He Be Fire N Ice – A 5yo gray son of Unusual Heat, He Be Fire N Ice galloped 1 1/4m at 6:30 a.m. Thursday at Santa Anita, having made the cross-town van ride from Hollywood Park on Wednesday.
Sadler’s two other Breeders’ Cup representatives -- Vagabond Shoes (Turf) and Lady of Shamrock (Filly & Mare Turf) -- have trained for the event at Santa Anita. He Be Fire N Ice was stationed at Hollywood Park, until Wednesday, for a reason.
“Before I got him he had been injured and all his training was done at Hollywood last winter,” Sadler said. “And he’s done so well on it (synthetic tracks) we wanted to keep him there. He’s been good on it, he has stayed sound on it and if something is working we don’t want to change too much.
“We did the same thing before the City of Hope Mile and he ran a good second.”
Obviously – The gelded 5yo Obviously, who loves to run fast on the grass, took another step toward Saturday’s Mile – a race that will find him taking on nine rivals, including the reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan – when he galloped on Santa Anita’s training track Thursday morning just after 7.
Trainer Mike Mitchell has discovered that his speedster – who is less than $30,000 shy of becoming a millionaire – settles nicely for training on the inner course and has exercise rider Sherri Alexander give him long, steady gallops there to prepare him for grass races.
“If they can catch us, then good for them,” Mitchell says. “IF they can catch us.”
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Silentio – The Mile runner Silentio went for his regular 8:15 gallop Thursday morning with exercise rider Felipe Guerrero aboard for trainer Gary Mandella. He’ll be one of 10 in the lineup for the $2 million event, the second-last race of the Breeders’ Cup weekend. He’ll be handled by jockey Rafael Bejarano.
“I’m delighted to have Rafael on him and he knows him well,” said Mandella. “I’m just surprised that he’s being so underutilized at the Breeders’ Cup this year. He’s been a top rider in California for a while now, and since (Joel) Rosario went back east ‘Raffi’ has been the top rider in the state for sure. And yet for the 14 Breeders’ Cup races, he only has seven mounts. It’s surprising.”
Wise Dan – Morton Fink’s Wise Dan made his first appearance Thursday morning on the Santa Anita turf course since winning last year’s Mile in course-record time.
With regular exercise rider Damien Rock up, Wise Dan jogged around to the finish line on the main track accompanied by a pony and then stood on the grass course for several minutes as photographers snapped away.
“He’ll stand there as long he wants and he will let Damien know when it is time to go,” trainer Charles LoPresti said.
Keeping well out from the middle of the course, Wise Dan galloped almost 1 1/8m.
“I kept him out wide and when he realized he wasn’t working, he relaxed a little bit,” Rock said. “I was delighted with this morning. He is every bit as good as he was last year.”
LoPresti also was pleased.
“Somebody had a watch on him and got him going the last quarter in 30, so he two-minute licked in the lane well out in the middle of the track,” LoPresti said. “He will school in the paddock with the first race this afternoon and then jog on the dirt in the morning.”
LoPresti, who has 30 horses in his stable at Keeneland, is savoring the run with Wise Dan that has produced more than $5 million in earnings and 18 victories in 26 starts.
“The run has been very, very good,” LoPresti said. “He is just amazing to watch when he trains, when he runs. I see no difference from last year. I am not getting off his bandwagon. He is the horse of a lifetime.”
Za Approval – Christophe Lorieul, the assistant to trainer Christophe Clement, pronounced the 5yo gray gelding to be a fresh and happy horse as he winds down preparations for Saturday’s rematch against defending Mile champion and Horse of the Year Wise Dan.
Two starts back, Za Approval was the runner-up to Wise Dan in the Woodbine Mile after finishing second to the multiple Graded stakes-winning Obviously in the Shoemaker Mile in the race before.
“It’s the Breeders’ Cup Mile so you expect it to be a strong field. It’s the best of the best. This horse deserves his shot. He hasn’t missed a beat,” said Lorieul. “He’s been second to Wise Dan, he ran a good race against Obviously, and he’s just come off a nice win in the Knickerbocker in New York. So why not? His best distance is one mile, and firm turf is something he likes. It will be a strong pace and hopefully, we can pick up the pieces. We expect him to run well.”
Za Approval, who is a son of Hall of Famer and 2004 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Ghostzapper, jogged once around and then galloped 1m before visiting the paddock on his way back to the barn on Thursday morning.
He will represent Charlotte Weber’s Live Oak Plantation and was bred by the Live Oak Stud division of her operation. Live Oak Plantation has run 13 horses in previous Breeders’ Cup races and won the 2006 Mile with homebred Miesque’s Approval. Live Oak Stud has been the breeder of 10 entrants in total.