Dan Blacker is looking forward to this year's Breeders' Cup races more than most horsemen. It will mark the first time the 37-year-old trainer born in Oxford, England, competes in the championship event, having upstart Hit the Road primed for the $1 million Juvenile Turf at one mile on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
Blacker studied at the University of Edinburgh before coming to the U.S. where he was assistant to Richard Mandella from 2007 to 2009, working with Grade I winners The Tin Man, Into Mischief and Dixie Chatter, among others.
“Hit the Road came out of his win in the Zuma Beach (Oct. 6) as good as he went in,” Blacker said of the bay son of More Than Ready, who was making only his third start. “His weight is good, but his biggest asset, along with his talent, is his mind. He's got the mind of an older horse.
“He's very smart, very laid back, and when you have a horse like that, they just do what they need to do, don't expend any more energy than they have to.
“He looks really good right now, and missing a start at Del Mar because he got sick was beneficial in his winning the Zuma Beach and setting up for the Breeders' Cup.
“Maybe that was a blessing in disguise, because he won the Zuma Beach off what might be considered a layoff (a span of more than two months), so he should be peaking for the Breeders' Cup. I'm feeling really good about having a winning race over the course.
“He hasn't even been tested over the turf, having won both his races so easily.”
Hit the Road, owned by D K Racing, LLC, Radley Equine, Inc., Taste of Victory Stables and Rick Gold, broke his maiden going a mile on turf at Del Mar by a length and a quarter, rallying from eighth in a field of 10, then came back to take the Zuma Beach by 2 ¼ lengths.
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