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Breeders' Cup 2017

Stidham Talks Willcox Inn, Upperline

4 November 2010: Willcox Inn, trained by Michael Stidham and to be ridden by jockey John Velazquez, during work outs for the 2010 Breeders Cup at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.(Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire)

Trainer Mike Stidham has the 9-2 morning-line third choice for the Secretariat Stakes All In Stable’s Willcox Inn and Beverly D. 20-1 longshot Upperline, owned by Stone Farm, John Adger, Oak Crest Farm and Stidham, worked together on the Arlington turf course Sunday and Stidham reflected on their performance Tuesday. 

 

Upperline broke off ahead of Willcox Inn, who settled about five to six lengths off his stable companion, according to Stidham, “but they finished together and both got what they needed out of the work.” 

 

As for Willcox Inn’s tactics in the Secretariat, Stidham was nonplussed.  “If no one wants the lead, we might be there, and Robby [jockey Albarado] could slow them right down.  He is happy to be wherever.” 

 

Reflecting on the nine-post draw for the Arlington Classic and American Derby winner added, “He has tactical speed. He can drop over and be in a great spot.”

 

Upperline comes into the Beverly D. off a win in the Trillium Stakes over Polytrack at Woodbine. 

 

“At one point in the race, I thought she was in big trouble, and then she kicked it in and came home strong,” he said of the Canadian race. 

  

A daughter of Maria’s Mon, Upperline has three wins in six starts this year, including two turf stakes wins at Fair Grounds, before a dull ninth in the Grade II Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs in May. 

 

 “That race had us scratching our heads.  I’m a big fan of the Ragozin Sheets and she was coming off a lifetime top before that Churchill race,” Stidham added, “so maybe that was it.” 

 

 

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