Rusty Arnold, seeking his first Breeders' Cup victory in a career spanning more than 40 years, sent out his two $1 million Turf Sprint contenders for timed workouts Sunday at Keeneland, with Totally Boss working on dirt about 6:15 in the morning and Leinster on turf at 10 a.m.
Totally Boss earned his entry into the Turf Sprint by winning Kentucky Downs' $700,000, Grade 3 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint, the first Breeders' Cup Challenge Series “Win and You're In” event for the all-grass track in Franklin. Totally Boss earned his way into the RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint by taking Ellis Park's $100,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint for his first stakes victory. He's a nose from being unbeaten in five starts this year.
Off a win in Saratoga's Grade 3 Troy Stakes, Leinster also ran in the RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint, finishing third. Leinster followed that with a close second in Keeneland's Grade 2 Woodford won by the 3-year-old Stubbins, who had been second in Kentucky Downs' Grade 3 Franklin-Simpson Stakes and also will run in the Breeders' Cup.
Both horses have beaten some of the country's top turf sprinters, including two-time Breeders' Cup winner Stormy Liberal. Asked his confidence level going into the Nov. 2 race at Santa Anita, Arnold said, “I'm confident that they're getting there good. It's a little different race. It's five-eighths of a mile. Neither horse has raced five-eighths; they've both gone farther. That concerns me somewhat, but I think they're both quick enough to get in it.”
Totally Boss worked a half-mile Sunday in 47 4/5 seconds and was timed galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 4/5.
“He went really well,” Arnold said. “He's a better work horse on the dirt. We've always kept him on the dirt. I think he's only worked on the turf one time. He traveled well, galloped out well. Everything has been smoothed sailing so far.”
After every race, Totally Boss returns to owner Jim and Susan Hill's Margaux Farm near Midway, Ky.
“Mr. Hill likes to do that, and it works great for this horse,” Arnold said. “He sent him into me late this year. I only had the horse like two weeks before he made his first start. He won. We sent him back home, he came back happy. He turns him out. He gets to act like a horse. I think it's really worked for him. The weight stays on him good. They can do it. They have a racetrack to do it on. He doesn't just go home and lay in a paddock. He comes back usually three weeks before he runs, and with this horse it's worked great.”
Leinster worked a half-mile over turf rated good in 52 4/5 seconds, with horses having to go around the pylon cones positioned well off the rail.
“We just wanted him to travel well,” Arnold said. “He's raced all year; he's dead fit. The turf course was softer than I thought; the 'dogs' were on the outside fence. I wasn't worried about the time.”
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