Bago, on the track at Belmont Park.

Bago, on the track at Belmont Park.

Skip Dickstein

Thursday Report: Final Preps for Some Breeders' Cup Horses

While most of the horses running Saturday in the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races went to the track at Belmont Park Thursday for light exercise, some contenders breezed in their final preparations.

The air was chilly, with a temperature of 40 degrees, and the skies were sunny as most of the top horses went on the track after the maintenance break.

Bago, Azamour, Favourable Terms, and Karen's Caper were among the foreign turf specialists with strong gallops over the inner grass course rated soft. Workout times were recorded for the "European-style works," in which the trainers are not asking for the horses to be breezed in the fast times that are more traditional in the U.S.

Flaxman Holdings homebred Bago, winner of the 2004 Grand Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) and third in that race this year, was clocked in :53 2/5 for the final half-mile of his gallop. Trained by Jonathan Pease, the 4-year-old son of Nashwan will be seeking his ninth victory when he makes his 15th career start in the John Deere Turf (gr. IT).

Another Turf contender, the Aga Khan's homebred Azamour, was timed in :54 for the final four furlongs of his gallop. A winner of two group I stakes in Great Britain this year, the 4-year-old Night Shift colt trained by John Oxx has won six of 11 starts.

Euro-style workouts were turned in by Favourable Terms and Karen's Caper, both contenders in the Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf.

Sheikh Maktoum's homebred Favourable Terms, the Michael Stoute trainee who was a group I winner in Great Britain last year, was timed in :39 4/5 for the final three-eighths of a mile in her gallop.

Karen's Caper, a Stonerside Stable homebred trained by Gosden, got the last five furlongs of her gallop in 1:06. The War Chant filly is a group III winner in England.

One grass specialist who breezed over the main track was undefeated Shakespeare, the undefeated son of Theatrical, who worked a half-mile in :47 2/5 over the track rated fast. Trained by Bill Mott for breeder Dell Ridge Farm and William Schettine, Shakespeare has won all five career starts, including the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT).

Leo, the Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) entrant trained by John Gosden, worked a half-mile, beginning at the five-eighths mile pole, in :47 3/5 over the main track rated fast. The 2-year-old son of Pivotal won the Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) in his most recent outing.

On the training track, Artie Schiller breezed three furlongs in :36 2/5 as he completed his training toward the NetJets Mile for trainer James Jerkens.