Turf Start Considered for Joey Franco
by Margaret Ransom
Date Posted: 9/24/2003 8:26:12 PM
Last Updated: 9/25/2003 7:48:37 PM

Grade I winner Joey Franco worked six furlongs over Santa Anita's firm turf course Wednesday in preparation for a start over the Oct. 4-5 weekend.

Joey Franco, who was clocked in 1:15 3/5, has one previous start on turf, finishing 11th in last year's Cal Cup Mile Handicap.

"He could go in one of three spots," said Scott Chaney, assistant to trainer Darrell Vienna. "He could go on the turf in the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile, or the Ancient Title, or the Goodwood. It's nice to know we've got a versatile horse who could be competitive in any one of those spots."

The $500,000 Goodwood Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) will be contested on Oct. 4. The $300,000 Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IIT), a one-mile grass event, and the $200,000 Ancient Title (gr. I) at six furlongs on the main track, will both be contested on Oct. 5.

Joey Franco, who captured the Triple Bend Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. I) at Hollywood Park in July, won the one-mile Del Mar Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) in his last start. He also won the Ack Ack Handicap and Tiznow Stakes since moving to Vienna's care earlier this year.

A promising finish in his next start could set the 4-year-old son of Avenue of Flags up for a run in either the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT) or Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I).

Joey Franco $611,091 for owner/breeder Jerry Frankel.

Michael Tabor's grade I-placed Brancusi, who hasn't raced since finishing 15th in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), went seven furlongs Wednesday in an easy 1:29 1/5 on the turf with regular rider Tony Farina in the irons.

According to trainer Patrick Biancone, Brancusi is close to a return to action and will likely turn up in a stakes race during the upcoming Oak Tree season.

"We have a couple of choices for him," Biancone said. "He could go in Oak Tree Derby or in the Goodwood. I don't know yet."

The Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) is a nine-furlong turf event for sophomores set for Oct. 5, the same day as the Goodwood.

Brancusi, who finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and third in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), is still looking for his first career stakes victory.

There were several other notable works on Wednesday.

Norfolk Stakes (gr. II) hopefuls Odds On and Coldntight both worked in preparation for their first two-turn attempt, the former going seven furlongs in 1:26 3/5 and the latter getting six furlongs in a co-bullet 1:12 2/5 over Santa Anita's main track.

Ruler's Court, also gearing up for a possible start in the Norfolk Stakes, went six furlongs in a co-bullet 1:12 2/5 for trainer Eoin Harty.

Sunday's Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I) hopeful Tarlow went a half-mile in :48 4/5 for trainer John Shirreffs.

Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) winner Dessert, a daughter of Storm Cat and the outstanding race mare Windsharp, drilled a bullet seven furlongs on the turf in 1:25 3/5.

No start has been decided on for the filly, who is trained by Richard Mandella, although she's likely to turn up in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT) or the $100,000 Harold C. Ramser Stakes on Oct. 12. A start in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. I) is considered an outside possibility at best.

Also Wednesday:

Neil Drysdale confirmed Wednesday that Storming Home would run in the Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship (gr. IT) on Sunday. Gary Stevens has the mount in the 1 ¼-mile race.

Cassis, fourth in the Del Mar Oaks in her United States debut, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita's firm turf course Wednesday (dogs up) in 1:01 2/5 in her final major drill for the $500,000 Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. I) for fillies and mares Sunday at 1 ¼ miles on the grass.

Designed for Luck worked four furlongs on the turf in :47 4/5 breezing (dogs up) for the Oak Tree Breeders' Cup Mile on Oct. 5. The 6-year-old Rahy gelding was the victim of a disqualification from first to fifth in the 2000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT), and was moved from second to first via DQ in an allowance race at Del Mar on Aug. 18.

Biancone said undefeated Adirondack winner Whoopi Cat will pass Sunday's Oak Leaf Stakes and be trained up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The trainer doesn't expect the 1 1/16 miles of the Juvenile Fillies to be a problem for the daughter of Tale of the Cat-Whoopi.

"The mother never won at less than a mile and half," Biancone said. "Whoopi Cat had a bruised foot after she won the Adirondack, and there was a lot of rain there (Saratoga) this summer. By the time the abscess popped out, we lost some time with her, so I had no time to get her ready for a prep race. But she's smart. We'll get her ready (for the Juvenile Fillies)."

Tizbud, a full brother to Tiznow, Budroyale and Tizdubai, is up to six furlongs on the comeback trail. He was clocked in 1:13 1/5 on Sunday. "He's just starting back and training well," trainer John Sadler said. "We'll map out a campaign as we go along."

Baseball's all-time hits leader Pete Rose was at Santa Anita Wednesday morning to watch his maiden gelding Fort Point work five furlongs in 1:01 1/5. "He's a maiden, but I'm excited about him," Rose said. "He's had some problems but he's well-bred (by Carson City). He cost a lot of money, not for me, but he cost a lot of money for somebody. We're going to try and run him on Oct. 12, I think in a maiden claimer."

Copyright © 2014 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

SUBSCRIBE to The Blood-Horse magazine TODAY!