Calvin Borel would have made a great captain of the starship Enterprise, because time and again he boldly goes where no man has gone before. What he is able to do at Churchill Downs is mind-boggling.
Be careful how you handle Crown of Thorns. As we're well aware, the impressive winner of the Feb. 2 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (gr. II) has never run on a real dirt track. But with that said, let's pretend it will make no difference, and that he will be as good on dirt as he looked in the Bob Lewis.
Trainer Dick Mandella was looking for a big work from Action This Day Thursday morning to convince him last year's champion 2-year-old could rebound from two poor efforts. After the colt's six-furlong work in company with 2-year-old filly champ Halfbridled, Mandella had his answer.
All eyes were on Wood Memorial (gr. I) runner-up Master David, who was the only Kentucky Derby (gr. I) worker at Churchill Downs this morning, and the pocket-sized chestnut brought a smile to trainer Bobby Frankel's face when he worked five furlongs in 1:01 2/5, which was exactly what Frankel was looking for.
The stumbling blocks continued for 2-year-old filly champ Halfbridled Friday morning when she tied up (cramped up) after a routine gallop for Saturday's $500,000 Ashland Stakes (gr. I), in which she was to face Madcap Escapade and Ashado for leadership in the 3-year-old filly division.
As happy as trainer Dick Mandella was after winning the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), that's how crushed he was moments after the race when he was told on the phone by his son, Gary, in California, that his longtime friend and mentor, V.J. "Lefty" Nickerson, had died in his sleep just hours earlier.
Wertheimer Farm's Halfbridled, last year's champion 2-year-old filly, worked seven furlongs in 1:24 4/5 at Santa Anita Thursday in preparation for her 3-year-old debut in the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 13.
Trainer Dick Mandella, unhappy with Halfbridled's last work, said he has decided to skip the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) Feb. 15 and train her up to the March 13 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I).
Halfbridled, undefeated winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01 at Santa Anita Thursday morning for her scheduled 3-year-old debut in the Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) on Feb. 15.
Dick Mandella's remarkable achievement of four Breeders' Cup victories highlighted an unforgettable afternoon of racing. But there were other heroes, and other thoughts to ponder.
Pleasantly Perfect, impressive winner of the Goodwood BC Handicap on Oct. 6, will not be permitted to run in the Breeders' Cup Classic due to the bleeders rule in the State of Illinois.
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