Trainer Brian Lynch put his two Breeders' Cup grass hopefuls through half-mile works Sunday morning over a firm Keeneland turf course.
Working first with jockey Julien Leparoux aboard was Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart, who covered the distance in :49.20 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02.20. Next up was Amerman Racing's three-time Grade 1 winner Oscar Performance, who covered a half-mile in :51.40 and galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:03.80 under jockey Jose Ortiz.
Both runners are scheduled to fly to Del Mar for the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Friday with half-mile works over the Del Mar turf course slated for next Sunday.
“Heart to Heart looked very comfortable,” Lynch said of the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) runner-up, who was in his first breeze since the Oct. 7 race. Heart to Heart is being pointed to the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (G1) on Nov. 4.
“We put up the $160,000 (to make Heart to Heart Breeders' Cup-eligible) and I can give you two million reasons why,” Lynch said. “Since his last race, he has been doing well and checked all the boxes. I think he will like the course out there with the tight turns and short stretch.”
Heart to Heart has been second in three Grade 1 races. A breakthrough in the Breeders' Cup would likely send Lynch over the moon.
“I'd probably rip the top off the grandstand,” Lynch said with a laugh.
The work for Oscar Performance was his second here since finishing third in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) on Sept. 30 in his first venture against older horses. He had worked a half-mile on the grass in :49.60 last Sunday.
“I thought he went great,” Lynch said about today's move. “He built into it, picked it up nicely and had a nice gallop out.”
Oscar Performance won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last year.
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