Breeders' Cup 2016 Friday notes for Turf, Mile, Filly & Mare Turf

Breeders' Cup 2016 Friday notes for Turf, Mile, Filly & Mare Turf
Photo: Zoe Metz/Eclipse Sportswire


Da Big Hoss – Skychai Racing’s Mike Maker-trained Da Big Hoss is riding a four-stakes winning streak coming into Saturday’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and once again impressed in the morning at Santa Anita. Leaving Barn 56 at 5a.m., the 5yo Lemon Drop Kid horse galloped an easy mile around the main track.

Briefly considered for last Tuesday's 2m Melbourne Cup in Australia after dominating two consecutive marathon events this summer – the 2m Belmont Gold Cup and 1 1/16m American St. Leger – Skychai Racing and Maker opted for the Turf, which received a $1 million purse increase this year, instead. The chestnut will try to improve upon his sixth-place finish at Keeneland in last year’s Turf in which he closed from a trailing 32 lengths to lose by 6 1/2 lengths at the wire. Florent Geroux, who is five for his last six with the 12-time winner, has the mount.

“All is well and he looks great,” Maker said. “We’re good to go.”

Flintshire/Money Multiplier – Trainer Chad Brown's Turf runners galloped approximately 1 3/8m.

Two years ago at Santa Anita, Flintshire finished second in the Turf to Main Sequence. Based in the U.S. with Brown this year, the Juddmonte homebred 6yo has won three of four starts. He was second in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic over a yielding surface he did not like and is the 5-2 morning line favorite.

“Just the one race on soft turf is the only blemish on his record,” Brown said. “Other than that he has been a star.”

Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence's Money Multiplier has been in Flintshire's massive shadow this year, but has finished second in three Grade 1 races.

“He needs to step up,” Brown said. “The horse has been right there, though. The numbers show that he can get a piece of this race. If he wants more than just a piece he's going to have to step forward. He's a talented horse that loves firm turf. He's got the right setting to do it, but he needs to do it.”


Ironicus – Stuart Janney III’s Ironicus galloped 1 1/4m Friday at Santa Anita for what is scheduled to be his final career race in Saturday’s Mile.

”This is his last race. He’ll go to stud from here to Claiborne. But this guy likes to race, so all that could change,” Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey said.

Ironicus, who debuted with an off-the-board finish on dirt, has been no worse than third in his 11 subsequent starts on turf. The 5yo son of Distorted Humor closed with a surge from ninth at the top of the stretch to finish second behind Miss Temple City, beaten by only a head, in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last time out.

“When he was starting to make his move, there was a horse on the inside of him that went out. He had to go out a little bit and he lingered on his left lead a little bit. I’d have to think if that hadn’t happened he’d have switched leads earlier and he’d have probably gotten there,” McGaughey said.

Jose Ortiz has the return mount aboard the multiple graded-stakes winner.

Tepin – Robert Masterson’s Mark Casse-trained Tepin remained the most popular attraction at Barn 59, as fans came to visit the friendly mare as she prepares for a Breeders’ Cup Mile defense Saturday. A winner of 13 of 22 starts and 11 of her last 14 – including six Grade 1s – the daughter of Bernstein exits her first loss in 14 months when second in the First Lady at Keeneland.

Making history when becoming the first American-trained horse to win the prestigious Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, she will attempt to join Barathea (1994) and Goldikova (2010) as the only horses to win the Queen Anne and Mile in the same season. Another Queen Anne winner, Kalanisi (2000), would go on to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf later in the season.

“She’s a once in a lifetime horse, but that’s obvious,” Masterson said. “She’s a darling and you won’t find a better horse in how they handle themselves. That’s part of what makes her so good. It would be wonderful to win. We know it’s a very difficult field, but if she runs her race, she’ll be awfully tough. Some people picked her fourth, but she doesn’t run fourths. If she gets beat, she’ll still be right there.”

Earlier in her career, Masterson’s patience was utilized with the talented mare. Winner of two of four to kick off her career as a juvenile, including a Grade 3 win on the dirt in the Delta Princess at Delta Downs, she went 0-for-4 as a 3yo, including a runner-up effort in the San Clemente at Del Mar before a last-place finish in the Del Mar Oaks in her first attempt at Grade 1 company.

“I told them to take her home and I wanted to be patient with her,” Masterson said. “I said ‘give her six months because we know how good she is’ and she came back better than ever. Now, she is who she is and on top of that she’s the sweetest horse and that makes it that much better. She might be the best woman I’ve ever had. All I have to do is give her peppermints and she’s happy.

“We haven’t made any decisions regarding next year,” he continued. “But I will say that the way she runs, she really glides. As a result, she doesn’t do any damage to herself and takes care of herself. She’s 100 percent physically right now, so we will see how the race goes. If she wants to run, we’ll run her. If not, we’ll retire her. If she were to run poorly, she’s telling us she’s done.”


Avenge – Ramona Bass’ 4yo War Front filly Avenge took to the track at 5:30 and galloped 1 1/2m over the main track with regular exercise rider Alex Bisono in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The Richard Mandella trainee will be trying to close out her productive 2016 campaign on a high note as she seeks her fourth straight win in the Filly & Mare Turf following a three-quarter length victory in the Rodeo Drive at Santa Anita Park Oct. 1, a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race over the same distance.

“She is a mare that this year has come back a better horse after a rest and she’s had a test at Del Mar at one mile, at 1 1/8 miles and at 1 1/4 miles, so now is time to see if she can run against the rest of the world; but she is doing really well,” Mandella said. Mandella, who will be seeking his first win in the Filly & Mare Turf, has recorded eight victories from 38 starters in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

Campaigned by Ramona Bass and her husband Lee, Avenge has risen to the occasion when asked.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Bass said about Avenge while visiting the Mandella stable Friday morning. “We feel like she is a blessing. She just keeps getting better and better. It’s a big test, but you know, she’s done a super job and she’s a lovely filly. Whatever she does tomorrow, she is still a star. She has done what she’s had to do, so winning on Saturday would be icing on the cake.”

Lady Eli/Sea Calisi - Trainer Chad Brown sent his fillies to gallop 1 3/8m before dawn Friday morning.

With her comeback from a struggle with the life-threatening ailment laminitis, Lady Eli has become one of the stars of the 33rd Breeders' Cup. Brown has been asked countless questions about her.

“Until this year, I've never had a horse this popular worldwide in my care," Brown said. "Now we have two, Lady Eli and Flintshire, who I'm going to run on the same day. I'm a lucky guy."

Sea Calisi won the Beverly D. this summer and was third in the Flower Bowl off a layoff. Brown said she is in good form and a contender in a very strong field.

“This is a tough, tough race and she needs to step up a little bit, but I think she is capable," Brown said. "She is lightly raced and is training like she is going to run a big one."


Victory to Victory – Live Oak Plantation’s Victory to Victory has been scratched from the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf by trainer Mark Casse.

“She’s fine, she just popped a splint,” Casse said. “She wasn’t 100 percent and we’ll wait for another day.”


Classic Empire – When a juvenile colt wins a graded stakes race over the dirt at Churchill Downs, one can imagine it’s easy to get an early onset of Derby Fever. Such has been the case with those involved with John C. Oxley’s Mark Casse-trained Classic Empire, whose three victories have impressed onlookers and consequently created supporters among Kentucky Derby future wagerers.

“We always have Derby Fever,” said Norman Casse, assistant to his father. “For me, that’s the reason I train horses. The Kentucky Derby gets me up in the morning, so to have a horse like Classic Empire, who has all the attributes to be a real American classic-type horse, is a privilege. We’ve been in this position before, though maybe not exactly like this, but we’ve had learning experiences. Hopefully going forward we can take that next step.”

A $475,000 Keeneland September purchase, Classic Empire broke his maiden going 4 1/2f in the slop during Kentucky Derby week. Two months later, the bay colt closed from seven lengths astern to sweep past highly regarded Recruiting Ready in a three-quarter-length victory. After a hiccup in the form of wheeling at the start and dumping his rider at Saratoga in the Hopeful, Classic Empire righted those wrongs with a commanding three-length win in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last out Oct. 8.

“He is fast enough to win sprinting, which is a big attribute,” Casse continued. “But, you can tell by the way that he moves and does things that the farther along (in distance) he goes, the more effective he will be. It’s obvious if you want a true American classic-type horse, he has to be able to run long, but also be fast enough to be in early position to set himself up for success.”

Klimt – The Del Mar Futurity winner Klimt out of the Bob Baffert barn, upset as the 3-10 favorite in Front Runner at Santa Anita, galloped 1 3/8m under exercise rider Manny Avila Friday morning.

Three of Baffert's 12 Breeders' Cup victories have come from Juvenile representatives. Vindication was the first, in 2002, followed by Midshipman in 2008 and New Year's Day in 2013.

“I don't like his (No. 1) post,” Baffert said Friday morning. “He's going to really have to gut it out and come running.”

The horse to beat, in Baffert's opinion, is Todd Pletcher-trained Syndergaard, who will break from the gate immediately outside Klimt.

“(Syndergaard) is fast enough to get out and be out of harm's way, which is important for young horses,” Baffert said. “Stay clean (of kickback) and you'll be tough in the Juvenile.”

Not This Time – The Albaugh Family Stables’ homebred colt galloped 1 1/2m Friday morning for trainer Dale Romans. The half-brother to 2015 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map is the morning-line favorite after winning his last two races by a combined 18 3/4 lengths.

“He’s as professional as they come,” Romans said. “One of the things that is most impressive with him and showed me how good he was is that he goes out and work five-eighths as fast as you want him to go and, pulls up, turns it off and you won’t know if he’s worked yet. Then he just walks back. He never gets his adrenaline pumped up. He’s just all business all the time.”

Practical Joke – Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence’s unbeaten Into Mischief colt galloped 1 3/8m for trainer Chad Brown Friday morning. Purchased as a yearling for $240,000, he is undefeated in three starts and has earned $559,000.

Syndergaard/Theory – Eric Fein and partners’ Syndergaard and China Horse Club and WinStar Farm’s Theory both galloped 1 1/4m Friday morning at Santa Anita for scheduled starts in Saturday’s Juvenile.

Syndergaard has set strong paces in all three of his starts, including a second-place finish in the mile Champagne, in which he was nosed out by Practical Joke after running a pressured six furlongs in 1:08 3/5.

“I anticipate he will be very prominent early (Saturday). He’s a naturally fast horse, and we’re not going to take away what comes easily to him,” Pletcher said. “We’ll try to get a position going into the first turn and go from there.”

Pletcher said the son of Majesticperfection doesn’t necessarily need to be on the lead.

“We’ve had him behind horses in the morning, and he’s seemed to relax in that situation without any issue,” Pletcher said. “It’ll be up to Johnny (Velazquez)”

Theory, who is undefeated in two starts after stalking the early pace, is expected to be forwardly placed.

“He’s never run long, so I think a horse that showed stalking-type speed, I would anticipate would be close,” Pletcher said.

Due to their respective successes this year, Syndergaard and Theory are expected to be involved on the road to the Triple Crown next year.

”I think they have enough ability to think it’s realistic that they would be running in some of the Triple Crown prep races,” Pletcher said. “The question will be how they continue to develop and how they will handle a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth preps. Then, they’ll tell us if they’re horses that can get a mile and a quarter.”


American Gal/Noted and Quoted – Bob Baffert's duo galloped 1 3/8m Friday morning, American Gal with Larry Demore up, Noted and Quoted with Dana Barnes in the irons.

Two of Baffert's 12 Breeders' Cup wins have come in the Juvenile Fillies division. They were produced by Silverbulletday in 1998 and Indian Blessing in 2007. While loathe to compare runners of different generations, Baffert allowed that his twosome are both capable of adding to his total.

“American Gal is the fastest,” Baffert said. “She's really fast, but I don't know how far she will go. She's got like sprinting speed. She'll probably be on the lead. (Noted and Quoted) could be close up there too. I noticed (Thursday) that the track was really deep and young horses could struggle if that's the way it is (Saturday), so we'll have to see about that.”

With Honors – LNJ Foxwood’s homebred 2yo War Front filly With Honors took to the track at 6:30 and galloped 1m over the main track with regular exercise rider Manou Lemaire in preparation for the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Asked about her post position draw and how the precocious filly enters the race, trainer Keith Desormeaux said, “She has natural speed, she breaks well, so the two hole is fine. If she can get up there and be comfortable at a decent pace that’s what we want. She’s had no issues coming into it. She is sound, she is eating, she’s confident, she’s schooled well yesterday, so everything is OK. Just like every race, pace scenario will be important. I hope it sets up well for us.”

Winner of her first two initial starts at Del Mar, including a half-length victory in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes, With Honors enters the Juvenile Fillies off a narrow defeat in the Chandelier Stakes at Santa Anita Oct. 1.


A.P. Indian – Green Lantern Stables’ A. P. Indian, on the eve of his Breeders’ Cup debut, galloped 1 1/4m Friday morning with Moises Nava aboard for trainer Arnaud Delacour.

The 6yo son of Indian Charlie won his first start this year via disqualification and taken his next five starts with Joe Bravo aboard. Bravo picked up the mount from Daniel Centeno who was sidelined by injury.

“He’s a very talented horse,” said Bravo, who will be riding in his seventh Breeders’ Cup. “I’m going to let him do the talking and see what he has to say.”

In A. P. Indian’s most recent start, he broke 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy’s 6f track record at Keeneland with a victory in the Phoenix.

“People are saying he only won by a nose, but he had a lot to overcome that day,” Bravo said. “He showed a new dimension that day by running inside of horses.”

Although it was a seven-horse field in the Phoenix, the same that will go to the post in Saturday’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, it was not smooth sailing.

“It was very nerve-wracking to watch when he had no place to go,” Delacour said. “I just hope things go smoother this time and I would really like to have the third straight winner of the Phoenix win the Breeders’ Cup.”

Work All Week trumped his 2014 Phoenix victory with a triumph at Santa Anita and Runhappy completed the Phoenix-Breeders’ Cup double at Keeneland last year.


Carina Mia –Three Chimneys Farm’s Bill Mott-trained Grade I-winning sophomore filly Carina Mia went out from Barn 59 at 6:30 a.m. under assistant Rodolphe Brisset and galloped a mile around the Santa Anita main track. Considered one of the horses to beat in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, the 7-2 morning-line second choice will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

“Leparoux is a perfect fit for her and really gets along well with her,” said Riley Mott, assistant to his father. “We really like how she’s training coming into the race.”

Haveyougoneaway – The morning-line favorite co-owned by Gary Barber and and Sequel Racing went through her distinctive day-before-the-race routine and walked without a saddle on. Trainer Tom Morley and his crew have found success with the 5yo New York-bred by jogging her a mile two days out from the race, walking her without tack the day before and then having her jog a mile the morning of the race.

"It's something I came up with myself," Morley said. "She's a long-backed filly but she is also a very forward-trainer. I don't dare take her with a pony, so that's why I give her a day without a saddle on her back, so there is no weight on her back. Then on the morning of the race I like her to go out and loosen up."

Haveyougoneaway earned her trip to the Filly & Mare Sprint by winning the Ballerina – a Breeders' Cup Challenge “Win and You're in Race” on Aug. 27, Travers Day at Saratoga Race Course. It was Morley's first Grade 1 win and he and his wife, NYRA television personality Maggie Wolfendale, celebrated in the winner's circle.

“This is what all the early mornings are about," Morley said. “Those days when you drag your backside out of bed at 4 o’clock in the morning in the middle of February and it’s freezing cold. This means the world to me. It really does. It means the world to me and my wife. She comes from a racing family. I think we both agreed on Travers day that it actually probably meant more to us than the day we got married. It rocked me to a place I didn’t know existed to win a Grade 1 at Saratoga. Even thinking about it now makes me get a little emotional about it, to think that I’m 33 years old and we’ve won a Ballerina. You don’t win the Ballerina very often.”

Wavell Avenue/Irish Jasper – Defending champion Wavell Avenue and Chad Brown stablemate Irish Jasper went out to the track before dawn Friday to gallop 1 3/8m.

Source: Santa Anita Park

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