Flaxman Holdings Ltd.’s Aruna, with jockey Sheldon Russell up, worked five furlongs over a fast main track in 1:03.20 after the renovation break, a move that left trainer Graham Motion with a difficult decision regarding the 4-year-old filly.
Aruna, who never has run on dirt, is pre-entered in the Grade I
Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at 1 1/8 miles and Emirates Airline Filly
& Mare Turf (GI) at 1 3/8 miles with first preference being the
Fractions for the solo work were :12.60, :25, :37.40, :50 and out six furlongs in 1:16.80 for the 41st fastest of 49 at the distance.
“Sheldon was very happy with her and he said she handled the track
fine,” Motion said. “She was not going to have a flashy work this
morning regardless of which race she goes in.”
The dilemma for Motion is whether to test the dirt in the Ladies’
Classic or try Aruna at the 1 3/8-mile distance for the first time.
"The distance of the (Filly & Mare) Turf is a concern because she
has never done it,” Motion said. “I wanted to have her go a mile and a
quarter (in the Flower Bowl) but we didn’t do it (because of soft turf).
“The (Ladies’ Classic) was not even on our radar until the race began to fall apart (with the likelihood of Havre de Grace going in the Classic and the withdrawal of Blind Luck). I would hate to make the wrong decision and run on dirt and have her not handle it.”
Motion said he would confer with Maria Niarchos-Gouaze and Alan Cooper of Flaxman Holdings over the next couple days with the final decision having to be made by entry time Monday.
Ramon Dominguez is the regular rider for Aruna and
would have the mount if Aruna goes in the Ladies’ Classic. Dominguez is
the regular rider for Stacelita (FR), one of the favorites for the Filly & Mare Turf. Motion said that Julien Leparoux would ride Aruna if she goes in the Filly & Mare Turf.
“That’s why I didn’t want Julien to work her this morning,” Motion said with a laugh. “They might have worked in 1:06.”
Prior to Aruna’s work that Motion watched from the frontside, the trainer was at Keeneland for a work from Team Valor International’s State of Play. Undefeated in two starts and pre-entered in the Juvenile Turf, State of Play worked six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:13.80.
Sagamore Farm’s Shared Account, the
defending champion in the Filly & Mare Turf, is scheduled to work
Sunday morning at Fair Hill in Maryland and ship to Louisville on Monday