Although Wesley Ward believes Houyhnhnm Stable's Great Attack has a big chance to win the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (gr. IT), if the 5-year-old horse gets his picture taken in the winner's circle the trainer will not be in the photo.
"He's doing great right now and I couldn't be any happier," said Ward Oct. 31 of owner Jeffrey Seder's colt. "But I will be at home in Florida. My son is competing in the state cross-country championship and this is the first thing he's done at the level. So I can't let him down."
Great Attack, a Florida-bred son of Greatness, is one of five horses Ward has running on the two-day World Championships program at Santa Anita Park. He has two horses competing in non-Cup stakes on the Nov. 3 card and on Nov. 2 he will be represented by Almost An Angel in the Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) and Sweet Shirley Mae in the Juvenile Sprint.
Great Attack has won or placed in 12 of 17 career starts and is 3-3-1 in 11 grass efforts. He has earned $378,010. The large horse has won two of four 2012 starts, including the Twin Spires Turf (gr. IIIT) on the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) card at Churchill Downs. In the 2011 Turf Sprint, then a grade II at five furlongs, Great Attack finished fourth, 2 3/4 lengths behind winner Regally Ready.
The Twin Spires, in which Great Attack made a relentless run from the back of the field to defeat Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint contender Bridgetown, was the most recent start for the horse. He is being prepped for the World Championships through a series of five works over the Keeneland turf course.
"He has some hoof issues, so I kept him at Keeneland where there was a little more give," Ward said.
While the Kentucky grass is a little kinder to Great Attack and his problematic hooves, he will relish the firmer downhill course over which the 6 1/2-furlong Turf Sprint will be contested.
"He prefers to compete over a hard turf," said Ward, who has saddled 12 previous Breeders' Cup starters and is searching for his first World Championships win. "He's doing great right now and I couldn't be any happier."
Great Attack was bred by Edward Seltzer and Murray Durst.