Classic contender Flower Alley works Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Classic contender Flower Alley works Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.
Order This Photo

Anne M. Eberhardt

Sun King, Flower Alley in Classic Moves at Churchill

A pair of contenders for the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), along with some of their stablemates in other World Championship races, took a tour of Churchill Downs Sunday morning.

Tracy Farmer's Sun King worked five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 for trainer Nick Zito, while Melnyk Racing Stable's Flower Alley got six furlongs in 1:15 while under the care of Todd Pletcher's assistant Mike McCarthy.

Sun King's work was the eighth best of 61 horses at the distance. Flower Alley's was the best of three at the distance. Both horses went out just after 8:30 following the break.

Zito also sent out Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) hopeful C P West for a five-furlong work, and the son of Came Home got the trip in 1:00 2/5. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, who was aboard both horses, will ride both colts Nov. 4.

For the Pletcher team, Quiet Royal took a tour of the turf course a little after 9:30 a.m. and clocked four furlongs in :49 2/5 while under Mikki Fincher.

Sun King's last four races, all grade I events, have resulted in second- and third-place finishes. The Kentucky-bred son of Charismatic -- Clever But Costly, by Clever Trick -- was beaten just a nose by Invasor in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 5. He ran ninth in last year's Classic at Belmont Park.

"I was very happy with Sun King's work," Zito said. "Rafael said he couldn't believe how he just kept going and how he wanted to do it. His demeanor is just so good.

"He galloped out in 1:14 and track isn't that fast," Zito said. "The track is deep enough, heavy enough, and safe enough.

"I'd put Sun King in the category of Strike the Gold, Thirty Six Red - horses that I really adore," Zito said. "I've had so many, you can't count them all, but Sun King, to me, is the ultimate horse. Personality, class, dignity. You say, 'What are you talking about, how do you know he's got dignity? How do you know he's got class?' I know he does. I live with the horse.

"I thought C P West went a little faster, but he did it good, too. He's a good colt."

After breaking his maiden in his debut at Saratoga, C P West ran second to King of the Roxy, beaten three-quarters of a length in the seven-furlong Futurity Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont.

Flower Alley still needs a defection from the Classic to get in. Last year's runner-up to Horse of the Year Saint Liam is No. 15 on the list and only 14 can start in any Breeders' Cup race. Flower Alley, a 4-year-old son of Distorted Humor  out of the Lycius mare Princess Oliva won the Salvator Mile (gr. III) at Monmouth in late June, but then ran seventh behind Invasor and Sun King in the Whitney and seventh in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 7.

Werthiemer Farm's Quiet Royal was third, beaten 1 ¾ lengths in her U.S. debut Oct. 14 in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland. The 3-year-old daughter of Royal Academy--Wakigoer, by Miswaki, is a group III winner in France last year at 2.

"I gallop her on the dirt everyday and I already thought she was a beautiful mover, but on the turf, it's actually better," Fincher said of Quiet Royal. "It was beautiful. She floats.

"It was like it was nothing for her. She's got a lot of class and is meant for the grass. I love her; I'm impressed. I'm a little bit in awe."