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Breeders' Cup 2017

Declan's Warrior Fires Bullet in Advance of King's Bishop

With Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez in the irons, Declan's Warrior fired a bullet five-furlong work in 59.52 seconds on the main track Thursday morning in preparation for the Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop on August 24.


"I was very happy, very excited," said Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, who trains the Majestic Warrior 3-year-old for his wife Kim's Lucky Shamrock Stable. "Johnny worked him, which is also a plus. We've won a lot of big races together. It's like a golden rule in our barn; if Todd [Pletcher] doesn't have anything in the race, we try to get him. He fit him perfectly and the horse worked terrific for him. It was a delight to watch today. He was gliding out there."


Most recently a closing fifth in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, beaten 3 ¾ lengths by winner Forty Tales, Declan's Warrior is 4-2-0 from seven career starts. The Foxwoods King's Bishop will be his fourth start at seven furlongs; he won the Grade 3 Bay Shore and the Gygistar overnight stakes on May 22 at Belmont Park at the distance, as well as finishing second to Forty Tales in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards on June 8 at Belmont.


"Seven-eighths is his distance; hopefully it works for him," said Zito. "I'm sure the race will have plenty of speed, it usually does."


*           *           *


Mentor Cane remains on course for the Grade 1 Foxwoods King's Bishop, trainer John Shirreffs said on Thursday.


The 3-year-old Mizzen Mast colt returned to the work tab this week for the first time since finishing fourth in his stakes debut, the Grade 2 Amsterdam at Saratoga on July 28. On Sunday, he went a half-mile in 49.77 seconds over the Oklahoma training track with Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado aboard.


"He worked very well," Shirreffs said of the colt, owned by Jerry and Ann Moss. "[Prado] put him behind a horse and he went by on the inside, so he was very happy with him."


In the Amsterdam, Mentor Cane raced on the lead early before bearing out around the turn and coming well wide into the stretch. Running down the middle of the track, he wound up beaten only 2 ½ lengths by closer Forty Tales.


"It was very unusual because he has lugged in before, but he's never gone out," Shirreffs said. "Edgar said he was coming into the turn and he said, 'I'll just take him out a little bit in case he tries to get in.' I think when he took him out, the horse grabbed the outside of the bit and just decided he was going to Union Avenue.


"[In the King's Bishop], I hope there will be somebody in front of him," he added. "I think with somebody in front of him, his focus will be on something other than what he's going to do with the bit."


Shirreffs is still looking for a spot for Eblouissante, a half-sister to Zenyatta who lost for the first time in three lifetime starts when sixth in the Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap at Saratoga on July 20 after acting up in the starting gate.


"She's good. She's been galloping and going to the gate, and she's doing fine," Shirreffs said. "It took about 10 days [to recover] because she was banged up a little and sore, but everything has smoothed out. The timing of the condition book will determine what we do. Obviously, I'd like to run her up here before we leave."





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