Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Gander, at Belmont Park earlier this year.

Breeders' Cup Classic hopeful Gander, at Belmont Park earlier this year.

Barbara Livingston

Gander Works For Classic With Gary Stevens Aboard

Meadowlands Cup winner Gander turned in a spirited work Tuesday morning, drilling five furlongs on the Belmont main track in :58 4/5 with jockey Gary Stevens aboard. Trainer John Terranova said Stevens will wait until he works Macho Uno before deciding whom he will ride in the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic. However, Macho Uno's trainer, Joe Orseno, said Tuesday that Stevens had already given him the call immediately following his fourth-place finish aboard Albert the Great in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

"As far as I know, Gary hasn't committed to anyone yet," Terranova said. "He said he was very impressed with the work and that the horse gave him a great feeling. Obviously, we'd love to have Gary ride him, but if he doesn't, there's still a lot of top riders out there. The main thing is that the horse is doing great, and is in the best form of his life. He came out of the Meadowlands Cup in the best shape he's ever come out of a race. I got him galloping out six furlongs in 1:11 and change this morning, and he was just cruising throughout the work."

Macho Uno, whom Stevens rode to victory in the Pennsylvania Derby, was upset in the Ohio Derby in his last start at odds of 1-5. But last year's 2-year-old champ had been suffering from colic the week before, which may have compromised his performance.

Orseno said Macho Uno was scheduled to work on Wednesday, but because of rain in the forecast, he has put the work off until Friday or Saturday.

"He's a pretty tough horse," trainer Joe Orseno said, "which is why I didn't think the colic would get him beat. But he sure didn't run his race in Ohio Derby. On Sunday, we gave him a good open gallop and let him pick it up the last three-eighths. I'm still excited about the race. I'll see after his next work how confident I am. We're not going to run him just for the sake of running. Fitness will not be a problem, and I have no concerns about the mile and a quarter, especially at this track."

In other Classic news, D. Wayne Lukas said that Pat Day will ride Indiana Derby winner Orientate. Last year's Classic winner Tiznow is expected to ship to Belmont Park this Saturday. Albert the Great had an easy half-mile breeze in :50 1/5 over the Belmont main track.