Edmund Gann's Travers winner Medaglia d'Oro
breezed six furlongs in 1:13 this morning with jockey Aaron Gryder, who has taken off his mounts this afternoon to attend to a personal matter. A son of El Prado, Medaglia d'Oro is being trained up to the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I), the feature race of the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Arlington Park on Saturday, October 26.
Trainer Bobby Frankel said the horse is in good shape. He has three more works planned for the colt before the Breeders' Cup. "He'll go seven-eighths, three-quarters and then a half-mile," said Frankel. Last Thursday, Medaglia d'Oro went six furlongs in 1:13 3/5, handily and Frankel was delighted as he imitated the horse running under a very snug hold.
The most impressive effort of last weekend at Belmont Park came from juvenile New York-bred Funny Cide
. The Distorted Humor colt beat a good field of nine rivals in the Bertram F. Bongard by nine lengths going seven furlongs in 1:22 4/5. Despite the colt's strong performance Sunday, trainer Barclay Tagg said there is no temptation on his part to run Funny Cide in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
"Not to me there's not," the trainer said. "If he went to the Breeders' Cup, he'd be going from seven-eighths to a mile and an eighth and he'd be running against three much better horses than he's ever met. I'm going to run him back in the Sleepy Hollow, then I tentatively had in mind that race in Houston for state-breds. If he wins all those, I'll freshen him up and think about a Triple Crown campaign next year."
The Sleepy Hollow, part of New York Showcase Fall Festival Weekend, is worth $100,000 and is run at one mile on Saturday, October 19. According to Tagg's plan, Funny Cide would also start in the NTRA Great State Challenge Juvenile, which pits the best runners from different states against each other, to be run at seven furlongs December 7th at Sam Houston. Funny Cide won his career debut by 14 3/4 lengths September 8th. Tagg said the undefeated colt appears to have exited his Bongard win in good shape.
"He looks good and he's acting good," Tagg said. "I'll probably work him twice to keep him happy and keep the edge up. You'd like to think you don't have to work him, but you've got to do a little something with a horse like that. He's a big strong-feeling colt."
Trainer Jimmy Toner said he would like to see Caesar Kimmel and Ron Nicholson's Blazing Fury
go to the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) after the 4-year-old's solid runner-up finish behind Denon in Sunday's grade 1 Turf Classic. Blazing Fury sits in a 10-way tie for 25th place with six points in the John Deere Turf Division point standings. The top seven points earners get into the race with the last seven spots determined by a panel.
"He came out of the race super," Toner said. "Now, I just hope we can get into the Breeders' Cup." After a series of sub-par efforts from Blazing Fury, he displayed a strong stretch kick in the Turf Classic to be beaten just one-half length.
"I'm happy the horse came back and ran the way I knew he was capable of," Toner said. "Coming into the Turf Classic, I didn't think I could be so far wrong with a horse. He justified my feeling about him that he is a good horse. Now I'm kicking myself because I was never able to get into a rhythm with him all year. You start out in the spring thinking you have all summer, but the next thing you look up and it's October. If he gets to run in the Breeders' Cup, he'll be a horse to contend with."
Toner added that multiple stakes winner Wonder Again
will work tomorrow and ship to Keeneland Tuesday for the grade 1, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup, which will be run October 12th. The grade 1 Garden City Breeders' Cup winner will not make a run in this year's Breeders' Cup. The Queen Elizabeth would only leave Wonder Again with two weeks until the Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT).
"She's had some time between races and she's doing great," the trainer said. "Our objective has been the Queen Elizabeth all along. Hopefully we'll make the Breeders' Cup next year with her."
Trainer Tood Pletcher announced Anstu Stable's Balto Star
will not compete in Saturday's $250,000 Kelso Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT). Instead, the 4-year-old gelding will go to Kentucky for Sunday's Shadwell Keeneland Turf Mile (gr. IT). Pletcher said the two-turn mile at Keeneland opposed to Belmont's one turn was the deciding factor.
Pletcher will saddle two starters in stakes this weekend at Belmont, however. Eugene and Laura Melnyk's Appleby Gardens
will be a longshot in Saturday's $500,000 Frizette (gr. I) while their Harmony Lodge
will go in the $150,000 Gallant Bloom (gr. II) Sunday.