Awesome Gem is cross-entered in the two races, with the Classic as first preference.
“We’re leaning toward the Mile but we’re not sure at this point. And because of that, we haven’t picked a rider yet.”
Assistant and exercise rider Naruhito Kasai was up for the colt stabled in quarantine barn 50 South with groom Hironobu Maeda. Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa is scheduled to arrive midweek, according to Tada.
“He’s not too tired from his last race and getting fresh now,” said Tada in reference to an allowance race victory at Santa Anita Oct. 12 in the colt’s first start since winning the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park in May.
“It will be very tough competition against the champion Curlin and other Group 1 winners,” said Tada. “It will not be easy. But we look forward to the challenge.”
Tada said a light breeze is scheduled for the chestnut here Wednesday.
Champs Elysees (Tr: Bobby Frankel; ex. rider: Goncalino Almeida) – Hall of Fame trainer Robert Frankel was trackside Monday morning at 8:30 to watch his Breeders’ Cup Classic charge Champs Elysees work in company as his final major prep for Saturday’s 1 ¼ m championship event.
The Danehill horse had former jockey Goncalino Almeida up as he drilled in company with stakes filly Country Star (Angel Cordero Jr. aboard). \
Clockers caught Champs Elysees 5f in 59 3/5 (the filly was timed in 1:00) and his trainer was enthused.
“I put the blinkers on him for this and he’ll run in them Saturday,” Frankel said. “I like the way he responded to them here, and I think they can move him up. He’s not usually a good work horse; he’s usually lazy in the mornings. But he likes this track and he could run good.”
Champs Elysees has won more than $1.2 million while finishing in the top three in 15 of his 19 starts. Alan Garcia will ride on the British-bred for the first time on Saturday.
Colonel John (Tr: Eoin Harty; ex. rider: Iggy Puglisi) – Colonel John galloped an “easy half (mile) in 49” according to trainer Eoin Harty under exercise rider Iggy Puglisi over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface and Harty reported that the horse is doing superbly, is fit, in top shape, and ready to run on Saturday.
“Colonel John is easy to keep fit,” he said. “It’s just a matter of if he’s good enough and gets a clean trip.”
Harty, who is based in Southern California, said that the Travers Stakes and Santa Anita Derby winner could benefit from his home-field advantage. “On synthetic tracks, it pays to work over the surface that he’ll be running on and train over it. Not having to ship has to be a big help.”
Harty was set to make the decision on Monday whether to also run Well Armed in the Classic. Both horses are owned by WinStar Farm.
Curlin (Tr: Steve Asmussen; ex. rider: Carlos Rosas) – Stonestreet Stables’ reigning Horse of the Year Curlin arrived at Santa Anita on Sept. 28, the day after his second consecutive victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
The all-time leading earner among North American-based Thoroughbreds put in his third workout over the Santa Anita Pro-Ride Surface on Monday for trainer Steve Asmussen. Under his regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas, the 4yo breezed 4f in 49 3/5.
Jockey Robby Albarado, who has been aboard in all but one of Curlin’s 15 lifetime starts, will be his rider in the Classic.
Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Stables announced on Oct. 14 that Curlin would defend his title in the Classic.
“We don’t feel like he (Curlin) owes us something,” said Asmussen. “You just want him to run his race. And what a stage this is.”
With his victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Curlin became horse racing’s first “$10 million man,” surpassing Cigar’s longtime record and setting the mark at $10,246,800.
Duke of Marmalade (Tr: Aidan O'Brien) – The 4yo colt owned by Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor was on the Coolmore flight from Ireland scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles Monday afternoon.
Duke of Marmalade, a son of Danehill, won five Group 1 races in Europe this season before finishing seventh in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Oct. 5.
Jockey John Murtagh is the regular rider of Duke of Marmalade as well as Henrythenavigator, the other Classic starter trained by Aidan O’Brien. According to the Intrernational Racing Bureau, Murtagh will ride one of O’Brien’s starters and American jockey John Velasquez will ride the other.
Fairbanks (Tr: Todd Pletcher; ex. rider: ) – see Marathon
Go Between (Tr: Bill Mott) – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott liked the 4f work of 48 1/5, that Peter Vegso’s 5yo Point Given horse put in on Churchill Downs’ fast main track on Monday morning.
The move ranked second of 47 works at the distance.
“I got him galloping out five furlongs in 1:01,” Mott said. “It looks like he came out of the work good, and he’s ready to go.”
Jockey Garrett Gomez has the mount on Go Between, a former turf specialist who has raced on synthetic surfaces for all five of his 2008 starts. He has two wins and three seconds in that span, including his neck victory over Well Armed in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 24.
Mott said it will be a very easy week for Go Between, as well as his other Breeders’ Cup runners.
“Dynaforce is leaving New York early on Tuesday morning,” Mott said. “Then, that plane will pick up my other horses in Kentucky and they will all head to California. Once they get there, it won’t be anything fancy. It’s going to be gallop, school and race for all of them.”
Henrythenavigator (Tr: Aidan O'Brien) – The son of Kingmambo owned by Mrs. John Magnier was on the Coolmore flight from Ireland scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles Monday afternoon.
The 3yo colt won four consecutive Group 1 mile races over four different tracks in Europe this season: the English 2000 Guineas, the Irish 2000 Guineas, the St. James’s Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes.
Jockey John Murtagh is the regular rider of the Henrythenavigator, as well as Duke of Marmalade, the other Classic starter trained by Aidan O’Brien.
According to the International Racing Bureau, Murtagh will ride one of O’Brien’s starters and American jockey John Velasquez will rider the other.
Mast Track (Tr: Bobby Frankel) – The Mizzen Mast colt had a quiet morning walking the shed following his 1:00 drill Sunday morning at Santa Anita. Bobby Frankel, the bay’s owner-breeder-trainer, was second-guessing himself just a bit about running in the 1 ¼ m Classic.
“I’ve got to put up that $125,000 to put him in that race,” the Hall of Famer said with a smile. “It’s not some other owner’s money.
“To be honest, I don’t know if I can win that race. Probably can’t. But I think he can get a piece. One thing I know for sure, he’ll be in front.”
Frankel trained not only Mast Track’s sire, but his dam (Nawal), too. He’s arranged for Tyler Baze to be reunited with the 4yo for the Classic. The last time the two of them partnered, they were in front at every call in the 1 1/4m Hollywood Gold Cup.
Pyro (Tr: Steve Asmussen; ex. rider: Carlos Rosas) – Trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday morning that Ron Winchell’s 3yo Pyro would contest the Classic and not the Dirt Mile.
“With how fast the racetrack has been playing, for him going a mile, they (the pacesetters) would have to back up considerably,” said Asmussen.
The stretch-running colt breezed 4f in 51 1/5 under exercise rider Carlos Rosas this morning.
Jockey Julian Leparoux will ride Pyro in the Classic. Shaun Bridgmohan has ridden Pyro in all 12 of the colt’s lifetime starts, but he has the mount on Student Council, also trained by Asmussen.
Raven's Pass (Tr: John Gosden) – The 3yo Elusive Quality colt was on the Godolphin flight from England scheduled to arrive in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon.
Raven’s Pass is trained by John Gosden for Princess Haya of Jordan.
This season, Raven’s Pass has won his last two starts, both Group 1 mile races on the turf, the Celebration Mile at Goodwood and the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. Jockey Frankie Dettori will ride the colt in the Classic.
Smooth Air (Tr: Bennie Stutts Jr.; ex. rider: Sue Milne) – Mount Joy Stables’ 3yo Smooth Air arrived at Santa Anita early Sunday morning from Miami. He took to the track Monday morning under exercise rider Sue Milne, jogging and then galloping about 1 1/8m for trainer Bennie Stutts Jr.
The son of Smooth Jazz had put in a 6f work at his home base of Calder Race Course on Friday and was timed in 1:12 3/5.
His regular rider, Brazilian-born Manoel Cruz, will have the mount on Smooth Air.
The colt is expected to return to the track Tuesday morning before the break for another gallop.
Student Council (Tr: Steve Asmussen; ex. rider: Carlos Rosas) – Millennium Farms’ 6yo horse Student Council worked 4f in 48 flat under regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas on Monday morning for trainer Steve Asmussen. Student Council is one of three Classic starters for Asmussen. The only previous time one trainer saddled three horses in the same Classic was Bobby Frankel in 1993.
A Grade 1 winner on dirt and Polytrack, the well-traveled Student Council has had three workouts over the Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita in preparation for the Classic.
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount.
Tiago (Tr: John Shirreffs; ex. rider: ) – The 4yo colt trained on the Hollywood Park training track adjacent to trainer John Shirreffs’ stable at 9:45 a.m. Monday under exercise rider Frankie Herrarte.
“Jog-hacked two and galloped one,” said Shirreffs of the colt’s three laps around the half-mile dirt track. “He went good.”
“He felt great,” said Herrarte. “His last race was super, and I think he will be ready for this.” Herrarte referred to Tiago’s runner-up finish, when he rallied from last in a field of 10 to finish second, one length behind Well Armed, in the Goodwood Stakes Sept. 27 at Santa Anita.
“I think the track had a dramatic effect on his performance last year,” said Shirreffs, looking for Tiago to make amends after finishing a distant fifth, 18 ½ lengths behind winner Curlin in the Classic on a sloppy Monmouth Park surface in 2007.
Regular jockey Mike Smith retains the mount in quest of an 11th Breeders’ Cup victory and second in the Classic. He won aboard Skip Away in 1997.
Well Armed (Tr: Eoin Harty; ex. rider: ) – see Dirt Mile