A host of Breeders' Cup workers went out to the main track at Santa Anita Park Oct. 22, and one got caught up in a scary moment.
Abel Tasman had just left the gate for her workout during the 6:30 a.m. Sunday training session as Vegas Vic was wrapping up his own. In the process of galloping out, Vegas Vic broke down, just in front of Abel Tasman and a workmate, but the Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) contender was able to avoid any incident.
"It happened so quick, we didn't have a chance to worry about it," said Abel Tasman's trainer, Bob Baffert. "I heard the siren (sounded when a horse gets loose), but it was so dark that I didn't see where it was. That could have been bad."
Vegas Vic, who unseated exercise rider Jose Dominguez, was euthanized later in the day, according to Santa Anita stewards. Dominguez was transported to a local hospital "to check his shoulder," according to trainer Phil D'Amato.
China Horse Club and Clearsky Farms' Abel Tasman completed her work a furlong past the wire under jockey Mike Smith and was timed in 1:25 3/5 for seven furlongs.
"She went great," Smith said of Abel Tasman's work. "(Vegas Vic) was pulling up—was almost stopped. I guarantee he wasn't going faster than a hobby horse, but kinda stumbled and stepped wrong. ... (Abel Tasman) finished so nice. I didn't get to gallop out like I wanted to, because (the outriders) stopped me."
Also on the work tab during a rapid-fire 7:45 a.m. session was the Baffert-trained pair of West Coast and Hoppertunity, who worked six furlongs in company. Under jockey Drayden Van Dyke on the outside, West Coast was timed in 1:12 2/5 for his second-to-last work for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1), and Hoppertunity was clocked in 1:12 4/5. Hoppertunity is pointing to the Oct. 28 Comma to the Top Stakes at Santa Anita.
"They worked good—went nice," Baffert said. "Those are good horses. Those are serious horses."
Baffert also said he'll keep his Breeders' Cup contenders at Santa Anita for their last timed works for the World Championships.
Right after West Coast and Hoppertunity during the 7:45 a.m. session came Bolt d'Oro (Juvenile, five furlongs in 1:01 2/5), Midnight Storm (Mile or Dirt Mile, five furlongs in 1:00 1/5), Ransom the Moon (Sprint, five furlongs in 1:00 1/5), and Moonshine Memories (Juvenile Fillies, five furlongs in 1:00 flat).
"We wanted a nice work to get more air into his lungs," owner/trainer Mick Ruis said of Bolt d'Oro, the likely Juvenile favorite. "All week long a lot of really good trainers have told me, 'Stay with your plan. Don't listen to anybody else.' That's what we're doing."
Trainer Simon Callaghan was similarly pleased with Moonshine Memories' work, in which she pulled away from a workmate well late.
"It was nice," Callagahan said. "She'll get her last work at Del Mar."
Other Breeders' Cup workers Sunday were Iron Fist (Dirt Mile, five furlongs 1:00 4/5), Tap Daddy (Juvenile Turf, five furlongs in 1:01 4/5), and Goodthingstaketime (Juvenile Fillies Turf, four furlongs in :50 1/5).