$4 Million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf
Ashleyluvssugar – Peter Eurton’s trainee Ashleyluvssugar went to the main track shortly after 5 a.m. and galloped 1 1/4m under regular exercise rider Eddie Inda in preparation for Saturday’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The 5yo grandson of Danzig has become a favorite of Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens.
“He’s got a great record here at Santa Anita, which is his home and favorite track, Stevens said. “He never runs a dull race and shows up every time. He is very reliable. He’s become one of my favorite horses of all times, he’s a character, he’s got a great personality and he loves to run.”
Ashleyluvssugar enters the Turf off back-to-back wins in the John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Handicap at Del Mar.
Da Big Hoss – Skychai Racing’s Mike Maker-trained Da Big Hoss left Barn 56 at 6:30 a.m. with his conditioner looking on and proceeded to gallop a mile around the Santa Anita main track under exercise rider Joel Barrientos and then school in the gate. Sixth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, he will attempt to win his fifth consecutive stakes Saturday in his return to the $4 million event.
Ectot – Al Shaqab Racing and Gerard Normand’s Ectot galloped 1 3/8m at Santa Anita Thursday morning for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Turf.
The 5yo son of Hurricane Run broke through with a five-length victory in his third U.S. start in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Oct. 10. A Group 1 stakes winner in Europe, Ectot had finished fourth in a restricted stakes and second in an optional claiming allowance at Saratoga.
“It seemed leading up to that race, he was rounding into form. Those two races under his belt brought him forward. I think he’s trained even better since then,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “It’s a combination of a number of things, getting a few starts off an extended layoff, getting that fitness level again, acclimating a little longer to the U.S., all those things played a role in it.”
Flintshire/Money Multiplier – Like their other 10 stablemates in trainer Chad Brown’s barn, they galloped approximately 1 3/8m Thursday morning. After they cooled out and were bathed, Flintshire and Money Multiplier went to the paddock to be schooled.
Two years ago, Flintshire, the Juddmonte Farms’ globetrotting 6yo homebred, finished second by a half-length to Main Sequence in the Turf at Santa Anita. He was moved to Brown’s care this year with the Turf as his late-season goal and has won three of four starts. The only blemish was a second in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic over yielding ground that he did not like.
“The horse is doing great,” Brown said. “He should appreciate firm turf. It’s a really tough race. It’s supposed to be for $4 million. Hopefully he gets a good trip.”
Flintshire has earned $8.9 million during his career and is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line.
Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence often give their horses names from the world of finance that owners Lawrence and Seth Klarman operate in. The money multiplier is the increase in the amount of cash in circulation generated by the banks’ ability to lend money out of their depositors’ funds.
Metaboss – Turf hopeful Metaboss fractured a sesamoid on the right front ankle galloping on the Turf Wednesday and was scratched from the race.
“Not life threatening but definitely career ending,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “He should live a good long life, unaffected, but his career has to end. I give a lot of credit to my exercise rider Jose Dominguez. As soon as he felt something he wrapped up on him and pulled him up right away. He made sure it didn’t get any worse and I give him a lot of credit.
“(Metaboss) is fine today and we’ll heal him up and hopefully find a place for him at stud somewhere.”
A 4yo son of Street Boss owned by Blue Skies Stables et al, Metaboss finished with a career record of 12 starts, three wins, two seconds and two thirds and earnings of $300,420.
Displaying dynamic late rushes the chestnut colt had finished second, beaten only a nose by Ashleyluvssugar in the Del Mar Handicap in August and was fourth to the same rival when favored in the John Henry Turf Championship on Oct. 2 at Santa Anita.
$2 Million Breeders’ Cup Mile
Ironicus – Stuart Janney III’s Ironicus galloped 1 1/4m Thursday while preparing for Saturday’s Mile at Santa Anita.
The 5yo son of Distorted Humor has finished no worse than third in 11 consecutive turf starts since debuting with an off-the-board finish on dirt in November 2013.
“He likes it. He likes to train and he loves to run,” trainer Shug McGaughey said. “He’s got a good pedigree. He’s just one of those horses. He’s a good horse.”
Ironicus began his year with a victory in the Fort Marcy at Belmont in May before finishing second behind Flintshire following a troubled trip in the Manhattan in June. Following a four-month layoff, the gray one-run specialist surged from far back late to finish second, a head behind Miss Temple City, in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.
“He’s got a strong kick. When he kicks, he kicks hard. He’s gotten beat a couple times because he didn’t get the trip, which is part of grass racing,” McGaughey said. “Last time he didn’t get the trip and in the Manhattan, if we got the trip Flintshire got, I think we probably would have won. The same thing will happen here – he’ll kick, it’s just a matter of what kind of trip he gets.”
Midnight Storm – Galloped one mile on the training track under exercise rider Norberto Olguin.
“He’s won three straight graded stakes races and he’s trained very well,” trainer Phil D’Amato said. “Last year the turf course at Keeneland was very soft and didn’t favor California turf horses that are used to firmer footing, especially my two. This year we’re going to get firmer surface and I expect them (Midnight Storm and Turf Sprint entrant Obviously) to run creditable races.”
Miss Temple City/Ring Weekend – The Club Racing and Allen Rosenblum’s Miss Temple City galloped 1 1/2m Thursday at Santa Anita for a scheduled start in the Mile.
The 4yo daughter of Temple City recorded her second triumph over males this year in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland Oct. 8 after scoring in the Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland in the spring.
“She’s the best filly I’ve ever trained. I never had a filly that could beat the boys. I never would have even considered it,” trainer Graham Motion said. “I guess I have to thank Tepin for that. I never would have tried it. I never had a filly that I would have considered running against the boys.”
Instead of running Miss Temple City against defending Mile champion Tepin in the Jenny Wiley for fillies and mares at Keeneland last spring, Motion opted for the Maker’s 46 Mile. He opted for the Shadwell Turf Mile instead of running his filly in the First Lady in the fall. The Mile will be the first meeting between Miss Temple City and Tepin, who was upset by Photo Call in the First Lady.
“We have to face the music and I think this is the right time to do it. It goes beyond Tepin. It’s a very deep race but she’s still the horse to beat,” Motion said. “I have the utmost respect for Tepin. She’s got one chink in her armor and that was last time out. She probably got caught up in what was an awkward pace scenario, an awkward pace. Even the best can get caught up in that.”
Miss Temple City is an imposing specimen who obviously can handle the physical demands of doing battle with males.
“Physically, she is a very strong horse, but she is just very good. She’s very fast. She’s got an incredible turn of foot. At the end of the day, it’s just talent. It’s just happened that the days she’s shown it came when she was running against the boys,” Motion said. “Really, with better scenarios she could have won any of those other races. She got beat (a neck) in the Diana and a jump after the wire she was in front.”
St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds’ Ring Weekend also galloped 1 ½m Thursday morning.
The 5yo son of Tapit, who won the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March 2015 before being sidelined by a foot infection for 10 months, has run only four times this year, including a victory in the Bernard Baruch at Saratoga in September.
“He loves this turf course. He’s a very talented horse. I told Terry (Finley of West Point Thoroughbreds) at the beginning of the year that this was the race I wanted to run him in, so it’s not like we did this at the last minute,” Motion said. “How we got here is a little bit unorthodox, but the thing I like is that he’s lightly raced. I like coming here with lightly raced horses at the end of the year. I think that helps you.”
Photo Call – Teresa Viola Racing Stables’ Photo Call galloped 1 ¼m Thursday morning at Santa Anita for a start in Saturday’s Mile.
The 5yo daughter of Galileo captured the First Lady at Keeneland by 2 ¾ lengths ahead of defending Mile champion, Tepin leading by as many as 10 lengths while setting the pace under Kent Desormeaux.
Tepin – Six-time Grade I winner and defending Breeders’ Cup Mile champion Tepin continues to impress in the mornings for owner Robert Masterson and trainer Mark Casse. The 5yo daughter of Bernstein looks to end her season the way she did in 2015 on Saturday, with a victory in the Mile, when she breaks from post eight in a full field of 14 horses. On Thursday morning, she left Barn 59 at 5:30 a.m. in company with Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf contender Keep Quiet and galloped 1 ½ m on Santa Anita’s main track under the watchful gaze of assistant trainer Norman Casse.
“She loves to train, she loves breezing and she loves racing,” Norman Casse said. “Obviously she’s super-fast and talented, but most importantly she loves what she does. She’s the epitome of a racehorse. Once (regular rider) Julien (Leparoux) got on her, he helped teach her how to be more professional and avoid being rank early on and that made her a much more effective racehorse.”
Since teaming up with Leparoux, the bay mare is 11-for-14, including all of her aforementioned top-level wins, while two of her three losses came by a head and nose. In June, the pair made history when Tepin became the first American horse to win the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes – considered by many to be one of the toughest mile races in the world. Since then, she has raced twice, including a half-length tally in the Woodbine Mile and a shocking runner-up effort last out to loose-on-the-lead Photo Call as the 2-5 favorite versus nine of her own sex in the First Lady at Keeneland. She is 3-for-3 against males in open company, all in Grade/Group 1 turf miles.
“I don’t think she was 100-percent fit going into Woodbine and then we took it easier on her after that, thinking she would regress a little off that effort,” Norm Casse said. “You’re more likely to bounce if you’re not 100 percent going into a race and run big like that. So, even though we expected her to win at Keeneland, we knew we had taken it easy on her. This should be her best race and I think she’s sitting on her best effort. She’s 100 percent now.”
“I think every horse is different when it comes to bringing them back from going overseas,” Mark Casse added. “For us it was tougher with her because it’s too hot in the summer where she enjoys training the most, at Churchill (Downs) in Kentucky. So we had to give her a little break and at the same time get her ready on a surface that she doesn’t necessarily care for. Right now we’ve got her in a pattern that she likes.
“She’s also become smarter as she’s got older, which makes her tougher to get ready because she doesn’t put a lot of effort into her training,” he continued. “That’s the reason we ran her at Keeneland. She likes to be on a pattern where she’s running every four or five weeks and we would have had to go seven weeks if she didn’t run. She got something out of it, but she didn’t exhaust herself. Celestine (third place in the First Lady) is a great filly in her own right and Tepin pulled away from her by three lengths and Photo Call won’t get the same set up this time, so I try to look at it that way. One of the things that makes her great is her quick turn of foot off the turn, which she should be able to use here better than at Woodbine.”
The earner of $4 million may not be done competing on an international level after this season, according to the elder Casse. If all goes optimally, the 13-time winner from 22 starts may attempt to add a fourth country of Grade/Group 1 glory in 2017.
“First we’re looking at Saturday and then if she runs the way we expect her to, we’ll talk about Dubai (the Group 1 $6 million Dubai Turf in late March),” Mark Casse said. “Right now her focus is so strong, she’s laid back and ready. She’s the best horse I’ve trained.”
$2 Million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Catch a Glimpse – Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm’s 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Catch a Glimpse left Barn 59 at 8:30 a.m. and galloped a mile for trainer Mark Casse. The seven-time graded stakes-winning daughter of City Zip lines up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Saturday.
Al’s Gal – Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Mike Maker-trained last-out Grade I winner Al’s Gal left Barn 56 at 7 a.m. and proceeded to gallop a mile around the Santa Anita main track under exercise rider Joel Barrientos and then school in the gate.
Lady Eli/Sea Calisi – Trainer Chad Brown’s Filly & Mare Turf runners both galloped 1 3/8m and then went to the paddock for schooling Thursday.
Star-crossed Lady Eli, whose brilliant career was put on hold for a year by a bout with the hoof ailment laminitis, has had a successful return, with a win and a second in two starts, and is the 5-2 morning-line favorite. She won the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita two years ago. There is tremendous interest in her story and how she has managed to beat the odds and come back from life-threatening laminitis.
“It’s very rare, but she’s a very rare horse,” Brown said.
Although she has been entered in the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, Brown said that he has been told that the 4yo filly owned by Sheep Pond Partners will continue her racing career in 2017. Winning another Breeders’ Cup race seemed like an impossible goal a year ago when her connections were just hoping that she could survive.
“It already is an incredible story, but it would have an incredible new chapter, if she is able to do this,” he said. “I think it would secure her place in history as one of the all-time greats.”
Kitcat – Chile’s Filly & Mare Turf hopeful Kitcat, galloped one lap around the training track at 6 a.m. with exercise rider Cristian Marin, reported Sebastian Silva, son of trainer Juan Silva. “She did it a little faster than routinely, not as leisurely. The filly is doing really well.”
Asked about what he hopes to see in the Filly & Mare Turf, Silva said, “I would like to see a clean run race as it is very probable it will be one. To win it all that is require is a touch of luck and hopefully we can achieve a good result for South America and Chile.”
For Silva and family, a start in the Breeders’ Cup World Championship is a dream come true.
“My family functions like a team and I represent in this case owner Stud Vendaval. My father Juan has been training race horses for more than 50 years. He always told me that one of his dreams was to start one of his horses here in the United States in a prestigious event as the Breeders’ Cup so you can imagine the emotion. We are very happy obviously and I personally feel realized and satisfied with everything that has been done through this point. Obviously we are running against world class fillies and mares but we don’t feel inferior to them, the mare is doing very well and we are optimistic.”
Kitcat, a 4yo daughter of Scat Daddy punched her ticket to the Filly & Mare Turf by capturing the Gran Premio Club Hipico Falabella over males and older horses in Santiago on May 22.
Sentiero Italia – Godolphin Racing’s 4yo filly galloped 1 1/2m for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin Thursday morning. Using aggressive tactics, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was the runner-up to Lady Eli in the Flower Bowl Oct. 8. She faces Lady Eli and the third-place runner Sea Calisi again in the Filly & Mare Turf.
“You just have to hope that the race shape is different,” McLaughlin said. “We went to the lead last time because I instructed Joel (Rosario) to because I saw no pace. It was a strategic move to do it and it almost worked. We were second to Lady Eli. Now, this race, it looks there is plenty of speed so we might have a better trip laying third or fourth and see how it goes and get the jump on her. She’s doing very well.”
The first action of the morning again focused on the Santa Anita turf track where eight of the European contenders took to the track to stretch their legs for the third day in a row.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained pair of Ulysses (Turf) and Queen’s Trust (Filly & Mare Turf) led the way. Kevin Bradshaw (Ulysses) and James Savage (Queen’s Trust) stepped up the pace from Wednesday and having jogged to the 4f pole quickened the tempo, and breezed nicely down the home stretch.
Third out on to the track was the German challenger Spectre (Mile) with regular work rider Valentine Bulthoof in the saddle. The 3yo put in the most serious piece of work of any of any of the Europeans so far, and having done a steady canter of half a circuit the daughter of Siyouni was asked to really stretch her legs from the 4f pole.
The Francis-Henri Graffard-trained Karar (Turf Sprint) also did a nice breeze down the home stretch having limbered up with a gentle canter. Afterward Graffard said, “Everything is fine with my horse, and I think he is in good form.”
James Doyle was on board Dutch Connection, who he will be partnering in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Saturday afternoon. The pair trotted for half a circuit before picking up the pace and breezing down the home stretch.
Limato (Mile) followed closely behind with race day pilot Harry Bentley on board and did a very similar piece of work to Dutch Connection. Trainer Henry Candy was trackside along with owner Paul Jacobs to witness Limato being put through his paces. Afterward Candy said of his horse, “Limato is the best horse I have trained, and he is very happy which makes me happy too. I put him through the stalls this morning, as I thought that was the right thing to do with him this morning, and Harry (Bentley) said he was as quick out of the gate as he has ever been. He’s a handful to get a saddle on, but after that he’s very professional. I’m looking forward to Saturday.”
Danny Tudhope, who has a very successful liaison with Mondialiste (Turf) was once again re-united with the Arlington Million winner and with trainer David O’Meara trackside to supervise the work the son of Galileo jogged for a three furlongs before gradually stepping up the pace and coming home nicely down the home stretch. “He’s in good form” Tudhope said. “I think that he will handle the extra distance on Saturday, he stayed on well in the Arlington Million, so upping him in trip shouldn’t be a problem.”
Stable companion Suedois (Turf Sprint) was following closely behind and was also doing a similar piece of work when something went amiss and rider Colin Bolger reduced the colt to a walk for the final two furlongs. Suedois was taken off the track in a horse ambulance, and was subsequently diagnosed as having suffered a stress fracture of the off fore hoof. O’Meara confirmed the horse was scratched from Saturday’s race. “Unfortunately, he has a stress fracture, but he will be OK in the long run, and will race again next year,” he said.
Intricately (Juvenile Fillies Turf) once again took to the main track with the trainer’s younger brother Donnacha once again in the saddle. The daughter of Fastnet Rock did nothing different to that of the previous two days and walked a circuit of the track before returning back to the barn.
French raider Cavale Doree also went out on to the main track and cantered for three-quarters of a lap.
Having finally cleared quarantine the Aidan O’Brien team from Ballydoyle all went out on to stretch their legs. All 12 walked for half a circuit of the track before turning around and doing a gentle canter down the home stretch. Alice Springs (Mile) looked particularly well and her trainer Aidan O’Brien said of her. “She’s thrived since she got here, she’ll like the fast ground and she has a lot of speed.”
Found (Turf) also looked totally at home and was very calm and relaxed and her work rider reported the 4yo to be “absolutely bouncing.” Seventh Heaven, who lines up in Saturday’s Filly & Mare Turf also was reported to be in “very fine form.”