, who captured the 2011 Kentucky Derby, hasn’t
run since winning a turf allowance at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 18.
“The biggest thing for me is to have him back. Yes, it’s
great to be running in the Breeders’ Cup, but I’m just excited to have him back
racing,” said Motion, whose Derby winner was sidelined with a pelvis fracture.
“It’s frustrating to have a horse of this caliber stuck in the barn.”
Animal Kingdom, who injured his left hind leg after a
sixth-place finish in the 2011 Belmont, had come off an eight-month
layoff to win the Gulfstream allowance.
“He’s the best horse that I’ve ever trained. I’d like him to
have a chance to show his Derby wasn’t a fluke, because I know how talented he
is,” Motion said.
Animal Kingdom has won on dirt, synthetic and grass.
“I believe this horse’s best surface is the grass. To win
the Derby on the dirt is a credit to him,” Motion said.
Motion said he doesn’t feel pressure to win the Mile, which
has attracted a deep field that includes morning-line favorite Wise Dan, also a
winner on dirt, synthetic and grass, and Excelebration, a multiple-stakes
winner in Europe.
“I’m excited to have him back. To win the Mile would be
extraordinary. I haven’t even allowed myself to think about it,” Motion said.
“I just want to see him run a good race and be competitive with these
Excelebration – see European report
Jeranimo – Poor
people from the South American jungle will be cheering for Jeranimo in the
Breeders' Cup Mile Saturday.
Owner B.J. Wright sends winnings earned by the 6yo
horse to Peru to help indigenous people along the Amazon River.
"I've supported a charitable foundation, House of the
Children, with the stable winnings," said Wright. “The money is
used for the Rainforest Flow project, which protects rain forests and
builds water supply systems from streams to villages. We've done three villages
at a cost of $400,000 each."
Wright, a 74-year-old Pasadena, Calif. resident who owns a
water filtration company, said he believed the good karma created by his
generosity has helped Jeranimo become a grade I stakes-winning
Trainer Mike Pender was pleased with the 1m gallop on
the Santa Anita turf Thursday by Jeranimo under exercise rider
"All systems are go," said Pender. "He
shipped over yesterday (from Betfair Hollywood Park) and cleaned up
his tub. He will school in the first race tomorrow."
Pender first met Wright as a quarterback on a youth
football team that Wright coached in Glendale, Cal.
Moonlight Cloud – see European report
Mr. Commons – Ian
Banwell, owner-breeder of Mr. Commons, was on hand at the John Shirreffs
stable Thursday to see the 4yo colt gallop 1m on the main track at Santa
Anita under exercise rider Jacqueline Gomez.
Banwell, who owns St. George Farm in Kentucky and
races under that name, flew in from his home in Charlotte, N.C., with his
"He continues to progress to be a really fine
racehorse," said Banwell. "What was most encouraging to John and
me was the race at Del Mar (Del Mar Mile). The winner, Obviously, broke
the track record. Mr. Commons finished better than he ever did and got
beat by a nose. John said he had not gotten to the bottom of him yet.
"As an athlete, his recovery time is
extraordinary," continued Banwell. "We're in a proper world
championship, minus Frankel, and think he is a horse of that caliber. His
advantage is that he likes Santa Anita quite a bit and only has to walk to the
track out of his own barn but it's a fantastic field. We'll find out Saturday.”
Banwell explained that he named the horse after Rick
Commons, headmaster of the Groton School near Boston attended by two of his
three children. Banwell said that Commons would be moving to Southern
California next year to accept a job as president of the Harvard Westlake
School in Los Angeles.
Banwell wished that Commons could have attended the
race Saturday. "He only saw him live once, when he won his last race
here," said Banwell of the Arcadia Stakes in February. "He brought us
Mike Mitchell is an early bird, liking to get his business done well before
most folks even make it out of bed. Thursday morning at Santa Anita, he had his
two Breeders’ Cup horses, including Obviously who is scheduled to run in the
Mile, trained up, cooled out and ready to go on with it well before the sun came
Obviously, an Irish-bred gelding, jogged around the track as
part of his final preparations for the Mile. The 4yo will be handled by Santa
Anita’s current leading rider, Joe Talamo.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that he (Obviously) will be on
the lead in the Mile and they’ll have to come catch him,” Mitchell said.
“Talamo is the reason that’s so, and it’s funny how it got that way.
“When we bought this horse, it was because we thought he was
a sprinter. We tried him several times sprinting and he always seemed to manage
to find some trouble. So I said let’s try him long to see if we can get him out
In three grass races at a mile since, Obviously has been a
winner each time, going to the front and never looking back.
“That first time on the grass, I never said anything to Joe
about how to ride him,” Mitchell recalled. “I don’t like to give (my riders)
instructions anyway and I never said anything to Joe. So here he goes and he
opens up four or five in front on the backside and I’m really upset. ‘What the
heck is he doing?’ I’m thinking. But then the horse just kept on going. And
he’s done it twice more. That’s the way he wants to run and Joe discovered it.
And we’re all sure glad he did.”
Suggestive Boy –
of Fame trainer Ron McAnally sent Suggestive Boy onto the Santa Anita turf
course for his final breeze Thursday morning in advance of Saturday’s Mile.
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who will partner with the 4yo colt on race day,
was in the irons as he traveled 3f in 36 1/5 over firm ground.
“He just needed to stretch his legs. We’re weren’t looking
for any fast times,” said Dan Landers, the assistant trainer.
Landers said that Suggestive Boy, who came into the barn in
February after winning three straight group I races in Argentina in 2011, is
now in the best form that they have seen since his arrival.
“We pretty much had to start from scratch with him, getting
him fit to be ready to race all over again,” he said. “Now he has good energy
and he feels good all of the time. He’s a pretty nice horse and I hope that we
all get to see the best of him on Saturday.”
Willcox Inn – Conditioner
and horse were reunited Thursday morning with the arrival of trainer Mike
Stidham to oversee the final preparations for Saturday’s Mile.
The son of Harlan’s Holiday came out on the track after the
renovation and stood at the gap for several minutes before embarking on an easy
1m gallop under exercise rider Freddy Alvarado.
The 4yo colt picked up his ears down the lane when passed along the
inside by a team working on the rail.
Owned by All In Stable and Lael Stable, Willcox Inn will
once again be facing Wise Dan after finishing second to that rival in the
Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland on Oct. 6.
Despite the solid performance, he has been installed in the morning line
at odds of 30-to-1.
“They’re totally discounting us,” Stidham said. “I don’t get it. He had to do pretty good to run second to
Wise Dan, and we were running at the end of that race.
“He hasn’t gone backward since that race and if anything,
he’s moved forward,” he continued. “He
trained well at Keeneland and he’s been training well since getting here. One thing I noticed this morning is that he’s
very happy. He’s relaxed. He’s comfortable which is always a good sign.”
Stidham said that Willcox Inn would school in the paddock
Wise Dan – Morton
Fink’s Wise Dan, the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Mile, made his first
trip to the Santa Anita turf Thursday morning, jogging one time around
accompanied by a pony and then galloping easily once around under exercise
rider Damien Rock.
“I am glad that’s over,” said Rock, who accompanied Wise Dan
on the flight from Kentucky on Wednesday. “He is so strong that I don’t want to
let him get away from me so close to the race. I am happy that it went well.”
Trainer Charles Lopresti, who calls Wise Dan “the horse of a
lifetime,” liked what he saw from the time Wise Dan arrived Wednesday afternoon
to this morning’s activity.
“He came in here yesterday very confident and cleaned out
the feed tub last night,” Lopresti said. “Damien said he liked the ground out
there and that’s all he really needs. I just wanted to get him out there to jog
and gallop a little just to see it.”
As Wise Dan came off the track, Lopresti talked glowingly of
the earner of $2,461,638 with 12 victories in 19 starts and a 4-for-5 mark on
grass at the mile distance.
“He is better now than he was before the Shadwell (Turf Mile
on Oct. 6 at Keeneland), but I say that after every race,” Lopresti said. “He’s
a good one and hopefully he will prove it Saturday. He will have to run the
race of his life to win, but then whoever wins will have to, too.”
The trainer, who saddled Turallure to a runner-up finish in
last year’s Mile at Churchill Downs, has plenty of respect for the rivals Wise
Dan will face Saturday.
“The Europeans have a very good horse in Excelebration who has
been beaten only by Frankel and they have a very nice filly in Moonlight
Cloud,” Lopresti said. “And there are a couple of nice American horses that
people are overlooking such as Obviously, who is very fast.”
Wise Dan is scheduled to school in the paddock with horses
in this afternoon’s sixth race.
“We’ll see how the schooling goes and then tomorrow I may
just jog him once around on the dirt track,” Lopresti said.