Richard Ravin and Patricia's Hope's Cocked and Loaded, a winner last out in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile 'Win and You're In' Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs, is impressing trainer Larry Rivelli with his progress since his aforementioned Sept. 12 victory. A winner of three of five, including the Tremont Stakes in June, the son of Colonel John concluded his serious training with a 4f work in 49 1/5 at Keeneland on Oct. 23.
Rivelli, who won his second consecutive Arlington title this summer, will be starting his first Breeders' Cup contestant and is doing so for fellow Chicago-based connections. Cocked and Loaded, who also broke his maiden at Keeneland on debut in April before being privately purchased, left Barn 64 on Tuesday morning and galloped on the training track.
“He galloped today for about a mile and a quarter and he's happy,” Rivelli said. “He's doing as well as he could do. He breezed really good a couple weeks ago and then had an easy half-mile (on Oct. 23) to stretch his legs. He came back perfect and is doing perfectly right now. He's fit, ran enough this year and is coming off his first two-turn event, so we are just keeping him out of harm's way now and galloping into the race.
“He has a great mind for this type of event,” Rivelli continued. “A lot of these horses are going to be dealing with very different conditions than when they broke their maiden with a small crowd at the track. He's also an overall unbelievable athlete. He's a small horse, but if you watch him run, his stride is twice the length of his body and he has a quick turn of foot. He really has a huge reach on him for a small horse and he never gets tired. It's amazing.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard in the Tremont, returns to the saddle when the duo breaks from post 5 on Saturday in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
“Irad is the best in the country as far as I'm concerned,” Rivelli continued. “There's no doubt about it that we have the right guy for the job.”
Rivelli said that if the main track is sloppy again on Wednesday, he would repeat the same gallop on the training track.
Conquest Stables, the nom de course for Chicagoans and longtime significant others Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell, incorporate “Conquest” when choosing the monikers for all of their horses. But Conquest Big E is the only one among the more than 100 in their outfit to be named for Semersky.
“Why was this horse the one chosen for the honor? First of all, he's absolutely beautiful and he's a son of Tapit. Secondly, he's got a beautiful way of going, and also, we knew right away that he could really run. We had been saving this name for one we thought was really special, and knock wood, he has been. He's made it to the Breeders' Cup,” said Mark Casse, who is the stable's private trainer and also an advisor at the sales, where Semersky and Newell are not shy when it comes to buying top pedigreed young horses.
Conquest Big E graduated from the maiden ranks at second asking last out while going two turns at Keeneland, so Casse knows he can handle the same 1 1/16 m distance in the Juvenile. Even better, that score was over a sloppy surface.
“If the weather doesn't improve and the track is off on Saturday, we won't have to worry,” the trainer said.
Incidentally, the Casse trained My Conquestadory, who was named for Newell, was the stable's first Grade 1 winner and finished fourth in the 2013 Juvenile Fillies Turf. Early Tuesday morning, Casse opted to train Conquest Big E and Siding Spring with stablemates Tepin (Mile) and Airoforce (Juvenile Turf) at Churchill because he felt the weather was a little better there. After galloping 1 ¼ mile each, the contingent then left Louisville and arrived at the Keeneland barn in the late morning to join Conquest Daddyo (Juvenile Turf) and Catch a Glimpse (Juvenile Fillies Turf.).
Casse said that with even worse weather in Wednesday's forecast, his training plans for tomorrow are undecided. All of the schooling for his quintet of Breeders' Cup starters has been completed.
Trainer Ken McPeek's Rated R Superstar, third in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland last out, got post six in the Juvenile.
“The last time he ran, he drew the one hole which was a little problematic. Calvin Borel had to commit from the inside,” McPeek said. “We were happy to see he drew at least a little bit out. He needs to stalk off others and be able to rate a little bit and I think he can do that from six.”
Big Chief Racing's Saratoga Special winner Exaggerator, who exits a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Futurity at the Juvenile's course and distance on Oct. 3, continues to train well for Keith Desormeaux. Last year at Santa Anita, Desormeaux teamed up with his jockey brother Kent to win the Juvenile with Texas Red. Exaggerator finished his serious work for the Breeders' Cup with a flourish. On Tuesday, the son of Curlin galloped a mile on the main track and stood in the gate.
“He's good right now and very spirited,” Desormeaux said. “Between the Breeders' Futurity and what we've done with him, I have no doubt about his fitness. It's a matter of getting a good trip and getting through when he needs to. It's in the jockey's hands. Trainers are often skeptical about fitness, but in this case I am absolutely not.”
Swipe and Right There, both also owned by Big Chief Racing, are schedule to arrive late Tuesday from Desormeaux's California string and will gallop Wednesday morning.
Greenpointcrusader has been at Keeneland since Oct. 10, one week after he won the “Win and You're In” Champagne at Belmont Park. New York-based Trainer Dominick Schettino, who is saddling his first Breeders' Cup starter, is happy with this colt.
“He shipped well,” Schettino, 49, said. “He acclimated well to the track. He breezed twice over it very well. The way he's training, I feel good.”
The son of Bernardini is a half-brother to Grade 1 winner Justin Phillip and three other graded stakes winners. His New York owners are St. Elias Stable, owned by Vincent Viola, owner of the NHL's Florida Panthers and the husband and wife team of Mary Ellen and Anthony Bonomo, who operate as MeB Racing Stable and Brooklyn Boyz Stables, respectively.
Greenpointcrusader will be stepping into new territory in the $2 million Juvenile – a two-turn race. The Champagne is a one-turn mile at spacious Belmont Park.
“I don't think it will be a problem,” Schettino said. “The way he trains and as intelligent as he is, I don't think it will be an issue. I guess we'll see Saturday. I don't have any concerns. I'm happy.”
Schettino opened his own stable in 1992 and has plenty of success in New York, but, like his colt, is trying something new – the Breeders' Cup.
“It feels good,” he said. “It's something different, but it's exciting. It's a good feeling.”
Both of the youngsters in Doug O'Neill's Juvenile entry, Nyquist and Ralis, got their exercise on Keeneland's training track Tuesday morning, each galloping a mile under regular exercise rider Johnny Garcia.
“They all went easy,” O'Neill said. “We'll just gallop up to the race.” And he kept the door open for continuing the exercise on the training track.
Of the undefeated Nyquist, O'Neill indicated his start from Post 13 “could be a little tricky, but it's an okay run to the turn and Mario (Gutierrez) should be able to get some good position. He usually leaves (the gate) running and is a natural competitor.”
Ralis has trained well in his time at Keeneland, O'Neill said, and is hopeful he will return to the form he showed in winning Saratoga's Hopeful Stakes. “After the Hopeful we took him back to California and then shipped him back to New York for the Champagne and I'm sure that took a lot of him (lost by 15 lengths).We brought him right to Keeneland after that so he's been here awhile.”
Both two year olds are owned by Reddam Racing, the nom de course of J. Paul Reddam, winner of the 2004 Juvenile as a partner in Wilko and the 2006 Turf with Red Rocks.
LNJ Foxwoods' Steve Asmussen-trained Nickname walked the shed row of Barn 60 a day after working a maintenance half-mile in :49 3/5.
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