Photo: Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Robert Baker and William Mack’s Strong Mandate and Donegal Stable’s Cleburne, a pair of major contenders for the $2 million Breeders’
Cup Juvenile (GI) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, were on the Churchill Downs track on Sunday for workouts.
Strong Mandate, the winner of the Hopeful (GI) at Saratoga for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, breezed a half-mile in :48 over a fast track.
The work was
Strong Mandate’s final tune-up for Saturday’s $300,000 Foxwoods
Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park. Internal fractions for the work by the
son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow included
a first quarter in :12 and the half-mile in :48.
was just a little breeze to focus him a little bit, but we’re ready to
go,” Lukas said. “We’re excited about getting him back to New
York and getting him in the Champagne.”
Strong Mandate is scheduled to travel by van to Belmont Park and will leave on Monday.
Lukas’ newest star has three
career races – all at the Saratoga meet – to his credit. He won a maiden
race at Saratoga in his second start before romping by 9 ¾ lengths over
a sealed muddy track in the seven-furlong
Hopeful. He will stretch out to Belmont’s one-turn mile in the
“I think he’s getting
better,” Lukas said. “The last three or four weeks he’s been so much
more focused and obviously getting sharper as he develops. I think he’s a
pretty special horse.”
Cleburne, the unbeaten winner of the Iroquois (GIII) for trainer Dale Romans, worked five furlongs over a fast surface in 1:01.20.
The son of Dixie Union worked
from the half-mile pole and finished midway around the first turn and
carved out fractions of :23.40 and :48 and galloped-out six furlongs in
Cleburne, who opened his
career with a victory on grass in a maiden race at Kentucky’s Ellis
Park, earned a spot in the starting gate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile
with his narrow victory over stablemate Smart
Cover in the Iroquois, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge
Series race. Romans plans to train Cleburne up to his run in the 1
1/16-mle Breeders’ Cup event.