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Breeders Cup 2015
Royal Ascot 2017

Cease Breezes for Woodward

Saratoga Race Course 2012 logo
Photo: NYRA

Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Cease worked a moderate half-mile on the main track in 49.04, breezing, Monday morning in preparation for the Grade 1 Woodward.

The work was overseen by trainer Al Stall, who had one eye on Hurricane Isaac, which was bearing down on his hometown of New Orleans.

“He went an easy half-mile by himself – 49 flat, last eighth [of a mile] in 11 4/5,” said Stall, who has had a strong Saratoga meet (six wins and 15 in-the-money finishes from 21 starters). “We didn’t need to do much with him. He had a hard work over the track last week in company.”

Cease, a 5-year-old gelded son of War Chant, has never competed in a Grade 1 race, but his credentials on dirt are strong. He has hit the board in six of his seven most recent dirt starts, with the only time out of the money being a fifth in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Marathon last November at Churchill Downs.

In April, he ran into the beastly Wise Dan in the Grade 3 Ben Ali on the Polytrack at Keeneland and then finished fifth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap on turf in May at Churchill Downs. When Stall switched Cease back to dirt the first week of the Saratoga meet, he scored smartly at 1 1/8 miles, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 95.

“If you draw a line through the turf and Polytrack, and the 1 ¾ miles in the Breeders’ Cup Marathon, he’s been pretty solid,” Stall said. “He broke his maiden on Polytrack and our home course is Keeneland; Claiborne has a barn there. It made sense to try that and Wise Dan freaked that day. [Jockey] Miguel Mena came back and said he strode better on dirt than Poly. We knew the [allowance] would be a huge purse up here [at Saratoga], so we kept that in mind.”

That success led Stall to take a shot at the Woodward.

“We know we’re stepping up, but he acts like it’s his home track,” Stall said. “This is where his best numbers and races are.”

Stall also expressed his happiness with Sign, a 2-year-old Pulpit filly who debuted an 11 ¾-length winner Sunday under jockey Rosie Napravnik.

Sign, 10-1, left the gate towards the rear and after fighting her rider early, moved off the rail at the three-eighths pole and mowed down the leaders to easily pull away in the stretch, completing the six furlongs in 1:10.37.

“She showed us a good turn of foot,” said Stall, who likely will point Sign to the Grade 2 Pocahontas in October at Churchill Downs. “We said, ‘Let’s get her up here and get one race in her.’ I liked the way she turned for home and instead of getting a little wobbly, she leaned in and turned for home and whoosh!”

 

 

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