(Catalina Cruiser / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
Catalina Cruiser – Hronis Racing’s multiple graded-stakes winner Catalina Cruiser galloped 1m under exercise rider David Pineda and visited the gate Tuesday as he prepares for his expected start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint, a race widely regarded as the pound-for-pound toughest on the two-day card.
Were it most years, Catalina Cruiser’s resume of seven wins from eight starts would be good enough to vie for favoritism in the 6f Sprint. His lone career defeat came in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and he is unbeaten in three starts this year with his most recent win coming in the 7f Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 24.
The brilliance of Grade 1 winners Mitole and Imperial Hint stand out in a quality-laden division but in looking at the numbers, trainer John Sadler is confident Catalina Cruiser is most capable of having his best day over the sprint distance.
“We think his speed figures are better going short,” Sadler said. “He set a stakes record at Belmont this year (in the True North Stakes) so we think it’s going to be a good set up for him. He’s good on this track obviously and all the races are good. It’s a tough race but he’s a tough horse himself.”
Engage – Woodford Racing’s Steve Asmussen-trained Engage walked the shedrow of Barn 59 on Tuesday morning at Santa Anita Park. The last-out G2 Phoenix Stakes winner worked 3f in 37 3/5 on Monday.
Imperial Hint – Raymond Mamone’s Imperial Hint got acquainted with the Santa Anita Tuesday morning while jogging the wrong way around the racetrack two days after arriving from New Jersey’s Monmouth Park for a start in Saturday’s Sprint.
Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. was pleased the 6yo son of Imperialism drew post nine for the 10-horse Sprint at Monday’s Breeders’ Cup post position draw.
“I definitely didn’t want to get in the same position that we got in Dubai, where we were on the inside,” said Carvajal, whose trainee finished third in the March 30 Royal Shaheen at Meydan after becoming involved in a contested pace. “I wanted to be on the outside. That way he has a target in front of him and less traffic.”
Imperial Hint will be making his third start in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, in which he finished second, a length behind Roy H., at Del Mar in 2017 and third last year behind repeat winner Roy H. at Churchill Downs.
“When he finished second at Del Mar he got the 10 post, all the way outside, and he ran a really good race,” said Carvajal, who saddled Imperial Hint for victories in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga and the Vosburgh at Belmont in his only two starts since finishing third in Dubai.
Javier Castellano has the return mount aboard Imperial Hint.
Landeskog – Landeskog, runner-up in the Sept. 21 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx, will scratch from the Sprint, trainer Doug O’Neill confirmed Tuesday morning.
“He’s just telling us he’s not 100 percent so it’s a pretty easy move to make,” O’Neill said. “It’s nothing major. He tracked today but it was just an indication we had that he’s not 100 percent so we’re going to wait. From our standpoint, it’s sad because it’s such a big day or racing. But you don’t run them unless they’re 100 percent.”
Landeskog was coming into the Sprint with a record of two wins from five starts. Ironically, the gelding’s namesake Gabriel Landeskog, captain of the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche, also is currently sidelined with a lower-body injury.
“I heard the namesake got hurt too,” O’Neill said. “Maybe it’s twin pain or something.”
Mitole – One of the big stars of the upcoming Breeders’ Cup weekend, Williand and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Mitole worked three furlongs at Santa Anita Park on Monday morning at just past 6:45 a.m. Angel Garcia was in the saddle for trainer Steve Asmussen. Assistant trainer Scott Blasi was on hand for the final breeze before a start as the expected favorite in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He was timed in 37 2/5 for 3f.
“He just went an easy three-eighths,” Blasi said. “He did it really well in 37 and two. He had his big work last week, so now we just try to keep him happy.”
Shancelot –– Crawford Farms Racing’s Shancelot has taken it easy the past couple days for trainer Jorge Navarro. The son of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ Shanghai Bobby left Barn 7 at just past 7 a.m. and jogged two laps of the Santa Anita main track before standing in the gate with his trainer observing.
“We are trying to keep him relaxed,” Navarro said. “So today it was just jogging and standing him in the gate. He’s really ready. There’s lots of talk about Mitole, Mitole, Mitole—but this horse is ready.”
Shancelot wowed speed figure aficionados with his third career start, a track record-setting run in the 6 1/2f Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga on July 28. He has lost his two races since, though only by a head each. He enters off a third in the H. Allen Jerkens on Aug. 14 and a second in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.
Navarro added: “I was just talking to my wife about how he gets knocked because of the Amsterdam and it being a fluke or one-hit wonder, but did Secretariat ever win by 31 lengths again? The Allen Jerkens wasn’t a speed-favoring track and my jockey wanted to keep his spot on the track. He needed his jockey that day. Then last time out, we went up against Omaha Beach, the Derby favorite who Mike Smith chose over every good 3-year-old out there (in the Kentucky Derby), including Bob Baffert’s. We all forget that. And once again, Shancelot needed his jockey to keep that position, but he let Mike Smith in there (up the inside rail).”
(Come Dancing / Photo Courtesy of NYRA)
FILLY & MARE SPRINT
Come Dancing – Blue Devil Racing Stable’s 5yo Come Dancing jogged a mile under Francisco Tapia Tuesday morning at Santa Anita Park.
The four-time graded-stakes winner has settled in well after shipping from Belmont Park, trainer Carlos Martin said. Martin said the homebred Malibu Moon mare handled her trip to the track well and seemed happy and content as she is prepared for the Filly & Mare Sprint. Come Dancing, the 5-2 second choice in the wagering will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post four in the field of nine.
Martin is a third-generation horseman based in New York. His grandfather, Frank, is in the Hall of Fame and his late father, Jose, had a long, successful career. Jose handled the excellent sprinter Groovy, who was second in the 1987 Sprint. Come Dancing is Martin’s first Breeders’ Cup horse.
“It’s exciting to be here. It’s the pinnacle, to be at the Breeders’ Cup races,” he said. “It’s our World Series of horse racing. It means a lot. Hopefully, not to avenge my father because he won a lot of nice races, but it would be nice to have another Breeders’ Cup win for Martins. My grandfather won the inaugural Juvenile Fillies with Outstandingly by disqualification, so I’d like to make one stick for real.”
Come Dancing won her career debut in November 2016, but was off for a year with an injury. She has had an outstanding season in 2019, winning four of five starts. In her most recent races she easily prevailed in the Ballerina at Saratoga and the Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park.
Covfefe – LNJ Foxwoods’ Covfefe, the 2-1 favorite, arrived at Santa Anita just after noon on a flight from Kentucky. She and her four stablemates settled into barn 59.
Spiced Perfection – Entering the Filly & Mare Sprint as one of the logical players, Pantofel Stable, Wachtel Stable and Peter Deutsch’s Spiced Perfection continues to impress trainer Peter Miller as she prepares for the 7f affair. She galloped 1m at his San Luis Rey Downs base on Tuesday morning and is scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita Park on Wednesday morning after training.
“She’s training great,” he said. “She has a good post and should be in the top three in the wagering, you would think. She galloped today and looks good.”
The daughter of Smiling Tiger drew post nine of nine and is the third choice on the morning line at odds of 4-1. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez rides, replacing Javier Castellano who was aboard for her victory last out in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 5.
(Dennis’ Moment / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Dennis’ Moment – Trainer Dale Romans keeps being asked what it is about Dennis’ Moment that makes the colt different from the litany of other talented youngsters that have passed through his care over the decades. Though it sounds vague on the surface, the most complete answer the Louisville native can come up with is, quite simply, everything.
“I’ve never had a horse at this stage that acts like this horse, that trains like this horse. He’s 8-5 for a reason,” Romans said of the morning-line favorite for the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. “He’s just so talented and so versatile. He’s got the turn of foot I think if he has any problems to get himself out of trouble.”
The only issue Dennis’ Moment hasn’t overcome during his brief career is one that literally tripped him up. In his career debut at Churchill Downs on June 23, the bay colt was bumped and clipped heels with a rival, unseating jockey Robby Albarado in the process.
It has been nothing but one monster step forward after another since. In addition to the brilliance he showed in winning his past two starts, Dennis’ Moment has clocked bullet workouts in five of his past six moves with his latest coming Oct. 25 when he breezed 4f in 46 3/5 at Santa Anita.
“He goes out and works 58 and 46s and he comes back and he’s not even blowing,” said assistant and exercise rider, Tammy Fox. “I know he’s going quick out there, but he doesn’t feel like he’s going quick. He’s just so fluid with his stride.”
Dennis’ Moment galloped under Fox on Tuesday and will break from post one in the eight-horse field for the Juvenile.
Eight Rings – American Pharoah Stakes winner Eight Rings jogged a mile at Santa Anita Park Tuesday morning, two days after his final timed work the Juvenile.
Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert said the son of Belmont Stakes winner Empire Maker, would likely gallop Wednesday morning.
Eight Rings, a $520,000 yearling buy at the 2018 Keeneland September sale, has won two of his three career starts. In the third, he dropped his rider at the start of the Del Mar Futurity.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Eight Rings in the Juvenile. They will leave from post six in the field of eight.
Shoplifted – Leaving Barn 59 early this morning with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard, $800,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2019 purchase Shoplifted galloped 1½ miles with trainer Steve Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi watching from the pony. The son of Into Mischief has started three times, including a win first out at Saratoga over 5½f, a second in the Hopeful and fifth in the American Pharoah last out over this course and distance. He is owned by Joseph Sutton, whose best horse to date was Grade 1 winner Bradester, who was ninth in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“He just galloped an easy mile and a half,” Blasi said. “We’re just keeping him happy.”
Wrecking Crew – Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen’s 2yo ridgling Wrecking Crew left Barn 44 at approximately 7:45 a.m. and put in his final breeze before the Juvenile on Tuesday morning, blowing out 3f in 38 4/5 for trainer Peter Miller.
“It went very well,” Miller said. “He was just cruising nice and easy in 38 (seconds). We’re all set.”
The son of Sky Kingdom will break from post two in the Juvenile. He will be piloted by Paco Lopez, who will be his fourth rider in as many starts. He was ridden by Flavien Prat in his July 27 successful debut, then Mike Smith when second in the Best Pal and Abel Cedillo when again second in the Del Mar Futurity.
(British Idiom / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
Bast – Baoma Corporation’s Uncle Mo filly Bast jogged a mile at Santa Anita Park Tuesday morning, two days after her final timed work for the $2 million Juvenile Fillies.
After finishing second in her debut at Del Mar on Aug. 11, Bast broke her maiden winning the Del Mar Debutante and followed up with a victory in the Chandelier Stakes Sept. 27.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Bast from post six in the field of nine in the Juvenile Fillies.
British Idiom – The Alicibiades Stakes winner British Idiom arrived at Santa Anita just after noon on a flight from Kentucky. She and her four stablemates settled into barn 59.
Donna Veloce – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies morning-line favorite Donna Veloce was out for a 1 1/2m gallop today shortly after the 7:30 a.m. renovation break. The daughter of Uncle Mo had regular exercise rider Ivan DeSilvo abroad.
“She’s on a good path since her debut,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “She’s improving and we have very high aspirations for her.”
The unbeaten filly drew the rail for the 1 1/16m championship race.
Regarding her post position, Callaghan said, “I wouldn’t have picked this post position myself, but it is what it is. We’ve got a very talented filly who is doing very well.”
Callaghan is bullish on Donna Veloce’s talent compared to stakes winners Bellafina (2018) and Moonlight Memories (2017), both of whom were favored in this race, observing, “I think she’s a little better than both of them at this stage.”
Wicked Whisper –Leaving Barn 59 at approximately 6 a.m. with exercise rider Angel Garcia aboard, Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Frizette winner Wicked Whisper galloped 1½m with trainer Steve Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi watching from the pony.
The 2yo filly from the first crop of 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map cost $500,000 at auction and is untested in two starts; her maiden win on Aug. 25 at Saratoga and the Frizette Oct. 6. She will be trying two turns and a distance beyond a mile for the first time.
“In her Frizette win, she was lengthening,” Blasi said. “I’d like to think she’ll adjust to the two turns. She’s a very talented filly who’s done nothing wrong.”
(Improbable / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
BIG ASS FANS DIRT MILE
Blue Chipper – Blue Chipper, the first South Korean challenger in the Breeders’ Cup, breezed 3f in :34 4/5 this morning out on the main track and his connections very pleased with what they saw in the preparation for the $1 million Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile.
Ryu Seungho Ho representing the trainer Kim Young Kwan said:
“We are very happy with the way he worked and handled the track this morning. The plan is to go out on the main track tomorrow but just for a canter.”
Coal Front – Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains’ Coal Front galloped 1 1/4m Tuesday morning at Santa Anita, preparing for a start in Saturday’s Dirt Mile.
“He’s coming off a good, competitive race at Parx going a two-turn mile, giving us confidence to bring him here for the two-turn race,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He showed us in Dubai, on his day, that he’s a world-class miler. He’s in good form and he’ll need to be at his best in a race like this.”
Coal Front, a multiple graded-stakes winner at 3, has come back strong this year while returning from a 13-month layoff. The 5yo son of Stay Thirsty, won the 7f. Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream Park and the 1 1/8m Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park before capturing the Godolphin Mile at Meydan on Dubai World Cup Day.
“He’s been a very consistent horse. He’s been able to win at multiple distances. We’re excited about bringing him in,” Pletcher said.
Coal Front will be ridden by Javier Castellano, who hasn’t been aboard him since guiding him to a 6 ½-length debut victory at Keeneland in April 2017.
Giant Expectations – Giant Expectations’ trainer Peter Eurton will be hoping the third time is the charm, when he saddles the 6 yo for Saturday’s Dirt Mile. However, the stakes-winning horse will have to overcome the rail post position.
“The key for us will be the break, because our horse may end up standing in the gate for a bit before the start,” Eurton said. “We’ve got a little speed, so I know that we won’t be taking back.”
Giant Expectations has finished sixth and fifth, respectively, in the 2017 and 2018 editions of this race.
Improbable – Jimmy Barnes, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, said that Improbable jogged a mile Tuesday morning at Santa Anita Park.
The chestnut City Zip colt had his final Dirt Mile work Sunday – a bullet 5f in 59 1/5.
He drew post two and is the 3-1 second choice in the field of 10. Veteran Rafael Bejarano has picked up the mount on Improbable, the beaten favorite in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness.
Mr. Money – Allied Racing Stable and Spendthrift Farm’s Mr. Money left Louisville early Tuesday morning for Santa Anita and a run in the Dirt Mile.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Mr. Money will break from post position four under regular rider Gabriel Saez and is listed at 6-1 on the morning line.
“The post is fine,” Calhoun said. “We all just need some racing luck now.”
Omaha Beach – Trainer Richard Mandella called an audible Tuesday morning and sent Dirt Mile favorite Omaha Beach to the track at 9 o’clock for a 3f blowout in 36 1/5.
“We had set it up to work three-eighths tomorrow three days out, tomorrow. Just something easy in :37 and change. Then I got to thinking about the works I gave him before the Santa Anita Sprint and thought that if he remembered those works, he wasn’t going to go in :37. I thought it might be better to be four days out if he did take the bit and go faster. He was perfect this morning. He went 36 1/5 like a baby. He continues to prove what a class act he is.”
Retired jockey Nestor Capitaine, who now trains a few horses of his own in addition to working for Mandella, was aboard for the work.
“He does a lot of special work for me,” Mandella said. “He trains himself, but helps me in morning. He’s always getting on special horses. He’s a terrific rider.”