Curalina (inside) worked in company with Race Day.

Curalina (inside) worked in company with Race Day.

Keeneland Photo

Pletcher Cup Workers Top Keeneland Tab

Curalina, Thrilled, Azar among trainer's to breeze; Ralis & Frivolous also worked.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sent Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' Curalina out in company again with Fayette Stakes (gr. II) contender Race Day  Oct. 16 at Keeneland, as the 3-year-old filly prepares for a start in the Oct. 30 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). 

Breaking off slightly in front of her workmate, the daughter of Curlin  clicked with him through splits of :12 1/5 and :24 3/5, finishing four furlongs on even terms in :47 4/5 with a gallop out in 1:00 3/5.

The duo went just a hair slower than their Oct. 9 breeze over the track.

MITCHELL: Three Pletcher Breeders' Cup Hopefuls Breeze

"Another good breeze from both of them," Pletcher said. "They seem to be making good mates and that's back-to-back weeks they put together similar breezes and I'm happy with the way both of them are getting over the surface.

"Curalina seems like she's particularly enjoying it here, she's looking well; she's put on a few pounds and seems very happy."


Also working in company again after doing the same Oct. 9 were the Pletcher-trained 2-year-olds Azar and Thrilled, both being prepared for juvenile turf races on the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup card. With Thrilled breaking off outside and a few lengths behind, the two ran through splits of :11 4/5 and :23 4/5 before finishing on even terms as well, clocked in :48 3/5 for the half with a 1:01 2/5 gallop out.

"Both of them have made all of their career starts on turf, but they seem to train really well on the dirt, so I’ll just kind of stick with that program, most likely breezing them on the dirt, depending on when (Keeneland) allows us to work on the turf next week," the trainer remarked. "Azar was just wanting to work and a little bit aggressive going to the pole, but I think he has improved a bit in his last two races, getting him back off the pace a little bit and having a target."


Pletcher worked two other likely contenders for the Oct. 30 Fayette Stakes; Protonico  and Commissioner , who went five furlongs in 1:00 3/5, out in 1:13 4/5.

"That's what we're targeting with both of them," Pletcher said of a Fayette bid.

Pletcher sent those six workers after the break, but in the early morning hours breezed Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) hopeful Rachel's Valentina in company with Sweet Ella. Stonestreet Stables' grade I-winning Bernardini  filly, out of champion Rachel Alexandra, worked four furlongs in :49 1/5 with a 1:02 4/5 gallop out after fractions of :25 2/5 and :49 1/5.

"Typical good breeze from her; she's very straightforward," Pletcher said. "She was eager to get going. I do think there's a difference in the way the track's playing early versus after the break. We breezed three horses early and six horses after the break and I would say that it's playing definitely a second or so slower first thing in the morning, but I liked the way she breezed and I particularly liked the way she galloped out. The further she goes, the stronger and better she gets."

Rachel's Valentina last breezed Oct. 5 in company with Distaff contender Stopchargingmaria. Of 11 days between works, Pletcher said, "Part of it was because of the rain opening weekend, so we kind of got pushed back until Monday. When I got to looking at it, it just felt like I was going to have to squeeze three (works) a little closer than I wanted to. I'm not concerned about her fitness. One thing she's always shown us is she has a very natural base of stamina that you can't train into some. She just has it."

Pletcher said Breeders' Cup FIlly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) contenders Dame Dorothy and Sweet Whiskey will breeze Oct. 17, along with Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) contender Red Rifle. He has not yet decided when Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) contender Liam's Map  will breeze again, but mentioned the son of Unbridled's Song will have just one more work before the Breeders' Cup.

Prepping for the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) run was Reddam Racing's Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) winner Ralis, who went five furlongs in :59 3/5 with a 1:13 3/5 gallop out after getting splits of :12 and :35 1/5 under Doug O'Neill assistant Jack Sisterson's watchful eye.

"(Jockey) Drayden (Van Dyke) was very happy with him," said Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill. "He didn't plan on catching company but he was happy with him. It was an ideal work."

Another 2-year-old, Sticksstatelydude, worked a half in :47 4/5 for trainer Greg Burchell and will be pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The First Dude  runner, who races for the Estate of Alvin Haynes, John S. Ferris, Brad Ward, and Beth Burchell, got splits of :11 4/5 and :23 4/5.

An additional Distaff contender was also on the tab as G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s 5-year-old Empire Maker  mare Frivolous went four furlongs in :47 2/5 for trainer Victoria Oliver. Her splits were :11 4/5 and :24 2/5; with a gallop out in 1:01 1/5.

Finally, R3 Racing's Bailoutbobby went five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 prepping for a start for O'Neill in the Oct. 30 Marathon Stakes (gr. II).