Bob Baffert (Fed Biz, Dirt Mile) – The
4yo colt Fed Biz galloped at the Santa Anita Wednesday morning as
trainer Bob Baffert looked on from the track’s apron. The Hall of Fame
conditioner liked what he saw.
"He’s going to run good on Friday,” he said. “He’s going to run like he did at Del Mar.”
If that proves true, he’ll run well indeed. Fed Biz, a son of Giant’s
Causeway, came flying late to best 11 rivals in the Pat O’Brien Stakes
at Del Mar going 7f. It was his fifth lifetime victory and pushed his
bankroll past the half-million mark. His rider that day was Baffert’s
“go-to” jock, Martin Garcia, and he’ll once again have the call Friday.
Shug McGaughey (Hymn Book, Dirt Mile) – Stuart
Janney III’s Hymn Book galloped 1m at Santa Anita Wednesday morning in
preparation for his final career start in Friday’s Dirt Mile.
been good to us. He’s 7 years old. We’re taking a shot here,” trainer
Shug McGaughey said. “There’s no sense pressing him. We’ll use him as a
pony at some point.”
The veteran gelding, who has earned just shy of $1 million, is winless
in 2013, but has finished on the board in all four starts, including a
close third in the Kelso at Belmont last time out.
had a very good year. In the Kelso, the pace didn’t turn out the way we
thought it would be. He didn’t get him out until too late and he comes
running and just gets beat,” McGaughey said. “He’s 15-1 in the morning
line, and he just got beat by Graydar, who would have been the favorite
in this race.”
Doug O'Neill (Goldencents, Dirt Mile) – Dave
Kenney, co-owner of both Goldencents and Juvenile Fillies Turf entrant
Clenor, watched both horses gallop on the main track Wednesday. "They
are back-to-back races; they could have spread them out a little
better," joked Kenney. "I could be in a winners' party for the first and
not get to the paddock for the second."
Trainer Doug O'Neill and assistant Steve Rothblum hope the owner
encounters that enviable problem. Rothblum thinks Goldencents, a 3yo
colt who won the Santa Anita Derby in April, should excel at the mile
distance. "He's tailor-made to be a miler," said Rothblum. "His natural
speed comes into play."
Jerry Hollendorfer (Blueskiesnrainbows, Marathon) – Blueskiesnrainbows,
who has spent his career under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainers
Bob Baffert and Jerry Hollendorfer, galloped 1 1/2m on Santa Anita’s
main track Wednesday as he moved one day closer to his Friday test in
the 1 3/4m Marathon.
With all the serious work done, all that remains for the son of English
Channel is some Thursday morning exercise and a schooling session in
the paddock Thursday afternoon, Hollendorfer said.
Jo Hughes (London Bridge, Marathon) – see European report
Kelly Breen (Pants On Fire, Dirt Mile) – Trainer
Kelly Breen can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but whatever has made the
difference this year with Pants On Fire, he’s just hoping it continues
into Friday’s race where the 5yo Jump Start horse will be among the
favorites. Pants On Fire has three wins and three thirds from six starts
this year, the best record of his four years on the track.
“I wish I knew what has made the difference this year,” said Breen.
“We’re still doing things the exact same way we have since he was two.
For some reason, he’s just decided to put it all together this year.
“After his last race at Churchill (a win in the Ack Ack Handicap), we
decided that we wouldn’t try to make another start before the Breeders’
Cup. He seems to run well fresh with space between his races. He’s
stayed healthy and is really doing excellent.”
Kiaran McLaughlin (Alpha, Dirt Mile) – Dual
Grade 1 winner Alpha, who was bred by Darley and carries the colors of
Godolphin Racing, galloped 1 3/8m and went to the gate under exercise
rider Rob Massey on Wednesday morning for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
4yo son of Bernardini, who was eased before finishing last in the 2012
Breeders’ Cup Classic, has acclimated beautifully since arriving from
New York and his connections are pleased with the way he’s coming into
the Dirt Mile.
got a good look out of his eye and he’s very bright,” said Jimmy Bell,
Godolphin’s representative on the scene and head of operations for
Darley Racing America. “It was great to see him get another Grade 1 win
(in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga in August).”
Bell cautioned against overlooking the earner of $1,779,167 in this race.
is a dangerous horse who is capable at any time of springing a major
performance,” he said. “I am sure that he will give a good account of
Whether the colt will race again this year, or next year, or head to stallion duty at Darley has yet to be decided.
see how he comes out of this race and assess his performance to see
what’s there or isn’t,” Bell said. “We’re considering the Cigar Mile
this year and if he runs there, these next couple of races will
determine his future.”
Mark Casse (Pool Play, Marathon) – With
40 starts on his resume, Pool Play has gone to the gate more times than
any other competitor in this year’s Breeders’ Cup. At age 8 and the
oldest of all the contenders, he qualifies as an equine senior citizen.
he still have the desire to go out there and do this? I guess we’ll
find out on Friday,” said Will Farish Jr. who owns the gelded son of
Silver Deputy, who is a multiple Graded stakes winner with a bankroll of
$1,313,371. “This may be his last race, but we’ll let him tell us.”
Play, eighth in the Classic last year, no longer has any speed in his
repertoire but trainer Mark Casse said that he’s still got plenty of
endurance. Anyone looking for clues to solving the mystery of the
Marathon should note that he is the only one in the field who has won at
the 1 3/4m distance, and even longer.
Should the Marathon be his last stand, Pool Play will surely be missed by Team Casse.
such a cool old guy with a great personality. He’s like the barn pet,”
said assistant trainer David Adams. “He’s been doing this for so long
and knows the routine so well that nothing fazes him. He’s a real
Ron Ellis (Centralinteligence, Dirt Mile) – Trainer
Ron Ellis is not worried about Centralintelligence's second career
start around two turns in the Dirt Mile. The 5yo gelding, who has
sprinted in 12 of his 13 starts, finished a non-threatening seventh at 1
1/16 miles at Del Mar in 2011.
"It was only the third start of his life and he didn't show anything at
all," said Ellis. "He didn't like the surface. I'm not worried at all."
Centralintelligence rallied from just off the pace to win the Grade 1
Triple Bend Handicap at 7f at Betfair Hollywood Park in June, a relaxed
style that Ellis is confident will suit him well in the Dirt Mile as
Centralintelligence galloped on the main track under exercise rider
Cesar Cerrano after being shipped from Betfair Hollywood Park Tuesday.
Tom Proctor (Old Time Hockey, Marathon) – Trainer
Tom Proctor was not on the grounds on Wednesday morning and instead was
at his base at Betfair Hollywood Park, where he supervised the
preparations for the Glen Hill Farm homebred.
in eight starts since taking the La Jolla Handicap at 1 1/16m on the
turf at Del Mar in August 2012, the 4yo son of dual Classic winner
Smarty Jones will make his first start on the dirt since a maiden
special weight effort in February 2012 at Gulfstream Park.
Todd Pletcher (Verrazano, Dirt Mile) – The Todd
Pletcher-trained Verrazano galloped at Santa Anita Wednesday morning
for a start in Friday’s Dirt Mile. Pletcher confirmed that the 3yo son
of More Than Ready is scheduled to be retired after the Dirt Mile.
"I think this will be his last start. He goes to stud at Ashford after that,” Pletcher said.
Verrazano has captured six of eight starts in brilliant fashion, his
only two losses coming in the Kentucky Derby and Travers at 1 1/4m.
Seventh in the Travers last time out, Verrazano convinced his
connections to opt for the Dirt Mile instead of the Classic.
just felt like he’s always had that brilliance about him. Had he won
the Travers, we would have looked at it a little differently,” Pletcher
said. “But after the Travers, we decided the (Dirt) Mile would be the
right spot for him.”