Red Giant and Tropic Storm were declared out of their respective Breeders’ Cup engagements on Saturday, and Red Giant, winner of the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship in his last start on Sept. 27, could have run his last race.
“We came in this morning, and he didn’t quite clean up (his feed) last night,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Red Giant at Santa Anita Sunday morning. Red Giant was one of the favorites in the $2-million Turf.
“I talked to Mr. Fort (owner John Fort of Camden, S.C., who races as Peachtree Stable) this morning. He basically said he had planned on this being Red Giant’s last race and to go ahead and try and make some stud plans for him.”
Red Giant, a 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway colt bred in Kentucky, had a 6-3-1 record from 12 career starts, with earnings of $1,092,410.
At Hollywood Park, trainer Craig Dollase said West Point Thoroughbreds’ Tropic Storm, whose first preference was the Sprint and second was the Turf Sprint, had “a soft tissue injury.” Asked how much time it might cost the 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic colt, Dollase said, “We are in the process of looking at that right now.”
Tropic Storm was third in the Grade II Oak Tree Mile on turf in his most recent start, Sept. 28 at Oak Tree. He has a 4-3-4 record from 13 starts with earnings of $296,300.
GOMEZ: GO BETWEEN IS THE REAL THING ON SYNTHETICS
Curlin is the marquee horse in Breeders’ Cup 25 next weekend, but if the reigning Horse of the Year has any voids on his impressive resume, it’s his absence of a victory—or even a race—over a synthetic surface. That will change Saturday when he runs on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride main surface in the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic, a race he won last year in the slop at Monmouth Park.
When Oak Tree hosts the Breeders’ Cup for the fourth time starting Friday, it will mark the first time racing’s championship day will be run on a synthetic main track, in this instance, Pro-Ride.
In 15 career starts, Curlin has raced on traditional dirt surfaces each time, save for his lone grass race in the Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont Park last July 12, in which he was second.
Garrett Gomez, for one, suspects his mount, Go Between, could have an edge when he faces Curlin and the rest of the world in the 1 1/4-mile Classic.
“My horse has handled every synthetic they sent him to, so I think we’re in pretty good shape,” said Gomez, who is seeking his third consecutive national money earnings title. The 36-year-old rider currently has more than $17.6 million in his bankroll, some $2.4 million more than runner-up Robby Albarado.
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
Curlin galloped two miles on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride Sunday morning under exercise rider Carlos Rosas. Curlin is scheduled to work here tomorrow.
Unbeaten Japanese invader Casino Drive, who won his debut race at Santa Anita last Sunday, galloped one lap around Hollywood Park’s 1 1/8-mile Cushion Track Sunday and remains on course for the Classic, according to Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto. “We’re very pleased with how he is doing,” Tada said. Casino Drive, a $950,000 son of 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft, is scheduled to have a slow breeze at Hollywood on Wednesday.
Believe in Hope, an eventful third in the Grade I Norfolk Stakes on Sept. 28, is scheduled to have his final major drill Monday for the $2-million Juvenile.
“He’ll go a half, five-eighths, something like that,” trainer Ron Ellis said of the chestnut colt owned by the Jay Em Ess Stable of Mace and Samantha Siegel.
Ellis was not concerned about the post draw for the stretch-running son of 1995 Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch. “Last time, he had a good post but got bumped around out of the gate. I’d much rather draw in the middle of the field.”
Well Armed’s reputation as a speed horse may be over-emphasized, in the opinion of Aaron Gryder, who is the regular rider of and who exercises the gelded son of Tiznow. Gryder has ridden Well Armed in the 5-year-old’s last eight races, including a distant third behind Curlin in the Dubai World Cup last March 29.
“I’ve worked him forever, too,” the 38-year-old native of West Covina said. “I’ve been getting on him a year and a half, anyway. I’ve always said he doesn’t have to be in front to win. Everybody thought he had to, but he’s a big, long-striding horse and has such a high gait to him that he’s faster than most horses.
“Finally, the last two races, there was some speed in there and I said, ‘That’s fine.’ I took him back and let him find his stride. If they want to outrun him, they can outrun him. I never thought he needed to be on the lead, but he’s definitely become a better horse this year, because he has settled more in his gallops and his works. He’s matured a lot to where he’s much handier for me.”
Trainer Eoin Harty said he “definitely concurred” with Gryder’s analysis that Well Armed is not “a pure speed horse.” Harty said he would decide on Tuesday whether Well Armed runs in the Classic or the Dirt Mile.
Richard Mandella said Chantal Sutherland will ride Canadian invader Mine That Bird in the Juvenile.
Breeders’ Cup workouts on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride Sunday included First Defence (Dirt Mile, five furlongs in a bullet :57.80 for Bobby Frankel); Mast Track (Classic, five furlongs in 1:00 for Frankel); Out of Control (Turf, five furlongs in 1:01 for Frankel); Precious Kitten (Filly & Mare Turf, five furlongs in 1:01 for Frankel); Norfolk Stakes winner Street Hero (Juvenile, five furlongs in 1:02.60 for Myong Kwon Cho); Get Funky (Turf Sprint, six furlongs in 1:12.20 for John Sadler); and Midshipman (Juvenile, six furlongs in 1:12.20 for Bob Baffert).
Multiple Grade I stakes winner Intangaroo worked four furlongs on Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track Sunday in :46.80 for trainer Gary Sherlock. “I wanted :47, so I’m happy,” Sherlock said. “She worked super.”
The Weather.Com forecast for Arcadia for Breeders’ Cup is as follows: Friday, sunny with temperatures ranging from 58 to 83 degrees, and Saturday, sunny with temperatures from 58 to 84 degrees.
Oak Tree will be hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the fourth time and the first time under its two-day format, which features 14 races with total purses of $25.5 million.
GENERAL, CLUB HOUSE ADMISSIONS AVAILABLE FOR BREEDERS’ CUP
Admission to Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday, Breeders’ Cup days, will be available at the entrance gates. General admission is $20 per day and provides access to the Grandstand main floor, trackside apron, Paddock Gardens and Infield. Club House admission is $50 per day and gives access to the Club House main floor and the general admission areas.
A limited number of reserved seats are available. Seats in sections L-V of the Grandstand are $200 and $400 each for the two days. Club House apron reserved seats are $500 for two days.
First race post time Friday is 11:05 a.m. Parking lots open at 7:30 a.m. and admission gates at 8 a.m. First race post time Saturday is 10:10 a.m. Parking lots open at 6:30 a.m. and admission gates at 7 a.m.
Overflow parking will be available on Saturday at the Los Angeles County Arboretum, across Baldwin Avenue just north of Santa Anita, and the Arcadia County Park east of Santa Anita at Huntington Drive and Santa Anita Avenue.
Free shuttle buses will run from the Metro Gold Line’s Sierra Madre Villa station in east Pasadena on Friday starting at 8 a.m. and on Saturday at 7:30 a.m., leaving from berth #4. Shuttles returning from Santa Anita to the Gold Line station begin both days at 1:30 p.m.
Complete train and bus service schedules to and near Santa Anita are on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) website, http://www.metro.net.
GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER TO PRESENT BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC TROPHY
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has announced he will attend the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 25, and he will become the first California governor to ever present the winner’s trophy for the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic, which will be run as the ninth race at approximately 3:45 p.m. (PDT).
The Breeders’ Cup will be hosted for the fourth time by the Oak Tree Racing Association. The two-day event will be held on Oct. 24 and 25 and will be televised live on ESPN and ABC.
“We are extremely pleased that Gov. Schwarzenegger has chosen to attend Breeders’ Cup 25 and present the trophy for the biggest race in North America,” said Oak Tree Director and Executive Vice President Sherwood Chillingworth. “I think the governor recognizes the importance of the Thoroughbred industry here in California, and his presence on Oct. 25 does indeed lend a great deal of prestige to the event,” he added.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic, for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles, figures to have a strong international field, with reigning Horse of the Year Curlin set to defend his Classic title and join Tiznow as the only two-time winners of the Classic.
In winning the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 27 for the second consecutive year, Curlin surpassed the $10-million mark in career earnings and became North America’s all-time leading money earner.
First post time on Friday is 11:05 a.m., and Santa Anita’s admission gates will open at 8 a.m. First post time on Saturday is 10:10 a.m., with admission gates opening at 7 a.m.
For Breeders’ Cup ticketing information, call (626) 254-1300.
FINISH LINES: Next Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day at Oak Tree. All fans will receive a gift coupon redeemable for a variety of items, including backpacks, picnic jugs, long sleeve T-shirts, polo shirts, one per person while supplies last. First post time Sunday is 12:30 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m.