Grade 2 hero Willcox Inn, pre-entered in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile, worked at Keeneland on Saturday for the second time since his runner-up finish to Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on October 6. With assistant Hilary Pridham aboard for trainer Mike Stidham, the colt worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 in company with Every Way, a two-year-old City Zip filly who was third in the Grade 3 Mazarine at Woodbine on October 6.
Clockers caught Willcox Inn in splits of :12 3/5, :24 1/5, :35 4/5, :48 1/5 and 1:00 4/5 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 4/5.
"The work went just like what we had planned," Stidham said. "Sit off of her and then come to her down the lane. He inched by her in the last part. We weren't looking for anything too serious because he's a fit horse, but that work was just what I was looking for."
Stidham said James Graham will ride Willcox Inn in the Mile, where the Harlan's Holiday four-year-old will once again face-off against Wise Dan as well as other top-class rivals that include 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
"Our horse traditionally -- especially going a mile when there's going to be pace in front of us -- he'll be sitting back," Stidham said. "I'm not sure how far back, depending on how fast they're going up front. He's always got a really good kick like he showed in the Shadwell. We're just hoping the kick that he has is good enough."
Stidham said Willcox Inn will ship to California on Sunday.
Also preparing at Keeneland on Saturday for next weekend's Breeders' Cup was Oscar Party, who just beaten a neck when fourth in the Grade 3 Jessamine on October 11 at the Lexington, Kentucky, track. The two-year-old daughter of Dixie Union clocked five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 4/5 under jockey Kent Desormeaux for trainer Wayne Catalano.
"She was out in the middle of the track and she was just flying out there,"' Catalano said of Oscar Party, who is scheduled to leave Tuesday for a run in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Friday.
Desormeaux, who has ridden the filly in her past two starts including a win in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies on September 15, retains the mount.
Rounding out the Breeders' Cup workers at Keeneland on Saturday was Grade 1 Spinaway second Sweet Shirley Mae, a Broken Vow juvenile filly who logged four panels in :49 4/5 in advance of either the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies or Juvenile Sprint.