Thursday, November 05, 2009

Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile notes Thurs., Nov. 5

Aikenite – Trainer Todd Pletcher tried to double-team the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year with Munnings and Silent Valor, but neither was able to hit the board. He’s optimistic the son of Yes It’s True and stablemate Eskendereya give him a serious threat to win his first 2yo Breeders’ Cup race.

“He’s got the right style for this kind of track, and his race at Keeneland (second in Breeders’ Futurity) should set him up for a big race,” Pletcher said. “Hopefully he’ll get a good trip from that post (9).

The Dogwood Stable colorbearer galloped 1 1/4m Thursday in preparation for this 1 1/16m race. Alan Garcia has the mount.

Alfred Nobel –With stablemate and fellow Juvenile entrant Beethoven, the Danehill Dancer colt visited the main track Thursday morning.

“Both are well,” said trainer Aidan O’Brien. “Both cantered on the track this morning. I’m happy with both of them.”

Alfred Nobel is making his third start off a layoff in the Juvenile. The biggest victory of his seven-race career came in the Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh on July 26.

Regular rider John Murtagh has the mount in the Juvenile.

Aspire – Trainer Eddie Kenneally arrived in California on Wednesday and was very happy with the condition of his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hopeful who he sent out to jog 6f and gallop 1 ½ m on Thursday.

“He’s doing super,” said Kenneally. “I was pleasantly surprised with how I found him. He’s acting like an older horse. He’s very relaxed and handling things well.”

When asked what he thought was going to be the key to a good race on Saturday, Kenneally, replied “A good trip. He had a bad trip in the Hopeful (when second) and then again in the Champagne (when third) and only got beat by two lengths in both of them.”

Beethoven – The son of Oratoio arrives at the Breeders’ Cup fresh from a victory in the Dewhurst, which trainer Aidan O’Brien called Europe’s biggest 2yo race.

O’Brien added blinkers for the first time and Beethoven responded with a big effort in the 7f race at Newmarket.

“That brought him back to where he was in the spring,” O’Brien said. “He’s been racing on bad ground all year and because of that he was a little bit idle in his races.”

Beethoven cantered on the main track Thursday morning.

Ryan Moore, who rode the colt in the Dewhurst, has the mount in the Juvenile.

D' Funnybone – In the back of the minds of nearly every trainer of a Breeders’ Cup 2yo is their Triple Crown potential. Rick Dutrow Jr. won the 2007 Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Big Brown, and now he has another potential prospect in D’ Funnybone.

“He’s been a pleasant surprise and we’re happy to keep it that way for now,” Dutrow said of his Juvenile contender. “This is a big, big race for him Saturday, and I’m not looking past the Breeders’ Cup. After the race, if everything is beautiful, we’ll be happy to see where we’re at with him, but I haven’t thought about next year yet. I’m only concerned with the Breeders’ Cup right now.”

D’ Funnybone has yet to race past 7f and his sire D’wildcat was strictly a sprinter, but Dutrow has reason to believe his colt will handle the added distance just fine.

“I trained his half-sister Dr. Kathy, and she was right there at the wire behind Ashado in the 2003 Demoiselle,” Dutrow said. “He (D’ Funnybone) gives me the impression that he’s going to like two turns and some more distance. He’s really finished up good in his races for us.”

D’ Funnybone enjoyed a sensational summer in New York, but Dutrow believes he’s even better now than he was then.

“He’s a simple horse to train now,” Dutrow said. “We have to hold him back in his breezes now. We used to have to ask him. He’s just a different horse this fall. He’s turned the corner the right way. This horse is in the zone.”

Eskendereya – Racing right alongside his stablemate, Aikenite, the Pilgrim winner has a similar running style from off the pace. He galloped 1 ¼m over the main track on Thursday.

“We knew he was good on the turf,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who ran three colts unsuccessfully in the 2006 Juvenile. “He’s a Giant’s Causeway, so the surface should be no problem.”

Javier Castellano rode him to victory in the off-the-turf Pilgrim at Belmont and will be aboard for the Juvenile. The Zayat Stable 2yo was second in his only other race on the turf at Saratoga.

Lookin At Lucky – The 2yo son of Smart Strike jogged at Santa Anita Thursday morning, having completed his final work before the Juvenile on Monday when he went 4f in 47 1/5.

Trainer Bob Baffert was disappointed by the colt’s draw of post 13 – the far outside – on Tuesday, and was realistic about his unbeaten runner’s chances of taking the race he won last year with Midshipman.

“The outside post is a bummer,” Baffert said. “I was pretty disappointed with that. One thing’s for sure, Garrett Gomez is going to have to put on a Hall of Fame type of ride to get him there. He’s gonna have to have a lot of luck.”

Lookin At Lucky won his last start, the Oct. 4 Norfolk, at Santa Anita under Gomez by 1 ¾ lengths. Gomez piloted Midshipman to his Juvenile victory last year.

“He knows the horse, it’s not like he’s getting on him for the first time,” Baffert said of the top-notch rider. “He can turn him on or shut him off, and when he’s been riding one a lot, I don’t have to tell Garrett anything. So we’ll see how it goes, it’ll be interesting to see what he’s made of.”

Noble's Promise – Trainer Kenny McPeek has always believed in repetition with his 2yos and has not deviated from that this week as he continued to send his five juveniles to the track one by one for 1 ½ m gallops including Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity winner Noble’s Promise.

McPeek has made a total of 10 Breeders’ Cup starts and eight of those have been with 2yos. From those eight starts, he has a record of 0-2-2, with Dream Empress’ second last year in the Juvenile Fillies being his most recent success.

When asked if he has learned anything from those previous starts, McPeek replied with a grin, “Bring a good horse.

“We’ve brought a good bunch this time and have real shots.”

Piscitelli – Piscitelli galloped 1 ½ m Thursday morning under exercise rider Angel Rangel.

“He was strong,” said Rick Sacco, brother of trainer Gregg Sacco and the racing manager for owner William Schettine. “Angel said that he was steady and that he was up into the bridle the whole way around. This horse has thrived since he’s been here.”

The 2yo son of Victory Gallop will be making just his fifth start and Sacco feels the best is yet to come.

“We’re looking forward to this race and looking forward to next year with him,” said Sacco. “He will only get better as he gets older and the distances of the races progress.”

Pulsion – Trainer Patrick Biancome sent Pulsion out Thursday for a 1 ½ m gallop under exercise rider Daron Long as he tried to keep the 2yo colt happy and fit until race day.

“He’s as laid back a horse as you’d ever want one,” said assistant trainer Chris Crowe. “He’s doing everything good.”

Radiohead – The son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Johannesburg schooled in the paddock and at the gate Thursday morning and then galloped on the main track as he seeks the same prize won by his sire.

Trainer Brian Meehan said he’s happy with the way Radiohead, who won the Norfolk Stakes in June and was second most recently in the Middle Park Stakes on Oct. 2, is coming up to the race.

“He’s doing great here,” said Meehan. “I was really happy with his last race ( Middle Park). He was getting to the leader and just ran out of ground.”

This will be Radiohead’s first race on the Pro-Ride track, but Meehan said the colt is very familiar with synthetic surfaces.

“He trains at Manton, where we have a Polytrack and a woodchip track,” the trainer said. “He was bouncing over the track here this morning.”

Martin Dwyer gets the riding call again on Saturday.

Vale of York – The 2yo colt by Invincible Spirit came out for a main track gallop Thursday morning with Godolphin stablemates Buzzword (Juvenile Turf) and Gladiatorus (Mile).

Vale of York won a stakes at Goodwood in September and last out was beaten a neck when second in the Gran Criterium at San Siro in Italy on Oct. 11. Ahmed Ajtebi again has the mount.

“He’s showing good energy here,” said trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who was pleased with the colt’s progress.

This will be Vale of York’s racing debut on a synthetic track, but bin Suroor said that will not be a problem.

“He trains on the Tapeta track all the time and likes it,” the trainer said. “The surface should be no problem at all.”

William's Kitten – Trainer Mike Maker will have five horses on the Breeders’ Cup programs Friday and Saturday and four of them - Kera’s Kitten/Dean’s Kitten (Juvenile Turf), Lisa’s Kitten (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and William’s Kitten (Juvenile) - are 2yos by the freshman sire Kitten’s Joy.

Kitten’s Joy, who earned $2 million while campaigning for Ken and Sarah Ramsey from 2003 to 2005, now stands for $20,000 at their farm in Kentucky. With 16 winners from 35 2yo runners, Kitten’s Joy trails only Roman Ruler amongst first crop sires.

“The Ramseys have a great deal invested in Kitten’s Joy,” Maker said. “I think Ken said he has 346 of them, between 2-year-olds, yearlings, weanlings and babies on the way.”

This week, the Ramseys have been passing out red buttons that read “FIVE Running Kittens”. Their fifth ‘Kitten’ is the Wesley Ward-trained Becky’s Kitten, who is set to compete in Saturday’s Juvenile Turf.

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