Only a few of the European runners in the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships left the quarantine area Tuesday morning, but among them were some big names.
Falbrav, Islington and Oasis Dream all went out for some light work at Santa Anita on a bright warm morning where the San Gabriel Mountains looked as clear as a picture postcard.
Islington and her traveling companion, Researched, spent about 20 minutes just walking on the backstretch of the turf course. They came out during one of the morning breaks on the dirt track so there was less commotion during her first morning on the track.
Islington was 4-1 in the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) last year and finished third in a race in which she had to steady several times. She has had only four starts this year, her last effort a very impressive performance in the Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) in which she was beaten just a neck by males High Chaparral and Falbrav.
A 4-year-old filly by Sadler's Wells, Islington is trained by Michael Stoute, who has two Breeders' Cup wins to his credit, the 1996 and 2000 editions of the Turf (gr. IT), with Pilsudski and Kalanisi, respectively.
After her leisurely walk on the turf, Islington and Researched -- who will run Friday in the Clement Hirsch (gr. IIIT) -- came around the far turn, and then Researched broke off about five lengths in front of her. Islington, with work rider Tracy Thompson aboard, kept that same distance down the stretch and through the first turn, they steadily moved forward. She had nearly caught Researched when they pulled up around the half-mile pole.
Jockey Richard Hughes was aboard Mile (gr. IT) contender Oasis Dream, who is attempting to stretch out from sprint races for trainer John Gosden. Having secured a local work mate for Oasis Dream, the pair went in company down the stretch of the grass course.
A day earlier, Oasis Dream had taken several laps around the paddock as Gosden looked on. Gosden is one of only two foreign trainers to have arrived, the other being Dermot Weld. Several others, including Aiden O'Brien, are due in Tuesday evening.
Falbrav has been the subject of much attention because a decision had to be made as to whether he would run in the Turf or the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
Reports were that trainer Luca Cumani favored running Falbrav in the Classic, however the horse's Italian co-owner, Luciano Salice, preferred to go in the Turf. The other owner is Terry Yoshida, who will stand Falbrav at his Shadai Farm in Japan next year.
Falbrav has won group I races in four different countries: Italy, Japan, France, and England.
Falbrav took a slow walk down the stretch of the dirt track and then toured the paddock before returning to the quarantine facility.
On Wednesday, all of the European horses will head to the track. Those that arrived on Sunday have not been to the track yet, instead walking in the isolation area. That includes the O'Brien horses as well as two French fillies, Six Pefections and Bright Sky.