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Chatterpaul Shoots High With Game Ball

Despite largely running a claiming outfit, it is not rare to see trainer Naipaul Chatterpaul pluck an old class horse out of the ranks and send him up to the ladder to a Grade 1 race.


Game Ball, his long-shot entrant in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup this Saturday, is just such a horse. Purchased for $47,500 out of a race at Woodbine, the son of Sky Mesa has run in the Grade 1 Man o’War (seventh) and Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational (eighth).


Now, Chatterpaul will switch Game Ball to the dirt, a surface on which he has won six of seven starts, albeit against less talented company than he will face on “Super Saturday.”


Chatterpaul, who won the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap in 2011 with $35,000 claimer Mission Approved, has no illusions about Game Ball winning the Jockey Club Gold Cup, but he is not afraid of the competition.


“Most of the horses, some of them are really good horses, but some of them are tailing off also if you look at the program,” he said. “This horse is doing well, a really nice horse, training well. He can run. It’s just that I’m looking for the right spot. I’m not crazy about this horse on the turf. Even the rider, [Jose] Espinoza, said he worked easy there on the dirt, easy in hand, a minute flat.


“It’s a really top-class horse, just like Mission Approved,” added the trainer. “I wouldn’t put the horse in if I didn’t see any quality in him. There are a few horses you’ll find that you can claim and if they’re decent enough, you can bring them back to their old class. And he seems like one who will get back there, eventually.” 


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