Batten Down Works at Saratoga With Belmont Status Not Confirmed

May 27, 2024

Veteran Casa Creed To Skip Jaipur for G3 Poker

Resilience Posts First Work Since Kentucky Derby

NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— Juddmonte’s Kentucky homebred Batten Down worked Monday over Saratoga Race Course’s Oklahoma dirt training track in company with older two-time winner Arthur’s Ride for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.

Under cloudy skies and the looming threat of rain, Batten Down and Arthur’s Ride stepped onto the backside of the track shortly after the 7:00 maintenance break concluded and stretched their legs with almost a full counterclockwise lap around the oval before commencing a five-furlong effort.

Batten Down, with jockey Junior Alvarado up, went on the outside of Arthur’s Ride as NYRA clockers caught them through splits of 12.54 seconds, 24.80, 36.99 and through five-eighths in 1:01.99 before galloping out in 1:14.19 and 1:28.94. The pair stayed on even terms throughout with Arthur’s Ride a long head in front at the wire. Both horses wore blinkers for the work.

Mott said he was pleased with the effort but is not ready to confirm Batten Down for the Grade 1, $2 million Belmont Stakes presented by NYRA Bets on June 8 at the Spa.

“I don’t know if I’m running in the Belmont – he [Batten Down] had a nice work,” said Mott. “It couldn’t have gone better. He went with an older horse and they breezed nicely together. Junior was pleased with him, so [now] we decide where we go.

“Maybe we skip the Belmont and go to Ohio possibly,” Mott added regarding the Grade 3, $500,000 Ohio Derby on June 22 at Thistledown. “We’ve got to figure it out.”

Alvarado has been aboard for Batten Down’s last two outings, including his last-out graduation at Churchill Downs. The veteran rider expressed his satisfaction with the way the colt worked.

“I love him. He’s a very nice horse to be around and he’s a very kind horse,” Alvarado said. “He’s a little different in the afternoon and gets very aggressive and wants to go, go, go. But he lets you do whatever you want in the morning. Arthur is a good work horse and it was a very good pairing – beautiful and enjoying their work together.”

Batten Down ran with his head tilted slightly as he ran alongside Arthur’s Ride in the stretch, but Alvarado said it is not something that concerns him.

“He does that. When he gets a little in front or he’s about to pass a horse, he always likes to lean in and play around,” said Alvarado. “He’s always been that kind of horse, but we know that when it’s race time, he gets serious. He’s a totally different animal in the afternoon.”

Batten Down, a full-brother to the Mott-trained multiple graded stakes-winner Tacitus, posted his second work since his romping graduation against elders in a 10-furlong tilt on April 30 at Churchill. With Alvarado in the irons, Batten Down went wire-to-wire and extended his advantage at each point of call, cruising home an 8 3/4-length winner in a final time of 2:02.49.

“I was very pleased with the way he won last time,” said Alvarado. “He got out of there and was moving pretty quick the first part – 23 and change, and then he kept going to 47 and change. When I’m hitting the five-eighths pole, I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to stop completely.’ But he surprised me when he switched leads to the right – he found another gear and took off. Passing the wire, he was so full of energy. I think this race [the Belmont] would suit him perfectly. He knows how to cover that ground and go fast and the same pace the whole way around. He’s got the talent, he’s just got to put it all together.”

Casa Creed wins the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) Aug. 12 at Saratoga, his second consecutive triumph in the race (NYRA/Coglianese)

Shortly after the track reopened again at 9:30, multiple Grade 1-winner Casa Creed worked in company to the inside of maiden Timeout. NYRA clockers caught them through splits of 12.87, 24.64 and through a half-mile in 48.02 before galloping out in 1:01.25.

“He was very, very, very good,” Mott said of the 8-year-old Casa Creed.

Owned by LRE Racing and JEH Racing Stable, Casa Creed has ran in the Grade 1 Jaipur for three consecutive years when contested at six furlongs at Belmont Park – including a win in 2022 – but will not target that event at this year’s Belmont Stakes Racing Festival with the race being run at 5 1/2-furlongs. He will instead look to the Grade 3, $350,000 Poker going one mile on the June 8 Belmont Stakes Card.

Also on the tab Monday for Mott was Grade 2 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino-winner Resilience, who posted his first work since finishing sixth in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 4. The son of Into Mischief worked solo through splits of 13.32, 26.29 and a half-mile in 50.45 before galloping out in 1:04.20.

“I’m trying to figure out what’s next,” said Mott.

Owned by Emily Bushnell and Ric Waldman, Resilience pounced from 5 1/4 lengths off the pace in the Derby to be a half-length off the lead at the three-quarters call, but faded in the stretch and was defeated 7 3/4 lengths. He was bred in Kentucky by Pam Wygod and the late Marty Wygod.

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