Champion Zenyatta took a step closer to a much-anticipated date with the boys in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Oak Tree a week from today, Saturday, Nov. 7, when she worked six furlongs at Hollywood Park this morning in 1:12.40, breezing, under regular rider Mike Smith.
“She went very well and everyone was pleased,” said trainer John Shirreffs. “We’ll discuss whether she will run in the Classic (or the Ladies’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles on Friday, Nov. 6) as soon as we sit down with Mr. and Mrs. Moss (owners Jerry and Ann Moss). We’ll see how she comes out of the work and make a decision.”
A 5-year-old daughter of Street Cry, Zenyatta is unbeaten in 13 starts and would face males for the first time in the Classic at 1 1/4 miles. Zenyatta’s workout can be seen on the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi6Pz-Pdtb8
On a picture-perfect morning at Santa Anita, male 3-year-old leader Summer Bird worked five furlongs for the Classic in :59.40 under his “gallop boy,” Leo Atempa, who weighs in at 120 pounds.
“He galloped out strong,” trainer Tim Ice said of the Belmont, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup winner. “I got him in 1:12.”
Ice is set on letting Summer Bird run his race and not get caught up in undue pre-race strategy.
“My horse will run according to how the pace scenario sets up,” Ice said. “He definitely can lay up close, and I also think he can be four or five (lengths) off of it. I think it’s just a matter of seeing how the race sets up, let ‘em break and see where you’re at.
“If we can get a head start on them (into the stretch), I know we can kick away, and my colt, he doesn’t stop until the wire comes. If they head him, he’s going to have a lot of fight.”
In other Breeders’ Cup news:
Saturday’s work tabs were replete with horses going through their final major preps. Among them, on Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride, were: Beautician (Juvenile Fillies), four furlongs in :49.40 for Ken McPeek; Zilva (Juvenile Fillies Turf), four furlongs in :48.80 for Graham Motion; Cocoa Beach (Ladies’ Classic), five furlongs in :59.40 for Saeed bin Suroor; Fatal Bullet (Sprint), five furlongs in :59.20 for Reade Baker; House of Grace (Juvenile Fillies Turf), five furlongs in 1:02.80, breezing, for McPeek; La Nez (Juvenile Fillies Turf), five furlongs in 1:01.80 for Eric Kruljac; Neko Bay (Dirt Mile), :59 for John Shirreffs; Evita Argentina (Filly & Mare Sprint), six furlongs in 1:11.40 for John Sadler; Get Funky (Turf Sprint), six furlongs in a bullet 1:10.60 for Sadler; Lord Shanakill (Turf Sprint), six furlongs in 1:11.80 for Richard Mandella; Smart Seattle (Juvenile Fillies Turf), four furlongs in :48.80 for Motion; and Square Eddie (Sprint), six furlongs in 1:13.40 for Doug O’Neill.
On turf, Yellow Ribbon Stakes winner Magical Fantasy (Filly & Mare Turf) went five furlongs under regular rider Alex Solis in 1:00.80 for Paddy Gallagher, while Noble Court (Turf Sprint) went the same distance in 1:00.20 for Sadler. Tapitsfly (Juvenile Fillies Turf) went five furlongs under Aaron Gryder in 1:00.60 for Dale Romans.
Oak Tree clocker John Malone recorded the following fractional times: Evita Argentina, :12 2/5, :24 2/5, :35 4/5, :47 3/5 and :59 2/5; Lord Shanakill, :36 and :59 3/5; Smart Seattle, :24 4/5, :37, :48 4/5 and a gallop out of 1:01 2/5; Summer Bird, :11 2/5, :23, :34 4/5 and :46 4/5; Neko Bay, :24 and :35; Cocoa Beach, :12 2/5; :25, :37 1/5, and :48 2/5, with a gallop out of 1:13; and La Nez, :12 4/5, :25 2/5, :37 3/5 and :50 3/5.
Turf workers’ fractions were: Noble Court, :13 2/5, :25 3/5, :37 4/5 and :49 3/5; Tapitsfly, :12 1/5, :24 1/5 and:36 1/5; and Magical Fantasy, :13, :24 4/5 and :36 3/5.
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird galloped two miles Saturday and is scheduled to work five furlongs Monday with Joe Talamo aboard.
Godolphin Racing couldn’t be more pleased with how its candidates are coming up to their Breeders’ Cup engagements.
“We have nine horses here and I’m very happy with all of them,” said Rick Mettee, formerly a training fixture in Southern California. “Most of them came out three weeks ago. Some of them came out last week, but they all seem to be grabbing this track fine. We haven’t had any problems. The weather’s been good here. It hasn’t been too hot, so everybody’s doing really well.”
HRTV TO AIR BREEDERS’ CUP DRAW ON TUESDAY
On Tuesday, Nov. 2, beginning at 12:30 p.m., HRTV will offer exclusive live coverage of the post position draw for the 26th edition of the Breeders' Cup World Championships from Santa Anita next Friday and Saturday, Nov. 6 and 7.
The two-day racing extravaganza encompasses 14 championship races and $25.5 million in total purse money.
HRTV's coverage will unveil the fields for two of the sport's premier racing days, and the network's on-air talent will provide in-depth assessment of each division. HRTV’s “Pursuit of the Cup” team of Laffit Pincay III, Gary Stevens, Jeff Siegel, Millie Ball, Scott Hazelton and European reporter Fanny Salmon will anchor the network’s coverage of the draw, which will be hosted by ESPN’s Joe Tessitore.
Tessitore also will announce the rider's line for all 14 races, along with the morning line from HRTV’s Jon White, who also is Oak Tree’s odds maker. For the first time, there will be pari-mutuel betting on which jockey will win the most Breeders’ Cup races.
In addition, ESPN360 will pick-up HRTV's coverage, beginning at 1 p.m. This is the second joint venture for the two entities, the first coming with the draw for this year’s Preakness Stakes.
A total of 203 overall pre-entries were announced on Wednesday, with 37 horses cross-entered in different races. Among the most-anticipated decisions will come regarding super filly, Zenyatta.
TOBY TURRELL BREEDERS’ CUP DRILLS DAILY ON HRTV’S ‘GRANDSTAND’
With the all-important final workouts for next weekend’s Breeders’ Cup underway, the valuable insight of noted handicapper and clocker Toby Turrell will be available to HRTV’s viewers every racing afternoon on HRTV’s “Grandstand” at 4 p.m. Turrell is a third generation handicapper who is one of the most well-known morning observers. Many of the workouts will be shown live each day on HRTV’s “Pursuit of the Cup,” which airs at 8:30 a.m.
“We have long relied on the keen observation of a number of independent clockers, including Toby and Gary Young, in producing our ‘Pursuit’ series,” said Amy J. Zimmerman, executive producer for HRTV. “They are the best in the business at what they do, and we are very excited to bring Toby’s knowledge directly to HRTV’s viewers.”
BREEDERS’ CUP STARTERS RUNNING FOR A CAUSE
The connections of seven Breeders Cup starters have pledged a percentage or portion of their earnings to support New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program. So far IEAH Stable’s Court Vision, Diamondrella, and Radiohead, Charles Winner, David Bienstock, and Paul Mandabach’s Magical Fantasy, Chasing Dreams Racing’s Noble’s Promise, Sovereign Stable’s Negligee, and Brushwood Stable’s Mushka have made a pledge, and New Vocations hopes the list will continue to grow.
New Vocations, which has five locations throughout the county, focuses on placing retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred race horses into homes and new careers. The charity leads the nation in adoptions, placing an average of 300 retired race horses each year.
“Times are tough right now, and the number of horses needing our services continues to rise,” explained Program Director Anna Ford. “We are truly grateful to have these owners pledge their support during this year’s Breeders’ Cup. I think a lot of their success at the track has been due to the fact that they truly care about the welfare and safety of their horses both on and off the track. It is our hope that more owners will choose to follow their lead. What a statement it would be if every starter made a pledge.”
New Vocations hopes that this act of generosity will not only generate much-needed funds, but also raise the public’s awareness of the race horse adoption effort. With thousands of horses leaving the tracks each year, there is an ever-growing need to support programs like New Vocations.
For more information, contact Anna Ford at
FINISH LINES: Due to popular demand, Frank Mirahmadi will begin his colorful commentary on Breeders’ Cup candidates going through their final preparations starting Sunday morning at Clockers’ Corner. Fans also can enjoy Mirahmadi’s unparalleled mimicry on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday . . . Alonso Quinonez and Joel Rosario took off their Oak Tree mounts Saturday due to the flu . . . There were 23 participants alive in Oak Tree’s online handicapping contest ShowVivor prior to Saturday’s races . . . Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday. Set your clocks back one hour Saturday night.