Wednesday, October 30, 2013

$3 Million Breeders’ Cup Turf Notes

Indy Point – The Argentinian chestnut galloped Indy Point 1½m for trainer Richard Mandella Tuesday morning, just as the sun broke through Santa Anita. The 4yo had exercise rider David Nuesch up and his neck bowed as he began into his exercise.

“I’m very pleased with him now,” said Hall of Famer Mandella. “I was not happy with his race in Chicago (the Arlington Million in which he finished 13th and last as the favorite).”

The trainer recalled the circumstances. “We were afraid he’d be too sharp for that mile and a quarter after his mile win (at Del Mar in his first start since coming from Argentina). So we took a hold of him away from the gate to make sure he didn’t try to run off. Then all the horses in front of him started backing up and now he’s trying to climb over them and he’s hitting the bulbs on his front legs with his backs (legs) and he’s all sort of unhappy.

“After the race he was really sore; I was even afraid he might have broken a cannon bone the way he was acting. But you could see where he’d banged himself; he was all nicked up. Then a couple of hours later he was doing better. And by the next morning, after we’d poulticed him, he was doing fine. So I’m forgetting that race and expecting that he’s going to do a lot better here.”

Indy Point, who came back off the Arlington Million to win Santa Anita’s John Henry on Sept. 29, will once again be handled by Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens. They are listed as the 9-2 third choice on the morning line.

Little Mike – Trainer Dale Romans is following the same pattern with the defending Turf Champion as last year and it appears that Little Mike is very happy to be back in California. Shortly after winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont, Little Mike headed west to do his final training at Santa Anita. He completed his major work Saturday by breezing 5f in 59 4/5.

“He’s doing really well,” said Tammy Fox, trainer Dale Romans’ longtime significant other and main assistant, who was handling the training duties Tuesday morning because Romans was a little under the weather. “I haven’t been getting on him, but his regular exercise rider says he can’t be doing any better.”

Magician – see European report

Point of Entry – Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry galloped “an easy mile” Tuesday morning at Santa Anita after arriving from Belmont Park on Monday.

“He’s happy,” said Gene Recio, assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey, who was scheduled to arrive in Southern California Tuesday afternoon. “It was an easy ship.”

The runner-up to Little Mike in last year’s Turf is scheduled to make his first start since June 8 in Saturday’s Turf.

“It’s a lot to ask of him, but he’s a great horse. He’s capable of doing it,” Recio said. “We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think he could do it.”

Point of Entry suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture of his left-hind cannon bone after winning the Manhattan on June 8.

Skyring – Calumet Farm’s 4yo Skyring, a son of 2007 Turf winner English Channel galloped 1 1/2m Tuesday for trainer D. Wayne Lukas, and is back with the Hall of Fame conditioner after one race with Jose Fernandez listed as trainer.

Lukas explained it this way: “The horse ran at Keeneland (Shadwell Turf Mile) from off the farm so Jose was listed as trainer.” Skyring is listed at odds of 30-1 on the morning line with Luis Saez to ride.

Tale of a Champion – The 5yo son of Tale of the Cat jogged 1m under trainer Kristin Mulhall early Tuesday morning and is scheduled for similar moderate exercise daily leading up to the race.

The last significant drill was an easy 5f through thickening fog early Sunday morning while “galloping out strong,” said Mulhall who was in the irons as usual.

“He went well, he was in the bridle the whole way, it was a typical work for him,” Mulhall said. “He's feeling really good. He's definitely fit now and he wasn't really fit the last time out. He had gotten a foot abscess after his win in the Whittingham and he was out for about a month and a half and he only had a couple of works going into his last race. He definitely needed that and now he's tight.

“It's a tough race but he's doing really good.”

Tale of a Champion drew post position six, which was to Mulhall's liking.

“I was hoping to get that, it’s my favorite number,” Mulhall said. “My stable colors are brown and yellow like the ‘6’ number saddlecloth.”

Teaks North – Teaks North jogged 1 1/2m Tuesday under the eye of trainer Eric Guillot as the 6yo son of Northern Afleet moved a day closer to Saturday’s date in the field of 12 for the Turf.

Teaks North was a $100,000 claim by Guillot for Southern Equine Stable on Aug. 15 at Saratoga. In two races for Guillot, the gelding hasn’t hit the board. The most recent was a fifth in Santa Anita’s John Henry Turf Championship under Martin Garcia, who retains the mount.

The Fugue – see European report

Vagabond Shoes – The 6yo gelded son of Beat Hollow, Vagabond Shoes, galloped 1 1/2m at 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“He's in very good form and won a ‘Win and You're In’ race,” trainer John Sadler said. “He's been stretching out fine. Went a mile and an eighth in the Eddie Read. Went a mile and three-eighths in the Del Mar Handicap and ran a mile and a quarter (in the John Henry Turf Championship). We’re looking forward to seeing how he handles the mile and a half. He has been finishing well in all his races lately. I think the distance is going to be good for him.”

Vagabond Shoes drew post position one for the race.

“It would have been better to be away from the rail, but what are you going to do?” Sadler said.

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