You won’t see one of the leading trainers from Ireland on one of his Breeders’ Cup chargers very often. And, it wasn’t planned the morning of Nov. 5.
The group of horses trained by Aidan O’Brien was on the track when Lillie Langtry tossed her exercise rider. The siren went off signaling a loose horse, but in short order, O’Brien jumped on the Danehill Dancer filly himself.
Walking the wrong way near the finish line, an outrider pulled alongside and inquired why O’Brien wasn’t wearing a helmet while on the track, and the Irish conditioner explained about the incident.
Lillie Langtry, who runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf, is owned by Michael Tabor, Susan Magnier, and Derrick Smith. She won the Tattersalls Fillies at Newmarket in her last start and earlier this year took the Debutante Stakes (Ire-II) at the Curragh.
Other than Lillie Langtry’s antics, the morning on the backside at Santa Anita was fairly routine, with nearly very major horse scheduled to run on the Nov. 6-7 race cards going to the track for light exercise.
With the nearby San Gabriel Mountains that had glistened in the early morning sun all week now obscured by clouds and haze, at one point the large crowd of observers at Clocker’s Corner were treated to three Classic (gr. I) contenders — Zenyatta, Gio Ponti , and Quality Road — on the track at the same time.
Under the watchful eye of trainer John Shirreffs, Zenyatta, the morning-line favorite for the Classic, went to the track for the first time since shipping over from her base at Hollywood Park on Nov. 4. The large mare went about her tasks in business-like fashion, and exited the track after going through the paddock.
Meanwhile, Breeders’ Cup racing officials said there had been no defections as of early Nov. 5.