Barn Notes from Churchill Downs
Under a dense blanket of fog, all three of trainer Christophe Clement's Breeders' Cup hopefuls worked on the turf Thursday morning at Belmont Park, but because of the conditions, only one was actually timed. New York Racing Association clockers caught Forbidden Apple (Mile) going a half-mile in :49. Stablemates Ciro and Craigsteel, both bound for the Turf, each worked five-eighths, galloping out three-quarters.
"Unfortunately, I cannot tell you the times because the fog was so thick you could not see," said Clement Thursday morning. "But I can tell you Craigsteel went well and finished up good; the same can be said of Forbidden Apple, and also of Ciro."
Ciro, 2-for-2 in the United States including the Lawrence Realization, worked under jockey Jose Santos, who will also ride Ciro in the Breeders' Cup Turf. Chris McCarron has the mount on Craigsteel.
"This was their last serious work before the Breeders' Cup," said Clement, who has saddled four Breeders' Cup starters, with Coretta's second-place finish in last year's Filly and Mare Turf his best finish. "The rest will consist of slow gallops. I have not finalized plans to ship to Kentucky yet."
Forbidden Apple defeated Affirmed Success to win the Kelso in his last start and is heading to the Mile in good order, said Clement.
"I believe I have one of the best horses in the race," said the trainer. "He is coming off two good, serious wins and has the best two grass races at the distance."
Craigsteel has finished second four times this year, including a strong second to John's Call in the Turf Classic at Belmont.
"It's very difficult to build up to a 1 1/2 mile race in the East," said Clement. "I believe I made a mistake when I did not run him in the Sword Dancer [at Saratoga]. But he has never had a bad race. I think he is a better horse on softer ground."
Ciro arrived in Clement's barn right after his victory over King Cugat in the Secretariat Stakes in Chicago.
"His victory in the Lawrence Realization [against 3-year-olds] was very impressive," said Clement. "He will have to tackle the older horses now. But he looks great and trains well and whether it is firm or soft does not seem to affect him, so the going is not an issue with him. He is a very good-looking horse, very fleshy. Both he and Ciro have a wonderful way of going."