Ashado, seeks a repeat of this 2004 victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Ashado, seeks a repeat of this 2004 victory in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.

Skip Dickstein

Champion Ashado Tops Pletcher's Work Detail

Edited from NYRA notes
Trainer Todd Pletcher worked a bunch of his potential Breeders' Cup starters, including champion Ashado, at Belmont Park Monday. Ashado, pointing for a title defense in the $2 million Emirates Airline Distaff (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over Belmont's 'fast' training track in 1:02 4/5. She'll enter the Distaff on the heels of a victory in Belmont's Beldame (gr. I). To date, Bayakoa (1989-1990) is the only horse to win the Distaff twice.

"She went good, but it was a little bit on the slow side," said Pletcher, who is also likely to run the New York-bred Capeside Lady in the Distaff. "She was nice and relaxed and looked like she was moving well. She galloped out pretty good and came back good. I'll probably put her in company next time just to make sure she goes solidly. She's pretty fit and we're trying to keep her where she is."

Lion Tamer, who was third in Belmont's six-furlong Vosburgh, worked a half mile over the training track in :47, handily. Even though Lion Tamer is best remembered for winning Aqueduct's grade I Cigar Mile last November, he is two for three at the six furlong distance of the $1 million TVG Breeders' Cup Sprint (gr. I). Jockey John Velazquez, who won last year's Sprint aboard the Pletcher-trained Speightstown, has the mount on Lion Tamer.

"He actually went a little quicker than I wanted, but he was full of himself out there," Pletcher said. "He was full of run the whole way and galloped out real well. I'm very pleased."

Flower Alley, winner of the Jim Dandy (gr. II) and Travers Stakes (gr. I), breezed five furlongs over the training track in 1:00 4/5 with Rectory Hill. Flower Alley, who is running in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), last ran a disappointing fourth to Borrego in Belmont's Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I). Flower Alley was rank and vied between Bishop Court Hill and Lava Man through the first half of the Gold Cup and never ran on. Naturally, Pletcher hopes the colt will relax in the early stages of the Classic.

"I thought he breezed well," Pletcher said. "He finished up strongly. He relaxed nicely off that other horse."

English Channel, pointing to the $2 million John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), worked five furlongs over Belmont's 'good' Inner Turf in 1:03 1/5 under retired Hall of Fame jockey Angel Cordero Jr. English Channel was beaten a head by the undefeated Shakespeare last time out in the Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT). Depending on which Europeans come over for the Turf, Shakespeare could be the race favorite.

"He was by himself just kind of floating across the ground," Pletcher said. "We kept him off the rail. He's a fit horse. We're just trying to keep him where he is. He did everything in the Turf Classic except put his nose on the wire first. First time at a mile and a half and first time against older horses, it was what we were hoping for."

Limehouse, prepping for the $1.5 million NetJets Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), also on the turf, breezed a half-mile over the inner turf in :49 1/5 beneath jockey Jose Santos. Santos has the call for the Mile.

"I thought he went really well," said Pletcher, who also sends out the Chilean-bred Host in the Mile. "That was the first time since Santos had been on him since the (2004) Ohio Derby and first time he had been on him on grass. Santos said he really liked the way he handled it."