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Monday, October 27, 2008


Gosden Still Aglow Over Classic Score by Raven’s Pass


John Gosden (Raven’s Pass, 1st, Classic and Donativum, 1st, Juvenile Turf) – Trainer John Gosden visited the quarantine barn at Santa Anita Park that is the home for international runners Sunday morning to take a look at his winners.

The veteran trainer walked Donativum for awhile and watched as Raven’s Pass was photographed. Hanging on a balcony overlooking the compound were the five blankets of flowers presented to the European winners.


“Both horses are fine,” Gosden said. “They ate up last night, not an oat left, and are in great form this morning. You’ve got to be thrilled with them. They handled the heat and the racetrack as well.”

Gosden described the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, the first run over a synthetic surface and with steroids banned, as a success.

“Racing has had a difficult year in this country, let’s be honest,” he said. “It was tremendous to have extraordinary good days of racing. As long as I live, I’ll see the (Ladies’ Classic), that huge mare (Zenyatta) winning. She’s phenomenal.

“The two days of racing have gone so cleanly, so smoothly with such good horses, racing all distances on turf and the main track. Horses can win from the front, as in Juvenile, they can come from off the pace. Even Bobby Baffert can’t complain about the track now, having won two Grade 1s.

“All in all, it was a real celebration of racing and the best of racing. I think that’s exactly what American racing needed from the Breeders’ Cup and they got it.”

When asked about future plans for Raven’s Pass, Gosden said that he has not been told whether Raven’s Pass will stay in training following his victory in the Classic. The colt is owned by Princess Haya of Jordan.

“Don’t know,” he said. “He could race next year; he’s only a 3-year-old. Or he could go to stud. I wouldn’t know. We’ll see.”

Gosden said a return trip to the Classic, which will return to Santa Anita next year, makes sense.

“If he stayed on training, it’s obvious you’d target the Classic again,” he said. “That would be the very obvious race to build his year to.”

But Gosden made it clear that he is not the person who will make the decision about the colt’s future.

“It’s all in the air at this stage. I really don’t know,” he said. “It’s obvious what you could do if you wanted to. Coming back here next year would be your main target.”

Rather than send Raven’s Pass into the Mile, a distance he was proven at in Europe, Gosden opted to try the 1 ¼ m Classic and face defending champion Curlin.

“You don’t want the Classic to be all about just one horse,” he said. “Throw down the belt and let everyone challenge for them. That’s what it about and in a sense it has rather unified the breed. It was a challenge and Sheikh Mohammed was keen to grasp that challenge.

“I had no doubts that the horse could get a mile and an eighth. I didn’t know about the last eighth of a mile, but I suspected it with Lord at War as his broodmare sire. There is good stamina on the dam side. And the way he trained; he’s so relaxed now, that I was actually quite confident that he would get it well and he certainly did.”

Gosden complimented Curlin, who finished fourth Saturday over a track that he may not have liked.

“The thing about Curlin is that he has a phenomenally high cruising speed. He just gallops them into the ground,” Gosden said. “On that surface, he’s vulnerable to a horse with a burst of speed. There’s no doubt about it.

“I’ve trained on all kinds of dirt tracks and polytracks and goodness knows what else. This is the first time I’ve trained horses on Pro-Ride, but I was used to all the dirt tracks in America. Having trained in all the places, if I was told that I only had one surface that I could train on and race on for the rest of my career, I wouldn’t be far off picking that main track at Santa Anita.

“It’s fair. You can be on the lead, you can come from off the pace, and it’s very kind on the horses; they just bounce off it. If your horses stay sound and last longer and you can develop your young horses, which is always a problem in California, if it can do that, it’s going to be to benefit of the breed.”

Since Donativum is a gelding, it is clear that the 2yo will continue racing. Gosden said that geldings are precluded from competing in some races in Europe and said he thought preparing for the top American 3yo races, like the Kentucky Derby, might be considered.

“We’ve been fortunate that he really turned around from being gelded,” Gosden said. “His maiden win was impressive and his works got so much better since. He’s a real street fighter of a horse. He had to fight his way to get a run. To that extent, he could fit into any program. But if you’re thinking about those sort of races, you don’t sort of drop in on them. You need to really train for a race like that.”

Gosden said he thinks a horse preparing for the Kentucky Derby should spend a couple of months training and racing in the U.S.

Based on Europe’s success Friday and Saturday, Gosden expects even more interest from international horsemen in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup, also at Santa Anita.

“I should think it will be tough getting in the races next year,” Gosden said. “I think that there will be a lot of people left disappointed on the also-eligible list. Goldikova is outstanding, isn’t she? Only one filly beat her and that’s Zakava. I thought the St. Leger winner (Conduit) was mighty impressive in the Turf.

“With the main track, you’ll have them all trying to run next year. Then we go to Churchill Downs and it’s a different ballgame. There is nothing wrong with that. That’s healthy. Muhammad Ali fought in the jungle, he fought in Manila, he fought everywhere. The same with horses.”



Steve Asmussen (Curlin, 4th, Classic; Student Council 11th, Classic; Storm Treasure, 3rd, Turf Sprint; Pyro, 6th, Dirt Mile) – Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin and the other Breeders’ Cup horses trained by Asmussen came out of their races in good order. They will leave Santa Anita early Monday morning for a fight to Louisville, Ky.

Asmussen said that he does not know whether Curlin will be retired to stud duty or continue in training.

“Nothing has been mentioned to this point about what is next for him, other than those travel arrangements,” he said.

Late Sunday morning Asmussen was scheduled to call Curlin’s majority owner Jess Jackson.

“I’ll talk with Mr. Jackson about the condition in which he came out of the race, confirm with him his schedule of leaving and when he arrives in Kentucky,” Asmussen said. “I think that will be the extent of it. I’ll touch base once he’s in Kentucky about his condition upon arrival. The conversations will go from there.”

Asmussen said he would not speculate on what decision Jackson has made about the 4yo colt.

“I am not privy to and have not had the conversations about the questions that are obviously fixing to be asked,” Asmussen said.

Curlin walked, bathed and jogged on the road near Asmussen’s barn Sunday morning.

Asmussen smiled when it was suggested that Curlin may repeat as Horse of the Year even after his fourth-place finish in the Classic.

“With Curlin, nothing is a consolation. We’re just proud of who he is,” Asmussen said. “He’s the first North American-based horse over $10 million and he’s just had a remarkable run.

“Just like taking him out and jogging him on the road this morning, he’s that good, he’s that horse. To do what he does and come back the way that he is, is extremely special in this day and age. He’s been a throwback from the beginning and he’s still that horse. He’s extremely durable mentally and physically, a very special horse.

“Our affections for him are not going to waver.”

Asmussen said it didn’t take him long to realize that Curlin did not appear to be comfortable running over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface.

“Watching the race first time by, I was very concerned,” he said. “It kind of looked like the Man o’ War. He was off the bridle. Very concerned.

“Initially, I was disappointed that he didn’t win. Just not selfishly, but simply concerned how the horse feels and how the people with him do from that point.”

Long before Curlin made his big run into contention under jockey Robby Albarado on the far turn, Asmussen said he was concerned that the colt was not traveling well.

“I think he had to struggle to get where he was, the first time by,” Asmussen said. “When he went under the wire the first time, he was further back and Robby was nudging him forward. He works harder to go over it than he works to go over the dirt.”

Asmussen did not make any apologies about the performance.

“No excuses necessary, none required. That’s what makes racing great,” he said. “No disrespect for a Breeders’ Cup winner. He beat a talented field and he deserves the congratulations that go with it. It was an outstanding job with an outstanding horse.”



John Shirreffs (trainer, Zenyatta, 1st, Ladies Classic; Tiago, 3rd, Classic) – “Both horses walked this morning,” said trainer John Shirreffs Sunday from Hollywood Park. “Tiago came back last night. Zenyatta came back Friday night. I was very happy with both of them.”
Shirreffs said he tthough Zenyatta strengthened her case for Horse of the Year consideration.
“It’s quite an accomplishment to go all year undefeated, and to step up each time, four of them in Grade 1, like she did,” said Shirreffs of the 4yo filly, unbeaten in nine starts, seven of them this year. “In the vote, she would have to be seriously considered for that.”
The last female to win Horse of the Year honors was Azeri, who climaxed her 2002 season with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (now the Ladies’ Classic). She was ridden by Mike Smith, the jockey aboard Zenyatta in her last six starts.
Tiago capped a memorable weekend for Shirreffs, Smith and owners Jerry and Ann Moss with a fast-closing third in the Classic, edging defending champion and 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin for the show spot.
“I was happy to see Tiago hit the board and excited to see him run such a big race,” said Shirreffs of the 4yo half-brother to Giacomo, winner of the 2005 Kentucky Derby.
Hall of Famer Smith, who also won the Juvenile Fillies aboard Stardom Bound, moved into a tie for second place with the retired Pat Day for Breeders’ Cup wins with 12, three behind retired leader Jerry Bailey.
The Ladies’ Classic was the first Breeders’ Cup win for Shirreffs and the Mosses. They finished fourth in the Classic with Giacomo in 2006 and fifth with Tiago last year.
Smith, Shirreffs and the Mosses also finished second in the Oak Tree Derby with Madeo on the Saturday undercard.



Jonathan Sheppard (trainer, Forever Together, 1st, Filly & Mare Turf) – “She came back fine, cleaned up her feed and will be on a flight (cargo) late tonight or early tomorrow into Baltimore. She was more tired after the race than she was after her recent races, but it was the end of a long season.

“She was running back just three weeks after her last race (First Lady at Keeneland). Mr. (George) Strawbridge (owner of Augustin Stable) has decided to race her again next year, but she will get a good break over the winter, first at our farm in Pennsylvania and later in Camden (S.C.). It’s a long way off, but we might bring her back in something at Keeneland in the spring.”

Bob Baffert (trainer, Midnight Lute, 1st, Sprint and Midshipman, 1st, Juvenile; Indian Blessing, 2nd, Filly & Mare Sprint) – The two winner’s garlands of flowers draped over sawhorses at Barn 5 spoke volumes: It was a big weekend for the Bob Baffert barn.

Baffert, who moved into third place all time with seven victories in the Breeders’ Cup by virtue of his victories Saturday with Midnight Lute and Midshipman, reported that all three of his weekend runners came out of their races in good order.

Indian Blessing started the weekend off for Baffert with a runner-up finish in the Filly & Mare Sprint on Friday.

“She’s just not the same on the synthetic,” Baffert said. “She tried real hard but Saturday morning she was mad; she knew she got beat. I promised her I would not run her on a synthetic track again.”

Baffert is hopeful owners Hal and Patti Earnhardt will elect to keep Indian Blessing in training with hopes of taking her to Dubai next spring.

Midnight Lute, who became the first back-to-back winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint in the 25 years of the Championships, won for the sixth time in 13 career starts and boosted his career earnings to $2,690,600.

“We haven’t made a decision yet (on his future),” Baffert said. “We are going to meet this week.”

Plans also are indefinite for Midshipman, now owned by Darley Stable.

“I don’t know if Sheikh Mohammed will want to take him to Dubai,” Baffert said. “I hope he doesn’t. He is (son) Bode’s favorite horse. He calls him ‘Midship-p-p-man.

“I’m sure he will have no trouble handling the dirt,” Baffert added of Midshipman, who has compiled a record of 4-3-1-0 racing on synthetic surfaces.



Ralph Beckett (trainer, Muhannak, 1st, Marathon) – The winner of the inaugural running of the Marathon was fine Sunday morning and was being prepared to be shipped back to England.

Muhannak has won all three starts for Beckett since he was acquired in a private sale this summer. Beckett said he does not know when or where the fourth start will take place.

“I’m sort of undecided about where we go next,” Beckett said. “He’ll probably get invited to the Hong Kong Vase. Now he’s five out of eight on the all-weather and is he as good on grass? I have my reservations about whether he would be or not. We’ll see how he comes out of it, see how he gets home. We have a bit of time to decide.

“It’s quite a lot, isn’t it, to come out here, go home, and go back out to Hong Kong all inside of about five weeks. It may be a bridge too far. We’ll see.”

Beckett said the 4yo colt could end up running in Dubai during the winter and a return trip to the Breeders’ Cup Marathon would be a priority.

“Yesterday’s race would have to be in the forefront of our minds, particularly if they make it more valuable,” he said. “We’ll have a look for what there is for him in Dubai. I wouldn’t be averse to bringing him out here mid-summer if there is a suitable option for him, whether it be here or the Midwest. They race on synthetic surfaces at Arlington Park and Woodbine now.”

From a record group of more than 30 runners pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup, Europeans won five races, two of them on the Pro-Ride synthetic surface, including Raven’s Pass’ victory in the Classic. Beckett expects to see even more participation in next year’s Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita by European trainers.

“I think it opens it up for everyone,” Beckett said. “If I can do it, everybody can. How many were here this year? There’s bound to be the guts of 50 next year. If they can get in, I would think there will be plenty more.

“What happens when it goes to Churchill in two years time and they’re still running on dirt, is another thing entirely.”



Christopher Paasch (trainer, Stardom Bound, 1st, Juvenile Fillies) – Trainer Christopher Paasch said Sunday from Hollywood Park that the immediate fate of Stardom Bound, winner of the Juvenile Fillies Friday, would be determined at a meeting with owner Charles Cono Tuesday.
“Right now the schedule is for her to be put on a plane Wednesday and be sold at the Fasig-Tipton Sale in Lexington (Ky.) Nov. 2,” said Paasch as part of a dispersal plan by Cono, 85, his main client from San Diego.
Paasch said he hoped the filly wrapped up the Eclipse Award for 2yo fillies with her third straight Grade 1 victory.
“This is as good as it gets for me,” said Paasch, 52, after his first Breeders’ Cup victory in three tries. “She’s an unbelievable filly. Mike (Smith) said he had to move her early. He only hit her a couple of times in the lane. She started looking at the Jumbotron and he started flagging her to keep her mind on business.”
“She was back at the barn here at 5:15 p.m. Friday for dinner,” continued Paasch. “She’s doing fine. She walked yesterday and today, and tack-walks tomorrow.”
Paasch said that stablemate Foxy Danseur, entered in the Cascapedia Stakes today, will also be sold at Fasig-Tipton and several Cono-owned broodmares and weanlings will be sold at Keeneland the following week.



Ken McPeek (trainer, Dream Empress, 2nd, Juvenile Fillies) – Dream Empress, runner-up to Stardom Bound in the Juvenile Fillies, was en route to Keeneland on Sunday morning and back to the barn of trainer Ken McPeek.

“I thought she ran fantastic,” McPeek said of Dream Empress, who missed catching Stardom Bound by 1 ½ lengths. “What are you going to do? She ran great and just missed catching only one horse.”

McPeek said he would point Dream Empress to the Golden Rod Stakes at 1 1/16m on Nov. 29 at Churchill Downs and then give her a break of four to six weeks before going to Palm Meadows in Florida.



Todd Pletcher Report – Mike McCarthy was minding the shop at Barn 66 in place of trainer Todd Pletcher, who returned to his home base at Belmont Park after being blanked with five runners over the weekend.

“All of our horses came back fine; we just got beat,” McCarthy said.

The best showing from the Pletcher quintet came from Wait a While, who finished third on Friday in the Filly & Mare Turf.

“I am not sure what’s next for her,” McCarthy said. “She will stay here for a while.”

McCarthy said that Fairbanks (10th, Classic) is supposed to be retired

Plans were less certain for the three 2yos that Pletcher ran.

McCarthy said that Munnings (10th, Juvenile) “may stay out here” and said it was possible that Bittel Road (8th, Juvenile Turf) and Silent Valor (8th, Juvenile) could go back East.



John Sadler Report – Trainer John Sadler was elated with a third-place finish by Whatsthescript in the Mile Saturday.
“It was a really tremendous race from a bad post (11) and he didn’t have a great trip,” said Sadler Sunday morning at Santa Anita of the 4yo’s rally from last to earn the show spot, worth $213,000, behind winner Goldikova and defending champion Kip Deville.
Sadler said the Irish-bred colt, owned by Tommy Town Thoroughbreds, could return in the Citation Handicap at Hollywood Park on Nov. 28.

“Dearest Trickski (11th, Filly & Mare Sprint) got stepped on by Indian Blessing and she’s a little ouchy, but otherwise OK,” he noted.

“Cost of Freedom (scheduled to run in the Sprint, but a vet scratch in the morning) is out galloping this morning. He’s fine. The state vet said he was unsound yesterday morning. I thought he looked like he always did. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a vote in that one. I’m planning on running him in the Vernon Underwood at Hollywood in a couple of weeks.

“My 2-year-old fillies (Emmy Darling, 5th, Juvenile Fillies Turf and Evita Argentina, 9th, Juvenile Fillies) both came back fine and they’ll race next year. I’ve got to keep Evita Argentina short. A mile-and-a-sixteenth may be too far for her. Get Funky (9th, Turf Sprint) is fine, too.”

The conditioner also noted that Black Mamba, his multiple stakes winning mare who finished 7th as the favorite on the Friday undercard in the Las Palmas Handicap would be back. “She’s going to race again next year,” he said.



Bruce Headley (trainer, Surf Cat, 12th Dirt Mile; Magnificience 7th, Filly & Mare Sprint; and Street Boss 3rd, Sprint) – The veteran trainer reported that his three Breeders’ Cup runners came home all right – for the most part.

“They roughed up Surf Cat pretty good,” he said. “They put him in tight and banged him around on both turns. He came back with cuts on his legs and he’s body sore. He’s going to be OK, but he’ll need some time off. I’ll probably bring him back at Santa Anita (the main Santa Anita meeting that begins Dec. 26).

“Magnificience came back good. She’s selling in the Fasig-Tipton Sale in Kentucky.

“And (beaten favorite) Street Boss came out of it OK, too. He’s going to the Darley (Stable) people. They bought him before this race. I had 12 offers for him and they got him for a substantial sum.”



Julio Canani (trainer, Two Step Salsa 3rd, Dirt Mile and Spring House, 9th, Turf) – The colorful conditioner said he was quite pleased with the effort put in by his 3yo Two Step Salsa on Saturday but voiced disappointment over the performance of Spring House.

“He ran good,” the Peruvian-born trainer said of Two Step Salsa on Sunday. “He took on good older horses and he showed he belonged. He’s a good horse. I’m going to run him in the Malibu.”

The Malibu for 3yos is run at 7f on Dec. 26, opening day of the Santa Anita meet.

“It looked like Spring House didn’t like the hard turf,” Canani said of his Turf starter.



David Hofmans (trainer, Desert Code, 1st Turf Sprint) – “It happens every five years,” a smiling David Hofmans said Sunday morning about his victory with Desert Code in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at about 6 1/2f on Santa Anita’s Hillside Turf Course.

Actually, it was seven years between Alphabet Soup’s victory in the 1996 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Woodbine and Adoration’s win in the 2003 Distaff (now Ladies’ Classic) here at Santa Anita, but five years to this victory.

“Desert Code loves this course,” the trainer said, adding that the 4yo son of E Dubai was being primed earlier in the year to start stretching out. “But when I heard the Breeders’ Cup came up with this race for the hill, I quickly shifted gears.

“I gave him some time off during the Del Mar meeting and got him ready for Oak Tree’s Morvich [where he finished seventh of 10]. He needed that race and when he came back tired, I knew he’d be fit for this race. I was very confident coming into the race.”



Richard Mandella (trainer, One Union, 8th, Turf Sprint and Mine That Bird, 12th, Juvenile) – “One Union ran fine, but the baby didn’t do very well,” said trainer Richard Mandella in reference to his two Breeders’ Cup runners Saturday.

“I thought One Union tried really hard and ran well,” Mandella said. “He was in pretty tough company.

“Mine That Bird didn’t run much at all. We’ll have to regroup with him and take him along a little differently.”



Clifford Sise Jr. (trainer, Idiot Proof, 13th, Turf Sprint) – “I’m lost for an explanation about my horse,” trainer Clifford Sise Jr. said about Idiot Proof’s last-place finish in the Turf Sprint.

“He came into the race great and his work on the hillside course was fine,” he continued. “He looked sharp yesterday, but he didn’t run that way.”

Robert Frankel Report – The Hall of Fame conditioner was back at his post in Barn 48 on the Santa Anita backstretch Sunday morning. Last week, prior to the Breeders’ Cup races of Friday and Saturday, he termed the competition extremely tough for his seven runners and said “I’d be happy to win one race.”

When the Breeders’ Cup dust settled, Frankel had done just that.

“I was very happy with Ventura’s (1st, Filly & Mare Sprint) race,” he noted. “She figured to run big and she did. The rest of my horses were double figures (10-1 or higher in their betting odds). They all came back fine, though, so that’s good.”

Frankel went down the list of his seven runners:

“Ventura will race next year,” he said. “Ginger Punch (6th, Ladies’ Classic) likely will be retired. I don’t know that for a fact yet, but I’m thinking so. Precious Kitten (4th, Mile) ran good. I knew she would and I was happy with her. That filly she ran into (winner Goldikova) was a monster. She (Precious Kitten) will race one more time – in the Matriarch (at Hollywood Park) – and then be retired.

“I’ll look around and come up with a race for Out of Control (5th, Turf). Same for Champs Elysees (8th, Classic). Mast Track (Dirt Mile, 5th) is in the same boat. His foot (he ran Saturday with a small quarter crack in his right front hoof) is fine.

“First Defence (Sprint, 8th) is the same way (undecided on a future race). He came rolling out of there and was on the lead. The kid (Javier Castellano) just rode him as it came up.”



Eoin Harty (trainer, Colonel John, 6th, Classic; Well Armed, 9th, Dirt Mile and Coronet of a Baron, 3rd, Juvenile Turf) – The Irish-born conditioner reported Sunday morning that his trio of Breeders’ Cup competitors were “great” and moving forward toward future assignments.

“They all came back fit and healthy,” he said at Barn 96.

“Colonel John made me proud of him,” he said. “He showed up at the top of the stretch like he was going to do something and then got beat by some top class horses.”

The WinStar Farm 3yo – winner of this year’s Travers Stakes – has already been tabbed as a runner for his 4yo season.

“I think he’ll make a fine older horse,” Harty added.

“Well Armed usually runs against the bit, but he was sent yesterday and I don’t know why. Let’s just say I wasn’t too happy with that. We’ll take a look at the (stakes) schedule at Hollywood and you’ll probably see him in a race there.

“Coronet of a Baron ran really well. I’m very happy with him. There’s a good chance you’ll see him back over at Hollywood, too.”



Barry Abrams (trainer, Add Heat, scratched, Marathon) – The conditioner was scheduled to run his charge Add Heat in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon Saturday, but scratched him the morning of the race because of a suspensory injury sustained in a training accident Friday.

“I’m going to give him three months off,” Abrams said Sunday, “then bring him back and run him long. We might try to point for the San Juan Capistrano (1 3/4m on turf, April 20 – closing day of the Santa Anita meet).”
Bill Morey Jr. (trainer, Bold Chieftain 8th, Mile) – The Northern California-based trainer had his ace Bold Chieftain on a van early Sunday morning and headed back to the Bay Area after his effort in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup.

His rider, Russell Baze, North America’s winningest rider of all time (10,287), offered Sunday morning that the California-bred horse had given it his best shot.

“He ran his race,” Baze said in the track kitchen. “Those horses were just a little too fast for him.”


Colleen Hartford assistant to Brian Koriner (trainer, Black Seventeen, 7th Sprint and California Flag, 10th, Turf Sprint) –Assistant Colleen Hartford reported that Koriner’s two Breeders’ Cup competitors – Black Seventeen and California Flag – came back in good order.

“They’re both tired, but they’re both fine,” she noted. “They ate up last night and there will be other races for them on other days. They’ll be back at it and we will, too. That’s the business.”


Dan Hendricks (trainer, Daytona, 10th, Mile) – The California conditioner was disappointed when he saw Daytona make the lead turning into the stretch, then fall back sharply to finish next-to-last.

Shortly after the race he found out why.

“He bled,” reported Hendricks. “Bled pretty good, too. That’s the first time he’s done that. We’ll have to give him some time off now. They sometimes get pretty sick after they do something like that. So we’ll give him some time and keep a close eye on him.”


Nobutaka Tada (racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto, Casino Drive, 12th, Classic) – Casino Drive, who faded to last in the Classic after setting the early pace, was shipped Sunday morning from Santa Anita to Hollywood Park, where the previously unbeaten 3yo colt from Japan had done his Breeders’ Cup California training.

“He’s OK; there is nothing wrong with him,” said Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto. “He is still a little tired, but not as tired as he was after the race.

“Mr. Fujisawa (trainer Kazuo Fujisawa) thought it was a tough race for a young and inexperienced horse,” said Tada of Casino Drive, making only his fourth start. “He did not run the race we wanted. We were surprised to see him on the lead.”

Tada said he expected the colt to remain at Hollywood Park for about a week before further plans are formulated for him. Fujisawa returned to Japan today.

Buzz Tenney assistant to trainer Shug McGaughey (Persistently, 5th, Juvenile Fillies; Consequence, 6th, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Dancing Forever, 3rd, Turf; Carriage Trail, 4th Ladies’ Classic) – Shug McGaughey’s longtime assistant, Buzz Tenney, said all four of their Breeders’ Cup runners were fine Sunday morning. They will leave Santa Anita early Tuesday morning.

“Carraige Trail is retired. She’ll go to the farm,” Tenney said. “The other three will go back to New York.”

Dancing Forever bounced back from two unsuccessful outings over softer ground to edge favorite Soldier of Fortune for the third spot in the Turf.

“I thought he ran a very, very good race,” Tenney said. “He’d had a very good breeze here on the Sunday before, so we felt comfortable with him on the turf. He likes it firm and fast, which we thought we’d get out here and we did.”

Tenney said Dancing Forever probably didn’t get a lot out of the races over the softer ground.

“His last good race was Belmont Day (when he won the Manhattan) and maybe could have used a good, tough race in between to get him good and tight,” Tenney said. “But he ran hard, he tried every step of the way and ran a very good race. The Europeans were first, second and fourth, so he came back and beat some horses that beat him early in the summer. I was proud of him.”


European Report – More than 20 of the highly successful European-trained contingent of horses that competed in the 25th Breeders’ Cup World Championships over the weekend at Santa Anita Park are scheduled to be flown home on three flights, beginning mid-afternoon Sunday with a flight to Ireland.

The team of eight Coolmore runners trained by Aidan O’Brien and three other Irish-trained horses are expected to leave LAX at 2:30 p.m. PT. They include Henrythenavigator (2nd, Classic), Duke of Marmalade (9th, Classic), Soldier of Fortune (4th, Turf), Red Rock Canyon (6th, Turf), Halfway To Heaven (7th, Filly & Mare Turf), Heart Shaped (2nd, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Westphalia (2nd, Juvenile Turf) and U S Ranger (5th, Mile).

All eight Coolmore runners reportedly came back from their races in good condition, according to International Racing Bureau managing director Alastair Donald, who also noted that Coolmore first-call jockey John Murtagh flew out of Los Angeles Saturday night and rode Coolmore’s staying star Yeats to victory in Sunday’s Prix Royal Oak at Longchamp.

Also on the Sunday afternoon flight to Ireland with the Coolmore runners will be Bushranger (11th, Juvenile), Pursuit of Glory (11th, Juvenile Fillies) and Beyond Our Reach (12th, Juvenile Fillies Turf).

Scheduled to depart LAX shortly after midnight tonight is a Breeders’ Cup charter flight with the French- and English-trained runners that will go to Luxembourg on the continent with the French to van on to Paris and the English to ferry across the channel to training yards in Newmarket.

Three Breeders’ Cup Championship race winners will be on this flight – Conduit (Turf), Goldikova (Mile) and Muhannak (Marathon) – along with Eagle Mountain (2nd , Turf), Sixties Icon (5th, Marathon) and Fleeting Spirit (4th, Turf Sprint).

Ballymacoll Stud’s 3yo Conduit is scheduled to remain in training next year for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. Plans for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum’s 4yo Eagle Mountain, trained by Michael de Kock, call for the son of Rock of Gibralter to have one more start this year in either the Hong Kong Vase or Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 14.

Princess Haya of Jordon’s 3yo Raven’s Pass, hero of the Classic Saturday for trainer John Gosden, is scheduled to go home to England on a KLM flight Tuesday to Amsterdam along with stablemate Donativum, winner of the Juvenile Turf for Gosden and Godolphin’s pair of Diabolical (2nd, Turf Sprint) and Folk Opera (9th, Filly & Mare Turf).

Plans call for Diabolical to have one more start this year for trainer Saeed bin Suroor in the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 14.

Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s 3yo Winchester, seventh in the Turf for trainer Dermot Weld, will remain in California to run in the Hollywood Derby on Sunday, Nov. 30 at Hollywood Park.

Juddmonte Farm’s 3-year-old filly Visit finished fourth in the Filly & Mare Turf Friday for Stoute, but the English homebred daughter of Oasis Dream will stay on in California in the care of Juddmonte’s longtime American trainer Robert Frankel.


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