Havana, No Nay Never Start Season in Swale
Both talented horses are campaigned by owners associated with John Magnier's Coolmore operation.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Havana captured the Foxwoods Champagne Stakes (gr. I) last October at Belmont Park.
"We just wanted to freshen him up a little bit after the Breeders' Cup and we got behind schedule a touch, but we've been able to make up some ground with a solid work pattern over the past month or so," said Pletcher, who named John Velazquez to ride Saturday. "His fitness level looks good. I think he's coming up to it well."
No Nay Never won his career debut in a maiden race at Keeneland before being shipped to Europe. He won a stakes race at Royal Ascot in June and the six-furlong Darley Prix Morny (Fr-I) by one length in August at Deauville. Trained by Wesley Ward, the undefeated son of Scat Daddy is scheduled to make his first dirt start in the Swale after winning efforts on Polytrack and turf.
Ward said No Nay Never, who is black to the eye, is impressive to see in person.
"His physical make-up is striking. It's like the ultimate specimen of a horse," Ward said of the colt out of Cat's Eye Witness, by Elusive Quality . "He has a beautiful head, a beautiful shoulder. He has a beautiful hip on him. He's pitch black, not a spot of bay on him. He's gorgeous."
Ward has been impressed with No Nay Never's workouts at Gulfstream Park, which have numbered six this year including a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.02 Feb. 23.
"It seems to me that Gulfstream is his preferred surface. That's a little scary with all he's accomplished," Ward said. "I'm really excited for this race. I usually don't get too excited for races. I'm really excited that Havana's going to be in there. Obviously, you'd like an easier race to come back in, but he is training so good right now. I think it will let him show his true class."
Other contenders in the Swale are stakes victors Prudhoe Bay, who has won two of three starts for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.; and Brothersofthetime, a three-time winner from five starts who makes his first appearance since a fourth in the Foolish Pleasure at Calder Casino & Race Course Sept. 14 for trainer Antonio Sano.
$200,000 Swale Stakes (gr. II, race 9, approximate post time 5:10 p.m. EST) 3YO, 7 Furlongs
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