Breeders’ Cup contenders on the work tab at Belmont Park

October 30, 2021

Miss Marissa targets G3 Turnback the Alarm

Belmont Park week 9 stakes probables

ELMONT, N.Y. – A number of contenders for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, slated for November 5-6 at Del Mar, breezed Friday morning at Belmont Park.

Shortleaf Stable’s homebred Bubble Rock, conditioned by Brad Cox, breezed a half-mile in 49.09 over the inner turf rated good in preparation for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 5.

A half-length winner of the six-furlong Grade 3 Matron last out on October 9 over firm Belmont turf, the dark bay daughter of More Than Ready was piloted in her breeze by assistant trainer Dustin Dugas.

“I thought her breeze this morning went pretty well. There was just a little bit of give in it this morning and the turf had a nice bounce to it. We were pretty far out there with the dogs out,” Dugas said. “For a filly that’s going to be stretching out for the first time, she did it right. She broke away from the pony and threw her ears up and really relaxed around the turn. She had a decent breeze thereafter down the lane and a good gallop out. I was happy with the way she did it.

“Going a mile, she’s going to have to relax in the first part,” Dugas added. “Mentally and physically she’s doing well and I think she’s going to be on her ‘A’ game.”

A maiden winner at second asking sprinting 5 1/2-furlongs over firm Saratoga turf, Bubble Rock is out of the Giant’s Causeway mare Reef Point, who is a half-sister to millionaire Blue Chipper – winner of the 2019 Group 1 Keeneland Korea Sprint in Seoul and third-place finisher in that year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

Dugas said Bubble Rock is progressing with each start.

“I really like her. After her last race, she’s really come around a lot mentally,” Dugas said. “She’s always been a decent-sized filly that she didn’t have to grow into herself.

Dugas said Bubble Rock will jog one mile Saturday at Belmont before shipping to California on Sunday.

Shortleaf Stable’s Plainsman, last-out winner of the Grade 3 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs, has settled in at Belmont for Sunday’s Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up.

“He got here Wednesday morning and had a couple nice gallops here,” Dugas said. “Brad has been really happy with how he breezed down at Churchill since the Ack Ack. We’re excited for Sunday.”

Dugas noted that Frank Fletcher Racing Operations’ Lady Rocket, runner-up to Filly and Mare Sprint contender Bella Sofia last out in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap, is training well into Sunday’s second division of the $100,000 Pumpkin Pie, a seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares over Big Sandy.

“That filly has bounced back good since her last race,” Dugas said. “She’s going into it with good energy. She’s a very classy filly and gets the job done.”

Trainer Christophe Clement watched a trio of his Breeders’ Cup contingent breeze over the Belmont Park inner turf led by Otter Bend Stable’s Gufo, third in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic three weeks ago at Belmont.

The 4-year-old Declaration of War chestnut moved an easy-half mile in 53.40 seconds in preparation for the Grade 1, $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf on Saturday, November 6.

“He looked good,” Clement said. “It was a lazy work, as usual, but he had a very strong work last week. Today, he worked on his own. It was slow by design, but he looked well. He is very sound and he’s ready to go.”

Never out of the money in a baker’s dozen lifetime starts, Gufo seeks a third Grade 1 victory following scores in the Belmont Derby Invitational last October as well as the Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer Invitational in August at Saratoga, a “Win And You’re In” qualifier.

Jump Sucker Stable’s Slipstream, winner of the Grade 3 Futurity on October 10 at Belmont, logged his final breeze for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, going a half-mile in 50.20 seconds.

Although Slipstream captured the Futurity, a “Win And You’re In” for the five-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint, Clement is opting for the one-mile Juvenile Turf with the son of veteran sire More Than Ready.

“He worked on his own,” Clement said. “It was a slow work but he finished very well and was moving well. He came back in good shape.”

Grade 1-placed Pizza Bianca went an easy 54.20 seconds in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Owned and bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the daughter of Fastnet Rock was a sensational last-to-first debut winner going 1 1/16 miles in July at Saratoga. She followed with a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Natalma in September at Woodbine.

“She’s very fit. She’s running a week from today so it was an easy work, a two-minute lick and finished up a bit quicker,” Clement said.

Clement said his Breeders’ Cup contenders are scheduled to depart on Sunday morning.

“They were slow by design, especially on the ground which I think it’s very soft,” Clement said. “I was happy with all them. We just want to keep them happy and sound.”

Hall of Fame conditioner Todd Pletcher has spent the past couple of mornings putting the final touches on his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls as they breeze for the final time before making the journey to Del Mar.

On Thursday, Bass Stables homebred Annapolis – a last-out winner of the Grade 2 Pilgrim – worked in company with Nest, clocking a half-mile in 50.26 seconds.

Initially targeting the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Pletcher said Annapolis has been sidelined due to a hind ankle chip.

“It’s a minor injury and unfortunate timing,” Pletcher said. “We’ll look forward to a spring and summer campaign.”

Nest arrives at the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies off an impressive five-length debut win going 1 1/16 miles in September at Belmont. 

The daughter of Curlin, out of stakes-winner and black type producer Marion Ravenwood, is owned by Repole Stable, Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Michael House.

“She worked well [Thursday] morning,” Pletcher said. “It’s something we talked about after her debut. When the race came up a little bit of a shorter field, we felt like it was something worth taking a look at. She’s a two-turn filly for sure, it’s just a matter of if she has enough experience.”

Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Commandperformance worked a half-mile in company with Phoenix Thoroughbreds’ Double Thunder in 49 seconds flat over the training track Thursday in preparation for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“We were looking for 49 with a little less of a gallop out than we had last week. This was more a maintenance type of work,” Pletcher said.

Commandperformance, a son of Union Rags, will arrive at the Juvenile as a maiden, finishing second in both lifetime starts. He was a late-closing runner-up in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 2 at Belmont.

Double Thunder, who breezed in blinkers, won the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at second asking in June at Churchill. The Super Saver colt finished second last out in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity on October 9 at Keeneland.

“I thought [the blinkers] focused him a bit,” Pletcher said.

On Friday morning, Pletcher worked several Breeders’ Cup contenders over the Belmont training track.

Shadwell Stables’ three-time Grade 1-winner Malathaat breezed five-eighths in company with 3-year-old allowance winning colt Vindictive in her final breeze for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

“She’s outstanding. She looked great and seems to be in really good form,” Pletcher said.

CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm’s Life Is Good, an easy last-out winner of the Grade 2 Kelso, breezed a half-mile in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“He’s an exceptional workhorse and very talented,” Pletcher said. “He did what we’ve become accustomed to seeing him do, which was put in an impressive move. He did it very easily.”

Red Oak Stable homebred Mind Control, also targeting the Dirt Mile, recorded a half-mile breeze.

“It was a good solid work. He seems to have maintained form,” Pletcher said.

Spendthrift Farm’s Grade 2 Vosburgh winner Following Sea worked a solid half-mile, but Pletcher said plans for a start in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint are still in flux.

“He did really well. He’s been training great. I’ll get with the Spendthrift guys and make a final decision, but the horse is doing well,” Pletcher said.

Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown sent eight Breeders’ Cup hopefuls to breeze over the inner turf Friday.

Klaravich Stables’ Domestic Spending [1:01.56] breezed five-eighths in company with fellow Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf hopeful Tribhuvan [1:01.96], who is owned by Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables and Michael J. Caruso.

Madaket Stables, Michael Dubb, Wonder Stables, Michael Kisber and Michael J. Caruso’s Rockemperor worked a solo half-mile in 50.98.

The Klaravich Stables-owned duo of Portfolio Company [1:02.96 – Juvenile Turf] and Consumer Spending [1:02.87 – Juvenile Fillies Turf] worked together through five-eighths.

Juddmonte’s Pocket Square and Peter Brant’s My Sister Nat breezed five-eighths in 1:01.95 in company for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Peter Brant’s Raging Bull breezed a half-mile solo in 49.88 in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

Brown also sent a number of Breeders’ Cup hopefuls to breeze on the main track including Jack Christopher [1:00.82, Juvenile], Verbal [50.19, Juvenile Turf], Dunbar Road [1:00.40, Distaff], and Royal Flag [1:01.55, Distaff].

Mr. Amore Stable’s Grade 1-winner and $2.7-million earner Firenze Fire,

trained by Kelly Breen, worked Friday over the dirt training track in preparation for the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Treadway Racing Stable’s homebred Sail By, trained by Leah Gyarmati, breezed three-eighths in 38.09 over the inner turf in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.


Miss Marissa targets G3 Turnback the Alarm

Cammarota Racing’s multiple graded stakes winner Miss Marissa will point to the Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm on November 6 at Belmont Park.

The 4-year-old daughter of He’s Had Enough was a redeeming third in the Grade 2 Beldame last out at Belmont following an eighth in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign presented by Lia Infiniti at Saratoga.

Ryerson expressed disappointment in her lackluster effort two starts back but said he was pleased to see her return to quality form in the Beldame.

“She had us scratching our heads after the Personal Ensign,” Ryerson said. “I knew we were up against Letruska and it was a very tough race, but we thought she would be more competitive. It was nice to see her show up and put in her race here. I thought it was a good race.”

Miss Marissa made the grade last October when capturing the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico. This year, she shipped to Delaware Park to win the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap in July going ten furlongs.

Ryerson added that she will likely target the Grade 3, $250,000 Go for Wand on December 4 at Aqueduct following the Turnback the Alarm. 


Belmont Park week 9 stakes probables

Friday, November 5

$150,000 Tempted

Probable: Gerrymander (Chad Brown), Goddess of Fire (Todd Pletcher), Magic Circle (Rudy Rodriguez), Red Hot Mess (Chelsey Moysey), Surprisingly (Shug McGaughey), Sweet As Pie (Todd Pletcher)

Possible: Manasota Sunset (Joe Sharp)

$100,000 Atlantic Beach

Probable: Biz Biz Buzz (Mike Trombetta), Here Comes Billy (David Nunn), Longshadow (Kelsey Danner), Run Curtis Run (Mike Maker), Surprise Boss (Juan Vazquez)

$200,000 Ticonderoga

Probable: Barkin (Catherine Day Phillips), Cara’s Dreamer (Mitchell Friedman), Chasing Cara (Friedman), Classic Lady (Clement), Giacosa (Bond), Two Cent Tootsie (Tom Albertrani)

$100,000 Awad

Probable: Artie’s Angel (Douglas Nunn), Daunt (Robert Ribaudo), General Ken (C. Brown), Geno (David Donk), Ohtwoohthreefive (George Weaver) Royal Spirit (Pletcher)

Possible: Sundaeswithsandy (Rodriguez)

Saturday, November 6

Grade 3, $150,000 Turnback the Alarm

Probable: Gibberish (Saffie Joseph, Jr.), Jilted Bride (Steve Asmussen), Miss Marissa (Jimmy Ryerson), So Darn Hot (George Weaver)

Possible: Vegas Weekend (Rob Atras)

$100,000 Stewart Manor

Probable: Flip My Id (Mike Maker), Gal In A Rush (Christophe Clement), Misthaven (Joe Sharp), Mystic Eyes (Todd Pletcher), Stand Up Comic (Robert Reid, Jr.), The Club (Clement)

$200,000 Mohawk

Probable: City Man (Clement), Cold Hard Cash (Rice), Cross Border (Maker), Lord Flintshire (Abreu), Regal Speaker (Gargan), Rinaldi (H. James Bond), Sanctuary City (James Ferraro), Therapist (Clement)

Possible: Outrageous Bet (Patrick Reynolds)

$100,000 Chelsey Flower

Probable: Blissful (Cherie DeVaux), Caironi (Miceli), Eminent Victory (C. Brown), Hail To (Albertrani), Kinchen (C. Brown), Lady Milagro (Carlos Martin), Mischievous Kiss (Bill Mott), Ouraika (Motion), Philly Eagles (Casse), Shad Nation (Clement)

Possible: Yin Yang (Cox)

Sunday, November 7

Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua

Probable: Cairama (Steve Asmussen), Judge Davis (Shug McGaughey), Luni Sima (Jack Sisterson)

Possible: Midnight Worker (Todd Pletcher)

$150,000 Zagora

Probable: Always Shopping (Pletcher), Beautiful Lover (Clement), Go Big Blue Nation (Mike McCarthy), Hungry Kitten (Shug McGaughey), Lovey Lucky (Tom Albertrani), Orglandes (C. Brown)

Possible: Key Biscayne (Maker), Sister Otoole (Graham Motion)

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