$1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (Grade I) 2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings 1 Mile (Turf)
$1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade I) 2-Year-Old Fillies 1 Mile (Turf)
To be run Saturday, November 2
$2 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Grade I) 2-Year-Old Colts & Geldings 1 1/16 Miles
$2 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) 2-Year-Old Fillies 1 1/16 Miles
Anne Smith (Smarty's Echo, Juvenile) – Windy Hill Farm’s Smarty’s Echo will give trainer Anne Smith her first Breeders’ Cup starter when the son of Smarty Jones enters the starting gate for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Saturday. The 2yo colt had been pre-entered in the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile but will make his dirt debut Saturday.
“We believe he’ll be a better horse on the dirt in the long run,” Smith said as far as the decision to start in the richer of the 2yo colt and gelding races. “His pedigree says dirt and he trained quite a bit on the (dirt) training track at Arlington.”
Smarty’s Echo arrived at Santa Anita on Sunday after completing his serious prep work with a 5f drill in 1:00 1/5 the previous day at Keeneland. Since arriving he has been to the track the past several mornings for easy gallops which is the plan heading into Saturday’s race.
“He’s been taking (the surroundings) all in and he was much looser and more relaxed this morning, which is good,” she said. “He’s gotten a good feel for the track and seems to be gaining confidence.”
Smith only has been training since November 2012 although she’s had her license for a number of years. Before going out on her own, she had served as an assistant to her now ex-husband Austin Smith and before that had worked with Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger and Ian Wilkes.
“I know that on paper or in other people’s eyes it may be a surprise that I am here (in my first year as a trainer), but I’ve worked around horses all my life. Working with top athletes is nothing new to me, whether with show horses or Thoroughbreds. I learned a lot from Austin, Carl and Ian. I’ve been lucky to have owners who have trusted me with nice horses to develop.
“The post position is certainly going to be a challenge,” she said of the rail draw for the 1 1/16m race. “We will discuss strategy (with jockey E. T. Baird) a little later in the week. With 2-year-old colts, you never really know what to expect.”
Bob Baffert (New Year's Day and Tap It Rich, Juvenile; Secret Compass, Juvenile Fillies) – The Hall of Fame trainer’s three 2yo runners galloped at Santa Anita Wednesday morning.
“Secret Compass (Juvenile Fillies) is doing well. She’s going to be right there,” he said. “New Year’s Day (Juvenile) is also eligible to be right there. He’s a nice colt. And Tap It Rich (Juvenile) needs a clear trip. If he gets that, he’s going to be dangerous.”
Chad Brown (Kitten Kaboodle, Ready to Act, Testa Rossi, and Granny Mc's Kitten, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Bobby's Kitten, Juvenile Turf) – Trainer Chad Brown’s contingent of 2yo turf runners all galloped and schooled in the paddock Wednesday morning at Santa Anita Park.
Kitten Kaboodle earned her trip to the Breeders’ Cup with a victory at Keeneland on Oct. 9 in the Jessamine Stakes, the next-to-last race in the “Win and You’re In” series. After second-place finishes in her first two starts, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy rallied from off the pace to win by 4 3/4 lengths.
“She ran terrific in the Keeneland race,” Brown said. “We actually were optimistic that she would run that way, the way she was training. It takes a lot for me to run a maiden in a stake race. She was training so well we took a shot and it worked out. She’s come out the race super.”
Brown said that all of his runners have adapted well to the ship from New York.
Charles Hills (Chriselliam, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report
Charlie Appleby (Outstrip, Juvenile Turf) – see European report
D. Wayne Lukas (Strong Mandate, Juvenile; All Cash Juvenile Turf) – All Cash, one of only two maidens in the field of 13 in the Juvenile Turf, galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday as he heads toward Friday’s race with a chance to give the Hall of Fame trainer a maiden Breeders’ Cup winner for a second straight year.
Lukas saddled Hightail to capture the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint as he won for the first time in his career. As for All Cash’s status as a maiden, Lukas said, “He was unlucky in his last race (Keeneland’s Bourbon Stakes) where he was blocked all the way. If he had won there, the media would have figured he was fine. Well, he’s fine, anyway.”
Strong Mandate galloped 1 1/2m, like most of his Breeders’ Cup stablemates, on his way toward Saturday’s Juvenile.
Doug O’Neill (Bond Holder and Rum Point, Juvenile; Concave, Juvenile Fillies; Clenor, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Home School, Juvenile Turf) – Trainer Doug O’Neill looked on as his five 2yo Breeders’ Cup entrants galloped Wednesday morning, four on the main track and Home School on turf.
Irish import Clenor seeks her fourth straight victory in the O’Neill barn after being purchased as a maiden in Ireland in July. “We're excited,” said O’Neill. “We're just trying to keep her undefeated. She hasn't done anything wrong.”
O’Neill said that assistants Steve Rothblum and Jack Sisterson purchased the filly for a partnership. “She had just finished third in a Group 3 on soft ground and we thought she would like it firm,” explained Rothblum. “She has exceeded our expectations. We have a little bit of a home-court advantage. It takes a while for the Europeans to adjust and get used to the turns on our courses.”
Rothblum added that Clenor has acquired the nickname “Piggy” in the barn because of a sound that she makes when she puts her lips together.
English-based bloodstock agent Jamie McCalmont, who was involved in the Clenor sale, said it will be interesting to see if a filly that was sold as a maiden has improved to where she can beat European imports who have won Group 1 and 2 stakes.
“With her experience here and an American rider, does that propel her past the top fillies in Europe?” asked McCalmont rhetorically. “Has she improved 15 lengths?”
Jeff Bonde (She's a Tiger, Juvenile Fillies) – After inspiring trainer Jeff Bonde to say, “She’s training as good as a horse can,” She’s a Tiger galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday morning on her way to Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies.
“The keys to the car are in Gary’s hands (jockey Gary Stevens). As a trainer, you don’t want to tie a jockey’s hands. You have to let him run the race the way it comes up.”
She’s a Tiger gives Bonde a third possibility for a victory with a product of the fine broodmare Shandra Smiles. The 2yo filly is a half-sister to Smiling Tiger, who finished third in both the 2010 and 2012 Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Kiaran McLaughlin (Dancing House and Sky Painter, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Darley Stable’s homebred Sky Painter and Dancing House, who was bred by Darley and runs in the famed blue silks of Godolphin Racing, galloped 1 1/4m on Wednesday morning.
Dancing House also stood at the gate and backed out of the gate, reported Neal McLaughlin, who is the top assistant to his brother trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
Kiaran McLaughlin, who was at the barn after jetting in from New York the day before, said the fillies have acclimated well to their new surroundings and both continue to do well.
Dancing House displayed an affinity for the turf in the her last start, the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont, when she closed strongly through the lane to be third behind Testa Rossi, who is also in the Juvenile Fillies field.
Sky Painter, who broke her maiden at first asking on the grass at Saratoga and is by 2000 Juvenile third-place finisher Street Cry, also kicked clear with a strong rally to be second in the Miss Grillo.
Marco Botti (Al Thakhira, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report
Mark Casse (Conquest Titan, Juvenile; My Conquestadory Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Trainer Mark Casse said “All systems are go, knock on wood” on Wednesday morning after both of his juvenile starters for Conquest Stables galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Juan Bernardini.
While the connections are high on both hopefuls, the undefeated multiple Graded stakes-winning My Conquestadory is clearly extra special and has been since Casse signed the ticket at $240,000 this past March at the Ocala Breeders Sale of 2-year-olds in training for Conquest Stable co-owners Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell.
The partners in the racing enterprise and in life are relatively new to the game, having purchased their first horse only last fall.
“She is the only one I named for Dory, so that tells you how highly I think of her,” said Semersky, who is a self-made multi-millionaire and the driving force behind the Chicago-based Semersky Enterprises.
“She’s spectacular,” Casse said of the magnificent looking and beautifully conformed dark bay daughter of Artie Schiller. “You don’t see many like her.”
My Conquestadory has been on her toes since arriving from Casse’s Churchill Downs division and she has seemed to float over the track during her gallops throughout the week. She qualified through the Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ program for both the Juvenile Fillies and the Juvenile Fillies Turf by beating the boys in the Summer Stakes at Woodbine first time out and then taking the Alcibiades on Keeneland’s Polytrack after overcoming a world of adversity.
“We’ll find out how special she can be on Saturday,” said Casse, who was still smarting over drawing the most disadvantageous post (14) for the 1m test. “She’s going to have to be even a little better than the rest of them because of where she drew.”
Swynford Stakes winner Conquest Titan, who was bought for $475,000 out of the same OBS sale, will continue to gallop up to the Juvenile.
“I thought about working them all again before their races, but with all of the shipping and moving around, I decided against it,” said Casse, who also sends out Pool Play in the Marathon and Laugh Track in the Sprint.
The Conquest Stable crew also planned to be at the barn on Thursday morning as they experience their first Breeders’ Cup.
Peter Eurton (Dance With Fate, Juvenile) – Trainer Peter Eurton stood in front of his stable Wednesday wearing a jacket with the name Weemissfrankie embroidered into the breast.
“It feels great to be back,” said Eurton, who finished third with Weemissfrankie in the 2011 Juvenile Fillies as his first and only Breeders’ Cup starter.
“We don't go out and buy the most expensive horses,” said Eurton. ”To come back with another legitimate chance is pretty awesome. I could get used to this.”
Dance With Fate, runner-up in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Sakes at Santa Anita, is co-owned by Sharon Alesia, Mike Mellen's Bran Jam Stable and Joe Ciaglia, who were all part of a partnership in Weemissfrankie.
“The Ocala sale has been good to us,” said Eurton, who purchased Dance With Fate for $120,000 after spending $175,000 on Weemissfrankie. Eurton said that Weemissfrankie is in foal to Deep Impact after being purchased privately by Japanese interests.
Dance With Fate galloped on the main track with exercise rider Joe Duran.
“He couldn't be training better, no hiccups,” said Eurton. “We're at home here. We had to travel with Weemissfrankie (to Churchill Downs). Weemissfrankie loved synthetic. I haven't figured out yet which surface is better for this colt.”
Philippe Sogorb (Vorda, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report
Richard Hannon (Shamshon, Juvenile Turf) – see European report
Simon Callaghan (Ontology, Juvenile Turf) – A son of Tapit who will seek his first win in his sixth career start, Ontology galloped 1 1/4m on the Santa Anita training track Wednesday morning.
“Just a routine gallop like he does there every day,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “Just keeping him happy and ticking over to go into the race in good shape, which he seems to be at the moment.”
Steve Asmussen (Untapable, Juvenile Fillies) – Trainer Steve Asmussen and Winchell Thoroughbreds are hoping to find Breeders’ Cup success for the second straight year with an offspring of top sire Tapit. One year after winning the Dirt Mile with Tapizar, they are teaming with the undefeated 2yo filly Untapable in the Juvenile Fillies.
“She’s lightly raced, but extremely talented,” said Asmussen. “We feel fortunate to have (jockey) Rosie (Napravnik) riding her. She fits her really well.”
Todd Pletcher (Havana and We Miss Artie, Juvenile; Bashart, Juvenile Turf) – The Todd Pletcher-trained 2yos Havana, We Miss Artie and Bashart all galloped at Santa Anita for their respective starts in the 30th Breeders’ Cup.
Havana, the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Juvenile, pleased his trainer with his morning exercise on the day after arriving from Belmont Park.
“He arrived very well and galloped good this morning,” Pletcher said. “He sold out here at Barretts, so flown from Ocala to California before. I think he’s used to traveling a bit.”
Havana enters the Juvenile off an impressive 5 ½f maiden score and a front-running score in the Champagne Stakes.
“The real question for him was going from the 5 ½-furlong maiden to the Champagne with only one start,” Pletcher said. “To be able to do that, it takes a pretty special horse to do that. We were able to do that with Uncle Mo. There are a lot of similarities to the way he’s come to this race and Uncle Mo.”
Should Havana win Saturday, he would follow in the footsteps of the Pletcher-trained Uncle Mo (2010) and Shanghai Bobby (2012), both of whom were undefeated juveniles who earned Eclipse Awards.
Pletcher expects that Havana will handle two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16m Juvenile as well as Uncle Mo and Shanghai Bobby did.
“He gives me the impression watching him train that he’ll get more distance,” he said. “Sometimes the first time a horse runs around two turns, they run their best. It’s not always the case, but I think it should work out well for him.”
Bashart will return to grass racing in the Juvenile Turf after finishing second over Keeneland’s synthetic track in the off-the-turf Bourbon Stakes. Previously, he had broken his maiden and won the With Anticipation Stakes over the Saratoga turf.
“He’s been very consistent and he seems, physically, to be doing well. He ran well in the race that came off the turf at Keeneland and we’re looking forward to getting him back on a firm turf course, which I think he’ll appreciate.”
Wayne Catalano (Poker Player, Juvenile Turf) – Gary and Mary West’s Poker Player comes into Friday’s Juvenile Turf after winning an off-the-turf Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 6, but despite that race coming off the turf trainer Wayne Catalano gave no thought about scratching the 2yo son of Harlan’s Holiday.
“I knew he’d be OK on the Polytrack,” the three-time Breeders’ Cup winning trainer said. “He trained all summer on Polytrack at Arlington.”
Both of Poker Player’s starts prior to Bourbon were on grass – a fourth-place finish in his debut at Arlington and a victory at Kentucky Downs.