Narrow Window of Opportunity Leads to Busy Morning at Belmont Park

Narrow Window of Opportunity Leads to Busy Morning at Belmont Park
Photo: Barbara D. Livingston
Ashado, breezed at Belmont Park Monday.
With a narrow window of opportunity between the rain that fell over the weekend and a forecast for another deluge within the next 24 hours, trainers of nearly two dozen horses pre-entered in the Oct. 29 Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships put their charges through their final paces at Belmont Park Monday.

There was a large volume of horses, both Breeders' Cup contenders and others, who worked Monday, at times overwhelming the Belmont Park team of clockers.

Among the horses breezing over the main track rated fast were:
--Adieu (Alberto VO5 Juvenile Fillies), five furlongs, 1:02
--Ashado (Emirates Airline Distaff), five furlongs, 1:00 2/5
--Borrego (Classic – Powered by Dodge), five furlongs, 1:02 2/5
--Dr. Pleasure (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), five furlongs, 1:00 2/5
--Flower Alley (Classic – Powered by Dodge), five furlongs, :58 4/5
--Gygistar (TVG Sprint), four furlongs, :47 1/5
--Jealous Profit (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), four furlongs, :48 2/5
--Lion Tamer (TVG Sprint), four furlongs, :49
--Lord of the Game (Classic - Powered by Dodge), four furlongs, :46
--Nothing But Fun (Emirates Airline Distaff), five furlongs, :59 4/5
--Society Selection (Emirates Airline Distaff), seven furlongs, 1:26
--Stellar Jayne (Emirates Airline Distaff), five furlongs, 1:01 1/5
--Stevie Wonderboy (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), four furlongs, :46
--Sun King (Classic- Powered by Dodge), five furlongs, 1:00
--Superfly (Bessemer Trust Juvenile), five furlongs, :59 4/5
--Sweet Symphony (Emirates Airline Distaff), five furlongs, 1:00 2/5
--Wildcat Heir (TVG Sprint), four furlongs, :46

Working over the yielding turf course were:
--Leroidesanimaux (NetJets Mile), four furlongs, :50 4/5
--Riskaverse (Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf), five furlongs, 1:03
--Shakespeare (John Deere Turf), five furlongs, 1:03 4/5
--Wend (Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf), five furlongs, 1:03 2/5.
--Wonder Again (Emirates Airline Filly & Mare Turf), four furlongs, :48 3/5

Trainer Beau Greely caught Borrego a little quicker than the clockers but said he was more interested in the way the major contender for the Classic went than the time. "He just went nice and easy," Greely said. "If he's happy I'm happy," he added while the 4-year-old El Prado colt was being bathed. Andy Durnin was up for the work, which came right after the renovation break.

Borrego had been in Barn 17 with the John Hertler horses since arriving in New York from California nearly five weeks ago but that barn was cleared out to make room for other Breeders' Cup horses shipping in late. Greely and Borrego moved with the Hertler horses to Barn 33.

"He had been around the 20 horses in that barn and the Hertler crew has been great to us," he said. "This way he stays around the same horses and we stay around the same people."

Jockey Jerry Bailey was aboard Shakespeare when he worked on the turf. The Theatrical colt is five-for-five but all five of his starts have come on firm turf. The turf for Breeders' Cup day will certainly not be soft.

There has been record rainfall in New York this month and another rainstorm is expected Monday night and Tuesday morning.

"He worked very well over the course," Bailey said. "We needed to see how he would handle the soft turf and he handled it fine.

"The turf was good but we were on the best part. If we get more rain as expected tonight, it will certainly be soft or yielding on Breeders' Cup day."

"This was a very important work," trainer Bill Mott said. "He looked like he handled it well and the jockey said he handled it."

Shakespeare won his first four starts rather easily but then was tested in the Turf Classic (gr. IT), which also was his first race at 12 furlongs, the distance he will run Saturday. "The good thing is now you know he can handle a fight but then you also wonder if that fight took too much out of him."

But, Mott added, "he was bucking and kicking coming off the track this morning."

Flower Alley breezed in the company of a stablemate, starting at the three-eighths pole, and later joined up with two other horses working, so all four went down the stretch in unison.

"I think there was something like $250 million worth of horses all out there working," trainer Todd Pletcher said of the morning activity. "We're all backed up trying to get in before the weather tomorrow. He needs to step up and prove himself somewhat."

The Brazilian flash Leroidesanimaux, winner of eight straight races got his final major exercise for Saturday's Mile with a four-panel grass move in company with stakes-winning Ay Caramba that the Belmont clockers timed in 50 4/5 on yielding ground.

"I put the other horse with him because he ("Leroy") can get a little lazy without something else nearby," Frankel said as he watched his duo head to their late-morning work. "He really doesn't need much. He's plenty fit."

As the likely Mile favorite danced and proved a handful heading back toward Frankel's barn, Velazquez cracked a big smile and said: "Wild, man."

Leroidesanimaux has six consecutive graded stakes wins. "His last race (a near-eight-length score in the Atto Mile at Woodbine on Sept. 18 was the best race he's run yet," noted Frankel.

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