Barn Notes from Churchill Downs
Two of the big guns from the powerful roster of stars from the stable of Frank Stronach tuned up for their big events on Breeders' Cup Day with solid works at Churchill Downs Wednesday. Classic contender Golden Missile breezed five furlongs over a "fast" track in 1:01 3/5 under exercise rider Keith Ricks. Trainer Joe Orseno sent the winner of Churchill's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II) onto the track shortly after the mid-morning break for track maintenance. Later, Ricks was in the irons again as Filly and Mare Turf contender Perfect Sting worked on the grass course. She covered five furlongs handily around the dogs in :59 4/5.
Orseno was pleased with the move by Golden Missile, who is winless in three starts since the Foster and is coming off a third-place finish behind longshot Dust On The Bottle in the Hawthorne Gold Cup (gr. III).
"He did well," said Orseno. "Knowing Golden Missile and the talent he has, let's face it, it's my job make him feel as good as he can. I can't give him any more talent -- he has the talent. I'm going to get him into the race feeling good and very fit and that's what we tried to accomplish."
Golden Missile was outfitted with blinkers in the training move, something that Orseno said is not a regular practice for his horse.
"I hardly ever work him in those blinkers, but that's what he runs in and I just wanted him to have race conditions today," he said. "If he had something in front of him he probably would have went a little faster, but he doesn't need to. We're just keeping him fit right now."
Perfect Sting was impressive in her move and appears to have bounced back well from her loss to Tout Charmant in the Galaxy (gr. III) at Keeneland, which was her first defeat of the year.
"She just worked excellent," Orseno said. "She came home the last quarter in :22 2/5 and you couldn't ask for a horse to breeze any better."
Orseno said Perfect Sting is usually very eager in her training on the turf course and Wednesday's activity was no exception.
"She gets real aggressive as soon as she gets on the turf, because she trains on the dirt and when she gets on the turf it's usually to breeze or open gallop. She just perked up and started bouncing out there and I knew he was going to have his hands full getting to the pole."
The loss in the Galaxy was disappointing, but Orseno said his filly did nothing wrong that day and he has faith that she'll make amends on Breeders' Cup Day.
"Sometimes you learn a lot in defeat," said Orseno. "I think that, not so much me, but Jerry (jockey Jerry Bailey) maybe found something out about her in that race and if that helped us win the Breeders' Cup, I can accept that. She's doing great and she'll go into this race feeling super."
Bailey will ride both horses in the Breeders' Cup. Orseno has also pre-entered Stronach's Macho Uno in the Juvenile and Top of the League in the Juvenile Fillies.