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BREEDERS’ CUP TURF NOTES

By Breeders’ Cup Notes TeamMaster Piece – Trainer Michael McCarthy sent his Breeders’ Cup Longines Turf hopeful Master Piece to gallop 1 ¼m over the main track before the break as he prepares to take on the world’s best in the 1 ½m turf race. He comes into the race off a second in the Del Mar Handicap.        “Master Piece has been great this year,” said McCarthy, who trains the 6yo ridgling for Fernando Diaz-Valdes, Baalbeck Corp and Don Alberto Stables. “He had a little bit of a freshening, came back and ran respectable off the bench in San Francisco (when fourth in the All American Stakes at Golden Gate). His race in the Eddie Reed was phenomenal. He was unlucky in the Del Mar Handicap. He had to make a couple different moves and things just didn’t seem to go his way pace wise that day. (Jockey) Flavien (Prat) rode him patiently and he was rolling at the end. He’s doing great now.”

War Like Goddess – George Krikorian’s seven-time graded stakes-winning mare War Like Goddess continued her preparations for the $4 million Longines Turf with a gallop of the Keeneland dirt track at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday.

“She’s as good a turf horse as we’ve got in our country,” trainer Bill Mott said. “That doesn’t mean she has to win on Saturday, but she’s a competitor and she’s done very well throughout her entire career. We’ve won the race a couple times and it would be really nice to win it with a filly.”

The daughter of 2007 Turf winner English Channel goes in the 1½-mile race in lieu of the 1 3/16-mile Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which carries a purse of $2 million. She seeks to give Mott a third win, following Theatrical in 1987 and Fraise in 1992.

“First of all, it’s not about the money, it’s about winning. Frankly, if you win, the money follows. Sometimes I don’t even know the size of the purse,” Mott explained. “With her, it happens to be the distance. I think that she’s a true mile-and-three-eighths, mile-and-a-half horse and we wanted to get her in that type of race and that’s what we did last time (in the G1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic). We ran her against the boys and she pulled it off. She was very good.

“A mile and three-sixteenths was probably just a little short for her. That doesn’t she couldn’t get up, but I think she’s a little more effective (going longer)… and it is a big purse.”

FANDUEL MILE

Annapolis – Annapolis had a routine gallop on Tuesday and will add a session at the starting gate to his Wednesday routine in advance of the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile presented by PDJF on Saturday. He has the 11 post position in the field of 14.

The 3yo has a home-court advantage after capturing Keeneland’s Coolmore Turf Mile on Oct. 8 over 10 rivals. 

“It is always great to see one that handles the course,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We are hoping the weather stays good all week and that he will have a firm turf course Saturday. Looking at the forecast it looks like that is going to happen.”

Annapolis arrived in Pletcher’s barn as a 2yo with plenty of potential.

“He’s a son of War Front,” he said. “He is a very good-looking colt and we had high hopes for him from the day he arrived from (Harris Training Center near Ocala.) He delivered on that promise and trained very well for his (winning) debut in Saratoga (Sept. 4, 2021). He has always shown class and ability.”

Domestic Spending – One of the most intriguing runners on Saturday is Klaravich Stables’ Chad Brown-trained Domestic Spending, who is unraced since Aug. 14, 2021, when finishing second in the Mr. D. and who will contest the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile.

A three-time Grade 1 winner immediately prior to that effort, he cuts back to one mile for the first time since June 2020 and returns to the World Championships one year after being scratched the week of as the morning line favorite for the Grade 1 Longines Turf.

“I have thankfully good horses in my barn for him to work with, even if I haven’t had the benefit of a prep race for him,” Brown said. “A few weeks ago, I started to watch him work thinking this is a possibility. I know it’s a tall order, but all I can do is get him ready to run the best race I can and he’s going to have to work out his own trip.”

Flavien Prat, aboard for the son of Kingman’s victories in the Turf Classic and Manhattan last year, reunites with the bay 5yo gelding. The late-running pair break from the outside post 14 and received a morning line of 8-1.

“We are going to find out if he needed the benefit of that prep race,” Brown said. “It’s a likely possibility that it will affect him – I’m not confused about that – but there’s also a chance that he’s such a brilliant racehorse that he can overcome it, especially if the dynamics of the race fall right for him.

“Being a Kingman and having a nice mile win under him back when he was younger give me a little confidence, as well as coming off a layoff,” he concluded. “Hopefully that leads to him being a little sharper and gives him a little better position at a mile.”

Regal Glory – Peter Brant’s Regal Glory, a three-time Grade 1 winner over the past year, will break from post eight of 14 in Saturday’s Mile. The Chad Brown trainee continued her preparation with a routine gallop Tuesday morning and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz on Saturday. They team up for the 17th time in what is Regal Glory’s 22nd career start and were assigned a 6-1 morning line.

The daughter of 2012 Mile runner-up Animal Kingdom will face the boys for a second time, having finished second in August’s Fourstardave at Saratoga as the 1-2 favorite.   

            “She didn’t get a good trip in the Fourstardave,” Brown said. “She was out in the center of the track the whole way. Although, she prefers a clear run on the outside of horses, she was basically in the center of the track with no cover.”

            The 12-time winner and earner of $2,359,134 exits a game second to stablemate In Italian in the G1 First Lady over the course and distance of Saturday’s Mile.

“She got a very good trip and was second-best, but it was the kind of race that should set her up for a good run here,” Brown said. “It wasn’t too tough on her, she saved ground most of the way and she had a clear shot in the lane. A loose leader got away from her, but I liked the way she finished down the lane and how she came back not as tired as she did in the Fourstardave. She came back a happy horse who’s looking to move forward, in my opinion.”

MAKER’S MARK FILLY & MARE TURF

Chad Brown (In Italian; Rougir; Virginia Joy) – Trainer Chad Brown brings a strong trio into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf on Saturday, which will be contested over 1 3/16 miles on Keeneland’s turf course. Last year, with Del Mar’s configuration, it was a three-turn, 1 3/8-mile race.

Chief among the Brown brigade is Peter Brant’s In Italian (GB), who will flex her championships claims if victorious when she breaks from post 11 as the 7-2 morning line second choice under Joel Rosario. She enters off consecutive Grade 1 victories in Saratoga’s Diana, July 16, and Keeneland’s First Lady, Oct. 8.

On Tuesday morning, all three had routine gallops going into their clash with the likes of European standouts Nashwa, winner of the French Oaks, and Tuesday, winner of the English equivalent.

“In Italian was terrific in her gallop today going about a mile and a quarter,” Brown said. “She was moving super and has been a really consistent horse all year. I purposely didn’t run her between the Diana and First Lady to keep her fresh, so I think she can handle the shorter break coming into this and she hasn’t had a tough season. I think she stacks up favorably with the Euros. There are a couple nice ones with the right connections and they have good form. My fillies have their work cut out for them for sure.”

Rougir, winner of the G1 Prix de l’Opera in 2021 for previous connections, has won two of five since joining Brown’s barn this season. Sold at Arqana December to Peter Brant and Michael Tabor for $3,393,043, she enters off a late-running neck victory in the G1 E. P. Taylor at Woodbine. Given a morning line of 12-1, she breaks from post nine under Flavien Prat.

“She started her year off really well for me and her last run was really good,” Brown said. “It was everything in between that wasn’t good, despite her good works. She had me scratching my head for a while and she definitely would prefer some give in the ground and it doesn’t look like she’ll get that, but her race at Woodbine was quite good. She got shut off pretty bad and I was really impressed with it.”

Virginia Joy, winner of the Flower Bowl in September, completes the threesome and seeks her fourth graded stakes victory of the year. All four her stateside victories have been at 1¼ miles or farther. She breaks from post 10 under Irad Ortiz Jr. and is 10-1.

 “It’s a tough one, because the distance is a little short for her, but I didn’t want to run her against the males in the Turf. I don’t think she’s up for that,” Brown said. “She’s running a little shorter than I prefer, but I have Irad on her and she looks well, so hopefully she can get a piece of it.”

Family Way – Brendan Walsh-trained Family Way will look to go out with a proverbial bang in what is her 20th and likely final race in Saturday’s $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Scheduled to be subsequently sold, the daughter of Uncle Mo out of a half-sister to Caravaggio will also try to improve upon three placings from three Grade 1 starts in 2022. The five-time winner drew post eight with a morning line of 20-1 and will be ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.

“I don’t think the draw has a big bearing on her. I just didn’t want to be totally inside or outside,” Walsh said. “We will try to have her in a good spot. Tyler knows her well and he’ll hopefully have her in the best possible position. I’d like her more handy this time and we didn’t plan to have her as far back as she was the last day, so she had too much ground to make up.”

Owned by Hunter Valley Farm, Marc Detampel and Debra O’Connor, the gray 5yo mare enters off a late-running second in the G1 Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita. She was also second in the G1 New York in June at Belmont Park and third in the G1 Beverly D. at Churchill Downs in August.

            “She ran well last time and throughout the year and we think she deserves to take her chance here,” Walsh continued. “She’s going to the sale after this and has never been far away in these big races. She just needs things to fall her way. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if she hit the board. We’ll keep her ticking over between now and Saturday and hopefully she runs a big race.”

TURF SPRINT

Bran – When Bran arrived in trainer John Sadler’s barn last year for Hronis Racing, Sadler was not sure what to expect.

“I was hoping he would be worth the price we paid for him,” Sadler said of Bran, who spent the first part of his career racing in grass sprints in France.

This year, Bran has compiled a record of 8-3-2-2 and earned a spot into Saturday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

“He has exceeded our expectations,” Sadler said Tuesday morning before Bran went out to train on the main track with Juan Leyva aboard. “I don’t know if he is a Grade 1 horse, but we’ll find out.”

Bran earned a spot in the Turf Sprint by winning a “Win and You’re In” race at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 10 in his most recent start.

“He had a nice breeze Friday (4f in 48 2/5) and handled it fine,” Sadler said. “He got to work on grass which is something we can’t do in California.”

Bran will break from post 12 under Vincent Cheminaud.

“That’s good for him,” Sadler said of the draw, “and a fast pace will help him.”

Cheminaud, who will be making his Breeders’ Cup debut, will be aboard Bran for the third time.

“He gave Bran a tremendous ride at Churchill Downs (in the May 6 Turf Sprint there) at 40-1 and nearly won,” Sadler said, “and he rode him really well at Kentucky Downs.

“I didn’t know him before, but my French acquaintances said he was a good rider. He has a good rapport with the horse.”

Golden Pal – Trainer Wesley Ward is leaving nothing to chance this week as he prepares Golden Pal for his career finale in the Turf Sprint with what could be a record-tying third victory in the Breeders’ Cup. Rather than getting him out of the track at Keeneland as soon as it opens in morning, Ward is committed to having him take to the track for his daily exercise at the very end of training hours. 

“I like to gallop him really, really late when no one’s on the track,” Ward said Tuesday. “He’s very, very relaxed when no one’s out there when he’s got the track to himself, as most horses are. You take him up there when horses are breezing and lots of gallopers, he kind of wants to go. In the next few days we’re going to take him real, real late when essentially he’ll be the only one galloping out there.”
            Ward has often described the 4yo son of Uncle Mo as the best horse he has trained. Golden Pal, owned by the Coolmore partnership of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Westerberg, is 8-2-0 in 12 career starts. He snagged his first Breeders’ Cup victory in the 2020 Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland. Last year, he added the Turf Sprint to his resume. Should he repeat Saturday, he will join Hall of Famers Goldikova and Beholder as the only horses with three victories in the World Championships.
            Breeders’ Cup week started well for Ward when Golden Pal and jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. drew post eight in the field of 14 going 5 ½ furlongs.

“I was very happy with his post,” Ward said. “Post eight, we’re out there a ways to where he can break and this way Irad will get a sense of what he wants to do. If he breaks as sharp as he usually does, he can kind of ease over to the rail. Or, if somebody catches a flyer and breaks like him Irad will be able to ride his race from there. I was really happy with his post.”
            Golden Pal has raced at six tracks during his career and is unbeaten in four starts at Keeneland, where Ward’s stable is based. Ward said Golden Pal is doing well.

“We’re ready to roll,” Ward said. “He’s been pointing for this since last year’s race. This is a race that I asked Michael Tabor right after the horse crossed the finish line, we’re heading to the winner’s circle, if we could get one more year. Before we got on camera, I kind of wanted to pin him down a little bit. He didn’t see why not. So here we are today.”
            Golden Pal has won five of his last six starts. The only blemish this year was in June in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot. Typically, quick out of the gate, Golden Pal missed the break because Ortiz was distracted by a horse acting up behind the gate. It left him 0-for-3 tries in high-profile stakes in England, where Ward has a strong record of success.

“Just bad luck. It just goes to show you that in racing there’s so much luck involved that everything has to go right,” Ward said. “Unfortunately, this year when we went and that was going to be very big for him as a stallion, is if he could do it at Ascot in front of all the European breeders. I’ve never had anything like that happened to me and all these 30-plus years of training, Irad and I walked the course with Steve Cauthen. Steve gave him all the insights of Ascot Racecourse and The King’s Stand and everything that happens being a rider that this was brand new to him running there.

“I told him, ‘Look, you’ve got to be ready, almost like the Kentucky Derby. Like when those horses are in the gate the starter just pushes it, no matter if it’s a horse rearing up. What I’ve seen so many times that I’ve been over. It wouldn’t happen in the States, the way that the starter runs the course over there. So there was an unruly 99-1 shot in the back of the gate and Irad was looking back. What he did not know is that, the starter, at any time, can deem the horse out and just push the button and go. As Irad was looking completely back the starter pushed the button, ruled the horse as scratched. All the other riders know the rules and they were ready and Irad wasn’t. He almost fell off the horse, we broke dead last and that was it.”

JUVENILE TURF

Packs a Wahlop – Red Baron’s Barn and Rancho Temescal’s Packs a Wahlop brings a perfect three-for-three grass record into Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) and a chance to give trainer Jeff Mullins a first victory in the World Championships.

“He can run all day,” Mullins said of Packs a Wahlop, whose past two victories have come at the mile distance of the Juvenile Turf.

Packs a Wahlup began his career with a fourth-place finish in the slop at Gulfstream in June before heading west.

“My son had a string at Gulfstream and it was easy to ship there after we bought him in April at OBS,” Mullins said of the $270,000 purchase. “He had a really good stride on the track at Ocala and you could tell distance would not be a problem for him.”

Packs a Wahlop drew post position two for the Juvenile Turf and will be ridden by Mike Smith, who has been aboard for all three victories by the Creative Cause colt.

“He’s going to be forwardly placed,” Mullins said. “But, you can plan all you want until the gates open. However, my rider, I don’t have to tell him anything. He’s been around for a while.”

Smith, who leads all riders with 27 victories in the Breeders’ Cup, posted one of those wins in the Juvenile Turf in 2013 with Outstrip.

JUVENILE TURF SPRINT

Speed Boat Beach – After Speed Boat Beach proved himself on dirt at Del Mar, trainer Bob Baffert prepped him for a possible start in the Juvenile Turf Sprint with a run on grass in the Speakeasy on Oct. 2 at Santa Anita. He passed that test, too, winning by 1 ¼ lengths at 2-5.
            Though Baffert said Speed Boat Beach shows him he is a dirt horse, he decided the Bayern colt was better suited for the 5 ½f on turf than trying two turns on the main track in the Juvenile.

“Hopefully it doesn’t rain and it’s not soft,”Baffert said. “He’s a fast horse. He’s a really fast horse. Is turf his game? I don’t know. I think he’s better on dirt, but I wasn’t going to run him going a mile and a sixteenths. Maybe down the road, but he’s not ready for it now.”
           Though Baffert ranks fourth in Breeders’ Cup career starts with 133, this is his first entry in the Juvenile Turf Sprint. After the post-position draw, he joked that he didn’t know whether post 11 was a good or bad past because he never has had a horse in a 5 ½f  turf race at Keeneland. 
            Speed Boat Beach is owned by Baffert’s longtime clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, who have a 2-4-0 record from 13 starts in the Breeders’ Cup. Their two wins came with Secret Circle in the Sprint.
            Pegram, Watson and Weitman paid $200,000 for the Florida-bred son of Bayern – who was trained by Baffert – for $400,000 in March at the OBS sale. Bayern won the 2014 Haskell, Pennsylvania Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic before entering stud in Kentucky in 2016. He now stands in Korea.
            Baffert said he often scouts the offspring of horses he trained at sales and that Speed Boat Beach caught his eye.

“He worked really fast down in Ocala, and I’m always looking at the Bayerns because he was a really good horse,” Baffert said. “He beat California Chome. He beat good horses. He won some proper races. He won the Haskell, the Pennsylvania Derby. He was a really good horse. He never got a chance (at stud). Horses like that, with the breeding, you don’t get a chance in America unless you’re by Tapit or something. If you don’t come with the runners the first year, it’s tough.

 “I saw him at the sale. He worked fast. He’s just a beautifully built horse. He looks like Bayern and is fast. Bayern couldn’t stretch it out until later as a 3-year-old. I tried stretching him and he just wasn’t ready for it. With some horses you’ve just got to wait and it will come eventually.

“I think Speed Boat was named right. He has a lot of speed.”

Tyler’s Tribe – Tom Lepic and trainer Tim Martin’s undefeated Tyler’s Tribe got a spin over the Keeneland turf course Tuesday morning as he drew closer to his start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1) that will kick off Future Stars Friday at the 39th World Championships.

“We did the turf today, walk Wednesday, go to the gate Thursday and won’t go to the track Friday morning,” Martin said. “I’m Quarter horse training; I want him fresh and fast!”

Tyler’s Tribe will be making his grass debut after winning five races on the dirt at Prairie Meadows by a combined 59 ¾ lengths. Kylee Jordan, who is making her Breeders’ Cup debut, has the mount Friday on the Iowa-bred son of Sharp Azteca and break from post 10.

“The 10 is fine; he broke his maiden from there,” Martin said. “On the dirt, he has a fast cruising speed and I’d like to see him get out of the gate good and then settle.

“He’s a fast horse and the speed (Speed Boat Beach and The Platinum Queen) is outside of us. If they want the lead, they are going to have to go around us.”

The colt is named for the followers of Lepic’s grandson Tyler Juhl, who was declared cancer free last week in his battle with leukemia.

“There are going to be watch parties all over the state and there will be about a hundred Iowans here for the race,” said Lepic, who has turned down offers for Tyler’s Tribe.

“We never ever had even a thought of selling. We had a lot of awfully good offers but it was never considered,” Lepic said. “He’s a family horse, a horse that means so much more than just to our family but to the Leukemia Foundation. He will stay with our family and Tim Martin his entire life.”

Tyler’s Tribe also had been pre-entered in the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance but the connections opted to stay at a sprint distance and try the grass.

“He’s going to Oaklawn Park right after this,” Lepic said. “They have four stakes there and we will stretch him out and see what happens.”

EUROPEAN REPORT

The European horses touched down at Keeneland racetrack quarantine barn Saturday. The Godolphin shipment arrived in quarantine at 4:15 p.m with the remaining horses, including Aidan O’Brien’s, arriving at 9:30 p.m. All connections reported their horses traveled over well and there were no issues.

The European horses cleared quarantine Monday afternoon and all exercised Tuesday.  

The first horses out were the Richard Fahey duo The Platinum Queen (Juvenile Turf Sprint) and Midnight Mile (Juvenile Fillies Turf). Regular rider of The Platinum Queen, Oisin Orr said, “She seems in great form, moved well and feeling good so everything is great.”

Dramatised (Juvenile Turf Sprint) trained by Karl Burke exercised with the Fahey horses. Karl’s daughter Lucy who is overseeing preparations said, “Dramatised has taken all travel and quarantine as well as we could ask for. She was happy to be out this morning and just did a light exercise, but everything is good with her so far.”

John Quinn who trains arguably the European’s biggest hope, Yorkshire’s racing royalty, Highfield Princess (Turf Sprint) was on track this morning.

 “It’s wonderful to be back at the Breeders’ Cup,’ Quinn said. “Highfield Princess has traveled over great and Con Foley who is with her reports he couldn’t be happier. She did some light exercise this morning and moved well. She’s eaten up and drinking well so all is good. I’m delighted with the draw in gate six. Obviously Golden Pal sets the standard but there’s also some very good horses in the race which you have to respect. Tomorrow she’ll do similar as today, light exercise and her jockey Jason Hart will be here to ride her. She’ll go for a spin on the turf on Thursday with an easy day Friday. Her owner Mr. (John) Fairley arrives with his family on Thursday and they’re very excited, and why shouldn’t they be!”

Aidan and Joseph O’Brien were also on track to watch their horses. O’Brien Sr. said, 

“It’s great to be back here, it’s always a highlight of our year to come to the Breeders’ Cup. The lads are delighted with the horses and how they traveled so we’re ready for a big week. They just had a hack around the main track this morning which is what we’d always do on the first day of training just to let them have a look around.”

John and Thady Gosden are represented by Mishriff (Turf) and Nashwa (Filly & Mare). Their traveling head lad Anthony Proctor said, “I’m very happy with both horses. They traveled over great and have settled in well. Nashwa looks to have a big chance in the Filly & Mare and you can’t discount Mishriff. It’ll be his last race on Saturday before retirement. He’s been a wonderful horse who has taken us around the world so he will be a big loss to the yard. He’s wearing blinkers for the first time on Saturday which should sharpen him up.”

Charlie Appleby arrives in Kentucky later today and will be trackside Wednesday. Maria Murphy who is overseeing his horses said, “The team are very happy with the horses. They traveled over very well and seem in good form. They went out on the turf this morning doing light exercise. Charlie arrives today so he will be here tomorrow for training.”

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