Ladies’ Classic) at Belmont Park.
This year, for the now-named Ladies’ Classic, Stewart has Ladies’ Classic hopes for another 3-year-old filly in Seeking the Title for owner Charles Fipke.
“She’s a quality filly,” Stewart said. “I thought she worked awesome this morning and she will work again next Saturday.”
With Calvin Borel up and working on her own before the renovation break, Seeking the Title covered five furlongs in 1:01.60, eighth fastest of 34 at the distance. Fractions for the work were :13.20, :25.60, :37.60, :49.60 and out six furlongs in 1:16.40.
Seeking the Title finished fourth in her most recent start in the Indiana Oaks (GII) at Hoosier Park on Oct. 2.
“Her last race was on mud and on a speed-biased track,” Stewart said. “She ran well in the race before at Monmouth (GIII Monmouth Oaks) when she came from far back. She finishes with energy every race except for the mud. She is doing very well and I see no reason not to take a shot.”
MALIBU PRAYER HEADS STELLAR LIST OF 31 CHILUKKI NOMINEES – Edward Evans’ Malibu Prayer, winner of the Ruffian Invitational Handicap (GI) this summer at Saratoga and 2009 winner of the Chilukki (GII) is the marquee name among 31 nominations for the 25th running of the $150,000-added race for fillies and mares ages 3 and up scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 6.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Malibu Prayer is being pointed to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) scheduled the previous day.
Ten other graded stakes winners are among the nominees for the one-turn mile race for fillies and mares, including Starlight Partners’ Ailalea, winner of the Dogwood (GIII) here in May, who also is trained by Pletcher.
The 33rd running of the $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) will kick off the Breeders’ Cup World Championship weekend on Thursday, Nov. 4. The 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up over the Matt Winn Turf Course attracted 20 nominations including the past two winners of the race: Amerman Racing Stables’ Demarcation (2008) and Robert Courtney’s Rahystrada (2009).
The 18th running of the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for horses 3-years-old and up going 1 1/16 miles on the main track serves as the lead-in to six Breeders’ Cup races on Friday, Nov. 5. Among the 31 nominees is Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Augustin Stable’s Forever Together, winner of the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI) and a candidate for this year’s renewal, is the marquee name among 29 fillies and mares nominated to the 37th running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Sunday, Nov. 7.
BARN TALK – There were other Breeders’ Cup works of note Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. Working before 6:30 on his own was Turf Sprint candidate Chamberlain Bridge, who covered a half-mile in :49.40 under Jamie Theriot for trainer Bret Calhoun. Fractions for the move, 18th best of 47 at the distance, were :12.60, :25.40, :37.40 and out five furlongs in 1:03.60.
Also working before the break was Filly & Mare Sprint candidate My Jen for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Working in company with Missyoulikecrazy, My Jen covered a half-mile in :47.40, second best of the morning at the distance.
Other half-mile works for Breeders’ Cup candidates were Rinterval (Filly & Mare Sprint) in :49.40 (:12.40, :24.80, :36.80 and out in 1:03.60) and More Than Real (Juvenile Fillies Turf) in :49.80 (:12.80, :25 and out in 1:03) with jockey Garrett Gomez up.
After the break, trainer Eric Guillot sent two-time Grade I winner Champagne d’Oro out for a five-furlong work with Miguel Mena up. Working solo, Champagne d’Oro stepped the distance in :59.60, second fastest of 34 at the distance. Fractions for the work were :11.40, :22.80, :34.60, :46.80 and out six furlongs in 1:14.20. “I got her in a minute and a fifth,” said Guillot, who plans to work the filly a half-mile next Saturday. “She’ll be 10-1 [in the Breeders’ Cup] and run like 3-5.”
At Keeneland on Saturday morning, Breeders’ Cup Mile candidate Proviso worked five furlongs on the turf in 1:02.20 for trainer Bill Mott. Working on the main track was Hot Cha Cha (Filly & Mare Turf) covering five furlongs in 1:00 for trainer Phil Sims and Silver Timber (Turf Sprint) working a half-mile in :49.20 for trainer Chad Brown. Two Ken McPeek 2-year-olds, Harlan’s Ruby (Juvenile Fillies) and Rogue Romance (Juvenile or Juvenile Turf), worked in company on the main track, covering five furlongs in :58.40. Splits for the work were :12.60, :23.60, :35.20, :47 and out six furlongs in 1:10.80 and seven-eighths in 1:24.20. ...
Other works of note for Breeders’ Cup hopefuls outside of Kentucky included Sara Louise (Filly & Mare Sprint) going a half-mile in :49.01 at Belmont Park, Big Drama (Sprint) covering six furlongs in 1:14.20 at Calder and Musket Man (Classic) going six furlongs in 1:17 at Monmouth Park. …
Breeders’ Cup candidates expected to work Sunday morning in addition to Switch are Acoma (Ladies’ Classic), Espoir City (JPN) (Classic) and Pluck (Juvenile Turf). Espoir City, who will have jockey Tetsuzo Sato up, is scheduled to work after the renovation break. Blame, one of the leading contenders for the Classic, is scheduled to work Sunday morning around 7:30 at Keeneland for trainer Al Stall Jr. …
Trainer Michelle Nihei said that Casa Farms I’s Prince Will I Am, winner of the Jamaica Handicap (GI) in his most recent start, would be pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII) instead of the Emirates Airlines Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI). Prince Will I Am, who worked five furlongs in 1:02.20 on Friday, is scheduled to work next Saturday. Nihei also said that Silent Joy, fifth in the Miss Grillo (GIII) at Belmont Park in her most recent start, would be pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII). Silent Joy is owned by Danny Gargan, Adam Wachtel and Nils Brous. …
Frank Bernis, agent for jockey Jamie Theriot who has been the regular rider of Dubai Majesty and Secret Gypsy, said that Theriot would ride Dubai Majesty in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI). Robby Albarado will have the mount on Secret Gypsy, according to his agent, Lenny Pike. …
Trainer Tom Amoss said that Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s Falling Knife would not be pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Dryfly, an early contender for the 2010 Kentucky Derby before injury knocked him off the Derby trail, breezed six furlongs in 1:13.80 for trainer Lynn Whiting. Borel was up for the move … C.S. Silk breezed five furlongs in :59.40, the fastest move of 34 at the distance.