Ceiling Kitty – see European report
Hightail – “Strange
things can happen,” said D. Wayne Lukas while talking about sending out a
maiden to tackle more successful runners in Friday’s $500,000 Breeders’ Cup
Juvenile Sprint. “Actually, I don’t think he’s your average maiden,” Lukas
The trainer said Hightail wasn’t considered for the race
early, but, he said, “The [Breeders’ Cup] people called me and told me the race
was coming up light, so we decided to come in.”
Hightail galloped 1 1/2m Wednesday.
Merit Man – Theundefeated son of With Distinction
appears to be all that trainer Robert Hess Jr. asked for when he was looking at
2yo horses in training at the Ocala Breeders Sale in April. He told one of his
sale scouts to find him an athlete, not necessarily a horse with a fancy pedigree
that he might not be able to afford.
So here’s Merit Man, unbeaten in two starts, a bargain at
$75,000 and the 9-5 morning-line favorite in the Juvenile Sprint.
“He is a great athlete,” Hess said. “He is a beautifully
balanced horse with a great stride. And I’ve learned since getting him that he
has a great mind, too. And that’s a bonus. His mind could let him do some
things that maybe his pedigree wouldn’t.”
In Merit Man, Hess will be saddling his third Breeders’ Cup
starter, finishing third with River Special in the 1992 Juvenile and fourth in
the 2008 Juvenile Fillies with Dave’s Revenge.
His take on the upcoming Friday race: “We’re ready and may
the fastest horse win.”
South Floyd – The
Rick Pitino co-owned colt galloped 1 1/8m Wednesday at Santa Anita with
exercise rider Humberto Gomez aboard.
Jack Sisterson, an assistant trainer to Doug O'Neill largely
responsible for acquiring the colt at an OBS sale, guessed that Pitino would
find a way to break away for a few minutes from his busy schedule as University
of Louisville basketball coach to watch South Floyd in the
Juvenile Sprint on television Friday.
"I made it a point to chat with the coach when I
learned he liked horses," explained Sisterson, who attended the University
of Louisville on a soccer scholarship. "He came down to Del Mar this
summer, but now that it's basketball season, it's difficult for him to check. South
Floyd is named after the street the practice arena is on."
Sweet Shirley Mae – Ice
Wine Stable’s Sweet Shirley Mae galloped approximately 1 1/4m to 1 1/2m under
exercise rider Lindsey Molina.
Sweet Shirley Mae will give trainer Wesley Ward a starter in
the Juvenile Sprint for a second consecutive year. Last year at Churchill
Downs, the Ward-trained Holdin Bullets ran third in the inaugural running of
Molina said that Ward is in Florida this week and would not
be here for the Championships.
Super Ninety Nine – Though
he has made only one start – a tally in a straight maiden race this month at
Santa Anita – the Pulpit colt Super Ninety Nine is one of the favorites for the
second edition of the Juvenile Sprint, which will be the first Breeders’ Cup
race presented on Friday’s program.
The good win and the fact that he’s only got to beat six
rivals in the 6f race are certainly part of why he’s been looked on so kindly.
But a further element in the equation falls on the fact that his trainer is the
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who won last year’s first running of the race with
Secret Circle and has a well-deserved reputation as an excellent trainer of
both young horses and sprinters.
Along with all but one of his 10 starters, the trainer
watched Super Ninety Nine train at Santa Anita Wednesday morning, who was out
early with his 7:45 Breeders’ Cup set.
How was the colt doing Baffert was asked? He gave it a