by Karen Johnson
Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Rags to Riches, with Angel Cordero Jr. aboard, took to the Belmont Park main track at daybreak Sept. 8 to work in preparation for a start in the Sept. 15 Gazelle Handicap (gr. I).
Rags to Riches, one of 14 Todd Pletcher trainees to work on the Belmont main track, covered six furlongs in 1:14 4/5 and galloped out seven furlongs in 1:27 3/5 on the fast track. Pletcher said he doesn’t normally work the filly six furlongs but believed it was necessary because she hasn’t run since June 9 and missed some training time during the summer.
“It has been a little while since she has run, and she is going a mile-and-an-eighth (in the Gazelle), so I wanted to cover my bases,” Pletcher said after the work. “I thought she went well; she’s fit and ready.”
The Gazelle will be Rags to Riches’ final start before the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Monmouth Park Oct. 26-27. Pletcher said it’s more likely Rags to Riches would run in the $2-million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) Oct. 27 rather than the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) against males the same day.
“Right now, the Distaff is more likely,” Pletcher said. “We will leave a little window open just in case. We probably wouldn’t finalize any decision until the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup. It would depend on how she ran in the Gazelle and who all shows up in the Classic.”
Another Pletcher star who worked Sept. 8 \was Haskell Invitational (gr. I) winner Any Given Saturday. On the track before Rags to Riches, Any Given Saturday worked five furlongs in a sharp :59 4/5. His next start will come in the Sept. 22 Brooklyn Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) at Belmont.
“He’s very business-like and focused in his breezes,” Pletcher said. “He enjoys his work.”
The Pletcher-trained Octave, working toward a start in the Sept. 22 Fitz Dixon Cotillion Handicap (gr. II) at Philadelphia Park Casino & Racetrack, covered five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. Octave, a horse for the course at Belmont, won the Mother Goose (gr. I) and Coaching Club American Oaks (g.I) earlier in the summer and finished a troubled third in her last start, the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga.
The Green Monkey, purchased for a record $16 million last year at Fasig-Tipton’s Calder sale, worked in company from the starting gate with maiden Gruffles. The horses finished together with a final time of :47 for the half-mile. Pletcher indicated The Green Monkey would make his much-anticipated first start very soon.
Other Pletcher horses on the Sept. 8 worktab included Fairbanks (five furlongs in 1:02); The Roundhouse and The Leopard, who worked in company and finished together (five furlongs in 1:01); and Indian Vale (:51 3/5 for a half-mile).
Fairbanks, fourth in the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga in his last start, will run in the Sept. 22 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs. The Roundhouse, runner-up in the Saratoga Special (gr. II), is being targeted for the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park Oct. 6 or the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (gr. I) at Keeneland the same day.
The Leopard, a maiden winner at Saratoga, will run in the Futurity Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Sept. 15. Indian Vale, third in the Personal Ensign (g. I) at Saratoga, will run next in the Sept. 30 Beldame (gr. I) at Belmont.
In other works at Belmont Sept. 8, Godolphin-owned Discreet Cat covered five furlongs in :59 4/5. Discreet Cat hasn’t run since finishing last in the $6-million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March. He is being targeted for the Sept. 30 Vosburgh Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont.
Big Truck, an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga for trainer Barclay Tagg, worked five furlongs in 1:00. He is nominated to Belmont’s Futurity.