Keen Ice clocked five furlongs in 1:00.85 on the Belmont Park training track Saturday morning in his last work before the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday, November 5 at Santa Anita Park.
The 2015 Grade 1 Travers winner, Keen Ice finished third last out against allowance company at Belmont in his first North American start since back-to-back races at Meydan Racecourse in March. Javier Castellano will be aboard for the Classic.
“It's what we've come to expect, the further he goes, the stronger he gets,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I thought it was a good, solid work. We got what we were hoping for from a fitness standpoint. We'll go into it with a fresh, fit horse. Now, we need a good pace in the race and a good setup for him.”
Curalina could be targeting the $2 million Longines Distaff, said Pletcher, who added that he has been talking to Aron Wellman, the president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, about the 4-year-old chestnut filly, who is also pre-entered for the Filly & Mare Sprint.
“We have not made a final decision yet,” Pletcher said. “The conversations I've had with them leading up to today have been leaning towards the Distaff. As well as she worked this morning, I'd imagine we're still leaning that way. We haven't made a final decision yet.”
Curalina, who won the Grade 1 La Troienne on May 6 and the Grade 3 Shuvee on July 31, is coming off a runner-up effort last out in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on August 27 at Saratoga Race Course.
On Saturday, Curalina breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 over the training track. Curalina is scheduled to depart for California Sunday along with stablemates J.S. Choice and Made You Look.
“She was very good again this morning, I thought it was an exceptional work,” Pletcher said. “She seems to be in good form, she's happy and galloped out great.”
J.S. Choice and Made You Look worked in company, going four furlongs in 49.78 seconds on the inner turf, rated as good.
J.S. Choice, for KRA Stud Farm, broke his maiden on September 5 at Saratoga and came in second in his stakes debut in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on October at 1 Belmont. He is targeting the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Friday, November 4.
Made You Look, Pletcher's other pre-entrant in the race, is 2-1-0 in three career starts, including two straight wins that encompassed a win in his stakes debut in the Grade 2 With Anticipation on August 31 at Saratoga.
“They did it in hand easily and seemed to handle the turf course great, considering it had a big cut to it,” Pletcher said of Saturday's breeze. “It didn't seem to bother them.”
Theory breezed 49.49 seconds in company with Ready Dancer on the training track, his last work before the Grade 1, $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The 2-year-old colt, for China Horse Club and WinStar Farm, is 2-for-2 in his career after winning the Grade 3 Futurity on October 15 at Belmont.
“It's what we were hoping and expecting they would do,” Pletcher said.
Syndergaard, who is also set to run in the Juvenile, looked sharp breezing five furlongs solo on the training track in 1:00.80. Syndergaard won his first two career races at Saratoga before finishing just a nose behind Practical Joke in the Grade 1 Champagne on October 8.
“He started off easy, finished up strong and galloped out great,” said Pletcher. “I thought it was an excellent work. We put him in company last week and he worked fine. But he's willing on his own, so I didn't think he needed company to get a solid work out of him. He did plenty on his own.”
Sweet Loretta also worked by herself, registering a 48.88-second half-mile breezeas she readies for the Grade 1, $2 million 14 Hands Winery Juvenile Fillies.
Pre-entered in both the $2 million Filly & Mare Turf and the $2 million Mile, Photo Call worked four furlongs in 49.12 seconds ahead of her expected start in the Mile.
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