Pavel takes the Sept. 4 Smarty Jones Stakes in his third start

Pavel takes the Sept. 4 Smarty Jones Stakes in his third start

Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

O'Neill Breeders' Cup Trio Works at Del Mar

Pavel, Mopotism, and Piedi Bianchi all worked a half-mile.

Trainer Doug O'Neill sent out a trio of Breeders' Cup contenders Oct. 27 at Del Mar to get in their final timed workouts for the World Championships Nov. 3-4.

First came Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) hopeful Pavel, who worked in company with Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) runner Mopotism. Although the Reddam Racing runners were clocked for half-mile works—:49 3/5 and :49 4/5, respectively—both continued their works well past the wire.

Pavel, who began about a length off of his stablemate, finished a half-length behind at the wire.

"Visually they both looked really well, and Mopotism—that's the best she's breezed in a while, too," O'Neill said. "I'm very happy with both."

Pavel, a 3-year-old Creative Cause  colt, didn't begin his racing career until July when he won a 6 1/2-furlong dirt sprint at Santa Anita Park. He immediately stepped into top-level competition after that and showed he belongs. He finished fourth in the Jim Dandy Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1), won the Smarty Jones Stakes (G3) by six lengths, and then came in third in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), his first try against older horses.

"He's a very competitive 3-year-old and he's very mature," O'Neill said. "His consistency has been priceless. ... What he's done in the afternoon has been remarkable and we've got to thank Paul and Zillah Reddam for being so patient with him. He was ready to run a couple different times as a 2-year-old, we had to stop on him, and Dr. Ryan Carpenter fixed him up for us."

Later came Nice Guys Stables, Jack Bick, and Jay Oringer's Piedi Bianchi, who ran four furlongs in :49 1/5 in preparation for the 14 Hands Winery Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). The O'Neill-trained, Indiana-bred Overanalyze  filly broke her maiden at Del Mar in August and placed in two grade 1 starts since—the Del Mar Debutante and the Chandelier.

The fastest drill of Friday morning likely came from TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1) contender American Pastime. With jockey Corey Nakatani doing his best to hold him back, the Tapizar  colt ran his half-mile in :45 4/5 for trainer Bob Hess Jr.

"Sometimes he'll go with his head up a touch, but it was down as low as it gets (today)," Hess said. "A lot of energy and a lot of power, but a lot of times he doesn't gallop out well, and I think he galloped out (to five furlongs today) in :58 4/5, which is huge for him.

"I told Corey, ':48 is fine. We're not looking to do a ton.' But he's an athlete. He's fast."