ELMONT, N.Y. – Otter Bend Stables’ Gufo registered his penultimate breeze Sunday for the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on October 9 at Belmont Park for trainer Christophe Clement.
The two-time Grade 1-winning 4-year-old son of Declaration of War went a half-mile in 49.92 over the inner turf in his third work since fending off multiple Group 1-winner Japan in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino Sword Dancer on August 28 at Saratoga.
“Everything is good with Gufo,” Clement said. “He was a little bit lazy this morning, but that’s him, he’s usually a touch lazy in his works. We’ll work him next weekend and go for the Joe Hirsch.”
Never off the board in a dozen lifetime starts, Gufo will seek to keep an unbeaten record at 1 ½ miles intact. Prior to the 12-furlong Sword Dancer, Gufo captured the Grand Couturier on July 5 at Belmont Park at the same distance. Last year, he earned his first Grade 1 win in the Belmont Derby Invitational in October.
Clement also worked graded stakes-winner Mutamakina and Call Me Love over the inner turf in preparation for the Grade 3, $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya.
Mutamakina went five furlongs in 1:02.41, while Call Me Love recorded a four-furlong move in 49.92.
Mutamakina winning the 2020 Long Island in November at Aqueduct under Dylan Davis. (NYRA/Coglianese)
Al Shira’aa Farms’ Mutamakina was a last-out winner of the Grade 2 Dance Smartly on August 22 at Woodbine. The 5-year-old Nathaniel mare earned a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for the win, equaling the figure she registered when capturing the Grade 3 Long Island in November 2020 at Aqueduct.
Call Me Love wins the River Memories by a neck under Junior Alvarado at July 11 Belmont. (Chelsea Durand)
Call Me Love, a two-time graded stakes placed daughter of Sea the Stars, was a distant seventh last out in the Grade 3 Glens Falls on August 7 at Saratoga. Two starts back, she earned her first North American stakes triumph, when capturing the River Memories on July 11 at Belmont.
“Call Me Love and Mutamakina worked very well this morning, they’ll both go to the Waya,” Clement said. “They have both been training very forwardly.”
Clement could have as many as three for the Grade 3, $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational, including Sunday morning workers Maxwell Esquire and Therapist.
Maxwell Esquire, a Patricia Generazio New York homebred, went a half-mile in 48.23 seconds over the main track. Multiple stakes winner Therapist, a New York-bred son of Freud, went a half-mile in 49:00 seconds flat over the inner turf.
Maxwell Esquire will seek his first victory since his seasonal bow on April 22 going six furlongs over the Belmont Widener turf.
Oak Bluff Stables’ Therapist, a stakes winner at state-bred and open company, was scratched out of Friday’s Ashley T. Cole and will be in search of his first win since the Artie Schiller in November 2020 at Aqueduct. A last out second in the West Point at Saratoga, Therapist has won at least one stakes race every year since his 2-year-old season in 2017.
Voodoo Zip, who worked a half-mile over the Oklahoma training track in Saratoga on Thursday, also could target the Belmont Turf Sprint. The West Point Thoroughbreds owned son of City Zip has never finished off the board in 11 lifetime starts and defeated winners two starts back going seven furlongs over the Widener turf on July 11.
Clement reported that Bobby Flay’s Pizza Bianca, a last out second in the Grade 1 Natalma on September 19 at Woodbine, is under consideration for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 5 at Del Mar.
“She’s doing well. She came back in good shape from her last race,” Clement said. “The question is whether we train her for the Breeders’ Cup or something else.”
Clement said Waterville Lake Stable’s New York homebred Derrynane, a winner of the last out Woodbine Cares on September 19, will likely train up to the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 5 at Del Mar.
NYRA Press Office
Photo: Gufo winning the Belmont Derby on July 5. (Susie Raisher)