Friday Classic Report: Pegasus, Gander Gallop

Edited from notes from Breeders' Cup Team Notes

Fusaichi Pegasus: The Kentucky Derby winner galloped one mile under regular exercise rider Andy Durnin and avoided a potentially dangerous situation Friday morning. "He had a good strong gallop this morning; he was keen; he wanted to go," said trainer Neil Drysdale of the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Classic. "There was a loose horse out there, but it didn't appear they got that close.

"Fusaichi Pegasus was galloping with Bodyguard, so he had his protection," said Drysdale with a grin. "Bodyguard would have thrown his life on the line."

Albert The Great: Trainer Nick Zito said he received two good omens this morning, one involving his Classic runner Albert The Great and the other involving A P Valentine.

"Albert went to the gate to school early this morning," Zito said. "When he got there, a couple of two-year-olds broke. He saw that and wheeled right around. It was all Patty (exercise rider Patty Krotenko) could do to hold on.

"A P Valentine had a little excitement earlier, and he is ready to run, too. So, I've had a pretty good morning."

At which point, Zito's assistant trainer, Tim Poole, returned with breakfast for the barn, only to inform his boss that the track kitchen was out of oatmeal.

"Okay," Zito said. "So I got two out of three things I wanted this morning."

Captain Steve: Captain Steve schooled in the paddock Thursday.

"Everything went well," said Baffert. "All the horses are doing really well. Of course, Captain Steve has looked good before. When the gates open, it's a different story. That's when class and heart take over. Traffic, racing luck -- you just hope they're in a position to win."

Cat Thief: Defending Breeders' Cup Classic champion Cat Thief completed his work for his final race by galloping Friday morning at Churchill Downs. The D. Wayne Lukas trainee will be ridden by Pat Day Saturday and break from post position 4 in the Classic.

No horse has captured back-to-back Classics, and should Cat Thief pull it off Saturday, Lukas said much of the credit should go to W.T. Young, owner of Overbrook Farm.

Dust On the Bottle: Sharon Hild's Dust On the Bottle galloped a mile and a quarter before the renovation break with Jack Hild up. Tim Doocy will ride Dust On the Bottle in the Classic and break from post position 8.

Hild said plans call for Dust On the Bottle to run next year as a 6 yo.

Euchre: Trainer Bobby Frankel termed Euchre's appearance in Saturday's Breeders' Cup Classic as "questionable" Friday morning after the 4yo son of Personal Flag developed a cough. He stopped short of ruling the gelding out of the race, pending findings from testing blood samples that were to be taken Friday morning. Frankel sent the Classic prospect to the track early during training hours for a 1 ½-mile gallop.

Gander: Runner-up in The Jockey Club Gold Cup, Breeders' Cup Classic contender Gander galloped 1 1/2 miles this morning, following the same routine he has done all week.

Trainer John Terranova was all smiles, saying that things have been going well for both Gander and Sprint contender Shadow Caster. The two runners represent Terranova's first Breeders' Cup starters, as well as for owners Michael and Theodore Gatsas. Plans for Gander tomorrow call for a jog and light gallop in his final preparation for the Classic.

Giant's Causeway: "This is a photo opportunity you shouldn't miss," said trainer Wayne Lukas as he waited outside the quarantine barn to pony Breeders' Cup Classic runner Giant's Causeway to the main track for trainer Aidan O'Brien.

"He just cantered around and Mr. Lukas said he was very happy with him. He went about nine furlongs and was a little fresh and looking around for the first four, but the last five were good," O'Brien said later. While Saturday's rider Michael Kinane was on hand, Pat Lillis was up for the light exercise.

Golden Missile: A gallop was all that trainer Joe Orseno required for his Classic runner, who took exercise rider Keith Ricks for a 1 ½-mile spin.

"He has got as good a shot as anybody in the Classic," Orseno said of the Pimlico Special winner. "If anybody is throwing him out based on his last two starts, they're wrong. He didn't get the best of trips in either of those races (Turfway's Kentucky Cup Classic and the Hawthorne Gold Cup).

Guided Tour: "He's feeling great," exercise rider Mitchell Curtis said Friday morning following the 4yo gelding's work. Curtis, who gallops and works horses for trainer Niall O'Callaghan, said the Irish native's Classic prospect galloped five-eighths of mile, stopped and stood at the gate and then continued the gallop that covered, all told, 1 1/2 miles.

Lemon Drop Kid: Owners Jeanne G. Vance and Laddie Dance, Hall of Fame trainer Flint "Scotty" Schulhofer and jockey Edgar Prado spent a segment of training hours signing autographs for an estimated 120 people.

"I love to see this horse race," Vance said. "I love all my horses, but I love this even better - to have these people come and tell us they like our horse. I understand this is the way racing used to be, or at least, how it was meant to be."

Dance gave bumper stickers to a few select friends bearing the message: "LEMON DROP KID FOR PRESIDENT."

Lemon Drop Kid galloped today under former jockey George Martens.

Pine Dance: The 3yo colt walked under the shedrow Friday morning, with Bobby Dolan, assistant to trainer Dermot Weld, leading the way.

Pine Dance raced less than seven days ago, finishing third in the Pegasus Handicap at the Meadowlands last Friday night. The son of Pine Bluff won the American Derby on turf and the Pennsylvania Derby on dirt in his four U.S. starts this year. He won twice in Ireland earlier this season.

The colt had his last serious blowout Thursday, when he breezed five furlongs at half-speed and was allowed to pick up the tempo the last three-sixteenths through the stretch.

"He's had enough racing that he's fit," Dolan said. "He's looking really well for just having run, and if he runs to his looks, I think he can be in the first five."

Tiznow: The 3yo colt galloped 1 1/4 miles Friday morning under exercise rider Ramon Arciga. "He's doing well," said trainer Jay Robbins. "I expect he will be pretty close to the pace."

The full brother to 1999 Classic runner-up Budroyale will leave from post 13. Breeder and co-owner Cecilia Straub-Rubens and her husband, Roy, arrived Thursday evening from California.

Michael Cooper, the other co-owner, has been here most of the week.

Robbins said that Tizsweet, a 2yo full sister to Tiznow, is expected to return to training shortly. She was turned out after a third-place finish in her debut at Del Mar. Budroyale, a 7yo gelding, is being aimed for a return to racing at the Santa Anita winter meet after being given some time off by trainer Ted H. West.

Vision and Verse: Under exercise rider Kenny McCarthy, Vision and Verse galloped Friday morning for his second engagement in the Classic.

Cat Thief, last year's winner, Golden Missile, who was third, Lemon Drop Kid, who was sixth, and Vision and Verse are returnees from Gulfstream Park.

"Fusaichi Pegasus is lightly raced coming into the Classic, but you could also say the same about us," said trainer Bill Mott of Vision and Verse, who finished third in The Jockey Club Gold Cup in his fourth start of the year. "Of course, we're not trying to say we're better than Fusaichi Pegasus."

Vision and Verse, a 4yo son of Storm Cat, may race again this year in Japan, said Mott.

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