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Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Dirt Mile and Marathon Report


$1 Million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (Grade I) 3-Year-Olds & Up 1 Mile
$500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (Grade II) 3-Year-Olds & Up 1 3/4 Miles


Brendan Walsh (Worldly, Marathon) – Two years ago at the 28th Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Churchill Downs, Brendan Walsh was on the verge of a career change, from assistant to Eddie Kenneally to going on his own.

“Hard to believe it has already been two years,” said Walsh, who maintains a stable of 10-15 horses at the Trackside Training Center in Louisville, Ky.

One of those horses in his care is Chad Schumer’s Worldly, who will break from post position 10 in Friday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

“He came to the barn in May or June and he has run great in the three races since we got him,” Walsh said.

The most recent start was a third-place finish behind Classic defending champion Fort Larned in the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs on Sept. 28.

“We ran in that race with the intention of possibly coming to the Breeders’ Cup,” Walsh said.

Worldly finished 3¾ lengths behind Fort Larned and was ridden by David Flores in the Homecoming Classic.

“David was riding in Kentucky and we thought if we came out here, nobody knows Santa Anita like the back of his hand like David,” Walsh said.

Worldly has raced 1 1/4m on three occasions, but never the 1 3/4m Marathon distance.

“If he stays the trip, he’ll make a hell of run for it,” Walsh said. “Maybe I could pick up a few more clients if he wins this. It can’t hurt.”

Chad Brown (Easter Gift, Dirt Mile) – Trainer Chad Brown said Tuesday that the 4yo colt Easter Gift was not shipped from New York and will not compete in the Breeders’ Cup. The son of Hard Spun is on the also-eligible list for the Dirt Mile.

Shug McGaughey (Hymn Book, Dirt Mile) – Stuart Janney III’s Hymn Book jogged 1m Tuesday at Santa Anita on the morning after arriving from Belmont Park Monday.

“Everything’s well with him,” said Gene Recio, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey.

Doug O'Neill (Goldencents, Dirt Mile) – Trainer Doug O’Neill is optimistic Goldencents will flash the same form that carried him to victory in the Santa Anita Derby in April.

“He's doing super,” said O’Neill. “I see him tracking three or four wide into the first turn.”

The 3yo colt, owned by a partnership that includes University of Louisville Hall of Fame basketball coach Rick Pitino, galloped 1 1/4m under exercise rider Jonny Garcia.

James Cassidy (Holy Lute, Dirt Mile) – The 3yo colt slipped into the Dirt Mile field off the Preferred list and trainer Jim Cassidy is happy for it. He thinks the big son of two-time Sprint winner Midnight Lute deserves an opportunity in the 12-horse lineup.

“He’s really doing good,” said the ex-New Yorker who has called California home for several decades now. “His last race (Indiana Derby) he had trouble. He was making a winning move on the outside when the eventual winner shifted out and hit the eventual second-place finisher who in turn banged into my horse just as he was going to change leads. It knocked him off stride and might have cost him the race.

“I ran him in the Indiana race because it was a mile and one-sixteenth and not a mile and one-eighth like the local prep (Awesome Again). I think down deep this horse is a miler and I didn’t want to stretch him too much. I believe he’ll enjoy dropping back to a mile Friday and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve also made a rider switch to Mike Smith and he’s always a help. I think he’ll give a good account of himself.”

Jerry Hollendorfer (Blueskiesnrainbows, Marathon) – It’s all blue skies and rainbows for Blueskiesnrainbows, according to assistant trainer Dan Ward, who sent the 4yo of English Channel for a 1 1/2m jog Tuesday morning as his training went forward toward Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon, which kicks off the two-day extravaganza that is the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

“He’s completed all his serious work for the race,” Ward said. “He’ll just gallop up to the race.” Ward oversaw the training while Hollendorfer tended to his large string of horses at Golden Gate Fields in Northern California.

Jo Hughes (London Bridge, Marathon) – see European report

Kiaran McLaughlin (Alpha, Dirt Mile) – Dirt Mile contender Alpha jogged over the Santa Anita main track Tuesday. An upset winner of the Woodward at Saratoga in late August, Alpha will break from post seven in the Dirt Mile with jockey Joe Bravo.

“Alpha should be fine from there,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “We’re looking forward to trying him out a mile out there around two turns. He’s the kind of colt that will do anything you ask of him.”

Mark Casse (Pool Play, Marathon) – Pool Play, who at 8yo, is the most senior of all of the 2013 Breeders’ Cup entrants, galloped 1 1/2m on Tuesday morning under exercise rider Juan Bernardini for trainer Mark Casse and owner William Farish Jr.

With 40 starts on his resume, the seasoned son of Silver Deputy and multiple Graded stakes winner was every bit the professional and traveled easily over the Santa Anita racing strip.

“Pool Play is Pool Play. As he’s getting older, he’s lost all of his speed,” said Casse, who saddled him to an eighth-place finish in last year’s Classic. “But he can run all day long so we’re going to give it a shot. He goes along at one speed, but he still can go. His endurance level is as good as ever.”

Pool Play is the only horse in the field to have won at the Marathon distance of 1¾ m, or longer.

Ron Ellis (Centralinteligence, Dirt Mile) – The 5yo gelding Centralinteligence was shipped from Betfair Hollywood Park to Santa Anita Tuesday morning after working 4f Monday. He won the Triple Bend Handicap at Hollywood in June, a Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” race.

“He got a lot of dirt in his face last time and didn't like it,” said trainer Ron Ellis of a sixth-place finish in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct. 5.

Tom Proctor (Old Time Hockey, Marathon) – Old Time Hockey, the 4 yo son of dual Triple Crown winner Smarty Jones and maternal grandson of 1992 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner A.P. Indy, hasn’t raced on the dirt since his first three of 17 career outings and all of his workouts have been on Betfair Hollywood Park’s artificial surface, but that doesn’t concern his connections.

“If he handles the dirt, he’ll do great in this race,” said Glen Hill Farm President Craig Bernick. “He’s got plenty of stamina so the distance will not be a problem for him. He wants to run all day and I really like our horse’s chances. I wouldn’t be surprised if he won. There wouldn’t be a horse I’d be scared of in this field.”

Last out, Old Time Hockey finished fourth behind Indy Point in the Hollywood Turf Cup at 1 1/4m, which was his 14th consecutive effort on the grass.

“I thought we had excuses in a lot of his other races,” Bernick said of his homebred, who is winless in six starts this year. “He either did not have the right ground or caught a slow pace. In his last race, he was grinding along and he just kept coming against Indy point, who is a very good horse.”

Old Time Hockey and Filly & Mare Turf hopeful Marketing Mix will represent Glen Hill Farm in Breeders’ Cup events this year, and both are trained by Tom Proctor.

Bernick, who will is expected on the grounds on Wednesday, had an excellent excuse for not watching his horses train on Tuesday morning.

“My grandfather turned 94 today and there is a big party for him tonight in Chicago,” he said of Leonard Lavin, who founded Glen Hill in 1966 and won the 1994 Distaff with One Dreamer.

Todd Pletcher (Verrazano, Dirt Mile) – The Todd Pletcher-trained Verrazano was installed as the 3-1 morning-line favorite for Friday’s Dirt Mile, but the 3yo colt hasn’t created nearly the buzz that surrounded him during the spring and summer.

“That’s the nature of the Breeders’ Cup, when you have this many good horses in one place competing over two days,” Pletcher said. “You take a horse like Verrazano, who I think is quietly still in the mix for champion 3-year-old – there’s just so many good horses, sometimes a horse comes in under the radar a little bit.”

Verrazano, who jogged at Santa Anita Tuesday morning, hasn’t run since finishing seventh in the Travers Stakes on Aug. 24. Pletcher said he looks and acts like he’s ready to offer a strong effort in the Mile.

“He’s always been a magnificent horse to look at. He looks unbelievable. He’s training really well. I think he’ll run well fresh,” he said. “I think the mile distance will suit him well. He can maneuver a good trip from an outside post in the short run to the first turn. “



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