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B CUP BARN NOTES – NOV 3


Edited Breeders’ Cup Notes Team Release
— C Z Rocket – 
Altamira Racing Stable and Madaket Stable’s 8YO veteran sprinter C Z Rocket will make his third consecutive start in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on Saturday for trainer Peter Miller, breaking from post eight of 11 under Flavien Prat.

Second in 2020 at Keeneland after a troubled trip and seventh in 2021 after a slow start, the son of City Zip will seek better fortunes in 2022. The only time he has teamed with Prat resulted in a victory in the 2020 Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar.

“In 2020 we didn’t have our best trip and things didn’t go well. I think with a better trip, we maybe could have won it with him,” Miller said. “We broke way inside of Whitmore and wound up running 30-or-so more feet than Whitmore. All credit to Whitmore, but we felt compromised by our trip.

“I like our post with him,” Miller continued. “I like being outside. He’s drawn the rail in the last four races, so it’s nice to get off the fence. He’s a fresher horse this year and his last race was his best race and I think he’s coming up to an equal or better race. We need a pace setup and it should be hot, so I’m optimistic. He loves this racetrack, that’s for sure.”

The 12-time winner will be making his 35th lifetime start Saturday and has raced four times in 2022, including a nose loss in last month’s Santa Anita Sprint Championship. 

Elite Power – Juddmonte’s Elite Power will try to extend his win streak to five on Saturday for trainer Bill Mott in the Sprint when the 4yo son of Curlin breaks from post six of 11 under Irad Ortiz Jr. Assigned third-choice morning line odds of 6-1,  the $900,000 Keeneland September 2019 purchase has started just seven times, five of those in 2022, including a “Win and You’re In” victory in the Vosburgh last month.

“He’s been a late developer and didn’t break his maiden until he was a 4-year-old,” Mott said. “He’s a horse who really took a lot of patience. He ran late in his 3-year-old year and his bones were still developing. We had problems with his shins and had to get a couple races in him just for the experience and then gave him the winter off. He has repaid us.

“He was third in his first start back as a 4-year-old and hasn’t been beaten since,” Mott continued. “He’s taken every step and done everything right.

“Is the six furlongs his ideal distance? We’ll see. I think the seven-eighths is probably a perfect distance for him, but we don’t have that option. We hope for a good honest pace up front and something that might back up a little bit and give him a shot to show himself off.”

  

Jackie’s Warrior – J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s Champion Male Sprinter Jackie’s Warrior had an easy gallop Thursday as he prepares to make his third overall Breeders’ Cup appearance and second in the Qatar Racing Sprint (G1). He’ll be looking to redeem himself after last year’s sixth-place finish as the heavy 1-2 favorite in the Sprint and his fourth in the 2020 Juvenile as the 4-5 favorite. 

            This year, the 4yo colt has won four of five starts and comes into the 6f race having not started since his second to Cody’s Wish in the Forego Stakes Aug. 27, a move trainer Steve Asmussen said was by design.

               “We brought him in here fresh because he obviously did not respond well off the top (Ragozin) number at Parx (in the Gallant Bloom) and then the trip all the way to California” Asmussen said. “But, but there’s so many variables year to year in a Breeders Cup. When you think about it, last year, the fact that we started off in Derby preps with him and then back down to the Pat Day Mile and to end the year as an Eclipse winning sprinter is something. This year, he’s been running very fast in all five of his races, including his second-place finish.”

Kimari – For trainer Wesley Ward, the decision to enter Kimari against males in the Sprint rather than the Filly & Mare Sprint was a pretty easy call. It came down to a furlong.
            The 5yo daughter of Munnings co-owned by Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor has won nine of 16 race and earned $1.1 million. She will try to become the fourth female to win the Sprint and the first since Desert Stormer in 1995. The Filly & Mare Sprint was added to the Breeders’ Cup lineup in 2007.
            In her most recent start, she won the 6 ½f Gallant Bloom at Aqueduct on Sept. 25 by 1 ¼ lengths. The Sprint is run at 6f, but the Filly and Mare Sprint is at 7f. She is perfect in two 6f starts and 1 for 3 at 7f.
            “I think she’s much better at six or 6 ½ than seven,” Ward said. “The extra little bit, I think she’s just vulnerable, whereas at six furlongs I’m not afraid of anyone. I know Jackie’s Warrior is just awesome, but my feeling is she’s almost like a colt. I just think that she’s in top form right now at her home track. She’s got good spacing from the win at Aqueduct until now. Her works have been great. She’s dead sound and she’s had many physical issues that have plagued her during her career that she doesn’t have right now. Everything is coming to hand.”
            Kimari will start from post two under Jose Ortiz. She is the 4-1 second choice on the morning line behind Jackie’s Warrior. 

  

BIG ASS FANS DIRT MILE 

Cody’s Wish – Godolphin’s Bill Mott-trained Cody’s Wish will attempt to live up his 5-2 morning line favoritism in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) on Saturday. The Godolphin homebred son of Classic winner Curlin and Grade 1 winner Dance Card had another routine day Thursday, galloping on the dirt track. He will be piloted by Junior Alvarado on Saturday from post seven of 11.

The bay 4yo colt has won six of his last seven, including the G1 Forego last out over 7f and five one-turn miles, topped by the G3 Westchester at Belmont in May. In the Forego, he defeated the nation’s top-ranked sprinter, Jackie’s Warrior in a swift time of 1:20 4/5.

“He’s coming off a great race in the Forego, beating probably the top sprinter in the country going seven-eighths, of course,” Mott said. “He hasn’t run since then, so he’s coming in the race fresh and doing really well. We’re happy with him. The difference with him is this is a two-turn race and we feel like he’s really good at a mile. I’m uncertain how the two turns and different configuration will be for him.

“He’s a great big horse and the reason I always like a one-turn mile is because it gave him plenty of time to get into his stride going down a long backside. He could get into his rhythm and start his run,” Mott continued. “A horse like that, you don’t know that if he gets jammed up on the first turn, if it’ll influence how he’s going to be able to get himself back together again. Tactically, it’s probably a little bit different kind of a race than he’s been in the last couple times, but he’s very talented and it’s a really great story.”

Mott eluded to the namesake of Cody’s Wish, 16-year-old Cody Dorman, who met the colt when a foal at Godolphin’s Gainsborough Farm. The interaction was brought together as part of Keeneland’s association with the Make A Wish Foundation.

Afflicted with Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder, Dorman has followed Cody’s Wish’s career closely and – despite being unable to walk or speak and forced to communicate through a tablet – has even made accurate predictions to the horse’s performances on the track.

On Wednesday afternoon, Dorman and family visited Cody’s Wish at Mott’s Keeneland barn. The Dirt Mile favorite was led out by Mott and rested his head on Cody’s lap.

“The horse did it again,” father Kelly Dorman said. “He put his head in Cody’s lap and even rubbed his muzzle against his cheek. I lost it. My knees are still weak. Everyone there teared up. It was the most powerful thing I’ve ever seen.”   

               Cyberknife – Gold Square’s two-time Grade 1 winner Cyberknife went out to gallop 1 ½ m at 8 a.m. with exercise rider Edwin Vargas onboard. The 3yo Gun Runner colt is scheduled to enter stud next year at Spendthrift Farm and his connections are hoping a cut back to 1m in the Dirt Mile will help end his career with a trip to the winner’s circle.

               “He’s training really well,” trainer Brad Cox said “He’s been very consistent all year. I think the Mile is right race to get to the winner’s circle. I think as long as he breaks well and gets involved early, but not necessarily on the lead or anything, but as long as he’s involved and has position turning for home, I think he’ll be right there.”

               Informative – Trin-Brook Stables’ Informative has been scratched from the Dirt Mile according to the Breeders’ Cup racing office by order of the veterinarians.

Pipeline – John D. Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock Services’ Pipeline, 8-1 on the morning line, will attempt to give 15-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Chad Brown his first victory in the Dirt Mile Saturday. The two-time winner from nine starts exits a third in the G1 Forego behind Dirt Mile morning line favorite Cody’s Wish and Sprint morning line favorite Jackie’s Warrior, going 7f. Prior to that, he was second in the Monmouth Cup over 1 1/8 miles. He drew post three of 11 and wil be ridden by Flavien Prat for the first time.

“It’s a nice draw for him inside on this mile configuration and could be an advantage,” Brown said. “He’s training well and it’s a big step up for him, but he’s always been a horse we have thought a lot of. I like him in a two-turn situation. He’s a big, leggy and free-moving horse who has speed and can carry it. A mile and an eighth might be a tick too far, but I like the cutback to a mile.”

Slow Down Andy – Reddam Racing’s California-bred Slow Down Andy went for a routine 1 1/8 m gallop Thursday morning two days before he is slated to run in the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile. Connor Murray was aboard the colt for trainer Doug O’Neill. 

“I think a lot of it (deciding to enter Slow Down Andy in the Dirt Mile) was just trying to avoid Flightline,” O’Neill said. “He’s super versatile. He’ll route or sprint and he can run on the dirt or turf. Whatever you want to throw at him he’ll give it to you.” 

Slow Down Andy is a dual-surface, multiple graded stakes-winning son of Nyquist. His most recent start was in the Awesome Again Stakes in which he stumbled out of the gate but recovered for a third-place finish. The colt has been in the top three for eight of his nine career starts. Saturday’s Dirt Mile will be his first time racing at a flat mile as well as his first time racing at Keeneland.

“He’s an average-sized colt with a heart the size of a Clydesdale. I’m excited about his chances in the (Dirt) Mile,” O’Neill said.

Rated at 30-1 on the morning line, Slow Down Andy will break from post one with Mario Gutierrez retaining the mount. Gutierrez has ridden the colt in all his starts. 

FILLY & MARE SPRINT

               Ce Ce – Last year, Bo Hirsch’s Ce Ce played the spoiler at 6-1 when she denied defending Filly & Mare Sprint champion Gamine the repeat victory in the 7f race. This time around, it is the 6yo Exclusive Quality mare that will have the bullseye on her back as she looks to join Groupie Doll as the only other two-time winner of the race in her final career start. She comes in to Saturday’s race having won 11 of her 22 starts.

               “I’d like to keep her at 50 percent or better for her career,” trainer Michael McCarthy said. “She’s a tough girl. You don’t see too many resumes like hers.”

               Chi Town Lady – A change of equipment – removing blinkers – and a willingness to try a different running style turned Chi Town into a Grade 1 winner at Saratoga this summer and promptly made her a prospect for Saturday’s Filly & Mare Sprint.
            Trainer Wesley Ward’s experiment with Castleton Lyons’ 3yo Verrazano filly yielded a huge reward in the 7f Test on Aug. 6.
            “She ran a big race at Saratoga where our plan was to come from way, way back and make a big run. We were hoping for an on-the-board finish and lo and behold, it was our day and we won.”
            Chi Town Lady won the first two starts of her career in 2021, one on dirt and the other on turf, but after unsatisfying performances to end the season, Ward decided to switch his approach this year. Though she was last of seven in the Beaumont at Keeneland on April 10, she showed promise running second in an allowance race at Churchill Downs in May. Running fresh in the Test, she rallied from last to first at 17-1.
            “I started listening to how she was wanting to run from behind as opposed to keep her up close to the pace and I think that has made the difference,” Ward said.
            From the Test, Ward started preparing Chi Town Lady for the Filly and Mare Sprint, opting to train her up to the race.
            “Our plan was to not have her run prior to the Breeders Cup, do a prep, run a big race and not be all there for us in the Breeders Cup,” Ward said. “I said, ‘Let’s just do a little break from that win and start training her and honing her down tighter, tighter, tighter as time went by,’ and they did. She’s ready to go. We’re just going to go with the same plan at our home track here, where she’s trained her whole life,  to sit back there way, way back and make one big run.”
            Flavien Prat will ride Chi Town Lady, who is 20-1 on the morning line, from Post three.
            Chi Town Lady will be Ward’s six starter in the race. Three of them were by Judy the Beauty, who he owned and trained. She was second in 2013, finished first in 2014 and was fifth in her career finale in 2015.

Frank’s Rockette/Obligatory – Trainer Bill Mott will saddle two strong contenders in the Filly & Mare Sprint on Saturday, the first of nine Breeders’ Cup races on the card.

Frank Fletcher Racing Operation’s nine-time winner Frank’s Rockette enters off a one-sided victory at Charles Town in the $250,000 Pink Ribbon Stakes Aug. 26, while Juddmonte’s Grade 1-winning Obligatory was last seen finishing a late-running third in Saratoga’s Ballerina two days later. Frank’s Rockette, 6-1, breaks from post five of 13 under Luis Saez, while Obligatory, 8-1, teams up with Jose Ortiz from post seven.

“They are two different types, where one is more of a speed horse in Frank’s Rockette and Obligatory prefers to lay back off the pace and make a big run, so we have that part covered from both ends if either one of them are good enough,” Mott said. “I think the distance is really good for Obligatory. She’s probably a little better at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs than she is here. I don’t know what it is about Churchill, but when she tips out there and comes down the middle of the racetrack, it seems to give her enough time to get the job done. She gets a lot of it done within the last 70 yards. I think Keeneland is maybe a little bit different type of racetrack, maybe a little more speed-favoring than Churchill, but both races are seven furlongs. She has shown an affinity for Churchill over Keeneland.

“Frank’s Rockette is coming off a really good race at Charles Town – a very good effort – going the same 7f distance she’s going to run here,” he continued. “She couldn’t be coming into it much better. I mean, she’s really doing well. I’m very happy with her.”

Five-year-old Frank’s Rockette, 11th in the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Sprint won by Whitmore, seeks her first Grade 1 victory. In three top-level tries, she owns two runner-up efforts and started this season with a trio of second-place finishes in stakes company. She is a half-sister to Mott-trained Juvenile Fillies contender American Rockette. She makes her 24th lifetime start.

Obligatory, a 4yo, won the Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs and Hurricane Bertie at Gulfstream Park this year and is a five-time winner from 13 starts.

Goodnight Olive – Front Row Partners and Team Hanley’s Filly & Mare Sprint 3-1 morning line favorite Goodnight Olive continues to impress during the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. Trainer Chad Brown previously won the Filly & Mare Sprint in 2015, the first year the world championships were held at Keeneland, with Wavell Avenue. Goodnight Olive breaks from post eight of 13 and will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. 

“She compares favorably to Wavell Avenue, but she’s a closer to the pace kind of horse,” Brown said. “She’s coming in off fast numbers and condition-wise, she’s the best she’s ever looked. She’s been a horse who took a big step up from an allowance to a Grade 1 and she handled it well. There could be more there. It goes to show you how talented she is. The draw is good for her, right in the middle. It gives Irad a lot of options.”

By Ghostzapper and bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings in Kentucky, the 4yo filly has started six times and won five, including the Ballerina last out at Saratoga by 2¾ lengths. That effort came on just three weeks’ rest from a 6 1/2f allowance victory over the same course. Undefeated in three 2022 starts, she also started three times as a sophomore in 2021, with her lone loss being a second on debut at Gulfstream Park. Over the 7f she will tackle on Saturday, she is undefeated from three runs.

“Clearly she’s had some soundness issues in the past,” Brown explained. “They seem to be behind her this season, but I don’t want to take any chances. She had a hard race in the Ballerina, I think going to the well one too many times with her is risky. I like the way she’s coming in. Her race in the Ballerina is as good a race as you can have in this division going seven furlongs. If she runs that race back, she’ll be pretty tough. She’s not going to have to run better.” 

               Lady Rocket – Frank Fletcher Racing Operations and Ten Strike Racing’s Lady Rocket will be a little bit of a long shot at 10-1 odds on the morning line for the Filly & Mare Sprint, but her trainer Brad Cox feels she deserves the shot. She enters the race off a second-place finish to Sprint contender Kimari in the Gallant Bloom at Belmont at the Big A Sept. 25. She will break from post 12 of 13.

               “I love the post with her,” Cox said. “She’s been pretty consistent all year. I think you can throw the Ballerina (when sixth) out. She didn’t take to the kickback that day very well. So, hopefully, with the post she’s drawn and the speed on the inside of her, we should be OK.” 

               Hot Peppers – Michael Dubb and Michael Caruso’s Hot Peppers has been scratched from the Filly & Mare Sprint according to the Breeders’ Cup racing office per the veterinarians.

FANDUEL JUVENILE presented by Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance

Cave Rock, National Treasure – While fashioning an unbeaten record in three starts, Juvenile favorite Cave Rock has run away from the competition, winning by an average of 5 ½ lengths.
            The son of the late champion Arrogate out of the Bellamy Road mare Georgie’s Angel, will start from post three under jockey Juan Hernandez and is 4-5 on the morning line.  The colt is co-owned by longtime Baffert clients Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
            “Why is he so fast?” Baffert said. “Probably because his sire is one of the fastest horses I ever trained, one of the greatest horses I ever trained. He has the God-given talent of speed, and he gets it from both sides of the family. He’s powerful. He’s very mature. If you look at him.”
            Baffert will try to win his record-breaking sixth Juvenile with Cave Rock and National Treasure, a Quality Road colt co-owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables, who drew the outside post in the field of 10.

“National Treasure, is very talented, too, but he’s hasn’t really filled into his frame,” Baffert said. “I think Cave Rock is a very mature. He looks like a 3-year-old, just one of those horses that just really came around quickly. For the way he’s bred, he’s not supposed to run till later on, but he just came around quickly. He’s powerful. He’s quick. He’s fast.  He showed when he turned for home, he caught another gear. Every time he runs, he shows me something else.”
            When he was purchased as a yearling for $550,000 Cave Rock was named Theology. His new owners re-named him for a 360-foot high by 800-foot wide remnant of an ancient volcano that sits on the southeastern shore of Lake Tahoe in western Nevada.
        Cave Rock and National Treasure galloped on the track at Keeneland Thursday morning.

Forte/Lost Ark – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s quest for a third victory in the Juvenile rests with two colts who possess something none of their eight rivals have: a race over the track at the Juvenile distance of 1 1/16m.

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s two-time Grade 1 winner Forte, the 4-1 second choice on the line, was shipped to Keeneland for the Breeders’ Futurity to get a race over the track and try two turns for the first time. Pletcher’s two Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winners, Uncle Mo and Shanghai Bobby, both had their final preps in the one-turn Champagne at Belmont.

Forte passed that two-turn test with a neck victory while Harrell Ventures’ Lost Ark, half-brother to Distaff morning line favorite Nest, had a troubled trip and finished sixth in a field of 14.

Forte will break from post four under regular pilot Irad Ortiz Jr. while Lost Ark, a 20-1 morning line proposition, will break from post eight under Luis Saez. Saez will be aboard for the first time.

 “They both have tactical speed and need to get a good position like the fillies,” Pletcher said alluding to his two starters two races earlier in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).

            Verifying – Trainer Brad Cox will try to repeat the success he had two years ago at Keeneland in the Juvenile when he sends out Verifying with jockey Joel Rosario onboard. The Justify colt comes in with a win and a second and will be trying two turns for the first time, while 2020 winner Essential Quality was undefeated and had a two-turn race under his belt when he won. 

            “Verifying is doing great,” Cox said. “I think he’s going to love the two turns. I’m excited about getting him around two turns. He’s trained great and his numbers stack up, so we’ll see what happens Saturday.”

NETJETS JUVENILE FILLIES

Atomically/Chocolate Gelato – Trainer Todd Pletcher’s 12 Breeders’ Cup victories have come from nine races, but one race missing from that resume is the NetJets Juvenile Fillies (G1).

He will have two chances to alter that statistic Friday when he sends out morning line favorite Chocolate Gelato, owned by Repole Stable, and the newly acquired Atomically, owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Michael Bernard and Harry Colburn.

Chocolate Gelato, listed at 7-2, will break from post 10 under regular partner Irad Ortiz Jr. and Atomically, listed at 12-1, will break from post eight and be ridden for the first time by Luis Saez.

“They both have tactical speed and need to get a good position,” Pletcher said regarding the key to success Friday

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