An update on the contenders for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (post time 7:30 pm Friday, November 5th):
The Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic contender Acoma walked the shedrow Monday after working Sunday in preparation for the upcoming 1 1/8m event. Trainer David Carroll said the 5yo daughter of Empire Maker came out of that effort (4f in 50 flat) under jockey Robby Albarado very well. Acoma galloped out 5f in 1:04.
“We're very pleased with the work, she had a good week of training, and we weren't looking for anything specific, just letting her stretch her legs,” Carroll remarked. “I was happy with how she came out of it, just want to keep her energy level up and not ask her to do too much.”
Acoma gave Carroll his first Grade 1 win as a trainer when she took Keeneland's Oct. 10 Spinster Stakes in what was supposed to be the final race of her career. Owners Helen Alexander and Helen Groves decided to run her in the Ladies' Classic, which will be Carroll's second time saddling a Breeders' Cup starter.
“I would forgive anybody for forgetting the first one,” Carroll joked. “It was 1994, my first year of training, I had American Chance in the Sprint. Pat Day rode him and Cherokee Run won the race.”
American Chance finished eighth. Now the trainer is hoping Acoma will make this edition a more memorable one.
“It feels great to be back,” he said. “Makes you wonder why it took so long.”
Ladies' Classic contender Acting Happy breezed 4f in 49 over the Churchill Downs main track Monday morning.
“With the report I got from Kentucky, it's all good, babe,” said trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. from his base at Aqueduct. “I think that we're live. It's not the toughest Ladies' Classic I've seen and that's why we went in.”
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said his Kentucky Oaks winner Blind Luck was doing well following her arrival at Churchill Down, jogging on the track Monday morning. The daughter of Pollard's Vision had her last workout at Hollywood Park on Oct. 30, going 5f in 1:00 flat and will gallop up to the Ladies' Classic.
Hollendorfer will be at the track Tuesday morning and plans to take Blind Luck, along with Breeders' Cup starters Dakota Phone and Indian Gracey, to the track to gallop as soon as it opens.
Havre de Grace
Ladies' Classic contender Havre de Grace arrived in Louisville Monday morning on a Tex Sutton charter flight from Baltimore and settled in nicely in trainer Tony Dutrow's barn on the Churchill Downs backside.
“The trip was uneventful,” said Dutrow, who will send out Rightly So in the Filly & Mare Sprint and Joyful Victory in the Juvenile Fillies. “All three shipped just fine and are doing well.”
Jeremy Rose, who rode Havre de Grace when she won the Fitz Dixon Cotillion Stakes at Philadelphia Park in her last start and has been aboard in all but one of her seven career starts, will be back in the irons on Friday.
The 3yo daughter of 2005 Breeders' Cup Classic winner and Horse of the Year Saint Liam will not have a local workout in preparation for the race.
“She had her final workout last Saturday (Oct. 30) at Delaware Park,” Dutrow said. “She went (four furlongs) in forty-eight and two. She's good.”
It's Tea Time
Lake Placid Handicap winner It's Tea Time, a 3yo Dynaformer filly trained by Rusty Arnold, galloped 1 1/2m Monday morning at Keeneland before being vanned to Churchill Downs. She jogged 4f on Sunday, and will gallop the rest of the week leading up to the Ladies' Classic, according to Arnold's assistant Jack Bohannon.
It's Tea Time is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Spinster Stakes at Keeneland under Julien Leparoux, her rider for the last three races who will again be aboard for the Ladies' Classic. She is to school in the paddock prior to the fourth race on Wednesday.
Life At Ten/Malibu Prayer
One of trainer Todd Pletcher's two Ladies' Classic entrants by the same sire (Malibu Moon), recent Beldame winner Life At Ten concluded her heavy training on Saturday with a 4f breeze in 48 1/5. It was the fifth-best move of 36 on the worktab.
“She came out of it in good order,” Pletcher said of the filly who has won five of six starts as a 5yo this season. Her only defeat came in the Personal Ensign at Saratoga two starts ago at the longer 1 1/4m distance. The Ladies' Classic is 1 1/8m on the dirt.
Owned by Candy DeBartolo, Life At Ten is 3-for-3 at nine furlongs. John Velazquez gets the mount.
The 4yo filly Malibu Prayer was part of Pletcher's Saturday workout crew, breezing 4f in 49 flat in preparation for her first start since finishing second in the Molly Pitcher at Monmouth on Aug. 29.
“She worked well and came out in good order,” Pletcher said of the Edward P. Evans-owned filly, who wired the field in Saratoga 's Ruffian Handicap two starts back. “She just galloped today.”
Malibu Prayer, who has been on the board in 12 of 13 career starts, will have the riding services of Garrett Gomez.
The 4yo daughter of Milwaukee Brew will make her second trip to Kentucky in less than a month to tackle some of the finest fillies and mares in the world in Friday's Ladies' Classic. She will board a van early Tuesday morning at her home base of Woodbine Race Course and head south to Churchill Downs.
“She's doing great,” trainer Scott H. Fairlie said Monday morning at Woodbine. “It's a very competitive race, but she fits there.”
The race provides Milwaukee Appeal an opportunity to turn the tables on Acoma, who edged the Canadian-bred by a half-length in winning Keeneland's Spinster Stakes Oct. 10.
Milwaukee Appeal will have the riding services of Southern California-based Rafael Bejarano. The rider is no stranger to Churchill Downs, having been a leading rider at the Louisville track several times before moving his tack west.
Persistently, a 4yo daughter of Smoke Glacken, was walked Monday morning after arriving at Churchill Downs from her Belmont Park base on Sunday.
“Everything went well and everybody's happy,” said exercise rider Jennifer Patterson, who is tending to the Ladies' Classic hopeful in the absence of trainer Shug McGaughey, who is scheduled to arrive in Louisville on Wednesday.
Persistently, who notched a 21-1 upset of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Personal Ensign stakes at Saratoga two starts back, will be introduced to the Churchill surface Tuesday morning.
Seeking the Title
Charles Fipke's Seeking the Gold filly Seeking the Title jogged 1m over Churchill Downs track on Monday, her first trip back since working 4f in 50 1/5 on Saturday.
“She's doing good,” said trainer Dallas Stewart, who upset the 2001 Distaff (now Ladies' Classic) with Unbridled Elaine. “She's not over-raced this year. She had a good breeze the other day, so we're all set. Her last race (4th in the Indiana Oaks) was over a muddy track and she just never got to make up ground.”
Stewart said that jockey Calvin Borel, aboard Seeking the Title when she won the Iowa Oaks in June, but not for her last three starts, will have the mount on Friday.
“There's no better rider than Calvin on this track when he has the right horse,” Stewart said. “We'll just try and make sure he has the horse.”
Regular rider Kent Desormeaux was aboard Unrivaled Belle when the 4yo filly went to the track at about 8:45 a.m. Monday for a final 4f breeze in 49 2/5, the 17th of 34 at the distance on the main track.
Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who had pre-entered her in two Cup races, said he has made a decision to run in the $2 million Ladies' Classic.
“We have an option, but I think the option we're going to take is the Classic,” Mott said. “I think she'd be very competitive in the Filly & Mare Sprint going seven-eighths. She won going two turns here in the spring. I guess that's really where the big reward is (Ladies' Classic).”
Owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vegso, Unrivaled Belle upset Rachel Alexandra in the La Troienne at Churchill Downs in April. She has since run second in three consecutive races.
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