Rock Hard Ten, winner of his last four races, worked seven furlongs in 1:25 3/5 at Santa Anita before the first race Thursday, in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) Oct. 29.
Rock Hard Ten, owned by Mercedes Stable and Madeleine Pickens, is scheduled to fly to New York on Sunday. The son of Kris S. has won all three of his starts this year, and four in row going back to Dec. 26, 2004.
With exercise rider Paul Nilluang aboard, Rock Hard Ten broke off a length behind a pacesetter, tracking him until the quarter pole, where he took over under no urging in the slightest by Nilluang, who let him gallop out strong after the wire.
"He went terrific," trainer Richard Mandella said after the drill. "He went great. We‚ll probably just get him there and just gallop him Maybe a little open gallop before the race but not much."
Rock Hard Ten's regular rider, Gary Stevens, watched the work at Keeneland on TVG and told their reporter Jill Byrne afterward, "He gives me goose bumps on the back of my neck when I ride him. After he completed the work, I turned to (jockey) James Graham and said, 'Look at the back of my neck, and I had goose bumps. It looked like an awesome work; just a maintenance move. Richard has done this a million times and knows how to get a horse to the Classic. This was an exceptional work, and I'm obviously excited about next Saturday.
"After you've been on this horse a few times, you know you're going three seconds faster than you think you are. So, when I have worked him, if I want to go in let's say 1:12, I tell myself to go in 1:15. He's always been a good work horse and he enjoys what he's doing."