Both horses are Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebreds by the Ramseys’ stallion Kitten’s Joy, but they have taken different roads to Brown’s barn, major Graded stakes victories and on to the Breeders’ Cup.
“I’ve had that horse since he was a baby and he’s developed beyond our expectations,” Brown said. “He’s a remarkable horse how he’s developed year to year. To see him here at the Breeders’ Cup with a real chance to win, I’m very happy really, mostly for the horse. I respect him a lot and I’m lucky to have him in my barn.”
Real Solution, a 4yo out of the Pulpit mare Reachfortheheavens, began his career in Italy, where he won three of five starts. He’s been no worse than fourth in four Graded stakes for Brown this year and won the Arlington Million on Aug. 17 on the disqualification of The Apache.
“I haven’t had him as long, since last December, but he’s developed nicely,” Brown said. “We really like the horse. He’s a good-training horse. He’s an easy horse to like, the way he trains with such power. He’s a good work horse and has run very well for us. He’s just seems to be getting better. He’s younger than Big Blue Kitten. I think we haven’t seen the best of this horse yet.”
Indy Point – The 4yo Argentinian colt Indy Point was a happy horse Wednesday at Santa Anita as he galloped on the main track at 8 a.m. with trainer Richard Mandella looking on. Joining the conditioner was John Fulton, the racing manager for the chestnut’s South American owners and an international horseman with a rich background.
Fulton first came to the game as an assistant for the legendary Argentinian horseman Horatio Luro before going out on his own between 1973 and 1988, initially for the late New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
During his training run he handled dozens of good horses, including aces like Steve’s Friend and Mairzy Doates. During that time – first in 1983 – he made trips to South America to buy horses. After hanging up his training shingle, he found himself gravitating more and more to what has become his adopted land, initially in Chile and now in Argentina where he has established a first-rate reputation as a bloodstock agent, breeder, racing manager and executive.
“I found myself spending more and more time each year in South America starting in the ’90s and then in 2005 I made the move there full time,” he noted. “I was in Chile, then made the move to Buenos Aires. Recently, though, I bought a place in a little town about an hour outside that city named San Antonio Areco, which is right in the heart of Argentinian gaucho culture with a lot of horse and breeding farms all around.
“I buy, sell and breed horses in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Along with three partners I had the champion 2-year-old in Chile this year, a horse named El Bromista, which translates to The Joker. We each own a leg. And for the past three years I’ve been working for the Breeders’ Cup as their Latin American representative. I’ve got a lot of territory, from Mexico south all the way down to Argentina. I primarily get stallion nominations for them, but also have gotten involved in their ‘Win and You’re In’ program down there, helping horsemen who win those races get connected to come up here.”
His command of Spanish, which was pretty good to start, has become exceptional and he’s found himself pinch hitting as a translator on big racing days.
Fulton first met Mandella in 1974 and has stayed in touch over the years. He said he has always had great respect for his friend as a horseman and when the owners of Indy Point were looking for a conditioner for their colt for a North American campaign, Fulton helped steer them toward Mandella.
“Richard is one of the best in my book and this colt deserves someone like him,” Fulton said. “He (Indy Point) is top class; just a special kind of horse. He can run a mile or he can run a mile and a half and run with anybody. He’s so versatile and he shows up every time. You just don’t see that with most horses.”
Fulton was asked what might be next for Indy Point following his run in the Turf.
“It’s hard to look past a race that has a $3 million purse,” he stated. “But the possibilities with a horse like this are limitless. He’s a fresh horse; he’s versatile; he’ll run on any surface. We might think about Dubai. We might think about a lot of things.”
Little Mike – Little Mike, the defending Turf Champion, has built a reputation as a front runner, but trainer Dale Romans points to his last race in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational at Belmont when he rated in fifth through the first six furlongs to prove that he’s not a one dimensional horse.
“I’m going to be fine if he’s winging it out there on the lead, or if (jockey) Mike (Smith) rides him just the way he did in the Turf Classic,” said Romans, who himself secured 2012 Eclipse Champion Trainer honors with Little Mike’s victory last year. “That’s why you put a Hall of Famer up there. I don’t think I’m going to have to give him any instructions. Little Mike is so versatile now. He’s as good as he’s ever been.”
Magician – see European report
Point of Entry – Phipps Stable’s Point of Entry galloped 1 1/4m over the Santa Anita main track Wednesday morning for a scheduled return from a five-month layoff in Saturday’s Turf.
The 5yo son of Dynaformer, who suffered a non-displaced condylar fracture of his left-hind cannon bone after winning the Manhattan on June 8, has the confidence of trainer Shug McGaughey that he come back from the long layoff in top form.
“Every work’s gotten better and better. It’s a tall task, but with a horse like him, it’s not quite as tall,” McGaughey said. “He’s a very good horse and he handles his training well. He’s good and sound right now, knock on wood. All indications are he’ll run a good race.
“It’s hard to be overly confident when we haven’t run since June 8th and coming off an injury. The injury won’t be a factor at all. I don’t think the rest will be a factor. I think if he’s the best horse and gets some racing luck, I think he’ll be awful tough.”
Point of Entry didn’t have the best of racing luck in last year’s Turf, in which he lacked room along the inside into deep stretch before surging late to finish second, a half-length behind victorious Little Mike.
“I was very disappointed. He just didn’t shake loose until too late and just didn’t get there,” McGaughey said. “He deserves to win a race like this, especially with what happened last year. I’m pumped up that he’s got the opportunity to give it a try again.”
The loss in the 2012 Turf was the only defeat in his last eight starts.
“He’s a very good horse – maybe as good as I’ve had,” McGaughey said. “He loves to train; he loves to race; I think that’s why it makes it a little bit easier to do this.”
Skyring – Trainer D. Wayne Lukas followed his normal routine for Skyring, sending the 4yo son of English Channel off for a 1 1/2m gallop as he moved a day closer to his Saturday faceoff with 11 others in the Turf.
Skyring is owned by Calumet Farm and was bred by Bluegrass Hall, a combination breeding-racing program of Kentuckian Brad Kelley.
Tale of a Champion – With trainer Kristin Mulhall in the irons, Tale of a Champion went through routine morning exercise on Wednesday, jogging before galloping 5f in preparation for a Breeders’ Cup assignment for the second year in a row. The 5yo son of Tale of the Cat was eighth in the 2012 Turf Sprint in his third start for Mulhall after previously being based in Florida.
Tale of a Champion will be the first starter in consecutive years and the fifth overall for Mulhall, who has three eighth-place and one ninth-place finish previously with Imperialism in 2005, Romp in 2010 and 2012 and Tale of Champion last year.
“We bought (Tale of a Champion) over the summer specifically for the downhill sprint, which we knew would be a tough assignment,” Mulhall said. “The more he's trained he has shown that he wanted to go longer distances so we put him in this race this year.”
Teaks North – Trainer Eric Guillot sent Teaks North out to jog 1 1/2m as he continues to work toward Saturday’s date with 11 other grass runners in the $3 million Turf.
Following the jog, the 6yo Northern Afleet gelding took a schooling trip to the paddock.
The Fugue – see European report
Twilight Eclipse – The bay gelding Twilight Eclipse made a nice transition from east to west Wednesday when he went trackside at Santa Anita for a jog on the main track at 7 a.m.
The 4yo had flown from New York Tuesday on a flight that went to Louisville to pick up other horses (including last year’s Classic winner Fort Larned), then stopped again in Oklahoma City before finally getting its equine passengers to their Santa Anita stalls about 6:30 Tuesday evening.
Twilight Eclipse is trained by veteran Tom Albertrani, but is being overseen currently by his chief assistant, Josh Flores.
“He (Twilight Eclipse) had a long flight and they had to work around a storm along the way,” Flores said, “but he shipped well and ate right up. He’s showing us some good life this morning, so it looks like all is well.”
Twilight Eclipse is the current world record holder at the 1 1/2m distance of the Turf off his 2:22 3/5 tally in the Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March.
“We jogged him this morning,” Flores noted, “then we’ll gallop him Thursday and Friday.”
Flores said Albertrani would be aboard a flight from New York Wednesday and was expected at Barn 77 Thursday morning.
Vagabond Shoes – An Irish-bred son of Beat Hollow, Vagabond Shoes galloped 1 1/2m at 9 a.m. Wednesday in preparation for his first Breeders' Cup run in what will be his eighth U.S. start in a 28-race career. Prior to coming to trainer John Sadler's barn for a 2013 campaign the 6yo gelding had raced in Spain, France, Turkey, Dubai and Germany.
“What's interesting about him is that a lot of European horses who prove to be good over here are good right off the plane," Sadler said. "He didn't run very well in the first couple starts. He had a lot of trouble in his first start and the second race he got put on the lead, which was wrong. Then I tried him on synthetics.
“I had to experiment with him a little the first two or three starts. But I always liked what I saw from him in the mornings and once we kind of figured him out he has done well and continued to improve. I think he was considered more of a miler in Europe, but we’ve taken him out to longer distances and he has liked it.”