Following Sunday's deluge of Todd Pletcher works, and a pair by Kiaran McLaughlin's two stars, there still was enough activity at Belmont Park on a glorious fall morning Oct. 30 to keep one entertained. Pletcher sent out three more on the training track, while Premium Tap and Attila's Storm worked a half on the main track.
Premium Tap, winner of the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), came out immediately after the renovation break and drilled a half-mile in :47 2/5, galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 in what was an excellent sharpener for the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I).
With jockey Edgar Prado aboard, the son of Pleasant Tap
moved along at a good clip on the turn, and then was taken some five or six paths off the rail turning for home. The colt change leads on cue and was stretching out beautifully down the stretch with his ears back and Prado letting him do it all on his own. He continued to motor past the wire, "galloping" out another eighth in :12 3/5. It was the third fastest of 24 works at the distance.
"That's why I didn't work him any farther, trainer John Kimmel said. "He's sharp, and I knew he was going go pretty good. We usually keep him off the fence like that. Yesterday, I galloped him, just because I knew if I jogged him another day he'd be even sharper. He hadn't done anything in eight days. He's a pretty fit horse; I don't think fitness will be an issue for him. I think he's going to put himself in a good tactical position, and he shakes this work pretty well, he'll have a day off tomorrow, jog and get on a plane on Wednesday, and then gallop Thursday, Friday, and Saturday and be ready to go."
Over at the training track, the scene of so much activity yesterday, Pletcher had Champagne (gr. I) winner Scat Daddy out for a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 1/5.
Pletcher said Scat Daddy had the proverbial "maintenance work" for the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).
"We're just trying to keep him where he is," Pletcher said. "I'm hoping he can overcome running back in three weeks. He's a good energy level horse who feels good, acts good, and seems sharp, but, like always, I'd rather have more time. In a perfect world, we'd have another week. But I wanted to keep him and Circular Quay separated, and that was the only way to do it. He's a grade I winner now, and won a stallion's race, so it's good in that regard. Now, they're both grade I winners.
"I think (Scat Daddy) is going to love going two turns; he's dying for it. And he's educated enough, and has been behind horses enough. He's had enough seasoning that I'm not concerned about a big field."
Awesome Ashley, who is on the also-eligible list for the Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), worked a half in :47 1/5. If she doesn't get in the race, she will remain home on Wednesday and point for the Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II).
"I'm perplexed what happened to her in the (grade I) Frizette (in which she finished fourth)," Pletcher said. "Obviously, she's a talented filly, but she didn't fire that day, and it doesn't seem as if anybody else in that race did either."
Pletcher's other Breeders' Cup horse working, Friendly Island, breezed a half in :49 2/5 for the TVG Sprint (gr. I).
Pletcher said a rider decision regarding the Classic will likely be made Tuesday. John Velazquez has first call on either Lawyer Ron or Flower Alley. Pletcher also said Olivier Peslier will ride Go Deputy in the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT).
Pletcher said he has no idea why Flower Alley ran so poorly at Saratoga this year. "I do think the track this year at Saratoga was different than it was last year; certainly a more demanding, tiring type surface," he said.
Pletcher's Breeders' Cup horses are scheduled to depart Belmont at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday following an earlier flight that will bring the horses trained by Tom Albertrani, McLaughlin, Shug McGaughey, Allen Jerkens, and Rich Schosberg.
Also working on the main track Monday was Sprint candidate Attila's Storm, third in the Vosburgh, who worked a half in :48 4/5 for Schosberg.