Barn Notes from Churchill Downs
Two of Godolphin Racing's Breeders' Cup contenders took a spin on the Churchill Downs turf course Saturday morning. Muhtathir and Diktat, both entered in the $1 million Mile, were workmates in an easy six-furlong breeze.
The breeze by Godolphin's Mile hopefuls was uneventful as the two horses covered the distance around the dogs in 1:18. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor looked on as Muhtathir broke off about a length in front of Diktat and the two horses maintained their positions and were separated by roughly the same margin at the finish.
"They worked nice," said bin Suroor. "I'm quite happy with them."Stoute On Hand For Gallop By Petrushka, Kalanisi
-- Sir Micheal Stoute's two contenders for Breeders' Cup glory, Filly & Mare Turf contender Petrushka and Turf hope Kalanisi, turned in a strong gallop over the Churchill Downs turf course Saturday. It was the third consecutive day of activity over the turf course for the two European stars and, for the first time, Stoute was at Churchill Downs for a first-hand look. Stoute, who saddled Pilsudski to win the Breeders' Cup Turf at Woodbine in 1996, said his horses traveled well and appear to be doing well in their new surroundings.
"They've got good temperaments," he said. "It's a long old journey, but so far they seem to be recovering O.K."
The two horses are scheduled to breeze on the turf course Sunday morning. After Saturday's gallop, Stoute walked onto the course to check the footing for himself.
"There's a little moisture there on the top of it, a little forgiveness on the top, but it's fast," he said. "They were quite happy on that."
Both of Stoute's horses bring impeccable credentials into their Breeder's Cup races. Highclere's Petrushka brings a string of three consecutive Group I wins in three different countries into her race in the Filly & Mare Turf -- with the most recent being a win in the Prix de l'Opera at France's Longchamp. But Stoute said the Breeders' Cup will present a challenge to the 3-year-old Red Ransom filly.
"I think it's difficult for a 3-year-old to come to Kentucky after a classic program." he said. "But she's given us good vibes and that's why we brought her."
Kalanisi, who dropped narrow decisions to Classic contender Giant's Causeway over the summer before beating Montjeu in the Dubai Champion at Newmarket, put on a show for observers outside his barn. He has dug a small hole with his hoof each day of his stay in Louisville and likes to lay down and roll around in the dirt loosened in that hole.
Stoute said Petrushka and Kalanisi will work Sunday, but has not determined the distance.
Two more European contenders have arrived at Churchill Downs for their Breeders' Cup races. The Luca Cumani-trained Arkadian Hero (Mile) and Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum's Mutamam (Turf), trained by Alec Stewart, arrived at the track early Saturday morning.