A trio of Breeders’ Cup contenders from the barn of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott–To Honor and Serve (Classic, gr. I), Royal Delta (Ladies’ Classic, gr. I) and Courageous Cat (Mile, gr. IT)–worked Oct. 16 at Churchill Downs.
Live Oak Plantation’s To Honor and Serve, winner of the Sept. 24 Pennsylvania Derby (gr. II) who was considered a strong candidate for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) before he went to the sidelines with an injury, covered four furlongs over a “fast” track in :50 under Rudolph Brisset. His official fractions for the work were :13 3/5, :25 3/5, and :37 3/5, and he was credited with a five-furlong gallop-out in :1:03.
Mott was pleased with To Honor and Serve’s work, but felt the move was faster than the official time credited to the 3-year-old son of Bernardini .
“Kenny (assistant Kenny McCarthy) had him from the three-eighth (pole) to the seven-eighths in :48 3/5,” said Mott in a release. The trainer watched the work on the track atop a stable pony. “He galloped strong over there and my guess is he went a little better than :50. It was his first work here and we weren’t asking for too much.”
Palides Investments’ Royal Delta, winner of this year’s Alabama (gr. I) and Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II), also worked over the Churchill Downs track for the first time and covered four furlongs in :48 2/5. Brisset was in the irons aboard the 3-year-old daughter of Empire Maker as she covered the distance in fractional clockings of :13, :25, and :36 4/5, with a five-furlong gallop-out of 1:02 3/5.
“She’s doing well,” Mott said. “It was her first work here and she did it very easily. She came back good.”
Royal Delta’s work tied as the eighth-fastest of 52 moves at the distance.
Pam and Martin Wygod and William S. Farish’s Courageous Cat, winner of the Shoemaker Mile (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in July, was the fastest of Mott’s Oct. 16 workers as he breezed four furlongs over the main track in :48 2/5, which tied as second-fastest of 52 works at the distance. The 5-year-old son of Storm Cat worked in company with stablemate Clear Attempt, who finished his half-mile in :48 2/5.
The remaining two horses in Mott’s quintet of Breeders’ Cup contenders worked together over a fast track Oct. 15. WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer (Classic), winner of the 2010 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and runner-up to Flat Out in the recent Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I), and Preston Stables’ Brooklyn (gr. II) winner Birdrun (Marathon) worked four furlongs in company. Drosselmeyer finished the work in :47 3/5, the fastest of Saturday’s 54 half-mile works, while Birdrun completed his workout in :48 2/5, a time posted as the sixth-best of the day at the distance.
Other Breeders’ Cup contenders on the Churchill track Oct. 15 included Hamazing Destiny (Sprint), who worked four furlongs in :48 3/5 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Barry Butzow and Westrock Stable’s 5-year-old son of Salt Lake was the runner-up to Big Drama in the 2010 TVG Breeders’ Cup Sprint (gr. I).
Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer (Juvenile, gr. I or Juvenile Turf, gr. IT), third in the Oct. 8 Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland and also trained by Lukas, worked a half-mile :48 2/5. Optimizer’s move also tied as second-fastest work at the distance.