$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
Bob Baffert (New Year's Day and Tap It Rich, Juvenile; Secret Compass, Juvenile Fillies) – The trainer’s trio of 2yos were on the track at Santa Anita Thursday morning at about 9 for gallops that take them one more step forward toward their Championship 1 1/16m races on Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup program.
The Discreet Cat filly Secret Compass is one of the favorites for the $2 million Juvenile Fillies, which is the first of Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup races. She’ll be handled for the first time by John Velazquez from post 4 in the 10-horse lineup. She has a victory at the distance on the Santa Anita track (Chandelier Stakes, September 28).
The trainer’s two colts – New Year’s Day and Tap It Rich – will have their supporters in the $2 million Juvenile, a race he’s won twice already. He’s put them both in the demanding spot because he feels each is a true distance horse, which he says is what you need to win the race. But in both cases his runners are light on experience. New Year’s Day, a son of Street Cry, has run twice. Tap It Rich, a gray colt by Tapit, has started only once.
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 Thursday morning at Santa Anita Park.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Bobby’s Kitten -- named for the late Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel -- has won two of his three career starts and attracted a fair amount of buzz this week.
“He hasn’t done anything wrong, this horse. He’s been very impressive,” Brown said. “When you have a 2-year-old that is doing things like this, racing as well as he has, and he’s a good- looking horse doing everything right, those horses are going to attract their fair bit of attention. I think he deserves it and hopefully he can show what he can do on Friday.”
Brown worked for Frankel for five years and says has a sentimental connection to this colt.
“Absolutely. He was my mentor,” Brown said. “To win a Breeders’ Cup race at Santa Anita, a track where Bobby dominated for so many years would be terrific.”
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) – Calumet Farm’s All Cash took his routine 1 1/2m gallop Thursday for trainer D. Wayne Lukas as the maiden colt heads to Friday’s Juvenile Turf at 1m.
Though the son of English Channel might appear to be in a bit deep as one of two maidens in the race, Lukas is buoyed by the knowledge he was blocked throughout most of his latest race, Keeneland’s Bourbon Stakes and still was beaten only 1 ¾ lengths while finishing fourth.
Though still troubled by post position 14 for Strong Mandate, Lukas is pleased to have top rider Joel Rosario in the irons for Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
“Rosario (who raced in Southern California before heading east) knows the racetrack and I know he’ll let the horse run, which is what he (the colt) does really well,” said Lukas.
During morning training Thursday, Strong Mandate galloped 1 1/2m.
Dale Romans (Cleburne and Medal Count, Juvenile) – Trainer Dale Romans was very pleased with how his undefeated 2yo Cleburne trained Thursday morning leading to Saturday’s Juvenile.
“He trained great this morning,” Romans said. “He can be high-strung, but today he went really well. He’s a nice colt. We know he can get the distance and we know he can close. We should be good for Saturday.”
Doug O’Neill (Bond Holder and Rum Point, Juvenile; Concave, Juvenile Fillies; Clenor, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Home School, Juvenile Turf) – The quintet of 2yo entrants galloped in front of trainer Doug O’Neill Thursday, four on the main track and Home School on turf.
Concave is playing the most catch-up of the group, being forced to miss a prep in the Chandelier Stakes here Sept. 28 after finishing an encouraging third in the Del Mar Debutante Aug. 31 following victories in her first two starts.
“She came out of the Del Mar race a little under the weather, we gave her some time and she came back with two nice breezes,” explained O’Neill. “She has trained like a horse where added distance should be no problem. The two turns hits her right between the eyes.”
Concave, Bond Holder and Rum Point are owned by Paul Reddam, who accounts for about a third of O’Neill’s 85-horse stable. “I met him about 10 years ago through a mutual friend, Mark Schlesinger,” said O’Neill. “We got him involved with a claim. He’s a great guy and loves the sport.”
Kathleen O'Connell (Scandalous Act, Juvenile Fillies) – Gilbert Campbell’s 2yo Florida homebred filly Scandalous Act arrived Sunday from trainer Kathleen O’Connell’s Calder Race Course headquarters on a FedEx flight from Miami for her engagement in Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies in which she is listed at 8-1 on the morning line with regular rider Eduardo Nunez flying in for the mount.
Scandalous Act, a daughter of Act of Duty, has won four of her five starts at Calder by big margins, punctuated by a seventh-place finish in the JJ’s Dream Stakes in her second appearance in June.
“She got off to a terrible start in that race,” O’Connell said Thursday morning. “It was a rude awakening for a young filly to eat that much dirt in only the second start of her career. She’s been great since then and putting blinkers on for her third start I think has helped her in her races since then, and really appreciated stretching out to two turns in her last start.”
Scandalous Act romped home the easiest winner by 5¾ lengths in the My Dear Girl Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes going 1 1/16m at Calder on Oct. 12 as the 1-2 favorite. “I know this will be a lot stronger field with some really nice fillies, but she’s trained well the last couple of days after being a little down after the long day traveling Sunday.”
Ken McPeek (Rosalind, Juvenile Fillies) – Of trainer Ken McPeek’s 21 previous Breeders’ Cup starters, 17 have been juveniles and he’s hoping it’s a juvenile filly that finally gives him that elusive win this year. He will saddle the Broken Vow filly Rosalind in the Juvenile Fillies, a race in which he has had two seconds and a third.
“She’s doing excellent,” said McPeek. “I’m really excited about her.”
Kiaran McLaughlin (Dancing House and Sky Painter, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Dancing House, who was bred by Darley and carries the colors of Godolphin Racing, and Sky Painter, a Darley homebred, both galloped 1 1/4m on Thursday under exercise rider Rob Massey and then Sky Painter visited the paddock.
“Sky Painter is a very nice filly. She was unlucky last time to have to swing seven wide turning for home and just missed by two inches to a nice filly of Chad Brown’s (Juvenile Fillies contender Testa Rossi in the Miss Grillo Stakes). She’s done everything right since that race,” said McLaughlin.
“Dancing House is doing great. Luis Saez is riding her and he’s in real good form right now. He won two for us and three on the day in New York on Sunday, and he’s just riding great so we’re happy to have him. We get another shot at Testa Rossi, and there’s quite a few others in there. We drew the 13 hole, which isn’t ideal but hopefully Luis can work out a good trip.”
Leonard Powell (Aoteara, Juvenile Turf) - The gelding Aotearoa gets the acid test Friday, but his connections all feel he’s up to it and could be in his element in the 1m tour of the greensward that is the Juvenile Turf.
Aotearoa – the word that the Maori people of New Zealand use as their homeland’s name – has won two of three starts, but it was his most recent tally – the Zuma Beach Stakes at a mile on the grass – that may have rung the bell and opened the door for the chestnut son of Good Journey.
“His grass race here October 6 was a very good effort,” said his trainer, the French import Leonard Powell. “Right from the start we thought he’d be a good turf horse. The way he moves in the morning with his high action and the way he’s bred indicated he’d be at home on it. His sire was a good grass horse and comes from a grass background himself. It just all seemed to fit.”
Aotearoa was handled by veteran Corey Nakatani in his Zuma Beach tally and he will be back again Friday seeking his 11th Breeders’ cup triumph.
“My owner (Paul Viskovich, who sells special softwears) is a gambler,” said Powell, who has 20 horses in his care at his Betfair Hollywood Park headquarters. “To get in this race he had to put up $120,000 in fees. He’s seeing that as a gamble, and a good one. The horse shipped over from Hollywood Tuesday and he’s doing well. We’re going to give it our best shot Friday.”
Marco Botti (Al Thakhira, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report
Mark Casse (Conquest Titan, Juvenile; My Conquestadory Juvenile Fillies Turf) – My Conquestadory, the winner of two graded stakes races in two starts, and Swynford Stakes winner Conquest Titan were scheduled for a 1 1/2m gallop on Thursday morning, but when a horse got loose on the track, the distance was cut back to 1 1/4m.
Trainer Mark Casse, who arrived at the barn for the first time Thursday, was very pleased with how his contingent has been training under assistant David Adams while he was tending to his North American divisions.
He and Conquest Stables’ co-owner Ernie Semersky, who also campaigns Conquest Titan, are so impressed with My Conquestadory that in recent weeks they went to $320,000 for a half-sister to her at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Yearling sale.
“The half-sister to My Conquestadory looks a lot like her,” said Casse, who signed the ticket on five of the top 10 yearlings at the sale. Conquest Stables also bought an Ontario-bred colt by Distorted Humor, who sired the Casse-trained Dirt Mile entrant Laugh Track.
“The Distorted Humor colt reminds me a lot of Laugh Track. He’s a different color, but they have similar physiques,” he said. “Between Ernie, Mr. (John) Oxley and a few people out there, we’ve been able to pick up some very nice young horses, so hopefully the trend continues. I hope next year I’m out here talking about my horses in all four (juvenile) races. That would be the plan.”
Casse has saddled 15 previous Breeders’ Cup hopefuls, 11 of them juveniles, and has one second (Sealy Hill in the 2008 Filly & Mare Turf) and a pair of thirds (Delightful Mary in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies and Delegation in the 2012 Dirt Mile).
This is Conquest Stables’ first Breeders’ Cup participation.
Patrick Biancone (Diamond Bachelor, Juvenile) – Trainer Patrick Biancone wore a satisfied look in front of his stable Thursday after Diamond Bachelor worked 4f in 47 for the Juvenile under regular jockey Julien Leparoux.
“It wasn’t a real work, just a blowout,” said Biancone. “Very good. Perfect. I’m very happy. As a 2-year-old, this is the best horse I’ve ever trained.”
The War Front colt, a $570,000 purchase at the March Barretts Sale, has recorded two firsts and one second in three starts on turf. “We’re trying to bring him along softly to a certain level,” explained Biancone of the colt’s preparation. He added that he has passed all his early tests with flying colors but “the examination is at 2:45 Saturday. He has to overcome a lot, a bad draw (post 12) and great competition.
“We’re going to leave everything up to this guy,” concluded Biancone, pointing to Leparoux.
The Kentucky-bred colt will bring together multiple international ties, French-born Biancone and Leparoux aligning with an ownership of Hong Kong natives Kin and Ivy Hui, Susan Magnier of Ireland and David Trussell of Kentucky.
The Huis, who live in Arcadia, are the majority owners with 74% of the colt. Kin Hui, the managing partner, is a real estate developer as CEO and president of Capital Corporation, owns eight Thoroughbreds and said this is his best since entering ownership 10 years ago.
“I came to the United States in 1986, attended Woodbury University in Burbank and decided to stay after graduation,” said Hui.
Hui made the decision to enter the colt in the Juvenile for his first start on dirt. “We started him on turf because we thought he would run long, but we always thought he was a dirt horse,” explained Hui. “After he won the Oak Tree Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, it was only three weeks until the FrontRunner Stakes on the dirt here and we decided to give him another week for the Zuma Beach on the turf. The spacing was better.
“But we like dirt,” added Hui. “We live in America.”
Biancone is winless with 21 Breeders’ Cup starters but finished second with two early stars: All Along in the inaugural 1984 Turf and Strawberry Road in the 1985 Turf.
Peter Eurton (Dance With Fate, Juvenile) – “So far, so good, a nice long hold,” said trainer Peter Eurton as he watched Dance With Fate gallop 1 1/4m on the main track with exercise rider Joe Duran Thursday.
The runner-up in the Del Mar Futurity and FrontRunner Stakes is co-owned by Sharon Alesia, Joe Ciaglia and Mike Mellen’s Bran Jam Stable. Dawn Mellen, daughter of the Bran Jam owner and a Toluca Lake resident, looked on from under a Dance With Fate baseball cap.
“He’s the ‘it’ horse; he’s got it,” she said. “He’s training well. This is very exciting.”
Philippe Sogorb (Vorda, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report
Richard Hannon (Shamshon, Juvenile Turf) – see European report
Todd Pletcher (Havana and We Miss Artie, Juvenile; Bashart, Juvenile Turf) – Michael Tabor and partners’ Havana, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie and Rosedown Racing’s Bashart all galloped Thursday morning in preparation for their respective starts in the 30th Breeders’ Cup.
Bashart will be first up of the Pletcher trio, seeking a return to winning form in Friday’s Juvenile Turf. The son of War Front finished second over Keeneland’s synthetic surface in the off-the-turf Bourbon in his most recent start. Previously, he finished third in his debut over the Belmont turf before capturing a maiden race and the With Anticipation Stakes over the Saratoga grass course.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said there isn’t a temptation to try Bashart on dirt with an eye toward the 2014 Triple Crown.
“No, we kind of figured out that he was a turf horse from the beginning, pedigree-wise,” Pletcher said. “When we were able to breeze him on the turf, we saw he liked it. We’re not looking to change anything.”
While Havana has proven himself as an outstanding dirt horse with his debut victory and Champagne Stakes triumph, We Miss Artie has run on dirt, turf and synthetic surfaces.
“We’ve tried all three surfaces with We Miss Artie, and he’s kind of the rare horse that seems to be good on all of them,” Pletcher said. “We just felt in light of the way he’s trained on the dirt, that we’d give the Juvenile a try.”
Wayne Catalano (Poker Player, Juvenile Turf) – When it comes to any of the Breeders’ Cup World Championship races for 2yos, trainer Wayne Catalano is one conditioner who should not be ignored. The Louisiana native has a trio of Breeders’ Cup wins – all with juveniles – and will send out Gary and Mary West’s Poker Player in Friday’s Juvenile Turf.
“I’ve been fortunate to have good opportunities for nice clients,” he said. “I’ve been very lucky to have three Breeders’ Cup wins and I’m hoping to get a fourth (win) on Friday. I like my chances. It would be my first with a colt.”
Catalano’s three previous Breeders’ Cup wins have come with fillies; Frank Calabrese’s Dreaming of Anna in the 2006 Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Wild in the 2009 Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita and Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten in the 2010 Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs.
Poker Player, winner of the off-the-turf Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland, went a two-minute clip on Wednesday, galloped 1 1/2m Thursday morning and “went home through the paddock” according to Catalano.
“We took him to the paddock yesterday and again this morning,” he said. “We also took him to gate this morning and will go back to the paddock again at 10:45 this morning.”