Casino Drive came out of his three- quarterlength victory at Santa Anita Oct. 12 in good order and is on course for the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) Oct. 25.
Unbeaten in three career starts after his win under Victor Espinoza in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race, The 3-year-old is on schedule for the 1 1/4-mile Classic.
“My horse is well,” said Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for Casino Drive’s owner, Hidetoshi Yamamoto, from his Hollywood Park headquarters Oct. 13. “Everything is OK with him.
“Casino Drive will have one more slow work at Hollywood, and I hope Victor will ride him in the Classic, although I haven’t talked to him about it yet.”
Espinoza indicated after the Oct. 12 race that he’d like the mount in the Classic.
“At the eighth pole, I wanted to see how much horse I had,” he said. “I had plenty, believe me. I only tapped him once. It’s fun when you ride a good horse like him, and I’m excited about riding him in the Classic.”
On a more sober note, Tada said, “What happened to Big Brown could happen to us tomorrow. It happened to us the morning of the Belmont.” A stone bruise in Casino Drive's left hind foot caused him to miss the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 7.
Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and Preakness Stakes, both grade I, winner Big Brown “grabbed his hoof in some kind of way . . . and will not run in the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Rick Dutrow said in a New York Racing Association press release following Big Brown’s six-furlong workout Monday morning at Aqueduct.