WinStar Farm LLC’s Drosselmeyer, the winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (GI) and a contender for next week’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), and Preston Stable LLC’s Birdrun, bound for the $500,000 Marathon, left Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott smiling as they worked in company Saturday morning in the final major training move for their respective races next week.
Drosselmeyer, ridden by Rudolph Brisset, started a length back of Birdrun, who had retired jockey Larry Melancon
in the irons, and finished even with his regular workmate at the end of
their five-furling drill over fast track. Churchill Downs clockers
timed Drosselmeyer 1:01, while Birdrun was given a final time of
Fractional times for Drosselmeyer were :12.60, :24.80 and :36.60, and
the son of Distorted Humor galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.
Drosselmeyer and Birdrun have worked together over the Churchill
Downs main track over the past three Saturdays, and Mott – the all-time
win leader among trainers at Churchill Downs – liked what he saw from
both horses in today’s move.
“I asked the boys to just go a tick slower than they did last week
and last week they went in 1:01,” Mott said. “It was a very similar
work today and they galloped out very good. Maybe they didn’t gallop
out as fast (as last week), but they were both moving well and they were
both doing it on the bridle.
“Drosselmeyer was up in the bit when he got to the hip of Birdrun.
He grabbed onto the bit and looked like he was energetic and willing to
go, and the rider was very happy with him.”
The 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor finished second to Classic contender Flat Out
in his most recent start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) and has only
one victory in six races since his Belmont Stakes triumph that provided
Mott with his first victory in a Triple Crown classic. But the first of
Drosselmeyer’s four career victories was a six-length score in a maiden
race at Churchill Downs in the fall of his 2-year-old season. That
race is Drosselmeyer’s only start at the Louisville track.
“It doesn’t hurt anything,” Mott said. “It’s better than knowing he
doesn’t like the track. He’s had a lot of races since then and
in-between, but he’s worked well enough over the track and, with all
things being equal, I guess maybe we’re in for a big piece of it. He’s
working well, he’ll come running and he gets the distance – there’s no
question about that. So we’re optimistic that he’s doing well enough
that we can get a piece of the pie.”
Mott feels Birdrun, who won the Suburban (GII) at Belmont Park and
has split a pair of races with Drosselmeyer this year, should be a major
player in the 1 3/4-mile Marathon.
“You’ve gotta love him,” Mott said. “He’s a barn favorite and he’s
worked his way up through the ranks. He’s kind of done it the hard way,
and he’s proven that he gets a mile and a half, anyway, and he actually
beat Drosselmeyer at a mile and a half earlier in the year.
"He’s a horse that fits. We’ve got some new shooters coming from
over-the-pond that haven’t displayed form on the dirt, but they’re
obviously good stayers. So I guess with them it’s just a matter of
whether or not they handle the dirt as well as we do. There’s a good
horse in there called A.U. Miner that beat us last time
in Philadelphia. So it’ll be a good, competitive race, but we’re
anxious to watch Birdrun run his race.”
Mott has three more horses on his Breeders’ Cup team and two of those – Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve (Classic) and Palides Investments’ Royal Delta
(Ladies’ Classic) would work early Sunday morning. Those horses are
set to work in Mott’s early training sets after the track opens at 6
a.m. (all times Eastern). Brisset is set to be in the saddle in each of
His fifth Breeders’ Cup hope, Pam and Martin Wygod and William S. Farish’s TVG Mile (GI) hope Courageous Cat, would work on the turf either Sunday or Monday.