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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited Breeders’ Cup Team Release — Culled from combined sources: ANDUEL BREEDERS’ CUP MILE 

  • Horse: Exaulted  Trainer: Peter Eurton  Set: NA  Morning Activity: Walked.  Planned Activity: Will jog Tuesday morning.  The Quote: “He had run well enough on the dirt. He was stakes-placed twice on the dirt. But he ran a couple of sub-par races and we thought we would try him on turf. He’s a big horse; 17 hands, 1,200 pounds. He doesn’t look like a turf horse.” – Peter Eurton on Exaulted’s 5-4-1-0 record on grass.   
  • BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES TURF  Horse: Life’s an Audible Trainer: Todd Pletcher Set: 7:45 a.m. Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Humberto Zamora. Planned Activity: Will gallop 1 1/4 miles. Time TBD. The Quote: “She won going 5 1/2 (furlongs). Closed well. Stretched out nicely in the Miss Grillo (G2) and again was closing well late. Just kind of ran out of time. I thought she finished up strongly and could hopefully make another move forward off that.” – Todd Pletcher.  
  • BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE TURF SPRINT  Horse: Committee of One Trainer: Steve Asmussen Morning Activity: Jogged.  Planned Activity: Will resume galloping Tuesday. The Quote: “It was a breakthrough race last time (in the Indian Summer Stakes at Keeneland). Obviously, at five-eighths on the turf with 12 head, you need to get lucky with the trip. He’s a horse that likes to come from a little off of it, so hopefully a good trip will open up.” – Steve Asmussen 
  •  QATAR RACING BREEDERS’ CUP SPRINT  Horse: Gunite Trainer: Steve Asmussen  Morning Activity: Walked the shedrow. Planned Activity: Will jog Tuesday. The Quote: “Both of his Grade 1 wins have been at seven-eighths and he’s dropping back to three-quarters. It’s going to be a rubber match between him and Elite Power at three-quarters. Obviously, we feel that Gunite is worthy and up to the task.” – Steve Asmussen Horse: Speed Boat Beach Trainer: Bob Baffert. Morning Activity: Worked 4f in :47 4/5 in his final prep for the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1). Planned Activity: Will walk at the barn Tuesday. Closer Look: Speed Boat Beach Speeds into Breeders’ Cup Sprint Bob Baffert is no stranger at major Thoroughbred horse sales, having been instrumental in picking and approving the acquisitions of a large number of high-priced, royally bred prospects. While that wasn’t always the case, his first acquisition may have been a harbinger of the success that followed.  Thirty Slews was the first thoroughbred horse Baffert purchased at auction. He was just making the transition from training Quarter Horses to training Thoroughbreds and he had been sent to Kentucky with a $20,000 budget for one of his new clients. Baffert eyed a roan son of Slewpy, whose sire was the Triple Crown-winning Seattle Slew, on the third day of the sale, and entered the bidding to acquire the colt. But as the bidding heated up, it surpassed the established budget. Baffert was determined to secure the horse even when the price reached $30,000. When the owner demurred on the elevated auction price, Baffert signed the tab and bought the horse himself. “I was really nervous signing for the horse, because I wasn’t even sure if I had the money in my bank account,” Baffert recalled. “When the owner wouldn’t budge on the sale price, I ended up dividing up the ownership among some of my other clients. I kept a portion, though.”  The horse got his name from a conversation he had with a fellow race tracker who inquired about how much Baffert spent on the horse. Humorously, Baffert replied, “Thirty Slews,” referring to the price paid and the horse’s famous lineage.  Fast forward to the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Gulfstream Park, where Baffert had entered the horse. He was bullish about his chances despite the 19-1 odds, and his confidence was rewarded when the late-running roan was up in time to capture the race in a photo finish. Even in the afterglow of success, Baffert, who had been training Thoroughbreds for such a short time and now emerged triumphant in one of the year’s biggest races, thought to himself, “I might have peaked too soon!”  Of course, that assessment quickly was disproven by Baffert, whose exploits have delivered a record five winners in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, more than double his next closest rival trainer. Included among those winners was the race’s first repeat winner Midnight Lute (2007-2008), who Baffert refers to as one of the top five horses he has trained; 2013 winner Secret Circle and 2016 Eclipse Award-winning champion Defrong.  This year, Baffert will send out Speed Boat Beach, a lightly raced son of Bayern—Baffert’s first Breeders’ Cup Classic winner—in the 6-furlong dash. Last fall, the colt was entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1), but had a difficult trip before finishing a disappointing ninth. Although the horse returned to the races a month later to capture a grass stakes at Del Mar, Baffert was determined he was better on dirt and he would never run on the grass again.  Speed Boat Beach was given a long freshening, returning for his 3-year-old campaign in September, facing older horses for the first time in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G2). He battled for the lead throughout the six-furlong event, just failing to catch the winner by a head at the wire. It was a valiant effort for his return to competition and encouraged Baffert to enter him in the Qatar Racing Breeders’ Cup Sprint.  “I really liked his comeback race,” Baffert said. “Since that effort, he’s trained really well (including a 4f final prep in :47 4/5 this morning). I’ve got the screws tightened on him now.” 
  •  PNC BANK BREEDERS’ CUP FILLY & MARE SPRINT   Horse: Society Trainer: Steve Asmussen Morning Activity: Walked the shedrow. Planned Activity: Will jog Tuesday. The Quote: “She’s razor-sharp right now. We just need to keep her on the ground between now and Saturday. She’s feeling good. She’s already won at seven-eighths in 1:20 and change so we know she’s fast.” – Steve Asmussen 
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Morning Activity: Galloped approximately 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Hector Ramos.
    Planned Activity: Gallop approximately 1 1/4 miles.
    The Quote: “We had a disappointing result in the Champagne Stakes (G1). He misbehaved a little bit in the gate. Stumbled at the start. I thought he recovered, put himself in a good position, started to make a move around the turn and then he kind of just leveled off on us. Came back (to Keeneland) had an excellent breeze on (Oct. 19) in company with Locked. We just feel like his debut was so impressive and the way he’s trained has always been of the highest quality that we feel like we just have got to draw a line through the Champagne and try again.” – Todd Pletcher 
    Horse: Noted
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Set: 7:45 a.m.
    Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Dominic Merrit.
    Planned Activity: Will gallop 1 1/4 miles. Time TBD
    The Quote: “He’s run well on the turf three times, and he’s undefeated on the dirt in one start (Sapling at Monmouth) and he defeated a horse (Dornoch) that came back to break his maiden impressively at Keeneland, on the dirt.  I thought his breeze on (Oct. 19) on the dirt was quite good.” – Todd Pletcher  
  • NETJETS BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE FILLIES  Horse: Just F Y I Trainer: Bill Mott Set: 8 a.m. Morning Activity: Worked 4f in 48 3/5 with assistant trainer Neil Pozansky aboard. Planned activity: Will walk the shedrow. The Quote: “She went well. She had galloped really strong for two days in a row and I didn’t want to work her off that. Neil was really happy with her and she looked great to me. Neil said she felt good and was responsive to whatever he wanted when she started the work.” – Bill Mott Closer Look: Lights, Camera, Action for Just F Y I It has always been about the movies for George Krikorian. Well, at least when it came to going to them. The 78-year-old Krikorian had a solid career as the founder, CEO and President of Krikorian Premier Theaters. In its heyday, there were close to 100 movie houses with his name on them, most in Southern California. Eventually, he sold nearly all of them to Regal Cinemas. Krikorian still owns a few of them, one of them in Lexington, Kentucky, the other in Palos Verdes, where he lives in California. He is hopeful there is a blockbuster double feature in his immediate future when his 2-year-old filly Just F Y I runs in Friday’s $2 million NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Santa Anita Park. On Saturday, another Krikorian-owned horse–6-year-old mare War Like Goddess – goes in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) against the boys. Krikorian never has won a Breeders’ Cup race in 11 tries. His best finishes were two thirds, both by War Like Goddess (last year’s Turf and the 2021 Filly & Mare Turf). Kirkorian also bred Just F Y I, a daughter of 2018 Triple Crown winner Justify. She was born at his Starwood Farm in Versailles, Kentucky.  She was one of the horses he decided to keep, not sell. “It’s kind of a guessing game,” he said. “Some of the horses, you feel like you just need to sell. Financially, you can’t keep them all. We have a breeding operation and we have to pay our bills.” It turned into an absolute win when it was decided that Just F Y I would stay put. “One of the reasons we did not sell her at auction is because she looked pretty special,” Krikorian said. Her dam is Star Act, also owned and bred by Krikorian. “She is a beautiful horse,” Krikorian said. “Big and strong with a lot of bone. She was compromised during her racing career with a couple of injuries and, unfortunately, didn’t get to perform the way her daughter is performing.” Just F Y I is unbeaten in two starts. After breaking her maiden at Saratoga in August, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott deemed her ready for graded stakes company. She won the Frizette (G1) at Aqueduct by 3 ¾ lengths on a sloppy Aqueduct track for jockey Junior Alvarado on Oct. 7. “When she crossed the wire, it looked like she was just getting going,” Mott said. “I think she is an exciting filly. I liked her from the moment I saw her. She could be special. Time will tell.” Krikorian was at Santa Anita Monday morning to watch Just F Y I have her final drill before the Juvenile. He was in New York on that rainy afternoon when his filly splashed home the easiest of winners.  And, of course, he will be in the house on Friday to see his young filly do her thing (and will be back on Saturday for War Like Goddess). “It is just really special when you breed a horse and that horse turns around and does what she has done so quickly,” Krikorian said. “It doesn’t happen often.” When Just F Y I won the $400,000 Frizette that day at Aqueduct, it came a half hour after War Like Goddess won the $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1).  Krikorian only smiles when asked about his two horses pulling off a Breeders’ Cup double. He is hopeful. He knows he has some solid horses.  “I do get attached to them,” he said. “They are like children. They all grow up. They all have personalities. When they are able to perform and do some special things, it is a very proud feeling.” 
  • Horse: Life Talk
    Trainer: Todd Pletcher
    Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/4 miles for exercise rider Humberto Zamora. 
    Planned Activity: Will gallop 1 1/4 miles and visit starting gate.
    The Quote: “She was third in the Frizette Stakes (G1) in difficult conditions, a sloppy track. Might have been on the dead part of the race track down on the rail. I think it was a strong-enough effort on its own to merit giving her the try. I also think she had a valid excuse under the conditions that she can move forward and I do think she’ll appreciate the extra sixteenth and getting around two turns.” – Todd Pletcher  Horse: Scalable
    Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Humberto Zamora.
    Planned Activity: Will gallop 1 1/4 miles and visit the starting gate. Time TBD. 
    The Quote: “This filly is actually coming off a fifth-place finish in her debut. We took her to California for the Chandelier Stakes (G2). Stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth, I thought she ran terrific. She closed well late. I think that she’s one that based on that experience could definitely move forward.” – Todd Pletcher  
  • Horse: Tamara Trainer: Richard Mandella Morning Activity: Worked 5f on Saturday under jockey Mike Smith in 1:00 4/5. Walked on Sunday and returned to the track for a 1 1/2-mile gallop. Planned Activity: Scheduled to gallop Tuesday. Closer Look:  Leading Man Shares Starring Role With Another Stellar FillyIf the Breeders’ Cup is Thoroughbred racing’s coronation ball, then jockey Mike Smith has earned a reputation as a leading ladies’ man, having escorted some of the sport’s leading females to the Fall dance. Smith, the Breeders’ Cup’s all-time leader in both races and money earned at racing’s version of the Fall Classic, will be a astride his latest distaff star-in-the-making, the unbeaten Tamara, in the Nov. 3 NetJets Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The bay filly made such a strong impression on the Hall-of-Fame rider that he’s said, “she could turn out to be the best 2-year-old I’ve ridden.” Indeed, that’s high praise from someone who’s been aboard a dozen filly or mare Breeders’ Cup winners, including Horses of the Year Zenyatta and Azeri. “She’s only two and she’s had only had two career starts, so she has a long way to go,” said Smith, “but she’s about as good as you’d like to see. I was surprised, pleasantly, by how easily she won the Del Mar Debutante in her last race. She’s just a push button horse.” Indeed, her nearly seven-length victory over the best of her division in California has earned her favoritism for the 1-1/16 mile juvenile fillies championship event. Of course, Smith, a two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey with more than 5,000 career victories, will be forever linked with the brilliant Zenyatta, who earned two Breeders’ Cup wins including the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) versus male competition when her patented lethal stretch charge swallowed up her opposition. But, Smith has also won the Breeders’ Cup races with such other special distaff stalwarts as Inside Information, whose winning margin was a record 13-1/2 lengths; two-time winner Royal Delta, and Songbird, who Smith compares very favorably with Tamara. He has also utilized every ounce of his renowned skills to coax the mare Mizdirection to consecutive victories over male rivals in memorable Breeders’ Cup’s turf sprints. And, for good measure, the 56-year-old rider has notched a dozen of his Breeders’ Cup wins aboard the fairer sex, including three in the Juvenile Filly division—from where the future stars of racing emerge. Thus, it would seem that Mike has laid a solid foundation for his prowess with the ladies in seasonal championships and would be considered an excellent evaluator of talent. “I have been blessed to have ridden so many special fillies and mares,” recalled Smith, “and I never take that for granted, because you never know if it’s going to be the last one. And, then, another one like Tamara comes around,” he added. Tamara is a daughter of the brilliant champion Beholder, herself a four-time Eclipse Award winner and a record-tying three-time winner of Breeders’ Cup championships. Her trainer, another Hall of Fame connection, Richard Mandella, also conditions Tamara. Mandella always revered Beholder as the best horse he’s trained and now he has her daughter primed to pick up where her mother left off. “Obviously, she an extremely talented filly. She always does things so easily,” Mandella said, “and keeps asking for more. She’s got a great mind and a very sweet temperament.  She does everything so professionally.          
  • Mandella has been repeatedly asked to compare mother and daughter. He stated, “Tamara is very different from Beholder and it’s difficult to really compare. However, I’d probably say at this stage in their careers, Tamara is probably a little ahead in her development. But the one thing they have in common is that they both liked to run.” Ironically, it was Beholder, in the final race of her career, that denied Songbird, ridden by Smith, of an unbeaten championship season in the 2016 Championships. Smith recalls that epic race by saying, “It’s hard to really say there was a loser in that race, because those two were such brilliant mares. Even though we got the short end of the photo finish, I felt like there was really no loser.” When asked about the same recollection, Mandella wryly noted, “I just watched the videotape of that race the other day.” It was the most recent time Mandella, a nine-time winner, hoisted a Breeders’ Cup trophy. Taking no chances, he’s enlisted the Breeders’ Cup’s leading ladies’ man in Smith to reverse those fortunes. This year, they’ll be on the same team.  
  • INTERNATIONAL REPORT The Saturday European shipment will be released from quarantine Monday night and will be on track to train Tuesday morning.  Master Of The Seas (IRE) (Mile) was the first European horse on the track. He went through the gates and did a jog around the track. Connections continue to be happy with his well-being.  Songline (JPN) (Mile), who is toward the top of the betting alongside Master Of The Seas, cantered two laps of the turf, with the final half easing up.  Live In The Dream (IRE) (Turf Sprint) had a strong canter on the turf track over 5 furlongs. As he has done each morning, he traveled with great enthusiasm in the hands of regular work rider Shoshana Cooksley. His owners Steve and Jolene De’Lemos were trackside to watch their sprinter exercise. Mawj (IRE) (Mile) had a canter around the Santa Anita main track. She then gate schooled, walking in the gates before backing out in controlled fashion. Interestingly the Godolphin team swapped riders to do the gate schooling with regular work rider Michael Greig hopping off for Matthew Lawson who stood her in the gates. “Mawj exercised very well this morning,” Greig said. “I’m really happy with her. She knows what she needs to do so I just leave it up to her.”    



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