Trainer Richard Mandella "got the attention" of his Distorted Humor colt Jimmy Creed Wednesday morning. He felt he had to.
The Hall of Fame trainer is running three horses in this weekend's Breeders' Cup races and he's worked two of them the past two days. On Tuesday he sent his juvenile filly Beholder through a nice, easy three-furlong work in :39 3/5 prior to her Friday start in the Juvenile Fillies.
Wednesday morning he sent Jimmy Creed the same distance, but this time the clock read :35.
"I wanted to give him a sharpener and we got it," Mandella explained. "Generally I've found that with fillies you're usually wanting to settle them down. But with colts, you need to get their attention. It wasn't that I was trying to put speed on his mind; he's already got that. But I want to remind him we're getting serious and this did the trick."
The work occurred shortly after 8 a.m. (PDT) with exercise rider Janeen Painter in the tack, starting at the quarter-pole and going to the seven-eighths pole. The move was second-best of 12 at the distance at Santa Anita Wednesday morning.
Beholder was back to galloping Wednesday morning with former jockey David Neusch aboard following Tuesday's breeze.
"She's coming along fine," Mandella said of the Henny Hughes filly. "She's where I'd like her to be."
The recently released from quarantine English import Rising Legend breezed a half-mile on the firm Santa Anita turf in :50 3/5 Wednesday morning.
"He jogged good (Tuesday), so we decided to do a little something with him on the turf," trainer John Sadler said of the lone also-eligible for Saturday's Juvenile Turf.
Dirt Mile contender Rail Trip shipped to Santa Anita Wednesday noon after working four Cushion Track furlongs at Hollywood Park. The seven-year-old gelding had jockey Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard for the move.
"I got him in 48 and 2/5," said trainer Ron Ellis, satisfied with the drill. "He was just galloping along."
Wednesday was Halloween, and the appropriately named defending Breeders' Cup Sprint champion Amazombie was put through is routine six-furlong jog and 1 1/2 mile gallop under exercise rider Javier Meza.
The same as he'd done the day before, and the day before that, except this time the Northern Afleet six-year-old had the perfect setting as he rose from the straw (of his stall) and proceeded out into the predawn fog. A scene dramatic enough for the opener of a horror film.
But Bill Spawr is a Thoroughbred trainer, not a movie director.
"It is Halloween, isn't it," Spawr said when the subject was mentioned. Then he resumed focus on the exercise by his charge, whom he owns in a 75-25 partnership with Thomas Sanford.
"It was foggy and you couldn't see much," Spawr said. "But when he came down the stretch and got in some company he was pulling the last sixteenth of a mile."
Spawr plans a breeze for Thursday morning as a final serious tune-up before sending out Amazombie with the intention of becoming the second horse to win consecutive Sprint runnings after Midnight Lute (2007-08).
How Amazombie got his Halloween-appropriate name is part of the great unknown.
The bay had the moniker when obtained by Spawr as part of a two-horse package. Spawr consulted with Sanford regarding changing the name, but both thought it was "cool" as is. Attempts to find out who named the horse and why have been unsuccessful.
"Nobody knows," Spawr said. "We asked the breeders, they didn't know. We asked the farm manager, he doesn't know. It's a mystery."