The blitz towards the Breeders' Cup continued at mach speed Sunday morning at
Santa Anita as several major players worked for their engagements in the World
Championship events at The Great Race Place on November 2-3, headed by Breeders'
Cup Classic favorite Game on Dude.
In a move that did not come unexpectedly, Godolphin announced Sunday that
Frankie Dettori will no longer serve as a retained rider for the stable. The
popular Italian, who had been Godolphin's premier rider for 18 years, will now
become a highly sought-after freelancer. On that basis, Dettori will continue to
accept mounts for Sheikh Mohammed's flagship operation.
The veteran five-year-old mare Upperline made her finale for the Mike Stidham
barn in Sunday's $125,000
Stakes, and seized the moment to make Keeneland history as well. The winner
of the Grade 3 Bewitch here in April, Upperline became the first to sweep both
of the track's 1 1/2-mile turf stakes for distaffers in the same season.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert had several Breeders' Cup World Championship contenders on the track Oct. 21 at Santa Anita Park including Game On Dude, early favorite for the $5 million Classic (gr. I).
Rider Tim Thornton suffered a broken collarbone and facial fractures when he was dislodged after his mount clipped heels with another horse near the quarter mile pole in the fourth race at Hawthorne Race Course Oct. 21.
In the final start of her career, multiple graded stakes winner Upperline outfought Ciao Bella in the homestretch to prevail in the $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes Oct. 21 on the Keeneland turf.
Trainer Chad Brown sent out undefeated Awesome Feather on Sunday morning for
her penultimate work prior to an expected start in the 1 1/8-mile Breeders' Cup
Ladies Classic. The four-year-old Awesome of Course filly was caught by NYRA
clockers in 1:12 1/5 for six furlongs over Belmont Park's fast main track, the
only work at the distance.
Trainer Gary Sciacca expressed excitement Sunday morning about what the
future might have in store for Saratoga Snacks, a three-year-old who on Saturday
finished second, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by five-year-old Lunar Victory, in the
After his Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint hopeful, Great Attack, breezed five
furlongs in 1:02 3/5 over the good Keeneland turf course on Thursday, trainer
Wesley Ward was asked about the performance. The horseman said he was pleased
and that he "wanted to talk to his Melbourne Cup-winning rider."
Gold Ship, sent off heavy favorite with the absence of archrival Deep
Brillante, lived up to expectations with his second classic victory in Sunday's
Grade 1 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St Leger) at Kyoto. Trained by Naosuke Sugai and
ridden by Hiroyuki Uchida, the gray son of Stay Gold covered about 1 7/8 miles
on firm turf in 3:02.9, just missing the stakes record of 3:02.7 established by
Song of Wind in 2006.
Under jockey Paco Lopez, Bern Identity sat behind the early leaders before
moving up four wide around the second turn. When Lopez gave him his cue he
responded well by opening up a clear lead in the stretch and cruising home in
front by three lengths while never feeling the whip. Finishing another four
lengths behind Mylute in third was Mr. Bandini's Band. Bern Identity covered the
distance over a fast track in 1:39 2/5.
Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Street Sense will stand the 2013 season at Darley's farm in Japan, and Desert Party, a $2.1 million auction 2-year-old and a multiple stakes winner, will stand at Sequel Stallions in New York.
Gold Ship solidified his credentials as Japan's top 3-year-old on Oct. 21 at Kyoto when he completed a last-to-first rally in the Kikuka Sho (Jpn-I Japanese St. Leger), the final jewel in Japan's Triple Crown.
Editor's Note: This article is part of TheHorse.com's ongoing coverage of topics presented at the 2012 American Association of Equine Practitioners' Focus on Ophthalmology conference, held Sept. 6-8 in Raleigh, N.C.