“It was exactly what he did before the Whitney, so we have to be happy with it,” said Motion, who saddled Bullsbay for a victory in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga in August. “He’s not a flashy worker; he never has been. Jeremy said he got over the track very well.”
“Is he as good on the synthetic as he is on dirt? That’s the big question mark,” said Motion, whose 5yo was also pre-entered in the Classic. “If the Classic were on the dirt, I think that’s where we’d be running.”
Jeremy Rose will have the mount aboard Bullsbay.
Cherokee Artist – Trainer Graham Motion sent Cherokee Artist to the track for a 1m gallop Monday morning while waiting to see if the 4yo son of Cherokee Run will draw into the field for the Dirt Mile.
“I’m going to play the waiting game until we see what happens (Tuesday). I’m not going to work him until we know he has a shot of getting in or not,” Motion said. “He needs a lot of things to happen. He’s way down the list. Mathematically, it could happen if everyone followed their choices. He’s going to need everything to go his way.”
Motion, who is expected to saddle Bullsbay for the Dirt Mile, said he believes Cherokee Artist showed he belongs in the field when he recently won the Presque Isle Mile in hand.
“He’s a little unlucky the Presque Isle Mile is ungraded. I think if it was a graded race, he’d be in the race. It’s a $250,000 race,” said Motion. “I always thought he was able to compete with these kind of horses. He ran well here in the spring. He likes this track.”
Chocolate Candy – The 3yo son of Candy Ride will finish up his preparation for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup with a 4f workout Wednesday over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride main track surface, Dan Ward, assistant to trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Monday morning.
Chocolate Candy is double-entered in the Dirt Mile as well as the Classic, but Ward said it appears he’ll run in the Dirt Mile, which is listed as first preference.
“He’s doing really well,” Ward said, adding that regular rider Joel Rosario probably will be in the saddle for the Wednesday workout.
Cowboy Cal – see Mile (third on preference list in Dirt Mile)
Crown of Thorns – Spendthrift Farm’s lightly raced 4yo walked the shedrow at Richard Mandella’s Barn 4 following his good five-furlong move Sunday in 59 4/5 on the Santa Anita Pro-Ride surface.
“I’m leaning toward the Sprint,” the Hall of Fame conditioner said when asked how he was thinking concerning his choices of the Sprint or the Dirt Mile for his Repent colt. “I was pleased with his work yesterday and I think he might fit that race just fine.”
Jockey Victor Espinoza has been Crown of Thorns rider for all five of his career starts, including his pair this year following a 19-month layoff.
“I know I can’t get him (Espinoza),” Mandella said. “He’s committed to Zensational (the likely favorite for the Sprint). But I think I’m going to be OK. I’m just about sure I’ve got a rider lined up and I’ll be in good shape.”
El Gato Malo – seventh on preference list (also on preference list in Turf Sprint)
Furthest Land – With hopes of a start in Saturday's Dirt Mile, Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's Furthest Land worked a handy 4f in 47 3/5 over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface Monday morning with exercise rider Derek Smith up. The 4yo gelded son of Smart Strike is fourth on the preference list.
“It (the work) was what we were looking for,” trainer Mike Maker said. “If he gets in, Julien Leparoux will ride,” Maker said.
Claimed for $35,000 last October at Belmont, Furthest Land has gone on to win six times from nine starts for his current connections.
“He had been sprinting before we took him,” Maker said. “Mr. Ramsey loved his pedigree and thought that he would get better going long, and he was right. The horse was in perfect condition when we got him. Stretching him out was the only change we made, and it paid off for us.”
In addition to his turf success, Furthest Land is perfect from two starts over synthetic surfaces. His recent win in the Kentucky Cup Classic over the Turfway Polytrack is his biggest to date.
“We think he's a superior Polytrack horse,” Maker said. “I really hope he gets in.”
Girolamo – see Classic
Join in the Dance – see Sprint (ninth on preference list in Dirt Mile)
Karelian – see Mile (first on preference list in Dirt Mile)
Mambo Meister – Mambo Meister galloped once around the Santa Anita track Monday morning and is scheduled to work 4f here on Tuesday.
The 4yo gelding, who earned his way into the Dirt Mile field with a dominating victory in the Spend a Buck Handicap at Calder Race Course, has shown a fondness for both dirt and turf. However, he has yet to compete on a synthetic racing surface.
“You don’t know until we get him out there and run him on it, but the general consensus is that turf horses react well to this Pro-Ride,” said trainer Phil Gleaves. “That’s key. We’ll breeze him (Tuesday). We galloped him over it, and he seemed like he handled it but you don’t really know until you see them at speed and how he gets over it at speed.”
Mastercraftsman – The Danehill Dancer colt arrived at Santa Anita at 7:15 Sunday evening with the Coolmore contingent of seven horses.
He is eligible to clear quarantine during the day Tuesday and is expected to visit the track for the first time on Wednesday morning.
Trainer Aidan O’Brien was traveling from Ireland on Monday and is expected at the track on Tuesday.
Mastercraftsman won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Saint James’s Palace Stakes against 3yos then finished third behind the now-retired European star Sea the Stars in the Juddmonte International and second to that rival the Irish Champion Stakes.
Mastercraftsman prepped for the Dirt Mile with a decisive victory in the Diamond Stakes over the synthetic surface at the Dundalk race course in Ireland on Oct. 20.
Midshipman – The 3yo son of Unbridled’s Song walked the Godolphin Shedrow after turning in a 6f move in 1:13 on Nov. 1.
Winner of the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he’s had just one start since that race – a 3 ¾-length score in a 6 1/2f allowance optional claimer at Belmont on Sept. 18.
“The one race he ran, he came out of it good,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “I thought he got over this track especially well, not surprisingly; he ran over it last year.
“In a perfect world we’d probably have gotten a second race into him before this – we’re just throwing him right into a Breeders’ Cup race off one comeback race – but at the same time, he is a Breeders’ Cup winner over this track so there aren’t quite as many questions with him as there are with some of these others that don’t have any form over it.”
Midshipman missed nearly a year of training from October 2008 to September 2009 after he suffered a soft tissue injury in his left foreleg while training in Dubai. He has won four of five career races and was second in the Norfolk at Santa Anita before winning the Juvenile.
Jockey Garrett Gomez has the mount in the Dirt Mile.
Monzante – see Turf (fifth on preference list in Dirt Mile)
Mr. Sidney – see Mile (second on preference list in Dirt Mile)
Neko Bay – The lightly raced 6yo horse jogged at Santa Anita Monday, two days after working 5f in 59 here.
The son of Giant's Causeway is a homebred owned by Jerome and Ann Moss, trained by John Shirreffs and to be ridden by Mike Smith, the same connections as unbeaten female champion Zenyatta.
Neko Bay needs to draw in from the Preference list to start in the Dirt Mile, a race with several cross-entries.
Neko Bay has started only 10 times, but has recorded four firsts and five seconds. He returned from a 10-month layoff to win an allowance race at 1m here on Oct. 9.
Pyro – The 4yo son of Pulpit walked the Godolphin Shedrow after turning in a Nov. 1 5f move in 1:03 2/5.
Lightly raced this season, he won the Forego Sept. 5 at Saratoga in his second start back off a layup following a sixth-place finish in the 2008 edition of the Dirt Mile. His only other start this season was a runner-up finish in the July 29 James Marvin at Saratoga.
“He didn’t really surprise us with the Forego win,” said Rick Mettee, assistant to trainer Saeed bin Suroor. “We were expecting good form, we thought he got a lot out of his comeback race, which he probably needed, so we were expecting a big effort from him in the Forego. That was obviously a tough deal, to beat Kodiak Kowboy and horses like that. It wasn’t easy but we thought he would run a good race.”
Although Pyro’s form over synthetic surfaces is less than impressive (he ran 10th in the 2008 Blue Grass Stakes and his only other start over the material came in that sixth in the Dirt Mile), the colt’s connections want to give him another shot.
“We think he’s even come on from that race and we thought he deserved a chance, out here,” Mettee said. “We know he’s run a couple of sub-par races on synthetics before but we just thought he deserved a chance and he’s doing really well. We wouldn’t have brought him out here if he wasn’t doing really well. We’re a little apprehensive with him but we’ll take a shot and see what happens.”
Jockey John Velaszquez, aboard for the Forego victory, retains the mount on Saturday.
Quality Road – see Classic
Ready's Echo – Dirt Mile longshot Ready’s Echo will be ridden by jockey Calvin Borel, according to trainer Todd Pletcher. Ready’s Echo, who is still eligible for a second-level allowance and has never won a stakes race, enters the Dirt Mile off a second to Le Grand Cru in last month’s Kelso at Belmont Park. Le Grand Cru returned to win Aqueduct’s Bold Ruler Saturday.
“I was happy to see Le Grand Cru come back and run so well,” Pletcher said. “That definitely helps. Ready’s Echo is a horse with his own running style; he’ll drop back and make one run, so we’ll see what happens.”
Regal Ransom – see Classic
Sweet Hearth – Sweet Hearth was declared after not scoping clean after a morning trial at Chantilly in France last week.