Trainer Wesley Ward had a busy morning at Keeneland Oct. 26, sending out four Breeders' Cup contenders through their final pre-race works over the turf course at the Lexington oval.
Group I victor No Nay Never, winner of the Oct. 4 Woodford Stakes Presented by Keeneland Select (gr. IIIT) in his most recent prep for the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), led the quartet with a bullet five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 outside the dogs on a firm course. The 3-year-old Scat Daddy colt races for Ice Wine Stable and Coolmore Partners.
"It was a little faster than I liked, I wanted to go a little bit easier but he's a very good horse and he's feeling good right now," Ward said. "When you go 1:01 and the dogs are out, it's like :59."
Fellow Turf Sprint contender Undrafted went the next fastest of the group, clocking five furlongs in 1:02 2/5. Owned by NFL star Wes Welker, the 4-year-old by Purim comes off a third in the Sept. 24 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash.
"He was the work of the day; he worked phenomenal," Ward said. "He broke off about an eighth of a mile behind No Nay Never, but he's pretty much the best work horse I have. The rider was sitting against him the whole way, just perfect. A really, really nice work."
Judy the Beauty, gearing up for another run at the DraftKings Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I), went the same distance in 1:03 3/5. The 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare won the Aug. 17 Rancho Bernardo Handicap (gr. III) at Del Mar in her most recent start for Ward, who is also her owner. She was second to champion Groupie Doll in the 2013 edition of the Filly & Mare Sprint.
"I actually thought that was her best work yet," Ward remarked. "It was very fluid and she's kind of lazy, so for her to do it by herself... I actually had not planned a real work, I just planned a fast gallop and to kind of blow her out down the lane, so for her to actually work in 1:03 was kind of eye opening, the way she did it. She's not really an agressive work horse."
Wrapping up Ward's Breeders' Cup work tab was Coolmore Partners' Hootenanny, the 2-year-old Quality Road colt who is targeting the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT). He went five furlongs in 1:04 1/5.
"That work was a little slow, I kind of wanted to go a litlte quicker with him but he also went very quick last week (five furlongs in 1:01 2/5) so we really didn't need a lot. It was a decent work; the rider kind of messed up the first part, but he was smoking down the lane."
Ward's runners ship to Santa Anita Park for the Oct. 31-Nov. 1 World Championships on Tuesday, Oct. 28, but the trainer himself will not be joining them.
"I won't be able to make it this year; my son is running in the Florida cross-country championships so I'll have to stay behind—but I'm really, really happy with the way today went and I'm excited; everything's going great and the horses couldn't be going into their races any better."