Thursday, November 05, 2009

TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile notes Wed., Nov. 4

Courageous Cat – One of only three 3yo runners entered in the 11-horse field for the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, the lightly raced son of Storm Cat galloped Wednesday morning and was schooled at the starting gate by trainer Bill Mott.

“He trained well, just galloped,” said Mott, who has saddled five Breeders’ Cup winners but none in this race. “One more year of seasoning is probably going to be really good for him, but he’s pretty consistent.”

California’s leading grass rider, Garrett Gomez, will be aboard the colt for the first time in this race. He worked Courageous Cat over the Santa Anita grass course earlier this week.

Courageous Cat is listed at 20-1 in the morning line in one of the most contentious races on Saturday’s card in which European filly sensation Goldikova is back to defend her title.

Court Vision – Having won the race in ’06 with Kip Deville and ran second with the same horse last year, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. knows a thing or two about the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

On Saturday he’ll look to turn the tables on defending champ Goldikova with whom he feels is a potentially live longshot in Court Vision (12-1), who captured the Shadwell Mile last out in his first start for Dutrow.

“We were worried about the soft grass at Keeneland because Mr. Sidney had won over it before,” Dutrow said. “We had our work cut out for us. He (Court Vision) didn’t come from way back like he had been doing. Albarado (jockey Robby) had horse the whole way around there and he had a perfect trip. If that happens again, he’s going to be right there.”

His two graded stakes wins on grass have come over 9 and 10 furlongs, but perhaps the 4yo son of Gulch has found his niche as a miler.

“Right now, he’s ready to roll,” Dutrow said. “Even when Ramon (Dominguez) breezed him last time, he told me ‘Rick, I’ve never seen this horse like this before.’ It looks like things are definitely going the right way with this horse. We’re thinking he’s going to run a big, big race.”

Cowboy Cal – The 4yo son of popular turf sire Giant’s Causeway, who was second in the 2000 Classic, galloped 1 ¼m Wednesday on the main track in preparation for his start Saturday in the Mile.

“This is probably his ideal distance,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won three Cup races but never the Mile. “He had a big race in the Oak Tree Mile (Oct. 10), and hopefully he can come back and run another big one.”

Pletcher shipped Cowboy Cal across country after a game second in the 9f Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga, and jockey Garrett Gomez had him on the lead every step of the way to win the Oak Tree Mile in 1:33.

Regular rider John Velazquez will be back aboard Saturday as Cowboy Cal tries to improve on his 3-for-3 turf mile record.

Delegator/Gladiatorus – The two Godolphin hopes in the Mile came out separately Wednesday morning to gallop on the main track.

Delegator was out at 6:30 a.m. for his exercise as he gets ready for his first Breeders’ Cup try. The English-bred colt won at Goodwood in August and was third in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes last out behind Rip Van Winkle and Zacinto, a colt he will meet again Saturday. Frankie Dettori will again be aboard the 3yo, who goes from Post 4.

Gladiatorus, a 4yo by Silic, was out on the track at 9 a.m. with stablemates Buzzword and Vale of York, who go in the 2-year-old events Saturday. The colt is coming off a front-running victory in a Group 1 stake at San Siro on Oct. 11. He drew Post 9 for the Mile, with Ahmed Ajtebi again in the irons.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was due in Wednesday afternoon to oversee final preparation for the Godolphin forces.

Ferneley – Drawing post 7 for the Mile had trainer Ben Cecil smiling Wednesday morning as he sent his trainee out for a 1 1/2m gallop on the main track.

“I like the post a lot,” Cecil said. “It puts the speed inside of him and gives him a chance to come over and get good position.

Along with just galloping up to the Saturday date on the Santa Anita turf course, Ferneley will school in the paddock Thursday and Friday, Cecil said.

Goldikova – Trainer Freddie Head said Goldikova’s third-place finish in the Prix de la Foret has not shaken his belief that the 4yo filly will win the Mile for a second consecutive year.

“I’m very confident,” he said.

During his career as a jockey, Head rode the Hall of Fame filly Miesque to back-to-back victories against males in the Mile in 1988 and 1989.

Goldikova and jockey Olivier Peslier have been nearly unbeatable at 1m during three racing seasons. The Foret is a 7f race that was run in a very fast time on Oct. 3. Goldikova pressed the pace and had the lead in the stretch, but was caught and lost by a nose and a half-length.

“I didn’t have any mile races to run,” Head said. “I thought it would be a good prep race, but things didn’t turn out too well. We had a bad draw and I think the jockey was overconfident. He thought that it wasn’t a race -- it was just to let her run. But there are no invincible horses. You always have to take care.”

Head said that he fears everyone in the race and called Delegator the horse to beat. Goldikova, the 8-5 favorite, drew post 11.

“You need a bit of luck in a race like that, but I’m very confident,” he said. “She’s very well. I think she’s in the best form I’ve seen her.”

Justenuffhumor – Assistant trainer Neal McLaughlin, subbing for brother Kiaran, sent Justenuffhumor to the Santa Anita main track for a 1 3/8m gallop under exercise rider Danny Wright Wednesday morning at Santa Anita.

The plan for Thursday is to school the 4yo son of Distorted Humor in the starting gate before his morning exercise.

“It’s more to give the starter a chance to get to know him because he is a little quirky at the gate. He’s a little bit goosey, kind of sensitive to anything touching his hind quarters,” said McLaughlin said.

“We want to give the starter a chance to see how he is. It’s more of a courtesy to the starters. Whenever we run out of town, we always go to the gate to stand, just to give the starters a chance to get to know the horse.”

Alan Garcia will ride Justenuffhumor, whose six-race winning streak was snapped with a sixth-place finish over a soft Keeneland course in the Shadwell Mile last time out.

Karelian – The Shadwell Turf Mile runner-up was bedded down safely in Jenine Sahadi’s barn following his second trip to the track since arriving from Kentucky on Monday. Trainer Rusty Arnold was en route to California himself on Wednesday morning.

Both Karelian and the Sahadi-trained Gotta Have Her will represent the Green Lantern Stable in the Mile and Turf Sprint, respectfully.

Whatsthescript – Trainer John Sadler reported his Mile contender Whatsthescript galloped 1 ½ m at Hollywood Park Wednesday morning, then boarded a van at 9 a.m. for his approximately hour and a half trip to Barn 56 at Santa Anita.

The Irish-bred 5yo drew post 2 in the 11-horse field, a circumstance Sadler found encouraging.

“Last year we were drawn outside, lost all sorts of ground and still managed to finish third,” Sadler noted. “I like our spot a whole lot better this time. We’ve certainly got some tough ones in there to beat – including Goldikova (last year’s winner), of course – but he’s doing well and I’m expecting a very good effort from him.

“I’ve got some horses (five Breeders’ Cup entrants all told) that have some shots and we might get lucky somewhere along the way.”

Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux will ride Whatsthescript for the first time Saturday.

Zacinto – The 3yo by Dansili, who was second to Rip Van Winkle (a Classic starter) in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot last out, galloped over the turf course Wednesday morning in company with stablemate Conduit, who goes in the Turf.

Trainer Michael Stoute said the colt ran his way into a Breeders’ Cup berth with that effort on Sept. 26.

“He had to show us he belonged,” the trainer said, “and he earned the trip with his race in the QE II.

“That was his best race of the season, and hopefully he’s on the way up.”

Zacinto will have regular rider Ryan Moore aboard as he seeks his first victory in a graded/group event.

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