Ireland’s standard bearer for the Breeders’ Cup Classic, Declaration of War made his first appearance on the track at Santa Anita, and cantered once Santa Anita’s main track Thursday morning along with the other four horses from the Aidan O’Brien stable. The 4yo looked well, and rider Dean Gallagher reported that all was “OK” ahead of his run in Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“We’ve tried to win this race many times before and come up short,” said O’Brien. “To win it would be huge, monumental, but I don’t allow myself to even dream about it.”
The other European challenger in Saturday’s feature, the Marco Botti-trained Planteur, followed a similar pattern as in previous mornings with a 5:15 a.m. early start. A gentle trot, followed by a steady canter down the back and homestretch was all the 6yo was requested to do.
Breeders’ Cup Turf
The morning-line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, The Fugue, trained by John Gosden stepped up her work under the guidance of race rider William Buick on the turf course. Having warmed up with a jog behind her pony she cantered down the backstretch before extending and doing a quicker piece of work down the home stretch.
Buick was very pleased with his filly after she returned to the barn saying: “I am very happy with her. She changed her leads which is what I was hoping she would do, and she seems very well in herself. She’s happy here at Santa Anita.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Magician, was seen on the track for the first time, going out on to the dirt and cantering around one circuit of the track.
“Although he has won a Classic (Irish 2000 Guineas), he also won a Derby trial at Chester over 10 furlongs, and Ryan (Moore), who rode him, said he thought he’d stay further, so we took the decision to run him in the Turf and let Cristoforo Colombo run in the Mile,” said O’Brien.
Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Dank and Romantica the European challengers for the Filly & Mare Turf also picked up their work Thursday morning.
The Michael Stoute-trained Dank, who is bidding to make it two wins in a row in America, following her success in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August, went nicely under Ryan Moore out on the turf. She put in her strongest piece of work since arriving, and did a nice breeze down the homestretch.
Romantica ridden by regular work rider Monika Kcova jogged before a canter all the way around the track.
“Since she got here she has seemingly improved on a daily basis and I am very happy with her,” Kcova said.
Breeders’ Cup Mile
British champion jockey Richard Hughes was on board Olympic Glory in his morning exercise as the 3yo son of Choisir cantered on the turf. The British Champions Mile winner went well under Hughes and the jockey reported that he was very happy with the horse.
“He went really well this morning and flew round the bend. He seemed to handle the track and I am pleased at where we are. He has had a light campaign this year and is a pretty hardy horse. But, you always need a bit of luck on your side when coming here.” Hughes said.
Richard Hannon Jr., the son and assistant of Richard Hannan, was also pleased with the 3yo.
“He traveled over really well and is in great shape,” said Hannon Jr. “He moved really well out on the track today and I am very pleased with him.”
Yet another of the Aidan O’Brien trained challengers, Christoforo Colombo, went out on to the dirt for the first time having cleared quarantine. The son of Henrythenavigator went a steady canter round one circuit of the track before returning to the barn.
Giovanni Boldini and Wilshire Boulevard, Ireland’s challengers in the Juvenile Turf both cantered round the main track Thursday morning. Both colts were having their first look at the surroundings and seemed to be well at ease. Their trainer Aidan O’Brien said of the pair, “They are both coming into the race well, and should be suited by the fast surface over here.”
Godolphin’s Outstrip, who also contends in the Juvenile Turf, went back out on the dirt. Warming up first on the training track the son of Exceed and Excel then went out on to the main track and completed a circuit at a steady canter.
Shamshon, the fourth European contender for the Juvenile Turf stayed off the track Thursday. Richard Hannon Jr. said “He is having a quiet day today and we just walked him round the barn.”
Chriselliam (Juvenile Fillies Turf) pleased her trainer Charlie Hills when cantering around a circuit of the turf track.
“I am very happy with her at the moment and everything is well. All we need now is a bit of luck” Hills said.
The second English challenger for the Juvenile Fillies Turf ,Al Thakhira with trainer Marco Botti’s wife Lucie in the saddle, went a steady canter round one circuit of the main track with stable companion and Classic contender Planteur before returning back to the barn.
French raider Vorda, trained by Philippe Sogorb, got the thumbs up from work rider Patrice Pot after cantering out on the main track.
“She is going very well and is very relaxed in her surroundings,” Pot said. “She’s taking everything in her stride.”
Breeders’ Cup Marathon
London Bridge continued his work to Friday’s race with another canter out on the dirt track and he pleased his work rider Gabriel Hannon. He also visited the starting gate and broke from the gate with his race jockey Mike Smith aboard.