(Bricks and Mortar / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
From the Breeders’ Cup Media Team:
The European challengers for this year’s Breeders’ Cup were on the Santa Anita main track for the first time this morning excluding the Aidan O’Brien team that is in quarantine until we will see them on the track Thursday. The O’Brien team arrived in the International Quarantine barn around 7:45 Monday night.
Charlie Appleby was trackside this morning to see Old Persian (Turf) do light exercise on the main track. He said: “The plan all year has been to work back from running in the Breeders’ Cup Turf here at Santa Anita. After Epsom we gave him a nice holiday then went to Germany where we got in a nice prep run there in the hope to get him on his A game to go to the Northern Dancer (at Woodbine) where he went off favorite and didn’t disappoint. He ran a good strong race and gained experience there and he won it very comfortably.
“We come to these major worldwide races to be competitive at the top level, there is no point traveling just to take part. I feel he has the right profile to be coming here and running a huge race so fingers crossed he performs on Saturday.”
John Gosden’s sole representative Fanny Logan (Filly & Mare Turf) had a walk and trot on the outside of the main track with her pony. She was joined by James Tate’s two runners Dream Shot (Juvenile Turf Sprint) and Hey Gaman (Mile). Mary Burns representing Tate said: “It was nice to get out on the track to give the horses a good look around the place. They both seemed to have traveled well so we’re happy. We decided to put a hood on Hey Gaman to hopefully settle him down as I was expecting both of our horses to be a bit fresh and I was pleasantly surprised as they were both much better than I expected.”
A’Ali (Juvenile Turf Sprint) had a trot around the main track and Simon Crisford’s son Edward was trackside and he said: “Everything is going well and it is great to be here. Tomorrow and Wednesday we will go on the turf for a canter.”
Living In The Past (Juvenile Fillies Turf) went on the main track and again did light exercise. Regular work rider Harrison Shaw said: “All good. She seems nice and fresh so couldn’t be happier at this stage. She seems to have taken the traveling well.”
David O’Meara’s duo of Lord Glitters (Mile) and Suedois (Mile) both went out together for a trot and slow canter on the training track. Matt Ennis, representing O’Meara, said: “Both horses have done well since they landed in Santa Anita. It was nice to get them out on the track and both horses look great.”
Jane Chapple-Hyam, who was the first European trainer to arrive in California was trackside to see Ambassadorial (Dirt Mile) walk and trot one lap of the main track with Abi Harrison in the saddle.
Chapple-Hyam was pleased with her son of Elusive Quality: “That was good. I decided to go out a bit later today as it can be a lot colder in the earlier slots and as he has not done any real exercise for five days I thought it would be easier on his lungs and there would be less chance of pulling a muscle.
“I was really pleased to be drawn six of 10. It is much better than being in either one or two and I certainly did not want to get the outside stall.”
All the Europeans that cleared quarantine went out and stretched their legs but none of them did much more than a steady canter. Japanese raider Full Flat (Juvenile) breezed 4f in 53 2/5.
More overseas trainers are expected to arrive in California today and should be trackside tomorrow to watch morning exercise.
Acclimate – Trainer Phil D’Amato was pleased, exclaiming, “great post,” with the number two post position draw of his speedy California-bred Acclimate for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
“With his style of running, this fits him,” D’Amato said. “He’s a graded-stakes winner over this turf course, so I hope that’s an advantage.”
Acclimate notched his first stakes victory in the marathon 1 3/4m San Juan Capistrano over this turf course in June.
Bricks and Mortar – One of the leading candidates for Horse of the Year, Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence’s Chad Brown-trained Bricks and Mortar got his first look at Santa Anita Park on Tuesday morning, leaving Barn 48 and having a light gallop just past 7:45.
The son of Giant’s Causeway enters the Turf in lieu of the $2 million TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, both of which he likely would have started as the wagering favorite. Initially reported to be leaning toward the latter with his charge, Brown decided on the former in the days leading up to entries.
“I’m happy with choosing the Turf,” Brown said. “I think he’s drawn fine, being a little toward the outside (in post nine of 12).”
A winner of four Grade 1s this year, including the world’s richest turf route, the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational over 9.5f, Bricks and Mortar will attempt the 12f distance for the first time. His past two races were impressive wins at 10f, including the Arlington Million and Manhattan.
“We’re just hoping for a clear trip to give him a chance to show that he can stay the mile and a half,” Brown said. “I’m confident, with the way he’s training, that he’ll be able to do it.”
Bricks and Mortar would be Brown’s first win in the Turf. He has had 10 starters, with his best finishes being runner-up efforts from Flintshire (2016) and Beach Patrol (2017). None has entered with the kind of season Bricks and Mortar boasts in 2019, being 5-for-5 with earnings in excess of $4.5 million.
Channel Cat – Calumet Farm’s Channel Cat galloped 1 ¼m at Santa Anita Tuesday, on the morning after arriving from New York to prepare for a start in Saturday’s Turf.
The 4yo son of English Channel, who was a multiple ungraded-stakes winner as a 3yo has run exclusively in graded stakes in his six starts this year, including a front-running half-length victory in the Bowling Green at Saratoga in July after finishing a close-up third in the United Nations at Monmouth Park.
“Like you’d expect from a lot of the English Channels, they tend to get better as they get older,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “He’s been consistently right there. In the Bowling Green he got a great trip and was able to win. He got not quite-as-smooth trips in his last two races.”
The Calumet homebred finished third in the Sword Dancer at Saratoga and fourth in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont in his two most recent starts.
Pletcher is hoping that Channel Cat and jockey Luis Saez, have better racing luck in the 1 1/2m Turf.
“It’s a race that, as always in some of these turf races, you need to work out a smooth trip,” Pletcher said.
Bolo – Bolo, whose four lifetime turf stakes triumphs all have come over Santa Anita’s grass course, galloped 1 1/2m Tuesday morning under exercise rider Tony Rubicava for trainer Carla Gaines. The conditioner was “fine” with the 7yo’s post position draw (number seven in the 14-horse field).
“It’s certainly better than being 14,” she said.
Bolo, who had his final timed workout Saturday, will simply gallop into the race, In addition to a Thursday afternoon schooling session in the paddock.
Got Stormy – Trainer Mark Casse was on the scene at Santa Anita Tuesday to oversee his Breeders’ Cup contingent and Grade I winner Got Stormy provided her usual eyeful as she went through her morning routine.
With exercise rider Kim Carroll up, the daughter of Get Stormy was full of herself heading to the main track with Casse himself on the end of the shank and put in another strong gallop before coming back through the paddock. That kind of indefatigable energy is what allowed Got Stormy to win the Aug. 10 Fourstardave Handicap over males in course-record time on just seven days rest at Saratoga.
Even though she was beaten last time out in the Woodbine Mile, Casse feels that runner-up outing set up the chestnut filly perfectly for her Mile attempt this Saturday.
“I knew that going in (the Woodbine Mile) would be a tall task for her,” Casse said. “I probably know Woodbine as well as anybody and do you know how many good horses, good milers get beat there? And the reason is it’s not really a true mile, it’s would be more like running a mile and a sixteenth. She’s a true miler. Then you throw in a little soft ground and it made it even more difficult. So I wasn’t surprised at all. I was actually proud of her to run second.”
Uni – In company with stablemate and fellow Breeders’ Cup runner Wow Cat, Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Bob LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables’ Uni went to the Santa Anita main track for a light gallop Tuesday morning before returning to Barn 48 and trainer Chad Brown. The two-time G1 winner at a mile versus her own sex will now take on the boys in the Mile on Saturday.
“She’s a horse who’s catching her window right now,” Brown said. “She’s matured and reaching her peak.”
Without Parole – John and Tanya Gunther’s homebred Group 1 winner Without Parole enters the Mile off a nearly six-month layoff and also will make his first start since being transferred from John Gosden in England to Chad Brown in New York. On Tuesday morning, the son of Frankel left Barn 48 at 6:45 in company with fellow Brown Breeders’ Cup aspirants Structor and Selflessly. The trio had an easy gallop around the track before returning.
“I got him in August and he’s been training really well,” Brown said. “He’s a nice sound horse and very straight forward. He came to me in good condition.”
Last year, the four-time winner from nine starts won the prestigious G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Winless this year from two starts, he ran very well to be fifth by six lengths to standout filly Almond Eye in the Dubai Turf in March. He then faltered badly to finish last in the G1 Lockinge Stakes in May.
“It’s a tough spot for your first time in the country and off form, but we thought we would take a shot because he was training particularly well, especially holding company with Bricks and Mortar in the mornings. I’m not sure what the owners’ plans are, but we hope (he stays in training in 2020).”
MAKER’S MARK FILLY & MARE TURF
Sistercharlie/Thais – Peter Brant’s duo of champion Sistercharlie and her pacemaker Thais hit the Santa Anita main track Tuesday morning for the first time after arriving the day prior. Based in Barn 48, the two appeared comfortable through their morning exercises with trainer Chad Brown looking on. They have made five starts together over the past 15 months—all resulting in G1 victories for Sistercharlie. Thais has managed to earn her way, holding on for two thirds and a fourth in the process.
Sistercharlie will be defending her championship in the $2 million Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf, which this year will be contested over 10f in lieu of the 11f last year at Churchill Downs. She enters undefeated from a trio of 2019 starts, including the 10f Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont last out.
Brown seeks his fifth win in the race, having also landed it with Zagora (2012), Dayatthespa (2014) and Stephanie’s Kitten (2015).
“She’s as good as any we’ve brought for the race,” Brown said. “She’s in great form and I love how she’s working. She’s been very impressive in her training.”
Eddie Haskell – Eddie Haskell, installed as the lukewarm favorite over a full field of 12 in Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, got his early exercise today with a 1m jog around the main Santa Anita oval under exercise rider Armando Ayuso. Trainer Mark Glatt, who calls the 6yo gelding his best claim ever, was “pretty happy” with his post position draw Monday.
“He’s a pretty handy horse, so post 10 shouldn’t be a problem,” Glatt said.
Leinster/Totally Boss – Amy Dunne, Westrock Stables, Brenda Miley and Jean Wilkinson’s Leinster and Jim and Susan Hill’s Totally Boss left Louisville early Tuesday morning headed for Santa Anita and a run in the Turf Sprint for trainer Rusty Arnold.
Totally Boss, the co-second choice at 5-1 on the morning line, will break from post one for the first time in what will be his 16thcareer start, and Leinster will exit post seven as an 8-1 proposition on the morning line.
“The post is what it is,” Arnold said. “It is the jocks’ problem, not mine.
Jose Ortiz will be aboard Totally Boss for the first time and Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard Leinster for the 4yo’s fourth consecutive start.
JUVENILE TURF PRESENTED BY COOLMORE AMERICA
Vitalogy – After drawing the far outside post No. 14 in the Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 6, the dark bay son of No Nay Never figures to have a more fair shot at victory this Friday when he breaks from post five in the Juvenile Turf.
His outside trip in the 1 1/16m Bourbon Stakes was one trainer Brendan Walsh has reason to think made the ultimate difference as Vitalogy ended up beaten just a neck in that race by fellow Juvenile Turf entrant, Peace Achieved. That start was the first for the colt since joining Walsh’s barn after beginning his career overseas with Joseph O’Brien. In the short time he has worked with the runner-up in the Summer Stakes, Walsh has been suitably impressed with how adaptable he is.
“If he had any kind of better draw at all, I think he could have won – not to take anything away from the winner,” Walsh said. “(Vitalogy) is a lovely horse and he seems like the thing going for him out there now is he’s had two runs in this country, albeit on a tighter track at Keeneland than at Woodbine but I think all that on the face of it should set up good for him.”
Vitalogy galloped under exercise rider Paul Madden on Tuesday.
“He’s doing really well, he went off to gallop and he gave off a few little bucks,” said Walsh, who suffered a blow Tuesday morning when his Grade I winner Maxfield had to be declared out of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. “At last we have him left.”
JUVENILE FILLIES TURF
Sweet Melania – Robert and Lawana Low’s Sweet Melania galloped 1 3/8m and stood in the gate at Santa Anita Tuesday morning in preparation for a start in Friday’s $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The daughter of American Pharoah won the Oct. 9 Jessamine at Keeneland in her most recent start, in which she was involved in a contested early pace before drawing off to a 5 ½-length victory under Jose Ortiz.
“She’s always run well, but it seemed to be her breakthrough performance last time,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “We’re excited about that, but concerned about a relatively quick turnaround in 22 days. So far, she’s been giving us all the indicators you’d like to see. Her energy level is good; she traveled in good order; she’s eating well – all those things you’d like to see.”
Sweet Melania, who was purchased for $600,000 and the 2018 Keeneland September sale, broke her maiden at Saratoga in her turf debut while making her third career start. She lost a photo finish to finish second in the PG Johnson at Saratoga prior to her romp in the Jessamine. Ortiz, who has been aboard the Kentucky-bred filly in her past three starts, has the return mount.