Bill Mott, Chad Brown, Carlos Martin and Christophe Clement are all making Breeders’ Cup plans at Belmont Park.
ELMONT, N.Y. – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott worked a trio of Breeders’ Cup contenders, including Tacitus, Channel Maker and Frank’s Rockette at Belmont Park over the weekend, as well as Horologist on the Oklahoma training track on Friday at Saratoga Race Course.
Wachtel Stable, Gary Barber, R.A. Hill Stable and Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s multiple Grade 1-winner Channel Maker worked inside of Juddmonte Farms’ multiple graded-stakes winner Tacitus Saturday on Big Sandy though a half-mile in 48.71 seconds, reaching five eighths in 1:01.2 and out six furlongs in 1:15.
“They went well. It was a very useful work and I’m happy enough with them,” said Mott.
Channel Maker secured his fourth Grade 1 win last out with a stellar front-running performance in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on October 3. That performance matched the career-best 108 Beyer Speed Figure earned by Channel Maker in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer on August 29 over soft going at Saratoga.
Channel Maker will be making his third attempt at the 12-furlong Grade 1 Breeders’ Turf, and Mott said he is cautiously optimistic of his chances.
“There’s a lot of them that don’t get that,” said Mott with a laugh regarding a Breeders’ Cup win. “His last couple of races have been good. We’ll know a lot more after pre-entries tomorrow about how he looks in there.”
Channel Maker’s other Grade 1 scores were secured in the 2018 Turf Classic Invitational and 2019 Man o’ War at Belmont.
The regally bred Tacitus, a 4-year-old Tapit grey who boasts a record of 14-4-4-3 with more than $2.9 million in earnings, is out of the champion mare Close Hatches.
Tacitus captured the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 2 Wood Memorial last year and added the Grade 2 Suburban to his ledger in July at Belmont. He will enter the Breeders’ Cup Classic in search of a first Grade 1 win after hitting the board in the Kentucky Derby, Runhappy Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup as a sophomore and this year in the Woodward and Jockey Club Gold Cup where he was a last-out third.
Frank’s Rockette, owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, worked a half-mile Sunday in 49.42 in company with unraced 3-year-old filly Strings Attached on the Belmont dirt training track.
“It was a good, even work. We wanted to go in 49 and that’s about what we did. It was a nice, useful work,” said Mott.
The Into Mischief filly posted a 7 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom last out at Belmont to mark her fourth consecutive triumph and third straight graded score following wins in the Grade 3 Victory Ride in July at Belmont and the Grade 2 Prioress in September at Saratoga.
While Frank’s Rockette is under consideration for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at seven furlongs on November 7 at Keeneland, Mott said he is more than like to enter the speedy filly against the boys in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which offers a potentially more favorable distance of six furlongs.
“Right now, were thinking about the Sprint,” said Mott.
There’s A Chance Stable, Parkland Thoroughbreds, Medallion Racing and Abbondanza Racing’s New Jersey-bred Horologist breezed a bullet five-eighths Friday in 1:00.61 on the Oklahoma training track.
“She worked super,” said Mott. “She is coming around nicely. Her last win was good.”
The 4-year-old Gemologist bay captured the Grade 2 Beldame last out on October 4 at Belmont and is to be supplemented to the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
A multiple graded-stakes winner, Horologist captured the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks last year and added Monmouth’s Grade 3 Molly Pitcher to her ledger in July.
Chad Brown brigade prepare for Breeders’ Cup assignments
Four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown worked a number of his baker’s dozen of Breeders’ Cup contenders over the weekend on both dirt and turf at Belmont.
Brown said he will pre-enter in seven Breeders’ Cup events: the Filly and Mare Turf [Sistercharlie, Rushing Fall, My Sister Nat and Nay Lady Nay]; Mile [Raging Bull, Uni, Digital Age]; Distaff [Dunbar Road]; Dirt Mile [Complexity], Juvenile [Reinvestment Risk]; Juvenile Fillies Turf [Editor At Large]; Juvenile Turf [Public Sector]; and Turf Sprint [Front Run the Fed].
“I think our group is representative of the diversity of our team, being able to work with any kind of horse,” said Brown, who has won 15 Breeders’ Cup events. “This is the time to showcase not only your horses but your team’s ability to get to the championship day for various owners out there to see.”
Klaravich Stables’ Complexity, last out winner of the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont, worked a half-mile solo in 48.81 Sunday on Big Sandy after missing a work last week.
“He worked this morning and worked great,” said Brown of the 2018 Grade 1 Champagne-winner. “He will be pre-entered tomorrow as long as he comes out of it well.”
A number of notables breezed on the Belmont inner turf Sunday led by Rushing Fall and Sistercharlie, who worked five-eighths in 1:01.85.
Rushing Fall, a five-time Grade 1-winner, captured the Grade 1 Diana last out on August 23 at Saratoga. Sistercharlie, a seven-time Grade 1-winner, was fourth last out in the Flower Bowl in just her second start of the season. Both mares will be retired following the Breeders’ Cup.
“They’re both training great. Rushing Fall has been a model of consistency all year in works and racing,” said Brown. “Sistercharlie got started a little later than we wanted and was clearly a little rusty and out of form in her first start. In her second start, much improved and we decided to skip the Flower Bowl and go fresh.
“So far, that decision, based on her morning works, is clearly the right one,” added Brown regarding Sistercharlie. “Her last two workouts have been her best two workouts of the year, I thought. She continues to train up to the race the right way.”
My Sister Nat and Nay Lady Nay worked in company in 50.66 as they look to step up against their well-regarded stablemates.
Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta and Bethlehem Stables’ reigning Champion Turf Female Uni worked five eighths in company with Domestic Spending in 1:02.58.
“She worked well. I had her in 1:01 and change,” noted Brown, who advised that Domestic Spending is targeting the nine-furlong Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.
Digital Age [1:02.02] worked in company with Analyze It [1:02.05] through five panels.
Klaravich Stables’ maiden winner Public Sector, second last out in the Grade 2 Pilgrim at Belmont, and Peter Brant’s maiden winner Editor At Large, third last out in the Miss Grillo at Belmont, worked in company in 1:02.69.
Brown said Public Sector would benefit from an expected stronger pace in the Juvenile Turf.
“He’s an improving horse. His maiden win was super impressive at Saratoga,” said Brown. “In the Pilgrim, he got caught in a pace less race. He was really out of sorts that way. He needs some pace to run at. He would be better in a larger field and I like the cutback for him to a mile on a tighter track with even more going on in front of him.
“I’ll pre-enter Editor At Large in the Juvenile Fillies Turf,” added Brown. “She worked exceptional today and I want to try and get her in the race if we can.”
On Saturday, Reinvestment Risk, runner-up to Jackie’s Warrior in both the Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful and Grade 1 Champagne, worked a half-mile in 48.20 inside of maiden Miles D on the Belmont main.
“I wanted to make share he kept his attention to business and it worked out really well,” said Brown regarding the rail-skimming work. “He went with a promising maiden – Miles D – and they went well together. He’s doing well and we’re going to go on to that race [Juvenile].”
Brown said Reinvestment Risk will appreciate the Keeneland main track after a disappoint effort in the Champagne last out at Belmont when 5 ½-length in arrears to a runaway Jackie’s Warrior.
“I just don’t think he cared for the track particularly at Belmont that day,” said Brown. “That said, the winner was super impressive and it’s hard to imagine anyone beating him even if he loved the track that day.
“He’s come back and worked well and I think he’ll appreciate a different surface at Keeneland,” added Brown. “I have a feeling that track will play a little more like Saratoga.”
Peter Brant’s Grade 1 winner Dunbar Road, third last out in the Grade 2 Beldame at Belmont, worked five-eighths Saturday in 1:01.85 on the main track towards her second attempt at the Distaff following a fifth last year.
“Dunbar Road went solo yesterday and she worked well and came out of it well. She’s on target for the Distaff,” said Brown.
Klaravich Stables’ multiple Grade 1-winner Newspaperofrecord worked a half-mile in 48.40 Sunday on the Belmont main in preparation for a start in the Grade 1 Matriarch, a one-mile turf event on November 29 at Del Mar.
“She did a beautiful half mile on the dirt. She looked great,” said Brown.
Come Dancing ships to Keeneland on Tuesday looking to close career with glory in G1 BC Filly and Mare Sprint
Blue Devil Racing Stable’s Come Dancing will be making the final start of her illustrious career in the Grade 1, $ million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 7 and continues to train up to her swan song in good order, trainer Carlos Martin said Sunday morning.
Slated to ship to the race’s site at Keeneland on Tuesday, Come Dancing registered a final workout on Saturday, going four furlongs in 48.89 seconds on the Belmont Park dirt training track. Martin said it was an easier work than her five-furlong bullet breeze in 58.80 on October 15 over Belmont’s main track with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard.
“I thought her work on the 15th with Irad was sensational and we took our foot off the gas pedal a little yesterday since she’s leaving on Tuesday morning,” Martin said.
“We just wanted to have a nice, maintenance-style work. I told our exercise rider, who has been with Come Dancing for the last six months and he does a great job, that I wanted to go between 48 and 49 [seconds]. For not having a walkie talkie like a lot of modern day trainers, he did great and hit it right on the money. I was pretty pleased. She came home in 24 1/5 and she didn’t draw a breath, so it was good.”
Come Dancing has given Martin and her connections plenty of exciting memories, capturing six stakes wins and five graded stakes triumphs for a career that started with a debut victory in November 2016 at Aqueduct Racetrack. Now 6-years-old, the Malibu Moon mare won four graded stakes in 2019, capturing the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga as well as a pair of Grade 2s at Belmont in the Gallant Bloom and Ruffian, along with the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap at the Big A [for which she earned a 114 Beyer].
“It’s exciting. She’s been such a great mare for us and has had such a great career,” Martin said. “We’re going to miss her but it’s time. She’s done enough. Hopefully, she can go out on a championship note and show how good she is on the biggest stage. We’re excited about it. Hopefully, it will be one of her best races in her great career.”
Come Dancing is 9-3-0 in 18 career starts with earnings of more than $1.18 million. She will now try to give Martin his first career win in a Breeders’ Cup while getting a second chance at the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint after running sixth in last year’s edition at Santa Anita.
“She’s been a special horse and a fun horse to have, so when she’s on our game, she’s an elite sprinter,” Martin said. “We’re going in a little fresher to it this year with a little different approach by design. We’ll be there and get over the track and I think she’ll have every opportunity to fire her best shot.”
Come Dancing enters the Breeders’ Cup off a three-quarters length score in the six-furlong Grade 2 Honorable Miss on September 6 at Belmont, earning a year-best 95 Beyer one race after finishing fourth, three lengths back to winner Serengeti Empress, in the Ballerina on August 8 at the Spa.
This year’s Filly and Mare Sprint is expected to feature a loaded field that includes Serengeti Empress as well as Gamine, Venetian Harbor, Frank’s Rockette, Wicked Whisper and Bellafina, among others.
“She’s a professional and not too much bothers her,” he added. “She’s been special since Day One and has had to overcome a lot of adversity. For her to be, as a 6-year-old, still winning graded stakes and just being beaten by a few lengths in the Grade 1 Ballerina, she still has the heart and the will of a champion. It would be nice to make her an official champion and an Eclipse Award-winner. She’s our champion and that’s why I always refer to her like that when I do social media. If anyone deserves to have that title, it’s her. She’s definitely a top mare.”
Clement hopes another Ali can do Kentucky proud with Plum Ali training towards BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Bethlehem Stables’ Plum Ali took another step towards her spot in the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 6, breezing four furlongs in 51.85 seconds in company with fellow graded stakes-winner Speaktomeofsummer over the Belmont inner turf Sunday morning.
Plum Ali will put her perfect 3-for-3 record on the line in her first Grade 1 effort, giving trainer Christophe Clement all the signs she is progressing well after improving her Beyer Speed Figures in each of her starts, winning across three different tracks.
A daughter of First Samurai, by Giant’s Causeway, Plum Ali made her debut on July 23, posting a two-length victory going 1 1/16 miles over the Saratoga turf. Moved up to stakes company next out, she bested an 11-horse field by 2 3/4 lengths to win the Mint Juvenile Fillies on September 7 at Kentucky Downs. A victory last out in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo, featuring a 2 1/4-length win over Caldee at 1 1/16 miles on the Belmont turf, solidified Plum Ali’s spot in the sports’ biggest stage, where she will cut back to one mile on the Keenland grass.
“She looked well. Everything is on course,” Clement said. “They had a nice easy work together. They finished together and I thought they went well.”
Waterford Stable’s Speaktomeofsummer will stay local for her next spot, with Clement saying the 3-year-old Summer Front filly could target the $100,000 Winter Memories for sophomore fillies going 1 1/16 miles on the turf on November 15.
Speaktomeofsummer, 3-1-0 in seven career starts, won the Grade 2 Lake Placid going 1 1/8 miles in July at Saratoga and tied a personal-best 87 Beyer for her last-out runner-up effort in the one-mile Grade 2 Sands Point on October 10 over firm Belmont grass.
Clement, who sent 11 horses out to train on the Belmont turf, said Speaktomeofsummer will be just the start of a full contingent slated to run at the 18-day Aqueduct fall meet, which commences on Friday, November 6 and runs through December 6. The meet will be highlighted by 29 stakes, including 11 graded events, worth $3.41 million in purse money.
“I just got the new Aqueduct condition book on my desk and I’m going to mark it up now and do the best we can,” Clement said.
Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo, who won the Grade 1 Belmont Derby on October 3, impressively posting a one-length victory in the 1 ¼-mile turf test, breezed in company with City Man, going four furlongs in 49.40 over Belmont’s inner turf on Sunday.
After winning three stakes this year – encompassing the English Channel in May at Gulfstream Park and the Grade 3 Kent at Delaware Park in July – Gufo continues to give consistent efforts, posting a 5-1-1 ledger. His only non-victories include a close second, a head back to winner Domestic Spending, in the Saratoga Derby Invitational in August. His only other non-win was a third-place debut effort last November at the Big A.
Gufo will now get set to ship to the West Coast for the first time, with Clement targeting the Grade 1, $300,000 Hollywood Derby at 1 1/8 miles for sophomores on the Del Mar turf on November 28.
“It’s always nice to meet your own age as long as you can,” Clement said.
On Saturday, Clement saw New York-bred juvenile Swashbuckle impressively defeat a 12-horse field going 1 1/16 miles on the grass on Empire Showcase Day under jockey Joel Rosario. His first-out victory netted a 65 Beyer. The Quality Road colt, owned and bred by Jump Sucker Stable, had been training at Saratoga before shipping down. Clement had previously trained Swashbuckle’s mare, the Irish-bred Sea Coast.
“He’s a tiny horse but he can run, which is great,” Clement said.
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