Pennsylvania Derby (G1) winner Math Wizard breezed five furlongs at Gulfstream Park Saturday morning three days before he is scheduled to ship to Southern California for a start in the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Santa Anita Nov. 2.
The Saffie Joseph-trained son of Algorithms covered the distance in 1:02.32 over a muddy track a week after breezing a half-mile in 46.48 seconds, the fastest of 96 workouts at the distance.
“This was more of a stamina-building breeze. He had a good breeze last week,” Joseph said. “He went got seven-eighths in 1:28 and a mile in 1:41, so it was solid all the way around. He came back well. So far so good.”
Ridden by Edgard Zayas, Math Wizard worked in company with Yodel E. A. Who, a 3-year-old son of Creative Cause who was claimed for $40,000 out of 3 ½-length victory in his most recent start.
“[Yodel E. A. Who]'s a front runner, so, going slow, he was a good target to sit off of,” Joseph said.
Ricardo Santana Jr. is scheduled to ride Math Wizard for the first time in the Classic, replacing Irad Ortiz Jr., who opted to ride Todd Pletcher-trainer Vino Rosso, who finished first but was disqualified to second behind Code of Honor in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1).
Math Wizard will race at his eighth racetrack in his last eight starts.
“He's a good traveler. He's been traveling all year,” Joseph said.
Math Wizard, who had finished third behind eventual Florida Derby (G1) winner and controversially disqualified Kentucky Derby (G1) first-place finisher Maximum Security in a $16,000 maiden claiming race at Gulfstream last December, was claimed by owner John Fenelli for $25,000 out of an 18 ½-length victory Jan. 31. The son of Algorithms went on to finish fourth in the Wood Memorial (G2), second in the Ohio Derby (G3) and third in the Indiana Derby (G2) before breaking through with a Grade 1 win at Parx..
In the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, Math Wizard saved ground while sitting off the pace before making a sweeping move on the turn into the stretch and prevailing over Mr. Money by a neck following a long, steady stretch drive.
On a rainy Saturday morning at Churchill Downs, Breeders' Cup contenders Owendale (five furlongs, :59.40, Classic), Arklow (five furlongs, 1:00.40, Turf) and Mr. Money (four furlongs, :49.60, Dirt Mile) logged their final works prior to shipping to California on Sunday to compete in next weekend's World Championships at Santa Anita.
Rupp Racing's $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (GIII) winner Owendale was the first horse to work Saturday when the track opened at 5:30 a.m. Sporting blinkers, as usual, the 3-year-old colt worked on the outside of stakes winner Pole Setter from the half-mile pole through splits of :11.80, :23.40, :35 and :46.40. The duo galloped out six furlongs in 1:13. The track was sealed in the overnight hours and much of the moisture stayed off the track for the first 10-15 minutes of training.
“I thought it was an awesome work,” Cox said. “I looked down at my watch when they were going and saw :35 and couldn't believe they were going that fast because how easy they were going. I thought getting their works in early today was going to be best because the rain looks like it will continue the rest of the day.”
Shortly after Owendale completed his work, his stablemate, Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Peter Conway's recent $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (GI) winner Arklow breezed on the outside of multiple stakes winner Pioneer Spirit through splits of :12, :23.40 and :47.60. Arklow galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80.
Fifteen minutes later, Allied Racing Stable's Mr. Money worked an easy half-mile with jockey Gabriel Saez aboard. The multiple Grade III winner splashed through opening fractions of :12.60 and :24.60 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.80.
“We thought about a few options of different races in the Breeders' Cup, even the Classic, but we always thought the Dirt Mile would be the best race for him,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We know he can get up to 1 1/8 miles but didn't want to have an unknown entering the race.”
Mr. Money, who finished fourth in last year's $2 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is the only horse from that field to compete at the 2019 Breeders' Cup.
All three horses ship to California on Sunday.
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