Cyberknife out of the track. Coady Photography
Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile Contenders: Brown’s Pipeline, O’Neill’s Slow Down Andy, Informative a scratch
Breeders’ Cup Notes/Edited
LEXINGTON, Ky.—Gold Square’s two-time Grade 1 winner Cyberknife went out to gallop 1 ½ m at 8 a.m. with exercise rider Edwin Vargas onboard. The 3yo Gun Runner colt is scheduled to enter stud next year at Spendthrift Farm and his connections are hoping a cut back to 1m in the Dirt Mile will help end his career with a trip to the winner’s circle.
“He’s training really well,” trainer Brad Cox said “He’s been very consistent all year. I think the Mile is right race to get to the winner’s circle. I think as long as he breaks well and gets involved early, but not necessarily on the lead or anything, but as long as he’s involved and has position turning for home, I think he’ll be right there.”
John D. Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock Services’ Pipeline, 8-1 on the morning line, will attempt to give 15-time Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer Chad Brown his first victory in the Dirt Mile Saturday. The two-time winner from nine starts exits a third in the G1 Forego behind Dirt Mile morning line favorite Cody’s Wish and Sprint morning line favorite Jackie’s Warrior, going 7f. Prior to that, he was second in the Monmouth Cup over 1 1/8 miles. He drew post three of 11 and will be ridden by Flavien Prat for the first time.
“It’s a nice draw for him inside on this mile configuration and could be an advantage,” Brown said. “He’s training well and it’s a big step up for him, but he’s always been a horse we have thought a lot of. I like him in a two-turn situation. He’s a big, leggy and free-moving horse who has speed and can carry it. A mile and an eighth might be a tick too far, but I like the cutback to a mile.”
Reddam Racing’s California-bred Slow Down Andy went for a routine 1 1/8 m gallop Thursday morning two days before he is slated to run in the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile. Connor Murray was aboard the colt for trainer Doug O’Neill.
“I think a lot of it (deciding to enter Slow Down Andy in the Dirt Mile) was just trying to avoid Flightline,” O’Neill said. “He’s super versatile. He’ll route or sprint and he can run on the dirt or turf. Whatever you want to throw at him he’ll give it to you.”
Slow Down Andy is a dual-surface, multiple graded stakes-winning son of Nyquist. His most recent start was in the Awesome Again Stakes in which he stumbled out of the gate but recovered for a third-place finish. The colt has been in the top three for eight of his nine career starts. Saturday’s Dirt Mile will be his first-time racing at a flat mile as well as his first-time racing at Keeneland.
“He’s an average-sized colt with a heart the size of a Clydesdale. I’m excited about his chances in the (Dirt) Mile,” O’Neill said.
Rated at 30-1 on the morning line, Slow Down Andy will break from post one with Mario Gutierrez retaining the mount. Gutierrez has ridden the colt in all his starts.
Trin-Brook Stables’ Informative has been scratched from the Dirt Mile according to the Breeders’ Cup racing office by order of the veterinarians.