Japanracing.jp reports that the Yasutoshi Ikee-trained Trailblazer is
currently in Southern California in preparation for his scheduled run in the
Grade 2 Arroyo Seco Mile (formerly known as the Oak Tree Mile) on October 6.
Trailblazer, a son of Zenno Rob Roy, is aimed ultimately for the November 3
Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.
Trailblazer was given his last fast work on September 12 up the hill course at the Ritto Training Center while in quarantine and training at 3:30 a.m. He was clocked going four furlongs in :55.2, wrapping up with a :13.1 final furlong with no urging.
"It wasn't a normal workout. We just gave him three furlongs and an easy bit of extra," assistant trainer Kazushi Iwasawa said. "He looks good. This is enough for now. Once we're in the States we'll up the pace."Trailblazer departed Ritto the evening of September 13 and left from Narita International Airport outside of Tokyo on the following morning. Trailblazer arrived in Los Angeles just after 4 a.m. (PDT) September 14 and was transported to Hollywood Park, where he arrived 35 minutes later.
The journey was a long one from his Ritto home to Hollywood Park, but all went well.
"Everything went almost exactly to schedule during the transport," Iwasawa said. "We arrived without any problems at the Hollywood Park Racetrack quarantine facilities. First of all, I'm relieved to say that the horse is doing fine."
Trailblazer, a five-year-old owned by Yoko Maeda, was bred by North Hills Management in Niikappu, Hokkaido. He is out of the Forty Niner mare Lirio and currently has a career record of 20-6-1-2. His earnings are verging on $3 million.
Trailblazer scored in last November's Grade 2 Copa Republica Argentina over 1 9/16 miles, then ran fourth in the Grade 1 Japan Cup at 1 1/2 miles three weeks later. He then traveled to Hong Kong, where he failed to live up to expectations and finished in sixth place in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase. He was said to have lost considerable condition due to problems with the flight over.
Trailblazer has had only two races this year, including a win in the Grade 2 Kyoto Kinen on February 12 of this year, with Yutaka Take up. His last time out was the Grade 2 Meguro Kinen May 27, in which he placed ninth, also under Take. Take is expected to have the ride in both races in the United States.
Trailblazer had accepted an invitation to the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic early this year, but had suffered a nosebleed during his last workout before departing Japan and was withdrawn.
Again, in early summer he bled after work prior to the Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen and was forced to sit that June 24 race out as well.
The United States permits the use of Lasix or Salix, brand-names for the medicine furosemide, used primarily in the treatment of hypertension and edema in humans and to prevent bleeding from the nose when racing in horses. The medicine will likely allow Trailblazer to run easier.
Trailblazer has had a variety of riders and his wins have come all with different jockeys. Katsumi Ando rode him to his win in the Copa Republica Argentina.
He has raced and won going both to the right and to the left and over a variety of firm and yielding going. He has been racing primarily over 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 miles or longer. His shortest distance to present was about nine furlongs, shorter than his intended Breeders' Cup prep, the one-mile Arroyo Seco. His running style is versatile but he tends to do best when sitting very close to or right on the pace.
Trailblazer, who has yet to win a Grade 1 race, will likely be up against very stiff competition in this year's Breeders' Cup Turf. Though it's far too early to predict the final field, the Breeders' Cup Turf is a possible for such big-name internationals as Snow Fairy, most recently successful in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes; reigning Turf winner St Nicholas Abbey, third to Snow Fairy last out; three-year-old star Camelot, upset when trying to complete the English Triple Crown in the Group 1 St Leger; and defending Group 1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe heroine Danedream, just coming off a win in the Group 1 Grosser Preis von Baden.
Americans under consideration at present include champion older male Acclamation and multiple Grade 1 victors Point of Entry, Little Mike and Dullahan.
The Arroyo Seco Mile, rebranded for 2012 along with a raft of other Santa Anita stakes, takes its name from the 40-kilometer-long Arroyo Seco, a seasonal river, canyon, and watershed in Los Angeles County. This is the race's third christening after having been inaugurated in 1986 under the name the Colonel F.W. Koester Handicap, and renamed the Oak Tree Mile Stakes in 1996.