Thursday, October 23, 2008
TVG Dirt Mile - Wednesday Notes
Lewis Michael (Tr: Wayne Catalano) – A full-brother to 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Dreaming of Anna, a multiple graded stakes performer on turf as well, it’s taken this 5yo son of Rahy a little more time to “get it”, according to his trainer Wayne Catalano.
“He was just a big old playboy early on,” Catalano explained. “There’s no question he’s learned a lot from year to year. He’s more mature. He knows his job now.”
“He worked good and finished up real well,” Catalano said. “He’s happy. We’re getting him there fit and ready.”
Regardless of the outcome, Lewis Michael will not race next year. He’s scheduled to stand at Three Chimneys Farm.
“If he comes out of it (Saturday’s $1 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile) in good shape, we might run back in the Cigar (Mile at Aqueduct).”
Lord Admiral (Tr: Charles O’Brien) – Jockey Frankie Dettori was aboard for a 4f breeze in 51 1/5 over the main track Wednesday morning.
John Murtagh will ride the 7yo horse in the Mile on Saturday.
Santa Anita-based trainer Paddy Gallagher has been handling Lord Admiral for trainer Charles O’Brien, who was scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon.
This season, Lord Admiral raced four times in Dubai and three times in Ireland before traveling to Kentucky, where he finished fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 4.
Mast Track (Tr: Robert Frankel) – Despite continued concerns about the lingering effects of a small quarter crack, the Mizzen Mast colt Mast Track went about his training Wednesday morning, galloping 1 1/4m.
“He went good,” Hall of Fame trainer Robert Frankel said. “He doesn’t know he’s got a quarter crack and I don’t think it is going to be any problem. We’re not going to do anything with it unless we have to, and that wouldn’t be until race day. We might have to patch it then. But we don’t want to do that now. If he’s got anything that wants to come out of there, we want to leave it open for it to happen.
“Funny, he’s got his crack on the outside (of his hoof). Most of those things are on the inside. I’d say 95 percent appear inside, but his is outside.”
Frankel had considered starting the horse he owns, bred and trains in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but the quarter crack and monetary considerations helped him decide to shift the bay to Saturday’s Dirt Mile.
Mast Track will break from post four in the 12-horse field with Tyler Baze in the irons.
My Pal Charlie (Tr: Al Stall Jr.) – Trainer Al Stall Jr. reported that his Super Derby winner My Pal Charlie, along with his Juvenile contender, Terrain, boarded a plane in Lexington and took off for California at 8 a.m. ET “without incident” on Wednesday morning. The horses were scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita around noon PT.
Stall was scheduled to arrive on Thursday mid-morning.
Pyro (Tr: Steve Asmussen) – Ron Winchell’s homebred 3yo Pyro will run in the Dirt Mile on Saturday and not the Classic, a decision that was reached Monday night after significant consideration by the owner and trainer Steve Asmussen. The colt galloped at Santa Anita on Wednesday morning.
“We’re trying to fit him where he best belongs,” said Winchell from Las Vegas, where he lives and works, on Tuesday after the post position draw. “Originally, it looked like Big Brown and Curlin would scare off others (from the Classic), but then Big Brown got injured.
“Curlin is taking to the (synthetic) track very well and the European horses should run on it well, plus you have the synthetic specialists. The Classic looks difficult. We should have a softer target in the Dirt Mile.”
Pyro will race in Winchell’s colors for the last time in the Breeders’ Cup. Earlier this year, after winning the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course, Darley America purchased Pyro’s stallion rights. The colt will stand stud duty at Jonabell Farm in Lexington, Ky., joining two of the top 3yos from last year, Street Sense and Hard Spun.
“It’s very gratifying to know that such an important operation has taken this interest in Pyro,” said Winchell.
Going into the Dirt Mile, Pyro has posted a 12-4-4-2 record for $1,469,883 in earnings.
Winchell bred the dam, Wild Vision, back to Pulpit this year, so he will have a full sibling to Pyro in 2009. He also has a promising 2yo half-sister to Pyro in War Echo (Tapit), fourth in the Frizette Stakes, as well as a yearling colt and weanling colt, by Gulch and Tapit, respectively.
Rebellion (Tr: Graham Motion; ex. rider: Alice Clapham) – Trainer Graham Motion sent the 5yo son of Mozart to the main track Wednesday for a 1 1/2m gallop under exercise rider Alice Clapham.
Rebellion, who has been entered to run in the Dirt Mile, had been pre-entered in the Turf Sprint, as well.
“I don’t think (the Dirt Mile) is the easier of the two, but I thought it was the one he’d have the best shot to win, because of his running style,” said Motion, whose stretch-runner finished eighth in last year’s Mile over Monmouth’s soft turf course. “He has won going seven-and-a-half furlongs, so I can’t imagine he can’t get another eighth.”
Rebellion, who won the Ack Ack at 7 1/2f over Hollywood’s Cushion Track in June, has finished first or second in seven of his nine starts on synthetic surfaces.
Edgar Prado will get the mount aboard Rebellion, whom he guided to victory in the Commonwealth at Keeneland last spring in his only previous ride aboard the British import.
Slew's Tiznow (Tr: Doug O'Neill; ex. rider Tony Romero) – The 3yo colt Slew’s Tiznow galloped 1 ½ m at Hollywood Park under exercise rider Tony Romero.
Trainer Doug O’Neill planned to ship the colt to Santa Anita Thursday following training at Hollywood Park.
Slew's Tizzy (Tr: Doug O'Neill; ex. rider: Sal Santiago) – Slew’s Tizzy, the 4yo full brother to Slew’s Tiznow, galloped 1 1/2m at Hollywood Park under exercise rider Sal Santiago.
Trainer Doug O’Neill planned to ship both colts – Joseph LaCombe homebreds by two-time Classic winner Tiznow out of the Slewpy mare Hepatica – to Santa Anita Thursday following training at Hollywood Park.
“On any given day, I could see either one winning,” said O’Neill, pointing out how unusual it was to see full-brothers in the same Breeders’ Cup, let alone in the same race.
Surf Cat (Tr: Bruce Headley) – The son of Sir Cat walked trainer Bruce Headley’s barn area Wednesday, but will go back to the track Thursday, Headley said, to continue his preparation for Saturday’s Dirt Mile.
Two Step Salsa (Tr: Julio Canani) – The 3yo son of Petionville, owned and bred by Everett Stables, jogged a mile Wednesday for trainer Julio Canani.
The trainer said he was satisfied with the colt’s No. 5 post position. “That gives him a chance to get position early in the race.”
Well Armed (Tr: Eoin Harty) – The 3-1 favorite in the Mile has trained brilliantly up to the race and looks the picture of radiant health. But there was a time when the very survival of Well Armed was in serious doubt.
After the WinStar Farm homebred chipped a knee in the United Arab Emirates Derby in Dubai in March 2006, owners Sue and Bill Casner brought him back to Kentucky for surgery. Things rapidly went from bad to worse.
“After three days we got a call that he was in extreme pain,” Bill Casner said. “He broke his pelvis on his right side either in recovery or in his stall. That’s a very painful and very debilitating injury. On his right side, he had severe hip atrophy and lost all of the muscle. One of the vets advised me that euthanasia might be considered.”
Despite what the medical expert said, according to Casner, “The horse said, ‘No.’ He’s very smart and very gutsy, and he’s got a lot of heart.”
The situation almost broke the heart of Casner, a lifelong horseman.
“The medications could not manage his pain,” he said. “I knew from experience that he could heal with time. But I hated to see him suffer so much.”
The Casners agonized right alongside him.
“I’m a glutton for punishment,” Bill explained. “I see no sense in putting a good horse down. Because he’s a homebred, that makes him even more special. So I brought him back to our farm in Texas to rehab him the way I wanted to. We had him on an all day program every day. Some horses are more willing to deal with adversity and he’s that kind of horse. So we got him in the pool swimming six days per week and that forced him to use the muscles on both sides and not compensate. He swam 35 laps in 17 to 18 minutes every day, and it takes a very good horse to do that.”
The Casners’ faith and perseverance paid off and Well Armed came back to the track under the care of trainer Eoin Harty. On Oct. 4, 2007, he took fourth in his first race in 19 months despite breaking in the air. By January, he was a grade 2 stakes winner and his 2008 campaign has been simply sensational.
“He may not win on Saturday, but whoever beats him better have his running shoes on,” said Casner. “He will give it his absolute best.”
That is exactly what the Casners gave to Well Armed.
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