"The Million showed me that he's not a mile-and-a-quarter horse," he said. "He needs a pace in front of him and to be sitting off of it. He doesn't need to be under a nine-to-five hold like Kent (Desormeaux) did in the Million, stalking the horse in front and having horses come after him. He wants to chase horses. So we knew we had to shorten him up." Rene Douglas carried out Block's game plan to perfection in the Sea O Erin, saving ground with a perfect off-the-pace trip and squeezing through on the rail when the real running started. Now it's on to the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne, or some other similarly realistic spot. (Chart, Equibase)
Giver GoesIn the $168,400 Sea O Erin Breeders' Cup Mile, an ungraded race, but scheduled as a prep for the Breeders' Cup, Mystery Giver made it four-for-four for homebreds on the weekend by outfinishing Buenos Dias by a neck over the soft turf in 1:38.17. Trainer Chris Block, whose family owns and bred the son of Dynaformer out of the Naskra mare Ioya in Illinois, did not make his feelings about the Breeders' Cup a mystery afterward. His colt had been stomped by Beat Hollow and many of the finest grass runners in training in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), and Block can't be blamed for not wanting to expose Mystery Giver to those foes again. But Block blames the last-place Million finish more on the distance than the competition.