by Karen M. Johnson
Trainer Todd Pletcher worked 12 of his pre-entered Breeders’ Cup horses at Belmont Park Oct. 21. The works were their last before their scheduled starts in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park Oct. 26-27.
At 10:30 a.m. EDT, with the works behind him, Pletcher said he was pleased with the final preparations turned in by his Breeders’ Cup dozen.
“I thought everyone went well,” Pletcher said to several members of the media outside his barn. “I didn’t have any problems with any of them. They all worked in the range I expected.”
Pletcher’s busy morning started at about 6:50 when Unbridled Belle worked in company on the training track, which was labeled fast. Unbridled Belle, pre-entered in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), worked with a Pletcher maiden.
Unbridled Belle, who looked powerful in the work, was timed in 1:01.28 for five furlongs and finished in front of her stablemate.
After the harrowing break on the training track, five of Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup hopefuls took to the track.
Lawyer Ron, who will run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), looked strong in his five-furlong move, which was timed in 1:01.26 and was followed with a spirited gallop around the turn and into the backstretch.
Any Given Saturday, who will join Lawyer Ron in the Classic, worked a more tepid five furlongs in 1:02.12 with jockey Garrett Gomez in the saddle. Pletcher was pleased with both of the horses.
“(Lawyer Ron) was on the bridle the whole time,” Pletcher said. “He had a solid work last week (1:00.40), so we wanted a touch less than last time. He was eager but controllable. It was a good solid work, without overdoing it. We got what we wanted.”
Any Given Saturday is usually eager as he nears the pole to begin his breezes, and the Oct. 21 work was no different.
“He’s pretty aggressive before he gets to the pole,” Pletcher said. “I thought (Garrett) did a good job getting him settled after that.”
Also working on the training track after the break were three of Pletcher’s Distaff pre-entries: Indian Vale (five furlongs in 1:01.69); Octave (1:00.67 for five furlongs); and Panty Raid (49.10 for a half-mile). Panty Raid is cross-entered in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT). Pletcher said he hasn’t decided whether he will run Panty Raid in either of those races.
At about 9 a.m., Pletcher headed to the grandstand to work his Breeders’ Cup turf hopefuls: Wait a While, English Channel, Honey Ryder, Host, Icy Atlantic, and The Leopard. The inner turf was listed as soft, with the dogs up five-wide from the inner rail.
English Channel, pointing for the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:03.55 with Angel Cordero Jr. in the saddle. Filly & Mare Turf contender Wait a While worked the same distance in 1:04.11.
Honey Ryder and Host worked as team, getting five furlongs in 1:03.41. Honey Ryder is to run in the Filly & Mare Turf. Host is pre-entered in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT). Icy Atlantic (Mile or Turf) worked four furlongs in 50.71. The Leopard (Juvenile Turf), with jockey Edgar Prado aboard, covered the same distance in 50.64, while working in company with maiden The Green Monkey.
Pletcher pre-entered 15 horses to the Breeders’ Cup. The dozen he worked Oct. 21, with a question mark on Panty Raid, are confirmed to run in the Breeders’ Cup. His other pre-entries, Sunriver, Cowboy Cal, and Why Tonto are not expected in the Breeders’ Cup. Sunriver is to race Oct. 21 Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) at Woodbine.
Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup runners will ship to Monmouth Oct. 23.
The feature attraction on Belmont’s main track, after the harrowing break, was a scorching five-furlong move in a bullet 57.46, the fastest of 25 works at the distance, by Discreet Cat (Dirt Mile). Gomez was aboard.
Rick Mettee, Discreet Cat’s trainer, minutes after the work said: “It was faster than I wanted, but good horses do that. I was looking for something around 1:00.”
Trainer Angel Penna Jr. worked both his Breeders’ Cup starters. Remarkable News (Mile) worked 1:02.71 for five furlongs on the turf. Stablemate Shamdinan (Turf) covered the same distance in 1:03.60.
Argentina (Filly & Mare Turf) worked six furlongs in 1:17.04 over the boggy turf. Ginger Punch (Distaff) worked on the main track and recorded a half-mile breeze in 48.14. Indian Blessing (Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, gr. I) was sharp in a five-eighths move in 58.42 with exercise rider Simon Harris in the saddle. In Summation (TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint, gr. I) worked five furlongs in 1:00.10 on the main track.
At Aqueduct, trainer Rick Violette sent out his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls: Dream Rush (Filly & Mare Sprint), Phantom Income (Juvenile Fillies), and High Finance (Dirt Mile). Dream Rush worked a half-mile in 47.96, the second fastest of 19 works at the distance. High Finance was timed in 48.65. Phantom Income went the fastest of the Violette horses, with a bullet move in 47.61.
Grand Couturier (Turf) worked on Aqueduct’s soft turf in 1:04.03 for five furlongs.
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Press Conference: Todd Pletcher answers questions about Breeders' Cup runners Lawyer Ron, Any Given Saturday, English Channel, and Wait A While.
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