(Trainer Brad Cox / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Arklow – Trainer Brad Cox was recently asked which of his nine Breeders’ Cup horses was doing the best and just like a parent isn’t allowed to choose a favorite child, Cox said they were all doing very well, but did raise some eyebrows when he mentioned that Arklow, who is listed as the 5-1 co-third choice in his third Longines Turf, was doing particular well. The 6yo Arch horse recently had blinkers added to his morning works and wore them for the first time when he won the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup.
“He’s a very laid back horse, but has become more aggressive in his works with the blinkers,” Cox said. “He’s had them on the last couple of works and he’s done very well.”
FanDuel Mile presented by PDJF
Halladay – Halladay, winner of the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 22 in his most recent start, was supposed to arrive at Keeneland from trainer Todd Pletcher’s Belmont Park base late Monday but weather disrupted the schedule. Instead he is expected to arrive Tuesday on an afternoon flight.
Pletcher said the original flight — scheduled to leave Republic Airport in Farmingdale on Long Island – was canceled because of high winds. A flight then was supposed to depart from Stewart International airport in Newburgh about 75 miles northwest of Belmont Park but that plan was scrapped because trucks were banned from the bridges heading to upstate New York because of the high winds.
Halladay drew the 10 slot in the field of 14.
“He needs to break cleanly,” Pletcher said. “He is a forwardly placed horse and we anticipate a clean break and good position in the first turn. It is important to get a good start because there is not a lot of margin for error with that short run to the first turn.”
Ivar – Stud RDI, Bonne Chance Farm’s Ivar (BRZ) came home like he was shot out of a cannon when he captured the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland early in October. That victory secured a spot in the starting gate as the morning line favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Mile and earned trainer Paulo Lobo his second starter in the World Championships.
“If you see his races from Argentina, he always comes from off the pace – he prefers it to be way off the pace,” said Lobo, who saddled Farda Amiga to a runner-up finish in the 2002 Distaff at Arlington Park.
“That’s how he likes to run. He came here with a huge reputation from South America. I knew he was a good one but you never know how they’re going to improve once they get here. You know how hard it is to win a Grade One, especially at Keeneland.”
Jockey Joe Talamo, who has a 2009 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint victory with California Flag in 2009 on his resume, was as impressed as anyone with Ivar’s turn of foot in the Shadwell.
“Going down the backstretch he got into such a good rhythm and was so relaxed,” Talamo said. “Tremendous training job by Paulo to get this horse to turn off like that. I was all smiles turning for home. When I took him out there (at midstretch), he just exploded.”
In Monday’s draw for post positions, Ivar drew the 11 hole.
“I think the post position is fine,” Lobo said. “That’s the post he had in the Shadwell Mile. The saddle towel was the same but (trainer Mike) Maker had two scratches so actually he was in stall nine.
“He’s a horse that comes from behind. Our main concern is that first turn but Joe really knows him now and he’s going to set up things well for us I’m sure.”
Lobo, who has a 35-horse string at The Thoroughbred Center on Paris Pike, said he’ll ship Ivar to Keeneland early tomorrow to check in. He may walk or gallop tomorrow.
War of Will – Trainer Mark Casse laughed when reminded that four of his six Breeders’ Cup entrants drew outside post positions and another drew a middle spot. However, he was hardly concerned because Gary Barber’s War of Will drew what he considers an advantageous post.
“War of Will’s post position (the four) was probably the most important of all especially going a mile at Keeneland where I think the outside post is so tough,” Casse said. “So I would say he drew perfect.”
The winner of last year’s Preakness, War of Will won the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in July. He is scheduled to begin his stallion career in 2021 at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky, where his sire, War Front also is at stud.
Got Stormy – Winner of the Franklin County at Keeneland on Oct. 9 in her most recent start, Gary Barber’s Got Stormy drew the 12 post in the field of 14 for the Turf Sprint for which she was installed as the 7-2 morning line favorite.
“An outside post is good,” trainer Mark Casse said. “Going five and a half on the turf, I would not want to be on the inside unless I had a tremendous amount of speed. She will be coming from out it, so I don’t mind that post. She does not have the early foot that some of those horses do. I think (jockey Tyler Gaffalione) will find a spot, so that works out well. I wish we had drawn a little closer in, but it’s not the end of the world.”
Got Stormy is scheduled to van to Keeneland from Casse’s main base at Churchill Downs on Wednesday.
Imprimis – Breeze Easy LLC’s Imprimis jogged twice around the training track at Keeneland Tuesday morning for a scheduled start in Saturday’s Turf Sprint with a strong chance to give his trainer Joe Orseno a third career Breeders’ Cup success.
“We’re going to go to the gate tomorrow, which wasn’t in my plans. Seeing we drew post three, I’ve decided to take him in the gate to stand him,” Orseno said. “I really wanted to be further on the outside. You can’t do much about it.”
Imprimis was rated second in the morning line at 4-1 behind Got Stormy, the 7-2 favorite who finished second in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile last year at Santa Anita.
“I’m happy to have Irad [Ortiz Jr.] to ride him. He’s a quality rider who knows the horse,” Orseno said. “He could get bottled up in there, but he has enough tactical speed for us to really do what we want.”
Imprimis, who has won eight of 15 career starts, finished sixth, beaten 4 lengths, in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita. After an extended break, the 6yo gelding has finished first in his only two starts this year in the Troy at Saratoga and the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint. The son of Broken Vow, however, was disqualified and placed third for drifting in during the stretch run of the Troy while making his first start in nine months.
“There was a lot of disappointment we didn’t get the win. I never thought about the money. Yeah, I would have liked to get a bigger commission, but for me, it was: we did all that off that layoff; we got him ready and got him where we wanted him to be; shipped him to Saratoga and for him to win that way… ,” Orseno said. “They can’t take that race away from him. They can take the first-place away, but the race was what I needed to get and that’s what we got out of it. It definitely moved him forward for his next race.”
Imprimis was shuffled back in traffic in the stretch run at Kentucky Downs but recovered to mount an impressive drive to score by a neck under Ortiz Jr.
“I had no idea he was trapped down on the inside like that,” said Orseno, noting he didn’t have a good vantage point while watching the race. “He just rode him out and around. That move he made doing that, picking up horses of that caliber, I told the owner, ‘He has to be one of the choices for the Breeders’ Cup off that race.’ I think he’ll peak for this race.”
Should Imprimis win the Turf Sprint Saturday, Orseno will enter a Breeders’ Cup winner’s circle for the first time since 2000, when he saddled Perfect Sting for a win in the Filly & Mare Turf and Macho Uno for a score in the Juvenile at Churchill Downs.
“It would mean a lot. When I went on that run with Stronach [Stables], it was five years and I was in it almost every year. We won two of them and were very competitive – we were third in the Classic with Golden Missile [in 1999]. I thought, ‘I’ll be doing this every year.’ When you don’t get to come back, you realize what it’s about and what it takes,” Orseno said. “I have a conception of what it takes to get a horse ready to do this, but you have to have the horse. A coach is only as good as his players. Right now, we have the right player.”
Leinster – Amy Dunne, Brenda Miley, Westrock Stables’ and Jean Wilkinson’s Leinster is truly back at home for a second run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Temporarily displaced from his home on Rice Road to Barn 42 so the barn area could be readied for the Breeders’ Cup, Leinster is now back in Barn 60, the regular barn for trainer Rusty Arnold that now houses the likes of Tiz the Law, who is right down the shedrow.
“He’s happy as can be,” Arnold said after Leinster galloped on the main track. “Plenty to look at this morning that’s for sure.”
A two-time graded stakes winner over the Keeneland turf course at the Turf Sprint distance of 5 1/2f, Leinster is the co-second choice at 4-1 in the field of 14 and will break from post seven.
“I am really happy with the draw and he’s handy enough to get position,” Arnold said of Leinster, who finished seventh in the Turf Sprint last year at Santa Anita.
“I don’t think there is a home-court advantage on a turf course,” Arnold said. “He likes it firm and he likes any turf course. Here he gets to run out of his own barn, and I think that means more than the course.”
Aidan O’Brien’s 2020 Breeders’ Cup team arrived in the quarantine barn at midnight. All ten horses have reported to have travelled well and settled into their new surroundings. They will remain in quarantine until Wednesday evening and will be out on the training track on Thursday morning.
Another fresh morning in Keeneland, the first of the European challengers onto the training track were the John Gosden trio led by Lord North (IRE) (Turf) accompanied by Terebullum (IRE) (Filly & Mare Turf) and Mehdaayih (GB) (Turf). The trio trotted one circuit of the training track before cantering 1 ½ circuits. All three looked in fine shape with Lord North taking the eye with his enthusiasm. Work rider Benario Goncalves De Paive reported Lord North “had a good look around but felt great”.
Next came Kameko (Mile) again partnered by regular work rider Maddy O’Meara. He did a trot for 1 ½ circuits before cantering 1 ¼ circuits. O’Meara reported him to be in “brilliant form”.
Jessica Harrington trained Cayenne Pepper (IRE) (Filly & Mare Turf) and Ooodnadatta (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf) went onto the training track together trotting one circuit and then cantering 1 ½ circuits.
Trainer Ralph Beckett landed in Keeneland yesterday and rode out this morning with his two horses when leading on a pony. Beckett led Devilwala (IRE) (Juvenile Turf) ridden by race day jockey Rossa Ryan and New Mandate (IRE) (Juvenile Turf). They did a very light trot around the training track before cantering two circuits.
Cadillac (IRE) (Juvenile Turf), Tarnawa (IRE) (Turf), Safe Voyage (IRE) (Mile) and Siskin (Mile) came onto the trainer track together. Cadillac and Tarnawa then broke off together doing a slow canter of one circuit of the track together. Tarnawa seemed much more settled this morning and looked in good condition.
Siskin did a canter of 1 ½ circuits by himself as did Safe Voyage. Jockey Jason Hart who partners Safe Voyage on Saturday rode the horse this morning said “It is great to be here to have my first Breeders Cup ride. To be given the opportunity from my trainer and owner I’m very grateful and I’m really looking forward to it. I think he is coming into the race with a real live chance. He felt in good order this morning so it’s all systems go for Saturday.”
Michael Bell who is another trainer having his first Breeders Cup runner with The Lir Jet (IRE) (Juvenile Turf) was at the training track this morning with his son Nick. Bell was pleased with what he saw this morning saying “he looks in great shape. He travelled over well so we’re all happy at this stage”.
British challenger Nazuna (IRE) (Juvenile Fillies Turf) joined French challenger Sealiway (FR) (Juvenile Turf) and German challenger Donjah (GER) (Turf) on the main track having a canter. All three horses took everything in their stride.
The final European horses to exercise went on to the turf track just after 9.30am. James and Jacko Fanshawe were again on site to see Audarya (FR) (Filly & Mare Turf) do a canter around the track and both were pleased with what they saw.
Glass Slippers (GB) (Turf Sprint) was partnered by race day jockey Tom Eaves who reported everything to be “all good.” Her trainer Kevin Ryan was also on track having flown into Keeneland yesterday.
Miss Amulet (IRE) (Juvenile Filles Turf) took the eye this morning when cantering around the turf track as did Ubettabelieveit (IRE) (Juvenile Turf Sprint) who was ridden by race day jockey Rowan Scott. Scott who will be having his first Breeders Cup ride on Friday said “It is a great experience just to be here and being given this great opportunity. The horse felt really good out on the turf so we’re all really pleased.”