All eyes will be on Michael Kinane when he rides the 3-year-old Galileo in the Breeders' Cup Classic on World Thoroughbred Championships Day. But Kinane will have six other bullets in his holster on Saturday, and he's pretty confident about the quality of his mounts. Kinane has had 12 previous mounts on Cup Day.
Of Galileo, Kinane said "the most important factor with him is he's a 3-year-old who campaigned hard this year. My main concern is that the life is still in him. He hasn't missed a fight so far. But he's a very genuine horse. He gives everything."
The colt was on the racetrack at Belmont Park for the first time Friday morning.
In the Filly & Mare Turf, Kinane will ride Mot Juste, a filly he rode for the first time Oct. 7 in the Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp. She finished second to Terre a Terre in that race, and four starts prior in the Irish Oaks finished second only a neck behind Lailani, the morning-line choice on Saturday.
"I rode her for the first time in Paris, and she ran a very good race," Kinane said. "She was just clipped by Lailani in the Irish Oaks, and this would be her best trip -- a mile and a quarter. I think she's especially suited for this. If (Lailani) is a sharp favorite, my filly is entitled to respect."
Kinane will ride Johannesburg, who's six-for-six with stakes wins in England, France, and Ireland, in the Bessemer Trust Juvenile. The Hennessy colt will make his first start on the dirt, and first start beyond six furlongs in the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile.
"By all reviews, (the Bob Baffert-trained) Officer is as a good a 2-year-old as has been seen in some time, but Johannesburg is a high-class colt," Kinane said. "It may be a question of stamina going from six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth, but I think he's going to run a big race. With only one turn, it's probably more to my advantage."
Kinane also is named to ride Sophisticat in the Juvenile Fillies, Bach in the Mile, Mozart in the Penske Auto Centers Sprint, and Milan in the Turf. He said Milan "was trapped inside at Longchamp (in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe) and never got into the rhythm I wanted to get into with him. I just have to depend on a lot of pace happening (in the Turf)."
Kinane, who just missed winning last year's Classic aboard Giant's Causeway, said "it's going to be very hard" for the Europeans this year, but "if a couple of them run well, we'll have a good day."