Saturnino Sixto Erro's 7-year-old son of Hidden Truth arrived in Kentucky in late September after spending seven days in quarantine in Miami. Under the care of Lexington-based trainer Ignacio Correas, Ordak Dan was the only horse to work a mile Oct. 18 at Keeneland, going in an easy 1:41 2/5.
"He galloped out very strong, through a mile and a quarter," said Correas, who is a longtime friend of Ordak Dan's trainer Juan Carlos "Carly" Etchechoury. "To me, he is very fit. The question for him in the Turf is class-wise where he stands."
The Turf is shaping up to be a tough affair that could include Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) winner Golden Horn and grade/group I winners Big Blue Kitten , Postponed, Slumber , The Pizza Man, and Twilight Eclipse.
Ordak Dan qualified for the Turf by winning the 1 1/2-mile Gran Premio 25 de Mayo (Arg-I) at San Isidro, which he also won in 2013. The race is one of five Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" events in South America. Previously, several South American challengers found their way to the Breeders' Cup through the former 1 3/4-mile Marathon, which was offered from 2008 through 2013. Argentina-based Calidoscopio won the Marathon in 2012 and became the first South American-bred horse to win a Breeders' Cup in its first U.S. start.
Bred by Haras Caryjuan, Ordak Dan had qualified for a Breeders' Cup start in 2013. He got injured, however, after he had been shipped to the U.S. to prepare and didn't race between May 25, 2013, and Nov. 28, 2014. He finished second in his first start off the long layoff Jan. 10, 2015, in a stakes at San Isidro. The winner was Alma de Acero, who would beat Ordak Dan again by half a length in their next start in the group I Miguel Alfredo Martinez de Hoz. Alma de Acero would be the favorite going into the 25 de Mayo, where Ordak Dan beat him by 1 1/2 lengths.
"I don't know how he got injured, but I know he's good and sound," said Correas. "I cannot tell that there was anything wrong."
Etchechoury, 54, is a third-generation trainer. He has already won several times Argentina's most important races—the Dos Mil Guineas (Arg-I), the Jockey Club (Arg-I), and the Carlos Pellegrini-Internactional (Arg-I), which make up the San Isidro Triple Crown; in addition to the Polla de Potrillos (Arg-I) and the Nacional (Arg-I), which are the first and third legs of the national Triple Crown (the Jockey Club is also the second leg of the national series).
"(Ordak Dan) had a perfect trip to Miami, did not reject any food nor has lost any weight," Etchechoury said through translator, Jose Nelson. "The horse will work every two days, taking long gallops, two turns around the racetrack."
Ordak Dan got his first work on U.S. soil Sept. 28 at Churchill Downs, where he worked four furlongs in :50 1/5. He next worked four furlongs again Oct. 5 at Keeneland going in :50 3/5 and followed that Oct. 11 with a brisk five furlongs in :59 2/5. Correas said Ordak Dan will get his final tune-up for the Turf Sunday, Oct. 25, when he is expected to work another mile.
While most are hoping for clear sunny autumn skies the week leading up to and through Breeders' Cup, it will not concern the connections of Ordak Dan's if the Keeneland turf course gets a good soaking.
"He has already won a group I race on the soft turf," Correas said. "He will run his race; he is a big horse that covers a lot of ground. But if it's soft, that will certainly help."