Churchill Barn Notes: Heritage of Gold Ready

From Churchill Downs
Her final workout at Keeneland in preparation for Saturday's $500,000 Three Chimneys Spinster (gr. I) didn't go exactly as planned, but Heritage of Gold turned in an effort that has trainer Tom Amoss convinced that she's ready for a big effort.

Jack Garey's five-year-old mare is one of the frontrunners for championship honors among older fillies and mares, but needs strong performances in both the Spinster and the $2 million Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs to get the job done.

Heritage of Gold looked sharp on Tuesday as she zipped five furlongs handily in :59 over a "fast" track at the Lexington oval.

"She worked really good," Amoss said Wednesday at Churchill Downs. "We think we're ready. She looks great. Now we'll see what happens on Saturday."

Amoss has been prepping Heritage of Gold for her races with stiff final works in the company of stablemates. She worked with the Amoss-trained Whoozie at Keeneland, but the workmate broke off further in front of Heritage of Gold than Amoss had intended.

"She broke off eight or nine lengths in front," he said, "but Heritage of Gold caught her at the wire and they finished up together."

Whoozie covered the distance handily in 1:00.20 -- easily the second fastest move among eight at the distance.

Amoss took Heritage of Gold to Keeneland a few days early to enable the sometimes nervous mare to get used to the track and the new surroundings. With her final work out of the way, Amoss and the mare will be spending some time in the Keeneland paddock.

"She'll go over and she'll school every afternoon before the race," he said. "She is schooling in the mornings in the paddock. We've found the best way to saddle her is in the stall, so she's going to be in the back of the paddock and will make her way to the front when it's time to leg-up."

Amoss has nurtured Heritage of Gold through a year in which she has won such races as the Apple Blossom (gr. I) at Oaklawn, the Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. I)I and Fleur De Lis (gr. I)II at Churchill Downs, and the Go For Wand (gr. I) at Saratoga. A runner-up finish to champion Beautiful Pleasure in Saratoga's Personal Ensign (gr. I) is her only loss in six starts this year and she had beaten that rival on two other occasions this year. It was also her first loss since a strong third-place finish behind Beautiful Pleasure and Banshee Breeze in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Distaff, which stamped her as a horse to watch.

Heritage of Gold now has career record of 15-2-3 in 24 starts with earnings of $1,951,387. She is 5-1-0 in six starts this year and has earned $1,021,907 in those races.

"I'm anxious from the standpoint that I want her to have a good prep going into the Distaff," said Amoss. "This mare has run the kind of race that can win the Breeders' Cup. She did it in the Fleur De Lis and some would say that she did it on Oaks Day (in the Louisville Breeders' Cup).

It's not one of those 'Gosh, I need her to step up to the plate' and run something bigger than she's done before. We've been there. We just need to get her back to that race."

BARN TALK -- Trainer Frank Brothers said Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) winner Mighty is still set for his turf debut in the Seattle Slew Saturday at Keeneland. The son of Lord At War tuned up for that race when he worked five furlongs handily in 1:00 on Monday -- the fastest move of the day at the distance. European import Brahms may also run in that spot for trainer Elliott Walden. Brahms joined Walden's barn in the spring and won an allowance race on turf at Saratoga.

WORK TAB (Track: FAST) -- Don't Be Silly, winner of the Aegon Mile (gr. I)II,
breezed seven furlongs in 1:29...Kentucky Cup Turf Dash winner Morluc worked
four furlongs handily in :47...Rock And Roll, winner of the 1998 Churchill
Downs Handicap (gr. I)I, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5...Royal Strand, third in
the recent Kentucky Cup Turf, worked four furlongs handily in :46 3/5.