Thursday, November 05, 2009

Breeders’ Cup Marathon Notes, Wednesday Nov. 4

Cloudy's Knight – The 9yo gelding jogged once around Santa Anita’s training track Wednesday morning before galloping 1 1/4m on the main track, “extending a little bit through the stretch,’’ trainer Jonathan Sheppard said of his Breeders’ Cup Marathon entrant.

Cloudy’s Knight has won both of his starts this year after being transferred to the care of Sheppard. The son of Black Minnaloushe had been idle for more than a year due to a soft tissue injury in a hind leg that had threatened his racing career,

“We started from scratch. We did a lot of jogging and trotting exercises for about six weeks. We have a nice rolling countryside at the farm and thought hill exercise would be good for him,” Sheppard said.

“We have some nice quiet dirt roads, one of which is downhill to the bridge. When you come up, it’s about three-eighths of a mile of a good steady incline. When we let him jog up, he gets a lot of good conditioning without putting strain on the legs at all.”

After getting fit, Cloudy’s Knight won the Kentucky Cup Turf at Turfway Park in September and the Sycamore at Keeneland under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr., who’ll be aboard again for the Marathon.

Father Time – Juddmonte Farm’s 3yo Dansili colt returns to a synthetic surface for the first time since breaking his maiden at Great Leighs in November 2008. This year, the colt has made six starts, with his lone win coming in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot in June.

“I think the course will suit him,” trainer Henry Cecil said. “The distance will be fine and he’s got a good turn of foot. Things just have to go right for him because he loses confidence. Hopefully, if he can be in the first three coming into the straight, with the turn of foot he’s got I wouldn’t say he’s without a chance. He’s a nice horse, and a very athletic horse.”

Father Time will be ridden by Eddie Ahern.

Man of Iron – The 3yo half brother to Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil will run on Lasix Friday because he had a little bit of a cold earlier in the season, trainer Aidan O’Brien said.

Man of Iron went to the track Wednesday morning with O’Brien’s contingent of nine horses. The Giant’s Causeway colt has made his last three starts on the synthetic surface at Dundalk in Ireland, winning twice. He will be ridden Friday by John Murtagh from post nine.

Mastery – The Godolphin runner Mastery, morning line favorite for the Marathon starting from post six, galloped around the main track Wednesday morning with stablemate Delegator (Mile).

The 3yo son of Sulamani is coming off a game victory in the Group 1 St. Leger Stakes, a performance that marks him as the horse to beat Friday.

He shows just one start over a synthetic track (a 4th at Kempton in March), but Godolphin traveling manager Tommy Burns said the horse trains regularly on Tapeta tracks in England and Dubai.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, due to arrive Wednesday afternoon, has named Frankie Dettori aboard Mastery.

Muhannak – The defending champion of the Marathon visited the Santa Anita’s training track at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“He just cantered a mile,” trainer Ralph Beckett said. “He’s in fine form and we’re looking forward to Friday.”

Muhannak will be ridden by jockey Ryan Moore.

Nite Light – The well traveled 5yo horse arrived on Tuesday and got his first glimpse of Santa Anita’s main track Wednesday morning with a 1 1/4m gallop two days before an appearance in the Marathon.

In 15 career starts, the son of Thunder Gulch has raced on a synthetic surface only once before, but that was an outstanding performance winning the Turfway Park Fall Championship on Sept. 12 by 5 ¾ lengths. That race was an automatic qualifier for the Marathon.

“That’s kind of his game,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s one-paced and he can keep doing it over and over again. He’ll probably be prominent early and see if he can keep on going.”

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