By Esther Marr and Ron Mitchell
The connections of Workforce, early favorite for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), have concerns about the condition of the Churchill Downs turf course that could lead to the colt being scratched.
Along with many other European horses that were on the track for the first time Nov. 2 after clearing quarantine, Workforce did not take to the grass course when he was tested over it.
The Churchill turf course is obviously firmed up due to a severe drought in Kentucky this summer, a situation that poses concerns for connections of horses from Europe, where they run primarily on good to soft turf.
A Khalid Abdullah homebred trained by Sir Michael Stoute, Workforce has won three of five career starts, including the Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
According to The Racing Post, Stuart Messenger, Stoute’s assistant, strong consideration was given Nov. 2 to go ahead and declare Workforce out of the Turf. After consideration, however, they agreed to wait until Nov. 5 to make a final decision.
"I’m extremely disappointed with the ground," Messenger told the newspaper. " I’m going to have a serious discussion with the boss. The horse is too valuable to risk."
"The horse is fine and in good shape," jockey Ryan Moore told The Racing Post. "The ground is quicker than ideal. We’ll see how things progress through the week."