Sunday, October 05, 2008
Stable Notes, Sunday, October 5th, 2008
CURLIN, CASINO DRIVE EXERCISE WITH BREEDERS’ CUP IN MIND
Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin enjoyed another lengthy stroll on Santa Anita’s synthetic Pro-Ride main track Sunday morning in what could lead to a possible meeting with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown and other members of the equine elite in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Oct. 25.
“He galloped two miles,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, who was due in from out of town tonight to supervise Curlin’s first official workout over the track at a half-mile Monday morning.
Meanwhile, Japanese invader Casino Drive was on the track at Hollywood Park Sunday and his connections indicated he could possibly train up to the Classic without a prep race. Unbeaten in two starts, the son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, Casino Drive is also a half-brother to Belmont Stakes winners Rags to Riches and Jazil. He has not raced since winning the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont last May 10. A stone bruise in his left hind foot forced him to miss the Belmont Stakes and has sidelined him since.
“He had a good canter today,” said Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for Casino Drive’s owner, Hidetoshi Yamamoto. “The horse will stay at Hollywood for the time being and we may go directly to the Classic. We’ll see how he behaves in the next five, six days.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
Defending Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion Midnight Lute worked six furlongs from the gate on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride course Sunday in a bullet 1:10.60 under former jockey Joe Steiner.
“He went really well,” Bob Baffert said. “I took the blinkers off and he broke like a shot. He was perfect in the gate. He’s right where he was last year and I feel very confident about how he’s coming up to the race.”
Believe in Hope, a fast-closing third in the Grade I Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 27, is being pointed to the $2 million Juvenile. “I thought he was the best horse,” trainer Ron Ellis said, referring to the Norfolk, in which Believe in Hope was beaten less than a length by victorious Street Hero and a nose for second by Midshipman.
Believe in Hope, a son of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch owned by the Jay Em Ess Stable, was off to a slow start in the 1 1/16-mile Norfolk, but “closed willingly along the fence,” according to the Equibase chart of the race.
Dearest Trickski, prepping for the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint on Oct. 24, worked six furlongs Wednesday at Hollywood Park in 1:15. “She’s doing great,” trainer John Sadler said. “She’s going to train up to the Breeders’ Cup and couldn’t be doing any better.”
Morvich Handicap winner California Flag worked four furlongs for Brian Koriner Sunday in :47.60 on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface as he prepares for the Turf Sprint.
Following are training hours for Breeders’ Cup horses on Friday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 25: Friday, 4:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.; Saturday, 4:30 a. m. to 6 a. m. The training track will be closed on Thursday, Oct. 23.
Oak Tree will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the fourth time and the first time under its two-day format, which features 14 races with total purses of $25.5 million. Oak Tree will also be the first-ever venue to host the Breeders’ Cup in consecutive years. It will present the Championships in 2009.
‘ZENYATTA JR.’ PREPARES FOR BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES
They call Stardom Bound “Z.J.” around trainer Chris Paasch’s barn.
“It’s for Zenyatta Jr., and we say it with the utmost respect,” Paasch said. Paasch trains Stardom Bound, the 2-year-old filly who won the Grade I Oak Leaf Stakes at Santa Anita in spectacular fashion last Saturday to stamp herself as the favorite for the $2 million Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 24.
“We’ll stick with the program, and it’s on to the Breeders’ Cup,” Paasch said. “What’s amazing to me, and of course I’m kind of partial, but I don’t know too many 2-year-olds, especially fillies that I’ve seen in recent history that can do what she did that easily.” He was referring to Stardom Bound’s impressive 3 ½-length victory under Mike Smith in the Oak Leaf Stakes, her first attempt at two turns.
“If you look at Mike at the three-eighths pole, all he does is throw the reins at her one time. She just drops down and levels out, and then as she comes out of the turn, she changes her lead. Mike pushes on her twice more. He never even drew the stick, and to see her accelerate like that is just breathtaking.
SADLER LIKES HIS CHANCES IN SATURDAY’S RAMSER HANDICAP
John Sadler plans to fire both barrels in Saturday’s Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf.
Oak Tree’s training leader with six wins through Saturday, Sadler has Dawn Before Dawn and Tasha’s Miracle set for the 22nd running of the $100,000 Grade III Ramser.
“Both horses are doing well,” said Sadler, fresh from winning the Hollywood Park and Del Mar training titles. “Dawn Before Dawn won the Torrey Pines in her last start (Aug. 31) and was second before that in the Sandy Blue (Aug. 15), so she’s had a good summer.
“Tasha’s Miracle was a very good second in the (Grade II) San Clemente, a very fast race (1:33 2/5 for a mile on turf at Del Mar). They probably will be the choices in the race.”
Tasha’s Miracle, a 3-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, has a 2-3-2 record from 10 starts, with earnings of $334,792.
Probable for the Ramser: Dawn Before Dawn, Garrett Gomez; Gorgeous Goose, Rafael Bejarano; Solar Miss, Joel Rosario; and Tasha’s Miracle, Mike Smith.
LANG FIELD RETURNS TO TURF IN NEXT SUNDAY’S LURE STAKES
Art Sherman is hopeful a return to turf will result in a return to form for Lang Field in next Sunday’s fourth running of the $75,000 Lure Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at one mile turf.
A gray son of Langfuhr, Lang Field finished seventh by 10 ¼ lengths in the restricted Windy Sands Handicap at one mile on Del Mar’s Polytrack on Sept. 1.
“He didn’t seem to get a hold of the surface there as good as I thought he might,” said Sherman, who has trained the 5-year-old gelding for 16 of his 25 career starts. “He trained good in the morning at Del Mar, but he didn’t run that great in the afternoon. But he’s sure training good over at Hollywood. He’s had a couple of good ones.”
Lang Field went five furlongs on Hollywood‘s Cushion Track in :59 4/5 on Sept. 23, and 1:00 2/5 at the same distance last Tuesday. Lang Field has two wins from five starts on Santa Anita’s grass course. He has a 7-4-3 record from 25 starts, with earnings of $476,807 for owner Nigel Shields of Tonawanda, N.Y.
Probable for the Lure: Becrux, Garrett Gomez; Bonjour, Martin Garcia; Lang Field, Jon Court; Men’s Magazine, Joe Talamo; and Rebellion, Rafael Bejarano.
FINISH LINES: Apprentice rider Brandon Meier drove 8-1 shot High Investment between horses in deep stretch to register his first Santa Anita victory in Saturday’s eighth race. Trained by Gary Sherlock, High Investment won by a half-length in winning for only the second time in 22 starts. Brandon is the 20-year-old son of long-time Midwestern-based jockey Randall Meier. “It felt great to win here at Santa Anita,” young Meier said Sunday morning as he stood next to his agent, Joe Ferrer. “I’m just going to keep working hard and try to get more. They did some initiation,” he continued, referring to his peers in the jockeys’ room. “They got me with some eggs and some ice water.” . . . Alex Solis, tied at nine wins each with Garrett Gomez and Joe Talamo for the Oak Tree riding lead through yesterday, rides Magical Fantasy for Paddy Gallagher next Saturday at Keeneland in the $500,000 Grade II Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Magical Fantasy worked seven furlongs on turf Sunday in 1:31.80 . . . There were 163 contestants alive going into Sunday’s on-line handicapping contest, ShowVivor, down from Saturday’s 194.
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