“I thought he went perfect this morning,” said trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. from Santa Anita’s Barn 4. “I’m pleased with the way he did it. He was smokin’ that last eighth—I had the last eighth to the wire in 11 and two (fifths of a second). The sun was in my eyes, so I wasn’t able to catch him galloping out six furlongs, but he must’ve got that extra eighth in 12 and one or two. He was really, really marchin’.
In very similar fashion to the way he approached his five-furlong breeze on Sept. 28, Talamo and Mine That Bird came on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride synthetic main track at about 8:05 a.m. and jogged the Derby winner counter-clockwise to the half-mile pole. Talamo allowed Mine That Bird to stand for about two minutes before turning him around and allowing him to jog and then gallop down the stretch, well off the inner rail.
As they rounded the Club House turn and entered the backstretch, Talamo pointed the Birdstone gelding to the inner rail approaching the five-furlong pole.
“He went real nice,” said Talamo, who once again substituted for regular rider Calvin Borel. “He’s a Cadillac. He settled real nice and when I asked him to pick it up in the lane, he was right there for me. It looks like all systems go.
“I just kinda chirped to him one time and he that was it. He just glides right over this track,” Talamo added.
Woolley was optimistic about his horse’s chances in Saturday’s Goodwood at
1 1/8 miles.
“I think he’s peaking now and coming to himself,” the trainer said. “He’ll walk tomorrow and gallop into the race. He seems to be really on his game. I know 10 weeks (since he last ran, in the West Virginia Derby, Aug. 1) is a little too long between races, but overall, he’s doing super. A mile and one eighth is a little short for him too. We’d rather have a mile and a quarter, but I think he’ll show up Saturday.”
The Goodwood is one of three Gr. I Breeders’ Cup prep races to be run at Oak Tree on Saturday, along with the Lady’s Secret and Yellow Ribbon Stakes. The Gr. II Oak Tree Mile will also be offered and all four races are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” qualifying races.
First post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. General Admission is $5, Club House admission is $8.50.