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Mathea Kelley

Juvenile Turf Entries Must Tune Up on Dirt

Several Juvenile Turf horses lost a chance to gallop on the grass due to rain.

Mid-morning rain Nov. 3 forced a couple of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) off the Churchill Downs grass course and onto the main track.

State of Play, Shkspeare Shaliyah, and Farraaj all had a sudden change of plans when the turf course was shut down at 9:30 a.m., just as these colts were walking from the barns to track.

State of Play, a son of War Front  owned by Team Valor International, ended up galloping 1 3/4 miles on the main track and continues to impress trainer Graham Motion.

“He’s outworked all of my 2-year-olds. So I felt pretty good about him,” said Motion of the colt, who is undefeated in his two starts. “He’s very professional, always has been.”

Shkspeare Shaliyah took a couple of trips around Churchill’s one-mile main track.

“I wanted to train him one more time on the turf, go through turns and see everything but he understands the track,” said owner/trainer Doodnauth Shivmangal. “We never trained him on the Belmont turf course before he ran, and he did sit very good.”

In his last start, Shkspeare Shaliyah, a son of Shakespeare, won the grade III Pilgrim Stakes on soft going at Belmont. Alex Solis, who rode him in the Pilgrim, has the mount in the Juvenile Turf.

“He is very intelligent horse,” Shivmangal continued. “He does not spook in the paddock like other babies. He’s a professional athlete.”

Farraaj was hand-walked onto the main track and to the right along the outside rail of the clubhouse. He appeared to have walked the circumference of the track. Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum's son of Dubai Destination comes into the Breeders’ Cup off a second-place finish in the group III Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket. He has won twice and been second twice in seven-furlong races with the surface labeled as good. Farraaj is trained by Roger Varian and will be ridden by Neil Callen.

Fellow European challenger Caspar Netscher went out onto the main track under jockey Richard Hughes where he did a steady canter.

“Richard said that he gave him a really nice feel this morning,” said trainer Alan McCabe, who is bringing his first starter to the Breeders’ Cup. Caspar Netscher is also McCabe first group winner. Earlier in the year, the son of freshman sire Dutch Art won the ITM Gimcrack Stakes (Eng-II) and Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes (Eng-II). Kieren Fallon, who rode the colt in the Mill Reef, will ride him Nov. 5.