If you feel it's difficult separating the top contenders in the Breeders' Cup Classic, we have several live longshots who should make things even more difficult. We'll get into more detail on these horses when we search out big prices and potential overlays in all the Breeders' Cup races on Friday.
First, however, there was the first visit to the track by Super Derby and Goodwood winner Tiznow, who checked into Churchill Downs at 11:30 Monday morning. The son of Cee's Tizzy is a magnificent-looking individual, with powerful quarters and a gorgeous head. His coat is resplendent, and even walking in the barn, you could see dapples breaking out on his neck and shoulders.
Tiznow went to the track at approximately 9:30 after most of the activity had ended. Trainer Jay Robbins had to wait for a pony, and rather than keep Tiznow in his stall, where he obviously was not a happy camper, he walked the horse for almost an hour under tack with Ramon Arciga aboard.
On the track, Tiznow went for an easy once-around jog with the pony, and wanted to do more, as he seemed to relish the beautiful Kentucky fall air. Back in the barn, Robbins and Arciga had quite a time getting him back in his stall. He is scheduled for a gallop at 7:30 on Wednesday, and after today's teaser, we expect him to be a quite a handful. This should be an interesting gallop.
Now, back to the longshots. With Gander already having turned in a sensational work on Saturday, and Euchre looking like a picture, working in company on Monday, it was time for Vision and Verse. On paper, the son of Storm Cat looks to be in a bit over his head at this point in his career, but we'll try to put him in clearer perspective on Friday. For now, we'll just concentrate on Tuesday's five-furlong work.
He was scheduled to break off behind a stablemate, but she went by him so quickly coming to the pole that it caught exercise rider Kenny McCarthy by surprise, as he quickly found himself eight lengths behind. Around the turn, he nudged Vision and Verse along, and the colt roared by his mate at the three-sixteenths pole. McCarthy waved to stick at him with his right and kept him moving along at a good clip to the wire. Clockers caught him in 1:00 3/5, while Mott, on his pony at the finish line, got him in :59 3/5.
Vision and Verse is not a particularly good work horse, and wears blinkers in his drills, which is why McCarthy got after him through the stretch. Now, that we've whetted your appetite, tune in on Friday and see where this colt stacks up among the longshots.
Vision and Verse's nemesis from last year, Lemon Drop Kid, turned in another sensational gallop this morning, and he continues to be aggressive in everything he does. When two horses working in company came up on his inside, he could sense their presence and tried to go with them, as exercise rider George Martens jammed his feet into the stirrups and lifted off the saddle in order to restrain him. He has been a bear every day, galloping a mile and seven-eighths, and if this colt is tailing off, as many believe, he sure doesn't show it in the mornings.
Another recently arrived Classic hopeful is the Irish-trained Pine Dance, who was a well-beaten third in the Pegasus Handicap at the Meadowlands this past weekend. The son of Pine Bluff is a strong, handsome colt who looked super winning the Pennsylvania Derby. Trainer Dermot Weld had said if he finished one, two, or three in the Pegasus, they'd send him to Churchill, and here he is.
Speaking of Irish colts, the long-awaited arrival of Giant's Causeway was scheduled to take place at about 3:30 this afternoon. Because of quarantine, however, he won't be on the track until Thursday.
Fusaichi Pegasus, who looked so awesome in the final furlong of his work on Sunday, has been keeping a low profile since, going out around 6 o'clock, with no incidents to report.
Turn back the clocks a year. Remember the Cat Thief shocker? Well, we're not going to say history is going to repeat itself, but we haven't seen this colt work like this before in his entire career. D. Wayne Lukas hasn't been able to find a workmate that can even keep him in check until the quarter pole, as he's been inhaling his mates at the three-eighths pole. Lukas said he's made a change of equipment, in order to allow more air in Cat Thief's lungs, and whatever Lukas did, this sure doesn't look like the Cat Thief we remember, at least as workouts go.
Captain Steve was due to arrives at Churchill Downs late Tuesday afternoon.
On the Turf front, Michael Stoute played horse psychologist this morning, poneying Kalanisi on the turf course to allow him to get a nice, relaxed look at the same spot in which he put on his now infamous show two days ago. The colt, propped, wheeled, and balked when something distracted him, and when he came around again after finishing up his work, he did it again, this time unseating his rider. Today, he was unfazed by everything when he approached the spot on the clubhouse turn. Stoute then had him turn around and walk back, while being reassured by his rider and trainer. Kalanisi was a perfect gentlemen, and Stoute walked off the track with his horse wearing the smile of a happy and proud trainer.