Flat Out/Ron the Greek – Hall
of Fame trainer Bill Mott announced Thursday morning that Ron the Greek
has a quarter in crack his right front foot that will prevent him from
competing in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.
the Greek was fourth in the 2012 Classic and turned in a smashing
performance on Sept. 28 to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
we’re going to have to scratch him,” Mott said. “He had an abscess that
broke open in his foot. It’s not a major problem, but it’s all a matter
of timing and he won’t be able to run on Saturday.”
The abscess was discovered Wednesday afternoon during the feed time.
he came out to walk is the first we recognized any problem,” Mott said.
“That horse has been doing fine. He’s never had foot issues before in
his life. He had a strong gallop yesterday and he must have just bumped
the heel of his foot wrong and he got an abscess in the bulb of his
heel. Believe it or not, we soaked him and it opened up and relieved
some of the pressure late yesterday afternoon but he was still sore on
it this morning and I just made the determination that we couldn’t have
him good enough to run on Saturday.”
said he was sorry the problem developed a couple of days before the
important season-ending race. He said that as far as he knows Ron the
Greek will remain in training in 2014.
feel really bad for all the other connections. I’m going to make it
through it,” he said. “Ron has been good to me. He doesn’t owe me or
anybody that is connected to him anything, but as well as he was doing
and the race that he was departing from, the Jockey Club Gold Cup,
everybody was enthusiastic about running him and taking his chance.
just such a fun horse to be around because he always gives you a good
effort. When you take him over there ordinarily he’s going to pick up a
big check. Those kind of horses you have to love them because they show
up every time for you.
Mott said that the 7yo with $2.7 million in career earnings could resume his regular schedule by mid-November.
would estimate that in a couple of weeks’ time he could be on the race
track and probably be back in full training,” Mott said. “Right now,
there’s no shortcut. When the foot is traumatized like that and you’ve
got the swelling, even though the abscess is broken open you still have
inflammation in that foot and it’s tender. It’s like touching a boil.
The tenderness will probably resolve itself in three or four days and in
probably 12 or 13 days we’ll attempt to put a patch on it and he’d been
fine to train."
Flat Out galloped at Santa Anita Thursday morning.
Fort Larned – Janis
Whitham’s defending Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned galloped 1
1/4m early Thursday morning with exercise rider Katie Merritt up.
Trainer Ian Wilkes liked what he saw from Fort Larned on his first day at the track after walking the previous morning.
“No problems, here,” Wilkes said. “All is well.”
All has not been well in the 2013 campaign that has featured its share highs and lows.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride for sure,” Wilkes said of the 5yo who has two wins from five starts.
his season debut, Fort Larned stumbled at the break and unseated rider
Brian Hernandez Jr. in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Fort Larned follows
that up with a fifth-place finish in the Oaklawn Handicap, won the
Stephen Foster, ran fifth in the Whitney, missed the Woodward because of
a hind-end issue and won the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs in
his most recent start.
at least he won the Foster this year and he did not do that last year,”
Wilkes said, who always thought Fort Larned would make another run in
“You can never stop believing. If you do you are in trouble. In this business, you have to stay optimistic.”
Wilkes was asked if Fort Larned were to repeat in the Classic Saturday, which victory would be the most satisfying.
can never replace the first time,” Wilkes said. “But this year, if it
is fortunate enough to happen, it would be very gratifying and a
testament to the horse.”
Game On Dude/Paynter – Trainer
Bob Baffert’s Classic duo of Game On Dude and Paynter came trackside
just after 8 a.m. Thursday following a renovation break. Joining them
from the Baffert barn were two other Breeders’ Cup horses, Dirt Mile
runner Fed Biz and Sprint starter Secret Circle.
On Dude, the morning-line favorite for the $5 million Classic, had Dana
Barnes up for his gallop well out into the middle of the track. The
dark bay or brown gelding, now a 6yo, obviously likes to train and his
Hall of Fame conditioner believes he’s coming up to perhaps his best
also went through his gallop in the center of the track. Baffert has
said throughout the week that Paynter would be “right there” at the end
of the Classic and he continues to tout the 4yo colt as his “stealth”
runner for Saturday.
hand to watch Paynter train was his owner, Ahmed Zayat, along with his
son Justin. They were working with an NBC camera crew recording the
Paynter – a millionaire – and Game On Dude – a five-times millionaire –
are by the sire Awesome Again, who won the Classic in 1998.
Palace Malice – Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice galloped Thursday morning in preparation for a start in Saturday’s Classic.
3yo son of Curlin will be ridden for the first time by John Velazquez,
trainer Todd Pletcher’s longtime first-call jockey, due to Mike Smith’s
decision to ride morning-line favorite Game On Dude in the Classic.
not disappointed at all. I might have been disappointed if we didn’t
have our go-to rider to ride him. We’re very pleased to have Johnny
aboard,” Pletcher said. “Jockeys have decisions to make. Any time you
can ride the favorite in a big race, I think you’ve got to look at doing
Last Gunfighter – John Gunther’s homebred Last Gunfighter galloped Thursday morning for trainer Chad Brown.
The 4yo colt has won four of his six starts this season, but is making the step up to tougher competition in the Classic.
doing well,” Brown said. “He, more than likely, is trying to play for a
minor award here, but the purse is so big I don’t have a problem with
that. There’s not too many $5 million races on the racing calendar.
horse looks terrific. His weight is great. His coat couldn’t be better.
He’s had some nice gallops over the track here. His last two breezes
were outstanding. Javier Castellano has a good record on the horse. He’s
got a lot of things going for him where I could see him earning a check
in this race. It’s deep water, though. He’s going to have to come with
Moreno – Trained
by Eric Guillot, Moreno jogged 1m and galloped 1m as training toward
Saturday’s Classic begins to wind down for the 3yo son of Ghostzapper.
Guillot said of Moreno’s opportunity Saturday, “He’ll have to run the race of his young life, but that’s what we expect.”
Mucho Macho Man – Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Mucho Macho Man galloped 1 1/2m Thursday morning, readying for a start in the Classic.
think he’s prepared very well,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “Things
couldn’t have gone better since the Awesome Again, getting ready for
has impressed Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s stable manager Finn Green
with the strong rapport she has developed with the 5yo son of Macho Uno.
said we need to go to a psychiatrist. He said we need counseling,”
Ritvo said with a chuckle. “I think ‘Macho’ and I are in tune. We’ve
been together a long time. He is a really a smart horse, and he’s kind.”
Macho Man and his trainer recorded the first Grade I victory of their
respective careers in the Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept.
“We wanted it for him,” Ritvo said. “He deserved it. He did all the work.”
“And I wanted it for Kathy,” Green said.
Ritvo redirected the attention to the horse and her staff.
a team effort. It’s never just me,” said Ritvo, praising the dedication
of Mucho Macho Man’s groom, Valietal Tapia, hotwalker, Karina Lopez,
exercise rider Nick Petro and assistant trainer Marcelino Valencia.
Mucho Macho Man finished second in last year’s Classic at Santa Anita, beaten by just a half- length by Fort Larned.
wasn’t disappointed. I wasn’t disappointed at all. I was proud of him,”
Ritvo said. “He ran a good race. He gave us what he could give us.”
Planteur – see European report
Will Take Charge – Willis
D. Horton’s Will Take Charge galloped 1 1/2m on Santa Anita’s main
track as his training toward the Classic continued routinely under the
guidance of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.