Friday, November 06 2009

Quotes for the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon

John Murtagh (jockey, Man of Iron, 1st) – “It was his first time over the course so I let him just go along without any hurry. I wanted to stay out of trouble. I asked him at the three-eighths pole and he responded beautifully. He got the win right on the wire so it worked out just right.”

Aidan O’Brien (trainer, Man of Iron, 1st) – “That was brilliant. We’re delighted. Johnny (jockey Murtagh) gave him a wonderful ride. Johnny said that he was just going to take his time because that’s the way he likes to be ridden. That’s what he did. It was just a marvelous ride.”

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Breeders’ Cup Notes, Friday Nov. 6

* Zenyatta – The mare, poised for a date with destiny in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, is owned by Jerry Moss and his wife, Ann. Trainer John Shirreffs is married to Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, racing manager for the Mosses.

But no couple is closer to the unbeaten 5yo champion than groom Mario Espinoza and hot walker Carmen Zamora, his wife of seven years.

Espinoza, 45, knelt next to Zenyatta in her stall in Barn 66 Friday morning as the mare contentedly nibbled at some hay in a net attached to the inside of her stall gate.

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Thursday, November 05 2009

Breeders’ Cup Classic notes Thurs., Nov. 5

Awesome Gem – The local boy will try to make good Saturday at Santa Anita Park when Craig Dollase sends out the 6yo gelding in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

“I was an Arcadia Apache,” said Dollase Thursday from Barn 7 as he waxed nostalgic about his scholastic days at Arcadia High School a few furlongs away.

“I played a little basketball and graduated in 1990. I wanted to be an athlete. I'm training the four-legged kind now.”

Dollase made headlines when he became the youngest trainer to win a Breeders' Cup race at 27 with Reraise in the 1998 Sprint at Churchill Downs, a record that still stands.

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Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Notes, Thursday Nov. 5

Careless Jewel – The 3yo filly, who has won her last five races by daylight, will return for another season of racing in 2010 no matter how she fares in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Friday.

“We’ll run her next year. That’s the plan,” said owner Vern Dubinsky, who purchased the filly for $40,000 as a yearling. “After this race she’ll go to Waver Tree Farm in Ocala (Florida) for a nice break and then we’ll get her ready to run as a 4-year-old.”

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Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Awesome Act – The 2yo son of Awesome Again came out for a gallop on the main track Thursday morning in company with stablemate Fleeting Spirit (Sprint). Both horses schooled in the gate.

The colt, who broke his maiden on Oct. 1, and then was ninth in the Dewhurst Stakes last out after a poor start on Oct. 17, drew post 9 in the full field for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a perfect spot according to trainer Jeremy Noseda.

Ryan Moore will be aboard the Kentucky-bred for the first time Saturday.

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Marathon Notes, Thursday Nov. 5

Cloudy's Knight – Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard sent Cloudy’s Knight to Santa Anita’s main track Thursday morning for a 1 1/2m gallop to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, which will be the 9yo gelding’s 39th race.

“It makes you feel good that a horse can maintain that level for such a long period,” Sheppard said. “I have a lot of respect for him.”

Sheppard took over the training of Cloudy’s Knight this year after the winner of more than $2.2 million recovered from a soft tissue injury that kept him away from the races for a year.

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Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile notes Thurs., Nov. 5

Bullsbay – Exercise rider Alice Clapham galloped Bullsbay 1 5/8m Thursday morning over the main track at Santa Anita. Trainer Graham Motion expects a much better performance from the 5yo son of Tiznow in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile while competing over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface than he gave in a 10th-place finish in the Gold Cup over Hollywood Park’s Cushion track.

“I think that was an aberration. I’m not sure it was the synthetic but just him having a bad day, like he had at Gulfstream. He’s run two bad races in his life -- one was in the Gold Cup and one was in Florida in the Donn. I can’t honestly say it was the surface,” Motion said.

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Juvenile Fillies Turf Notes, Thursday Nov. 5

Elusive Galaxy – Trainer Ben Cecil’s new kid on the block, juvenile filly Elusive Galaxy, galloped 1m Thursday as she finished her serious preparation for Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“We’re going to take her back in the race and put her back to the style she ran while in Ireland,” Cecil said.

In her first three career races the filly was rated behind the leaders before making a push near the end of her races, winning her first start and finishing second and third in two subsequent starts before coming to Cecil to run in Woodbine’s Natalma Stakes, where she went to the lead and tired to finish fourth.

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Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies Notes, Thursday Nov. 5

Always a Princess – The 2yo daughter of Leroidesanimaux galloped on the main track in her last move prior to a start in Friday’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

“She looked good today,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “We’ll see how she does. She’s only had two outs. She won her first and finished second, so that’s pretty good.”

Always a Princess broke her maiden at Del Mar on Sept. 5 and finished second in the Oak Leaf Stakes to fellow Juvenile Fillies contender Blind Luck on Oct. 4.

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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.

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Sentient Jet Filly & Mare Sprint Notes, Thursday Nov. 5

Evita Argentina – The chestnut 3yo by Candy Ride was out for a 1 1/4m gallop shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday, putting a finishing touch on preparations for her run Friday in the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Friday’s card at Santa Anita.

The very last part of the equation will be some paddock schooling with the horses for Thursday’s race 4.

“She’s a go,” trainer John Sadler said. “She’s as ready as she’s going to be. We’ll just hope for some good luck.”

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Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint notes Thurs., Nov. 5

California Flag – The speedy gelded son of Avenue of Flags galloped Thursday morning, none the worse for wear from his run-off Wednesday during training, when he was spooked by another horse after schooling in the gate and dumped his rider before running the wrong way through the stretch.

He returned to the barn without further incident.

As for strategy in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, trainer Brian Koriner said, “I believe he’s a much better horse this year than last,” when he led much of the way in the downhill sprint before fading to 10th. Barring some sort of mishap, Koriner said he expects to see California Flag on the lead.

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