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Pender Looking Forward to Breeders' Cup

Mike Pender has a lot to look forward to these days. On his way to his first-ever Breeders’ Cup as a trainer with Oak Tree Mile winner Jeranimo, the 45-year-old conditioner also has Oak Tree Derby winner Ultimate Eagle targeting the Hollywood Derby at 1 ¼ miles on turf on Nov. 27, with recent claim Dance With Gable under consideration for the California Cup Sprint on Oct. 29.


Jeranimo worked a half-mile on Santa Anita’s main track Saturday in :47 flat, while Dance With Gable went five furlongs in :59 flat.


“Jeramino came out of his race in stellar shape and just breezed a nice little :46 and one this morning,” Pender said. “He’s given us every indication barring anything unforeseen to get on that plane to Kentucky.” That would be for the BC Mile on the grass and a meeting with the likes of world-class winners Goldikova and Gio Ponti.


“Ultimate Eagle, that was the toughest race of his career so far,” Pender said of the half-length victory at 34-1 over French invader Venomous. “His speed figures shot up a couple digits from what he used to be running, and we’re very much looking forward to the opportunity in the Hollywood Derby.


“They’re both pretty versatile, although I think Jeranimo has more of a stalking gear than Ultimate Eagle does,” Pender said. “Ultimate Eagle, if he had his way, he would prefer to probably be on the front and say come and catch me. I can’t wait to run him on the dirt. I don’t think Jeranimo is as effective on dirt.


“The Mile has the best horses in the world. I might be a little bit biased of course, but of all the races at the Breeders’ Cup, pound for pound I think the majority of people are looking forward to that race. It does have the three-time defending champ Goldikova.”


Pender claimed Dance With Gable for $40,000 from his last race, a winning effort at Fairplex Park. The 7-year-old Dance Floor gelding is a veritable win machine with 15 victories, which likely accounts for his being claimed five times in his 37-race career.


“(Mike) Machowsky did a super job with him when he took him off of (Jerry) Hollendorfer, and (Bill) Morey got him started up at Golden Gate,” Pender said. “This horse has been well-traveled up and down the California coast line. Ted West just had him in the best form of his life here at the ripe age of seven years old.


“He’s a 15-time winner. We could have got him for 32 ($32,000) down at Del Mar (Sept. 2). He proved to me that day he could run on just about any surface, synthetic, dirt, turf; doesn’t matter with him, and he’s sound as a dollar.”

 

 

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