Monday, November 02, 2009

$500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon; Monday, November 2

Cloudy's Knight – The 9yo gelding Cloudy’s Knight arrived at Santa Anita from Louisville Monday morning for a start in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon.

The son of Lord Avie, who has won more than $2.2 million in a 38-race career, is undefeated in two starts since joining the stable of trainer Jonathan Sheppard, who saddled him for victories in the Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs and the Sycamore at Keeneland.

“He’s a lovely horse,” Sheppard said. “The big unknown is how he’ll run on a synthetic track.”
Cloudy’s Knight has run 37 times on turf and once on dirt.

Father Time – The Henry Cecil-trained 3yo colt arrived at Santa Anita on Saturday and visited the track Monday morning after clearing quarantine.
Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms, Father Time won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. He broke his maiden over a synthetic surface in November.

Man of Iron – The 3yo Giant’s Causeway colt trained by Aidan O’Brien arrived at Santa Anita Sunday evening with the Coolmore contingent of seven horses.
He is eligible to clear quarantine Tuesday morning and is expected to visit the track for the first time on Wednesday morning.
O’Brien was traveling from Ireland on Monday and is expected at the track on Tuesday. Man of Iron has made his last three starts on the synthetic surface at Dundalk in Ireland, winning twice.

Mastery – Godolphin’s 3yo son of Sulamani, who became the likely favorite for the Marathon with his victory in the St. Leger Stakes last out, remained in quarantine Monday.
Mastery, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, has had one start on a synthetic track, finishing fourth in a stakes at Kempton Park in March.

Muhannak – The defending champion in the Marathon arrived at Santa Anita Saturday afternoon and cleared quarantine Monday morning. Trainer Ralph Beckett took the gelding to the training track for a jog under exercise rider Gary Plasted.
Bad weather in Ireland has forced Beckett to make a jockey change from Pat Smullen to Ryan Moore. The Leopardstown races on Sunday were cancelled due to wet weather and rescheduled for Thursday, Beckett said, preventing Smullen from making the trip to California. Moore rode the 5yo gelding in the Dubai World Cup in March.
“He takes a bit of knowing, which is why we want to put Ryan up,” Beckett said.
Muhannak is winless in seven starts since his victory in the inaugural running of the Marathon at Santa Anita last year, but Beckett said he is encouraged by the way the son of Chester House is coming up to the race.
Two months ago, there were real questions about whether Muhannak would be back at the Breeders’ Cup after he pulled himself up three furlongs into a race at Kempton. Twelve days later, Beckett tried him again at a far shorter distance, in a 1 1/16m listed stakes at Wolverhampton that was won by Gitano Hernando, who subsequently shipped to Santa Anita and won the Goodwood. Muhannak finished 15 lengths behind the winner.
“It wasn’t a disaster in the fact that he actually went and finished his race,” Beckett said. “He galloped out really well.”
Muhannak’s final test for the Marathon was in the Cumberland Lodge on grass at Ascot on Sept. 27, where he ran fifth.
“Obviously, we were on a retrieval mission to get him to run well,” Beckett said.

Nite Light – The 5-year-old son of Thunder Gulch became an automatic qualifier for the Marathon by winning the Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race held at Turfway Park in September.
The Edward P. Evans-owned runner ran second in his last start, the Hawthorne Gold Cup, in the mud on Oct. 3. He was ridden by Jon Court, but trainer Todd Pletcher has yet to name a rider for the Marathon .

On Fire – Trainer Barry Abrams acknowledged that his 5yo gelded son of Pulpit “is a real long shot in this race [the Breeders’ Cup Marathon].”
But the trainer contends that On Fire has solid credentials, being a half-brother to major filly and mare stakes winners from the Phipps Stable - Inside Information and Educated Risk.
On Fire worked 5f in 1:00 3/5 on the main track Sunday under Octavio Vergara. Alonso Quinonez has the call.

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