Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Updates

October 31, 2019

Fair Maiden Gallops

Photo Credit Eclipse Sportswire / Breeders’ Cup Photos ©

Eddie Kenneally (Abscond, Juvenile Fillies Turf; Scabbard, Juvenile) – – Trainer Eddie Kenneally was happy to have some cool temperatures greet him during his first morning at Santa Anita Park to oversee his Breeders’ Cup contenders. He was more pleased to see that his young runners appear to be enjoying the conditions as much as he is.

Kenneally got to see for himself how his horses are getting over the track Wednesday, monitoring Breeders’ Cup Juvenile contender Scabbard and Juvenile Fillies Turf entrant Abscond as they galloped under Leandro Contreras.

Scabbard was first of the duo to hit the track, coming out shortly after 6:30 a.m. and going through his paces. The son of More Than Ready was second behind Juvenile morning-line favorite Dennis’ Moment last time out in the Sept. 14 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, putting in a sneaky good run after having to steady near the half-mile pole.

“He’s taking everything in stride and seems to get over the track really nicely here,” Kenneally said. “I’ve been happy enough with what I’ve seen here this morning. I think he had a good performance last time out where he didn’t have the best trip. He kind of got stopped at a bad time in the race and had to check and get going again. He did well to kick it back in and keep running and didn’t give it up. He was beaten less than two lengths that day.”

Abscond had far better luck than her barnmate in her most recent start, a top-level victory in the 1m Natalma Stakes at Woodbine that earned her a fees-paid berth into the Juvenile Fillies Turf. That outing marked the second win for the daughter of Blame in her third career start and was her first try beyond sprint distances.

“She’s gained weight and she’s just been training really well,” Kenneally said. “She keeps moving forward and I think the mile race here will suit her fine. I think the firm turf here will suit her, I think she’ll love it. I think we’re ready.”

Croughavoke – Trainer Jeff Mullins had Croughavoke out early for a 1m gallop and 1 1/2m jog this morning with rider Alex Gallardo up.  The Irish-bred will have a new rider, Flavian Prat, aboard for Saturday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“Drayden Van Dyke had ridden her in her past two races, both runner-up efforts in stakes competition, but since we were on the also-eligible list, he took a call on another horse (Fair Maiden),” Mullins said. “When we got into the race, we were fortunate enough to get Flavian.”

Mullins got the filly when the owners purchased her privately this summer after she’d made two starts in her native Ireland.

Crystalle – Tobey Morton and her husband Mike bought a daughter of Palice Malice in April that they thought was headed to a career on dirt. Six months later they will watch Crystalle run Friday in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

The Mortons sold a stake in her to Chuck Hovitz before she debuted at Saratoga this summer and she has brought the partners to the Breeders’ Cup. It has been an unusual ride that began with her being disqualified from first to third in her first start. She broke her maiden in a stake, beating another Breeders’ Cup-bound subsequent stakes winner (Sweet Melania) and just missed in the Miss Grillo in her third race.

Trainer John Kimmel said the move to the grass was an experiment.

“She was training with some colts that were outworking her,” Kimmel said. “Even though she was finishing pretty well she didn’t really seem to have much early speed. In the summer, if you didn’t want to get facialed in a 2-year-old sprint race, the option was to stretch her out and put her on the grass”.

“Not knowingwhat the outcome would be – I had worked her one time on the grass – we ran her a mile and a sixteenth on the grass. True to form, she kind of broke, fell back to trail the field by seven, eight, 10 lengths, then started picking up horses. When she reached the second turn she started to cruise, got to the top of the lane, switched leads and she took off.”

Though Crystalle won easily by 2 ¼ lengths, the stewards ruled she had bothered other horses and dropped her to third.

Rather than try again in a maiden race, Kimmel and the owners opted to jump to a stake. Fearing that she might not get into the field of the Natalma at Woodbine, they ran her in the P.G. Johnson at Saratoga. She missed the break because the assistant starter was holding her head in the gate, roared from behind and caught eventual Jessamine stakes winner Sweet Melania at the wire. In the Miss Grillo at Belmont under Joel Rosario on Sept. 29, she turned in another big performance behind a slow pace.

“He just left her a very lot to do,” Kimmel said. “She came flying and just didn’t get there in time, even though she ran her last quarter in 22.17 seconds, which is extremely fast for a 2-year-old filly.”

Crystalle, though just one for three in her career, showed her connections enough to try to the one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf with their “dirt” horse

“Hopefully this race will be a much more pace-orientated race,” Kimmel said. “The takeaway is that it’s going to be a sixteenth shorter, so it’s going to be a tough task. You can’t have an encumbered run. Basically, she is going to have to make her run and not stop. There is no room for error in this race with 14 horses. She’s a very happy girl and hopefully she’s going to come out and have a fighting chance to have this thing done.”

Fair Maiden – Trainer Eoin Harty, who won his only Breeders’ Cup for owner Godolphin Stable, is hoping to add another to their trophy case Friday with its homebred Fair Maiden in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.  The chestnut daughter of Street Boss had a starting gate session before galloping 1 1/2m with exercise rider Humberto Delgadillo up.

“We always thought highly of her, but felt she was something special after her first work,” Harty said. “That’s when you can usually tell with the really good ones. I took her to Woodbine because I couldn’t find a race for her in Chicago. She won her first grass race easily, then zig-zagged a bit when losing by a neck in the next one, so we added a small blinker with a cutout at the back.” 

On assessing the race strategy, he added, “She has some strategic speed, so maybe that will help us get first run on those European horses, because you don’t want to run toe-to-toe with those closers.”

Selflessly – Klaravich Stables’ Chad Brown-trained Selflessly went out in a group with stablemates Structor and Without Parole at approximately 6:45 a.m., leaving Barn 48 and proceeding to gallop 1 1/4m over the Santa Anita main track.

The daughter of More Than Ready, one of the more successful sires at the Breeders’ Cup in recent history, last out won the Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont Park as a maiden. She had finished second in her debut at Saratoga one month prior. She will break from post 13 in the 1m Juvenile Fillies Turf and is the 8-1 co-fourth choice on the morning line. Javier Castellano rides.

“That’s not a good draw for her, but she’s training well,” Brown said. “With 2-year-olds, as they’re rapidly developing earlier on in their careers, you want to see them coming around at the right time and she seems to be doing that.”

Brown has dominated this race, with a record of 23-5-2-0, including the past three editions with Newspaperofrecord, Rushing Fall and Newmoneyhoney. He also won with Lady Eli in 2014 and Maram, his first Breeders’ Cup starter, in 2008.

More Than Ready has a record of 21-6-2-2 with progeny at the Breeders’ Cup, including two winners of the Juvenile Fillies Turf: More Than Real (2010) and Rushing Fall (2017). Eighteen of his 21 starters have finished in the top six, earning purse money.

Sharing – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gainesway Farm’s Sharing galloped 1 ½m and then made a trip through the paddock under exercise rider Lauren Mendenhall for trainer Graham Motion.

Sharing is a daughter of Shared Account, who gave Motion one of his three Breeders’ Cup victories with a triumph in the 2010 Filly & Mare Turf.

“Shared Account was one of my favorites,” Motion said noting that her daughter’s first venture into graded-stakes company will come in Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“(The Breeders’ Cup) was always the plan,” Motion said. “The race at Laurel (the Selima on Sept. 21) was to get her in the best possible shape for this. We didn’t know if she would get in, but we took the risk because it gave her more time between races.”

Manny Franco, who has been aboard for all three of the filly’s starts, has the mount Friday.

Vitalogy – With trainer Brendan Walsh leading him to the track himself, the son of No Nay Never put in another gallop Wednesday under Paul Madden.

Check out other Breeders Cup updates here.

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