Code of Honor – Given the chance, Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey described how he would like the $6 million Longines Breeders' Cup Classic to unfold for Code of Honor, William Farish's homebred colt.
“I'd like to see a decent pace, just get in a good position – we'll be back – and leaving the three-eighths pole start make our move and see what happens.”
Code of Honor was second in the Kentucky Derby and has subsequently won the Dwyer, the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
Twelve 3yos have won the Classic. The most recent was Arrogate in 2016.
Code of Honor shipped from Belmont Park Monday and has been stabled in Barn 44 in the Santa Anita stable area.
“He galloped this morning, walked home through the paddock and cooled out. We've done all we can do until tomorrow afternoon,” McGaughey said.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez will ride Code of Honor from the outside post position in the field of 11.
Elate/Yoshida (Bill Mott) – Elate and stablemate Yoshida had routine gallops the day before the Classic with Elate coming on during the final moment of the shortened training hours.
Elliott Walden, president and CEO of WinStar Farm, which co-owns and will stand Yoshida at stud, was on hand to take in the son of Heart's Cry before he makes his final career start.
“I'm excited about tomorrow and I'm also excited about his next chapter,” Walden said. “He's deserved it and earned it. He's a horse who started at 2 and has run to the end of his 5-year-old year and he's extremely versatile. With the way things are going and with turf racing on the rise and obviously dirt racing is what it is in America, he's exciting because he can do both. And I think he'll give breeders that opportunity.”
Higher Power – The TVG Pacific Classic winner came onto the track just before 5 a.m. and galloped under exercise rider David Pineda.
Math Wizard – Math Wizard galloped once around the Santa Anita racetrack Friday morning under assistant trainer Sabine Langvad in preparation for a start in Saturday's Classic.
Ricardo Santana Jr. will ride the Pennsylvania Derby winner for the first time in the Classic, in which the 4yo son of Algorithms will break from post one.
“I think he'll be in mid-pack early, between sixth to eighth. Hopefully, he'll be traveling well and he has horse to have him where he needs to be,” trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. said. “I'd like to see a lively pace, but it's funny, because there wasn't much pace in Pennsylvania and he still closed into it.”
Joseph said Math Wizard will walk Saturday morning.
Math Wizard is owned by John Fanelli, Khalid Mischref, Cash Is King LLC, LC Racing LLC, Collarmele Vitelli Racing Stables LLC, Ioannis Zoumas and Bassett Stables.
McKinzie – Morning-line favorite McKinzie galloped one mile for exercise rider Humberto Gomez during the early morning training hours at Santa Anita Park.
McKinzie finished second at 1-9 in his most recent start, the Awesome Again on Sept. 28 at Santa Anita. Four of the past 10 winners of the richest Breeders' Cup races lost their previous start: Blame (2010), Drosselmeyer (2011), Fort Larned (2012), American Pharoah (2015).
The 4-year-old Street Sense colt drew post eight in the field of 11 and is the 3-1 morning-line favorite. He will be ridden by new jockey Joel Rosario. Trainer Bob Baffert owns a Classic-record three wins and has an overall record of 3-3-2 with a record 22 starters in the race.
Mongolian Groom – Trainer Enebish Ganbat said that the upset winner of the Awesome Again is ready for the Classic.
The Hightail gelding, winner of the Awesome Again at odds of 25-1 on Sept. 28, went to the track early Friday morning for his daily exercise.
“At 6:25 he jogged a mile and I very much liked it,” Ganbat said. “He's like a monster today.”
Ganbat chuckled after he delivered the description of the Mongolian Stable runner, but the horse has been a surprising success story. Purchased for $12,000 as a 2yo in training in 2018, he has three graded-stakes placings in addition to his win in the Grade I Awesome Again and has earned $579,141.
In the Awesome Again he led from gate to wire, easily holding off 1-9 favorite McKinzie, who he will meet again in the Classic.
Ganbat would not describe how he would like the Classic to develop.
“Mongolian people do not predict the race before the race. It's bad luck,” he said. “We'll see what happens tomorrow. We will try our best.”
Mongolian Stable owner Ganbaatar Dagvadorj is in town for the Breeders' Cup. Ganbat predicted that the stable's connections will be wearing the traditional clothing they wore when Mongolian Saturday won the 2015 Turf Sprint.
Owendale – Rupp Racing's Owendale went to the track shortly before 6 a.m. and galloped 1 3/8m.
“He's doing great,” trainer Brad Cox said.
One year ago, Cox won his first Breeders' Cup race when the heavily favored Monomoy Girl, the Kentucky Oaks winner, captured the Distaff. She was one of four runners Cox saddled last year and this year, he has five horses. In addition to Owendale, he will saddle Covfefe, the morning-line favorite for the Filly & Mare Sprint, Arklow in the Turf, British Idiom in the Juvenile Fillies and Andesite in the Juvenile Turf.
“I don't feel any more pressure (this year),” Cox said. “I don't really know how it compares to last year. To have five runners this year means a lot. Last year, I thought 'wow' four horses in the Breeders' Cup. You hope it happens every year, but you just never know. If you had asked me before the start of the year, I would have said probably not. Things developed as the year went on. I think the Breeders' Cup is a lot like the Super Bowl. You have expectations and you dream a little bit, but it's a long road to get to that point. A lot of things have to unfold and go your way. It just means a lot to be here.”
Seeking the Soul – Charles Fipke's Seeking the Soul went to the track before 6 a.m. and had the same strong 1 1/2 m galloped he's had all week. Trainer Dallas Stewart remains quietly confident in his Stephen Foster Handicap winner.
Vino Rosso – Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable's Vino Rosso galloped 1 1/2 miles at Santa Anita Friday morning while preparing for Saturday's Classic.
Trainer Todd Pletcher expects the 4-year-old son of Curlin to be forwardly placed during the early running of the Classic but is counting on jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. to give his Gold Cup at Santa Anita winner his best shot at prevailing over his 10 rivals.
“You can kind of analyze this thing to death. You don't know what your opponents' strategies are, but we feel like we have a favorable post,” said Pletcher, whose trainee will break from post 10. “The most important thing is getting him into a comfortable rhythm. Where he's going to be positioned will be dependent on what the pace scenario is.”
War of Will – The son of War Front was one of the last horses on the track during abbreviated training hours Friday, jogging under Shane Tripp one day out from his scheduled run in the Classic, where he will attempt to earn his fourth graded-stakes victory of the year.
War of Will has had an up and down sophomore campaign, but trainer Mark Casse feels the rest of Classic field also brings their share of question marks to the gate Saturday.
“It's a weird Classic. There is not a lot of consistency in it and we would fall into that category,” Casse said. “I think it's going to be who comes with the big race.”
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