Lee Pokoik's Sippican Harbor, a stylish winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway, put in her final Breeders' Cup prep this morning covering seven furlongs in 1:28.65 seconds under exercise rider M.C. Brock at Belmont.
“She's a willing work horse but I did work her in company with a turf horse that needed a work and she blew his doors off. It was a good combination. She broke off about five lengths behind him and took off at the sixteenth pole and hit the wire about five lengths in front. She does it so easy,” trainer Gary Contessa said.
Contessa is enjoying a tremendous Belmont fall meet with 18 wins, good for second in the standings. Sippican Harbor will mark the conditioner's fourth Breeders' Cup starter and he's relishing the opportunity to compete with a legitimate contender.
“I go out there and buy ten 2-year-olds every year. I don't have the bench some of my peers have, so it's a phenomenal opportunity,” Contessa said. “I've been to the Breeders' Cup three times, but this is my first time going with a legitimate opportunity to win the race. She's a such a level-headed filly. I'm in a great place. They're going to have to be better than her to beat her, because she's not some one-dimensional speed horse or a drop dead closer – you can put her anywhere. She's a 2-year-old with the mind of a 5-year-old.”
With Joel Rosario slated to ride Jaywalk in the Juvenile Fillies, Contessa has lined up Irad Ortiz, Jr. to pilot Sippican Harbor.
“I've been doing this long enough to know that every top rider has multiple choices in every Breeders' Cup race,” Contessa said. “I'm not the only one it's happened to, but to have Irad is an even swap. I've won a lot of races with Irad, so I'm thrilled. The alternative is not a bad thing.”
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