Countdown to the Cup: Action is Hot and Heavy

Countdown to the Cup: Action is Hot and Heavy
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Birdstone, one of three Classic contenders already at Lone Star Park.
The action was hot and heavy going into Breeders' Cup week, with 26 pre-entered horses working on Oct. 24, an influx of horses arriving from all parts of the country and Europe, and a serious injury to Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) contender Ready's Gal.

Ready's Gal, who was coming off an excellent second to Balletto in the Frizette Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, suffered a fractured pastern in her right hind leg while working at Belmont. The daughter of More Than Ready   joins Balto Star, who had been cross-entered in the John Deer Turf (gr. IT) and Mile (gr. I), as Breeders' Cup casualties from the Todd Pletcher barn.

As of Monday morning, Oct. 25, only three Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) starters were at Lone Star Park – Roses in May, Dynever, and Birdstone, who arrived sporting the remnants of a skin rash that had broken out shortly after the colt's victory in the Travers Stakes (gr. I). Assistant trainer Reynaldo Abreu said the rash has completely dried up and the spots remaining are bald spots that have already begun to fill in. All blood tests proved negative, and the rash has not affected Birdstone's training.

Roses in May and Dynever both worked at Lone Star Saturday, with Roses in May breezing five furlongs in 1:01 3/5, galloping out a strong quarter mile, and Dynever breezing a half in :48 3/5, galloping out five-eighths.

Three other Classic horses – Pleasantly Perfect, Perfect Drift, and the Japanese invader, Personal Rush -- are due to arrive today.

Also scheduled to arrive Monday was a planeload of European horses, headed by the top-classic fillies Ouija Board, cross-entered in the Turf and VO5 Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT); Nebraska Tornado, cross-entered in the Distaff - Presented by Nextel- (gr. I) and Filly & Mare Turf; and Six Perfections, who will be trying to land consecutive victories in the Mile.

The most notable works Sunday were the five-furlong drills by Ghostzapper (:59 3/5 at Belmont) and Roman Ruler (:58 at Santa Anita). Ghostzapper is scheduled to fly to Dallas on Wednesday, along with other Bobby Frankel-trained Breeders' Cup starters based in New York Midas Eyes, Cajun Beat, and Nothing to Lose. Two other Frankel starters – Light Jig and Mega hertz, were expected from California.

One of the main questions surrounding this year's World Thoroughbred Championships was how horses would handle Lone Star Park, which has only been in existence since 1997 and has never even had a grade II race run there.

So far, there have been no complaints, and several exercise riders have commented how great they thought the turf course was. The course had been listed as yielding this past weekend, and the riders said it was in fantastic shape, with a good bounce to it.

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