Vitalogy looks like a Breeders' Cup threat, even off a loss

October 13, 2019 11:38am
Vitalogy looks like a Breeders' Cup threat, even off a loss
Photo: Courtesy of Keeneland

Along with Vino Rosso in the Classic and Shancelot in the Sprint, Vitalogy looks among the most dangerous horses in the Breeders’ Cup to enter their respective division off a defeat.

Trainer Brendan Walsh said the British-bred son of No Nay Never, a hard-charging second in Keeneland’s Bourbon Stakes (G3), will be pre-entered in hopes of making the body of the Nov. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf field at Santa Anita Park.

“He ran a hell of a race the other day,” Walsh said. “He was a little unlucky, I think, with the draw more than anything.”

Vitalogy, dealt the outside post position in a field of 14, took up the rear of the field on to the back stretch in the Oct. 6 race. After a wide trip under jockey Javier Castellano, the colt kicked on strong in the stretch, mowing down all but Peace Achieved, who won by a diminishing neck.

A runner-up in the $250,000 Bourbon — a “Win and You’re In” toward the Breeders’ Cup — improved Vitalogy’s record to 1-1-1 in four starts. It was his first race, however, in the care of Walsh, who inherited the colt from trainer Joseph O’Brien following a third in Woodbine’s Summer Stakes (G1).

“I think the plan was to try and get him in the Breeders’ Cup,” Walsh said. “When he didn’t win in Canada, it didn’t make a lot of sense to take him back.”

Vitalogy runs for the partnership of Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Bottle Rocket Stable. Before coming to North America for the summer, he won on debut at Ireland’s Naas and ran fourth in a Group 3 event at England’s York.

Walsh, a native of Ireland, has trained around the world, working formerly for Godolphin, hence his connection to overseas-based owners. He continues to condition runners in the royal blue, including Maxfield, the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner bound for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on dirt.

“It’s a different ball game here to Europe,” Walsh said of Vitalogy. “I think the fact that he’d had a run at Woodbine was bound to have moved up him a little bit. He seemed to do really well over here.

“The first couple of weeks we had him, he was getting over the trip. The last week, he had a great week — started doing better every day.”

In addition to Vitalogy and Maxfield, Walsh is mulling whether to pre-enter Extravagant Kid, a 6-year-old multiple stakes winner, in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Extravagant Kid ran fifth in Keeneland’s Woodford Stakes (G2) most recently.

“He got hemmed down on the rail and just had nowhere to go,” Walsh said. “He looked like he was full of horse. It’s a shame because I felt the 5/8 this year at Santa Anita was going to be right up his street on firm ground.”


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