Every day, we scour the work tabs at racetracks all over the country. We look for horses that are really coming into their own and peaking for a top performance. Some of the horses we track, you will know.  Some of them, though, you may not know — yet. But, today, we are focusing on the horses that are training up to this coming Friday and Saturday — for the Breeders’ Cup.

Here is a closer look at today’s top works:

  1. Elate, winner of the G1 Alabama Stakes and the G1 Beldame Stakes in her last two outs, made a huge presence on the Del Mar track this morning. The daughter of Medaglia d’Oro went a half mile in :49 flat handily in a pure maintenance move.  It was the 4th best time out of 11 to go, but it was the way that she did it that pleased most observers — including assistant trainer Riley Mott, who just so happens to be the son of HOF trainer Bill Mott. “We just wanted to let her stretch her legs a little,” said Riley Mott, in a post-work interview with TVG this morning. “We normally let them kind of ease into the work. You will hardly never see us go a real fast first 1/8th of a mile. And, she did everything really well today.  We are just trying to keep her safe and happy now.”
  2. Bolt d’Oro, the undefeated 2YO superstar son of Medaglia d’Oro for owner/trainer Mick Ruis, is scheduled to leave Santa Anita at about 3 a.m. PT on Monday and be shipped to Del Mar in Southern California.  According to Ruis, in an interview with TVG reporters on Sunday, he will arrive at the track; be allowed to settle into his new stall surroundings; and then will be tacked up for a jog around the Del Mar track. He will be allowed to gallop the rest of the week in final preps for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. “You kind of want to put them in bubble wrap and just get them to the race healthy and happy,” said Ruis. “All I am trying to do right now is just keep him happy and sound and safe.”
  3. Mor Spirit, a 4YO ridgling trained by Bob Baffert, put in his final tune-up for the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita this morning, working 6Fs in 1:13.40 handily.  That was the top performance out of 4 to go that distance on the dirt surface. After starting the year with a second to Hopportunity at 11/16-miles in the G2 San Antonio Stakes, Baffert has focused on one-turn mile races for this son of Eskendereya and it has turned this one from a good one into a great one.  He has won three in a row, including the G1 Met Mile at Belmont back in June.  Now, he will give the Dirt Mile a try for Team Baffert.
  4. Paradise Woods, a super talented 3YO filly who will make her next start in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff for trainer Richard Mandella, got her last work on Saturday at Del Mar — the host site for the greatest Championship Day in all of sports. She went 5Fs in 1:00.20 handily over the dirt track, which was 4th best out of 15 to go the distance.  The filly set the world on fire earlier this Spring when she ran off to an eye-popping victory in the Santa Anita Oaks. After a disappointment in the Kentucky Oaks, she was given a break and is just now getting back to her “A” game.
  5. Practical Joke, another one who will try the Dirt Mile, got his last prep in on Saturday, working a half mile at Belmont Park in New York for trainer Chad Brown. He went an easy 4Fs in :49.44 breezing over the fast dirt track, which was 14th best out of 35 to go the distance.  This 3YO colt has had an outstanding year, despite running at distances outside of his comfort zone for much of the year.  His victory in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes (formerly the King’s Bishop) was one of the most impressive runs of the year in this division. Keep an eye on this guy.  He brings his game everywhere he goes.
  6. The Tabulator, a 2YO colt being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, went 3Fs at Dell Mar on Saturday for trainer Larry Rivelli.  He covered the distance in :36.60, which was the top time out of 2 to go that distance. The Dialed In colt won the G3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in September in his last race. Forwardly placed throughout, the colt pulled jockey Jose Valdiva to the front in the stretch and he held off Hollywood Star for the win in the 11/16-mile event.
  7. Hollywood Star, trained by Dale Romans, closed with a rush to nearly catch The Tabulator in the Iroquois. He went a 5Fs at Del Mar on Saturday, covering the distance in 1:02 flat, which was 10th best out of 15 to go the distance. Keep an eye on this one, and his stablemate, Free Drop Billy.  Both are peaking just at the right time.
  8. Sharp Azteca, who has had an eventful week what with losing his saddle and saddle cloth a couple of days ago in his first appearance at Del Mar, worked 5Fs on Saturday.  He covered the distance in :58.60 — which was a bullet work. This one is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
  9. Free Drop Billy, the winner of the G1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland in his last go, went 6Fs for Romans at Del Mar. He covered the distance in 1:14.40, which was the third best time out of 3, but just a couple of ticks slower than the bullet. It was a pure maintenance move for a guy that is doing very well these days.