“I didn’t sleep a lot last night,” Wilkes said after his first Breeders’ Cup victory. “It has not really sunk in yet.”
Ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., Fort Larned grabbed the lead out of the gate and had to fend off Mucho Macho Man through the stretch to prevail by a half-length. It was another 6 ½ lengths back to Flat Out in third.
Wilkes was asked his thoughts when Fort Larned was challenged by Mucho Macho Man entering the stretch.
“Stop riding, Mike,” Wilkes said of Mike Smith who was aboard Mucho Macho Man. “You’ve already won the Ladies’ Classic. I was looking for the wire.”
Saturday’s victory capped a big two days for the Wilkes-Hernandez pairing as they teamed to win the Ack Ack Handicap with Neck ‘n Neck on Friday at Churchill Downs that serves as a prep for the Clark Handicap on Nov. 23.
Any chance of a Wilkes entry in the Clark?
“No,” Wilkes said with a broad grin. “He is going to get a little break and then go to Gulfstream for the winter. I will talk it over with the Whitham Family and plan backward to get back here (for the 30th Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 2, 2013).
“One race I would like to run in is the Stephen Foster. I really want to do better than he did this year (finishing last of eight).”
Amy Lopresti (wife of trainer Charles Lopresti, Wise Dan, 1st, Mile) – The course record-setting victor in Saturday’s Mile, Wise Dan left Santa Anita early Sunday morning and arrived at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington, Ky., at 11:35 a.m. (ET).
“He’s back in his stall now,” Amy Lopresti reported from Barn 62 at Keeneland, located just across the road from Blue Grass Airport, an hour after Wise Dan landed.
“He was eager to get off the van and be back home.”
The trainer was on a later flight out of Los Angeles and due in Kentucky later Sunday.
The victory by Wise Dan, coupled with Groupie Doll’s victory in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Fort Larned in the Classic, capped a big day for a close-knit group of connections.
“We were all so happy for Buff (Bradley, trainer of Groupie Doll) and Ian (Wilkes, trainer of Fort Larned),” Amy Lopresti said. “They are all nice people. We are all blessed to have horses like that and it has been a pretty remarkable last three years for Charlie with horses like Wise Dan, Successful Dan and Turallure.”
Plans for Wise Dan include spending the winter at the Lopresti farm where Wise Dan has spent the winter the past two years before returning to the races the following April at Keeneland.
“He will probably get 45 to 60 days at the farm, but it is up to him,” Amy Lopresti said of Wise Dan. “Charlie won’t get in a big hurry with him because the goal is to have the horse at his best toward the mid- to late-summer and the fall for the big races.”
Shivananda Parbhoo (Trinniberg, 1st, Sprint) – Trainer Shivananda Parbhoo said that the Xpressbet Breeders’ Cup Sprint victor came out of his three-quarters of a length victory over The Lumber Guy in good order and opened the door to a return trip to Santa Anita.
“He’s a tough horse, a fighter. He is leaving Tuesday to go back to Calder, but there is a good chance he could come back here for the Malibu (on Dec. 26 at 7f),” Parbhoo said.”It all depends on how he is doing. He has had a tough year with eight races at eight different tracks, but we accomplished what we wanted to do.”
The mood in the Trinniberg camp was a lot brighter Sunday morning than a year ago at Churchill Downs after Trinniberg had faded to seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint.
“To ask a 2-year-old to run a 20-second first quarter with pressure from Secret Circle, I just turned away and didn’t watch,” Parbhoo said. “He just fell apart.”
The only time Trinniberg did not sprint this year was when he tried the Kentucky Derby and finished 17th behind I’ll Have Another.
“I have no regrets about running in the Derby,” Parbhoo said. “He ran his race. I think he might have been a little closer, but when Bodemeister took the lead – that surprised us.”
Parbhoo’s father, Bisnath Parboo, was the trainer of record of Trinniberg in those two races at Churchill Downs. He was unable to make the trip to Santa Anita.
“He is in New York and at first he was going to fly out on Wednesday, then Thursday, then Friday and then maybe get on standby Friday night, but it did not work out,” Parbhoo said. “He called me before the (post position) draw on Monday and told me we would get the 9 and we did, and he told me we would win, and we did.”
Mike Puype (Mizdirection, 1st, Turf Sprint) – Mike Puype was greeted by two Breeders' Cup winners in his barn Sunday: Mizdirection, who he sent out to victory in the Turf Sprint Saturday, and Calidoscopio, who was transferred to him by Argentine connections following a victory in the Marathon Friday.
“She (Mizdirection) seemed to come out of it good, and I couldn't be more pleased,” Puype said after the 4yo filly rallied from 11th to win the Turf Sprint under Mike Smith. “I thought her win was one of the best performances in the Breeders' Cup races.
“She came off a layoff, beat colts and had a wide trip,” Puype said of the reasons he was elated with the challenging score. Mizdirection made her first start since May and remained perfect in four starts on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita.
“I'm not sure what's next for her,” said Puype of the gray/roan daughter of Mizzen Mast. “I'm just going to have to huddle up with the owners.”
Calidoscopio, a 9yo horse who had trained at Betfair Hollywood Park for six weeks since arriving from Argentina, also joined the Puype stable. “He's here for now,” said Puype of the Argentine-bred horse trained to a 17.20-to-1 upset victory by Guillermo Frenkel.
“They're thinking of leaving him here to race, but I'm not sure in what races. I should know more in a week from John Fulton (advisor to Stud Dona Pancha).”
Richard Mandella (Beholder, 1st, Juvenile Fillies; Jimmy Creed, 9th, Sprint; Rumor, 5th, Filly & Mare Sprint) – Richard Mandella reported all was well with his Breeders’ Cup campaigners Sunday morning and that they all had earned a bit of vacation.
“They’ll all get some time off, one way or another,” Mandella said. “I’d expect you’d probably see them all at the Santa Anita big meet after Christmas. Jimmy Creed and Rumor will stay with me at the track. Beholder probably will, too. Sometimes with young fillies you need to take them away (from the track) and give them a break. But she’s big and strong and I’m thinking she’ll probably stay here with us. If I see in a few days if she maybe needs it, I’ve got several farms around here where I could send her.”
The trainer was especially proud of his 2yo filly Beholder, who took her field wire-to-wire in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies at 1 1/16m. He has hopes of an Eclipse Award for her and thoughts of a 3yo filly prize like the Kentucky Oaks. In the case of the 4yo filly Rumor, he noted that she is lightly raced (just 12 starts) and that he has further plans for her next year. In the case of his 3yo Jimmy Creed, he felt his Sprint effort was an additional educational vehicle for all involved.
“He (Jimmy Creed) was down inside (post 2) and that dirt started coming back and hitting him in the face again,” Mandella said. “When that happened last time (Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct 6 in which he ran third), he started to back up. I thought that experience would suit him this time, but he got even more dirt in his face Saturday and he just hated it. He’s a nice colt, though, and I’ll give him a little bit of time off and then point him for the Malibu (Dec. 26 at Santa Anita).”
Ron Ellis (Rail Trip, 2nd, Dirt Mile; Include Me Out, 3rd, Ladies’ Classic; Teddy's Promise, 8th, Filly & Mare Sprint) – “I was pretty proud of all three,” said trainer Ron Ellis Sunday from Betfair Hollywood Park, where he awaited the trio to be shipped from Santa Anita.
“It wasn't Rail Trip's game getting behind all that dirt, but he battled his way through it and ran a really good race,” said Ellis of the Jay Em Ess Stable 7yo gelding.
“Include Me Out ran her guts out and was not quite good enough,” said Ellis of the 4yo filly, also owned by Jay Em Ess. “I was proud of the way she ran against a great field and only got beat by two champions (Royal Delta and My Miss Aurelia.)”
Ellis said the number one post compromised the chances of Teddy's Promise in the 7f race. “The rail took away her options,” he said.
“Include Me Out will get a little vacation,” Ellis said. “She will get a couple of months off, but I know that Samantha (owner Samantha Siegel) wants to race her again next year.
“Rail Trip and Teddy's Promise will also stay in training,” he concluded.
Chad Brown (Zagora, 1st, Filly & Mare Turf; Watsdachances, 2nd, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Noble Tune, 2nd, Juvenile Turf; Balance the Books, 3rd, Juvenile Turf; Awesome Feather, 6th, Ladies’ Classic; Corporate Jungle, 6th, Turf Sprint)
Before he headed back to the East Coast early Sunday morning, trainer Chad Brown reported that all six of his Breeders’ Cup runners were fine. Watsdachances came out of her second-place finish in the Juvenile Fillies Turf with a grabbed quarter and some minor cuts on her legs.
Zagora, whose win in the Filly & Mare Turf made her a leading contender for the female turf championship, left for Kentucky on Sunday. She is entered in the Fasig-Tipton November Sale Monday evening in Lexington, Ky.
Brown’s other five Breeders’ Cup horses are headed to the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla., and will remain in training.
“Whatsdachances lost the right hind shoe in her race, a grabbed quarter and has cuts and abrasions on all four legs,” Brown said. “No excuses, though. I thought she ran great to be second considering how cut up she got in the race. She’s a very brave horse. It doesn’t surprise me. That’s the way she’s trained and raced in all three starts with me – with tremendous courage and determination. I think she’s got a bright future ahead of her.”
Saturday morning, Brown said that Awesome Feather was fine following Friday’s Ladies’ Classic in good shape. The 4yo filly owned by Stronach Stables suffered her first career loss after putting up a 10-0 record. A tendon injury limited her starts the past two years.
“She appeared to come out of the race in good shape,” he said. “Looking at the race again and talking with the jockey (Jeffrey Sanchez), we just don’t feel that she handled the track at all. Not taking anything away from the winner; she was fabulous. Even if we handled the track, it’s hard to imagine anyone beating Royal Delta the way she ran.
“As far as our filly goes, it just wasn’t her day. Right from the start, she never looked engaged in the bridle at all. I’ve never, ever seen that side of her. I just have to believe that she didn’t handle the track. I’ll draw a line through it and talk to Mr. (Frank) Stronach about what they want to do regarding next year. There’s been no plans.”
Todd Pletcher (Shanghai Bobby, 1st, Juvenile; In Lingerie, 9th, Filly & Mare Turf; Kauai Katie, 4th, Juvenile Fillies; Love and Pride, 5th, Ladies’ Classic; Dreaming of Julia, 3rd, Juvenile Fillies; Bridgetown, 14th, Turf Sprint; Turbo Compressor, 14th, Turf; Turbulent Descent, 7th, Filly & Mare Sprint; Tara From the Cape, 4th, Juvenile Fillies Turf)
Todd Pletcher left for his return trip to the East Coast early Sunday morning.
Assistant trainer Mike McCarthy said that all of the Pletcher horses were fine after participating in the Breeders’ Cup.
In Lingerie was shipped to Kentucky Sunday and will go through the Fasig-Tipton November Sale in Lexington on Monday night. The stable’s other eight Breeders’ Cup runners are scheduled to fly to Florida on Monday. They will be stabled at Pletcher’s winter base at the Palm Meadows Training Center in Boynton Beach, Fla.
The leader of the Pletcher contingent is Shanghai Bobby, who completed an unbeaten season with a victory by a head over He’s Had Enough in the Juvenile.
“Shanghai Bobby looks fantastic,” McCarthy said. “He ate up last night and was full of energy here this morning.”
Bill Mott (Royal Delta, 1st, Ladies’ Classic; Flat Out, 3rd, Classic; Ron the Greek, 4th, Classic; To Honor and Serve, 10th, Classic).
“Everybody looks OK this morning,” said Rodolphe Brisset, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “To Honor and Serve is retired and has left already. He is flying to Kentucky and going to Gainesway to begin his new career. The other three are flying to Payson Park in Florida on Monday afternoon.
“The three that are still here walked this morning and everybody ate good.”
Royal Delta is scheduled to remain in training for her 5yo season in 2013. Mott has said that the plan is to run again in the Dubai World Cup in March and to compete against males in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita.
Dale Romans (Little Mike, Turf, 1st; Dullahan, Turf, 9th; Moonwalk, Juvenile Filly Turf, 7th; Shackleford, Mile, 7th; Summit County, Juvenile Turf, 12th) – Trainer Dale Romans reported that all of his Breeders’ Cup starters came out of their respective races in good order.
Romans saddled Little Mike to victory in Saturday’s $3 million Turf and visited the winner’s circle with friends, Carlo and Priscilla Vaccarezza, the breeder and owners of the popular 5yo gelding.
“‘Mike’ is a special horse for us and Carlo is one of my close friends. It was a great day for everyone,” Romans said.
Little Mike, a front-running specialist who won the Arlington Million and Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the lead, found himself in the unfamiliar position of racing off the lead in the 1 1/2m turf race. The son of Spanish Steps rated nicely in third behind Turbo Compressor and Optimizer before gaining the lead leaving the turn into the homestretch and holding off favored Point of Entry by a half-length.
“He’s faster than most horses. We had a plan for the first 100 yards to give him a shot to go to the front, but I thought those two horses might outsprint him to the lead, and they did,” Romans said. “We told Ramon (Dominguez) just be ahead of the real contenders, because any horse that would get in front of him would have to go too fast to finish anyway.”
Romans stated Little Mike’s case for being voted the Eclipse Award for male turf performer.
“I don’t see how anyone can beat ‘Mike’ for turf champion. I know that Wise Dan is a great racehorse, but I don’t think his resume stacks up to ‘Mike’s’. He won one of the major races in America and the Arlington Million and the Turf Classic.”
Romans will ship Little Mike back to Kentucky before continuing on to Florida for the winter.
Steve Asmussen (Tapizar, 1st, Dirt Mile; My Miss Aurelia, 2nd, Ladies’ Classic; Dust and Diamonds, 2nd, Filly & Mare Sprint; Unbridled’s Note, 2nd, Turf Sprint; Great Mills, 4th, Turf Sprint; Justin Phillip, 5th, Sprint) – Trainer Steve Asmussen hung up the top finishes of any of the trainers during the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships Friday and Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
His one win and three seconds outranked the rest of the field and made for smiles and easy conversation on Sunday morning. “I’m very proud of our team and the way the horses ran.
“I’m really happy Tapizar won. Four bridesmaids might have been a bit much.”
His take on My Miss Aurelia’s near-miss in Friday’s Ladies’ Classic: “I don’t really know how you describe heartbreak and pride in the same situation. But those were my feelings.”
Overall, all six of his horses earned a check. Great Mills was fourth in the Turf Sprint and Justin Phillip was fifth in the Sprint.
All of the Breeders’ Cup runners were in good shape Sunday, Asmussen said. Dust and Diamonds was on an airplane on her way to Kentucky for Tuesday’s Fasig-Tipton breeding stock sale.
Another major beneficiary of the Asmussen record was jockey Corey Nakatani, who was aboard Tapizar, My Miss Aurelia and Unbridled’s Note.
Of his victory on Tapizar, Nakatani said, “Ten Breeders’ Cup wins – not bad for an old hacker.” His win and two seconds moved him ever closer to the retired Gary Stevens for eighth place on the Breeders’ Cup money- won list. Nakatani now has earnings of $12,813,910 to Stevens’ $13,723,910.
Buff Bradley (Groupie Doll, 1st, Filly & Mare Sprint) – Trainer Buff Bradley had a 6 o’clock flight to Kentucky Sunday morning leaving groom Matt Hebert in charge of things with Groupie Doll.
“She’s good this morning and ate up everything last night,” said Hebert, who will accompany the dominating Filly & Mare Sprint winner back to Kentucky later Sunday. “She ran hard yesterday and slept a lot last night.”
Doug O'Neill (Richard's Kid, 5th, Classic; Handsome Mike, 9th, Classic; He's Had Enough, 2nd, Juvenile; Know More, 13th Juvenile Turf; Cogito, 7th, Turf; Boxeur des Rues, 13th, Sprint) – “They all came back great,” said trainer Doug O'Neill Sunday morning.
“I thought Richard's Kid ran a good race,” said O'Neill after talking with Mark Verge, co-owner of the 7yo horse and CEO of Santa Anita, in a visiting golf cart. “He had to make up a ton of ground on a dirt track against those kind of horses. He'll live to fight another day. Like fine wine, he's getting better with age.”
O'Neill said he had not yet spoken with Paul Reddam, owner of his other five starters, before making any further plans. “I need to huddle up and take a deep breath,” he said of future decisions.
“He's Had Enough ran a dynamite second and Know More had a rough post and a rough trip,” said O'Neill of his 2yo colts. “I still have to talk Paul, but I'm guessing that one will be pointed to the CashCall Futurity (a $750,000 race that Reddam sponsors at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 15.)”
John Sadler (Switch, 3rd, Filly & Mare Sprint; Capo Bastone, 3rd, Juvenile; Monument, 9th, Juvenile; Lady of Shamrock, 5th; Filly & Mare Turf) – Trainer John Sadler frowned while facing a big empty stall in his Santa Anita barn Sunday morning.
“Switch left at 2 this morning for Kentucky,” said Sadler of the 5yo mare who placed in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint for the third straight year. “She's selling at the Fasig-Tipton Broodmare Sale Monday. She's going to make somebody a wonderful broodmare.
“It's sad to see her leave,” said Sadler of the mare who recorded six wins, seven seconds and five thirds in 24 starts and earned $1,479,562 for Lee and Susan Searing's C R K Stable. “I'll just remember what a good honest horse she was. She was a multiple grade I winner and took us to Kentucky and Oaklawn Park.”
Sadler reported that Capo Bastone and Monument both bled in the Juvenile. “Capo Bastone ran a real good third, but he bled a little,” said Sadler. “I'm not sure what's next but he will probably wait until the winter meet here. Monument will go back to state-bred races.
“Lady of Shamrock finished fifth, beaten two lengths,” concluded Sadler. “She had to take up a little at the eighth pole, or I think she would have been second. We will look at the Matriarch (Nov. 25 at Betfair Hollywood Park) or wait until the winter meet.”
Bob Baffert (trainer, Game On Dude, 7th, Classic; Fast Bullet, 6th, Coil, 7th, Capital Account, 12th, Sprint; Fed Biz, 8th, Dirt Mile; Jaycito, 11th, Marathon; Executiveprivilege, 2nd, Juvenile Fillies; Power Broker, 5th, Title Contender, 8th, Juvenile) – The Hall of Fame trainer, who had high hopes and 10 horses to run in the two-day Breeders’ Cup events, was an 0-fer for the weekend, but still managed to smile and put a philosophical turn to things Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner.
“When expectations are high – really high like they were for us – the dropoff is hard,” he stated as he stood in the company of his 7-year-old son Bode and watched a string of his horses gallop by. “But what are you going to do? You forget, you learn as much as you can from it all and then you go on.”
In classic Baffert fashion, he even got a good wisecrack in.
“At least I got home in 10 minutes after the races,” he said. “I didn’t have to wait around for any ceremonies or anything like that.”
Did the trainer see any sort of key, or pattern, to what happened to his horses?
“They all got beat in the first quarter-mile,” he offered. “It was all about position. If you don’t get position, you are in trouble. And none of my horses seemed to get that.
“Game On Dude was a good example of that. The rider wasn’t aggressive in getting a spot for him early and he was done. He’s a one-dimensional horse and he’s got to be near the front. I told him you better not let them come over on you or you’ll be in trouble, and that’s what they did. When that horse can’t be near the front, that’s it for him. Funny how that works with one like him, but that’s how it is.
“You know, I was in the paddock before the race and I was looking at all those other horses and they knocked me out. And there were some really serious horses in that field; some really good lookers and some really good runners. That Fort Larned and Mucho Macho Man, they’re good horses. Game On Dude hasn’t been running against horses like that.
“I went back up to our box and I said out loud that there were some really good horses in the race and that I was worried. So right after that the TV guys come around and they ask Bode who he likes in the race. So, he’d heard me and he says ‘There’s some really good horses in this race.’ We had to whisper in his ear to say Game On Dude.”
Was Game On Dude’s performance his biggest disappointment of the weekend?
“I was really disappointed in the efforts of three of my horses,” Baffert said. “Game On Dude for sure. And Executiveprivilege – I thought she’d win. But maybe the biggest of all was Power Broker. That was a huge disappointment. He was outside (post 9 in a nine-horse field) to start but I thought he’d be up close. He was eight wide all the way. And he never switched leads. He’s still green.
“But we learned a lot from the race and it will help us down the line. His race was just like Point Given’s Derby (when he disappointed as the favorite in 2001). He’ll be fine, though. He’s a good horse. He’s just got to be ridden differently. And I’ve got to salute (Juvenile winner) Shanghai Bobby. I saw him with his ears up turning for home, waiting on horses. He’s a nice horse for sure.”
Baffert was asked to name the most impressive horse he saw all weekend.
“(Mile winner) Wise Dan,” he said without hesitation. “What a horse he is. He’s a star. I saw him in the paddock and I said, ‘Oh, man, I’m glad they’re not running him in the Classic.’ If I had a vote, I’d vote for him for Horse of the Year.”
The trainer stated that none of his runners had bled and that he’d had them all scoped to be sure. “Sometimes you might see signs of that days later,” he said, “but they’re all fine for now.”
Baffert also noted that his 2yo Super Ninety Nine, who was one of the favorites for Friday’s Juvenile Sprint but never got to run when he cast himself in his stall that morning and was withdrawn, was doing fine. The colt had scrapes on a stifle and his forehead, but did not require stitches of any kind and was recovering well from the ordeal.
“How about that,” Baffert said, “I haven’t had a horse cast in his stall on race day in 15 years and here I have one Friday. It sort of set the tone for my whole weekend. Saturday, I never even got to root for a horse in the stretch. I could have stayed home and watched it all on TV.”
The trainer concluded that future plans for all his horses were up in the air for the time being.
“I need some time to let this all settle,” he said. “It takes a while to take it all in. It’s been a big weekend and there are lots of things to think about. They’ll all have other days and we’ll figure out what they are in the future.”
Bill Spawr (Amazombie, defending Sprint champion, 8th, Sprint) – “He came back in good shape. I don’t have any plans for him right now,” said a disappointed trainer Bill Spawr Sunday morning.
Peter Miller (Reneesgotzip, 3rd, Turf Sprint; Kindergarten Kid, 6th, Turf) – Both Breeders’ Cup runners exited their races in good shape and were back in their stalls at Hollywood Park, trainer Peter Miller said.
Miller voiced pride in the filly Reneesgotzip, saying, “She ran super. The pace was fast and she was up close. That sort of took the steam out of her at the end.”
Jerry Hollendorfer (Nonios, 6th, Classic; Chosen Miracle, 12th, Turf Sprint) – “Both of my horses came out their races in good order and they’re back in the barn at Hollywood Park,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said from by telephone from Hollywood Park.
Of Nonios’ Classic effort, the trainer said, “He tried hard, but didn’t get there.”
Hollendorfer gave no indication of what be next for the duo.
Bob Hess, Jr. (Merit Man, 2nd, Juvenile Sprint) – “He came out of it well,” the trainer said Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner in reference to his Friday Juvenile Sprint favorite and runner-up by a nose.
“We’ll give him a break now. I don’t see him coming back to the track until January and I’m not sure if we’re going to keep him here or take him to Gulfstream. I’ll probably give him a chance to go long at some point. You pretty much have to give them all a chance to try that.”
Coolmore Team First of the European Horses to Leave
The first of three flights carrying most of the European Breeders’ Cup team of two dozen horses left Santa Anita Sunday morning for LAX International Airport, according to Alastair Donald, Managing Director of the International Racing Bureau, the first contingent with Ireland’s Coolmore team of eight runners trained by Aidan O’Brien.
The Coolmore team left Santa Anita at approximately 8 a.m. and were to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam before the final leg home to Ballydoyle. Those on board included 2yo colt George Vancouver, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Fame And Glory (13th, Marathon), Infanta Branca (10th, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Lines of Battle (7th, Juvenile Turf), Starspangledbanner (10th, Turf Sprint), St Nicholas Abbey (3rd, Turf), Treasure Beach (10th, Turf) and Excelebration (4th, Mile).
One Coolmore runner, 3yo filly Up, finished 7th in the Filly & Mare Turf and has been retired to be bred next spring in Kentucky at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud. St Nicholas Abbey, winner of the Turf at Churchill Downs last year, ran well again Saturday to be third behind Little Mike in his title defense and has an invitation to run in the Hong Kong Vase on Dec. 9, although no decision has been made for that trip as yet.
A second European shipment Sunday was set to leave Santa Anita near noon for LAX on a CargoLux flight with English-trained runners bound for Stanstead Airport near London, arriving Monday morning, London time. That flight included Ceiling Kitty (5th, Juvenile Sprint), The Gold Cheongsam (5th, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Waterway Run (6th, Juvenile Fillies Turf), Sky Lantern (8th, Juvenile Fillies Turf), The Fugue (3rd, Filly & Mare Turf), I’m a Dreamer (6th, Filly & Mare Turf), Nahrain (10th, Filly & Mare Turf), Dundonnell (4th, Juvenile Turf), Artigiano (6th, Juvenile Turf) and Fantastic Moon (10th, Juvenile Turf).
A third and final flight of the European Breeders’ Cup team departs Santa Anita Monday on a KLM flight to Amsterdam carrying the French-trained team, led by 2yo filly Flotilla, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf Friday for trainer Mikel Delzangles. Also in the French contingent were Ridasiyna (4th, Filly & Mare Turf), Shareta (5th, Turf) and Moonlight Cloud (8th, Mile).
One other European runner that will not be returning is 5yo Sense of Purpose, 12th in the Marathon for Irish trainer Dermot Weld. The Moyglare Stud runner will go to Moyglare’s American trainer Christophe Clement at Payson Park in Florida.
IRB also reports that Japan’s 5yo Trailblazer, who ran a very strong fourth in the Turf behind Little Mike for trainer Ikee Yasutoshi, will return home to Japan on a flight scheduled for Wednesday with his future at this point unknown.