Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart continued to train up to the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile next month at Keeneland, breezing four furlongs in 48.10 seconds Sunday at Belmont Park.
Trainer Brian Lynch said the 7-year-old son of English Channel has continued to look good in recording his fourth work at Belmont since running sixth in the Grade 1 Fourstardave Handicap on softer ground August 11 at Saratoga.
“Since the Fourstardave, he's been training well. He's a horse who just hates the soft turf, so that's his excuse there. He's trained good since and worked a lovely minute there last week and came back and worked nice today. He's on schedule.”
Before his disappointing effort at the Spa, Heart to Heart was coming off three stellar efforts in Grade 1 races, running second by a neck to Hunt in the Shoemaker Mile on May 28 at Santa Anita and posting back-to-back wins in the Gulfstream Park Turf on February 10 and the Maker's 46 Mile on April 13 at Keeneland.
Joyful Heart also breezed four furlongs on the inner turf in 49.49 seconds Sunday. The 2-year-old Kitten's Joy colt broke his maiden at second asking on July 8 at Belmont and stepped up to stakes competition with a third-place finish in the Grade 3 With Anticipation on August 29 at the Spa.
Lynch said the Amerman Racing homebred could be a possibility for the Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim on September 29 but could instead run in the $150,000 Futurity on October 7, a Breeders' Cup qualifier to the Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 2.
“We're torn between the Pilgrim or the Futurity, and I think I'm leaning towards the Futurity,” Lynch said. “He's doing really good and worked well this morning.”
Emmy Performance continued to move closer to a possible stakes debut, running third in an allowance optional claimer on September 20 at Belmont. Her second on-the-board finish in five career starts had Lynch thinking of possible next stops. The Point of Entry filly is a half-sister to stablemate Oscar Performance, recent winner of the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, as well as multiple graded stakes winner Oscar Nominated.
“She had a bit of a troubled trip there [where] she broke from the inside and got shuffled back to last. She had a big, wide move, but I thought she ran really well,” Lynch said. “We'd love to get her a stakes win or stakes-placed with that pedigree, that'd be very valuable. There might be something at Keeneland for her. But I'd like to win an allowance race with her before I get too creative.”
Lynch said another half-sibling to Oscar Performance, Award Winner, a 2-year-old Ghostzapper colt, is readying for his debut. Since starting his training in July at Belmont, Award Winner has put in nine official breezes, including a five-furlong work in 1:02.21 Friday on Belmont's training track.
“He's doing well and we have very high hopes for him. Hopefully he'll start [before the meet ends] at Belmont,” Lynch said.
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