With just two weeks until the Breeders' Cup World Championships returns to Churchill Downs for a record-equaling ninth time, locally-based contenders Mind Your Biscuits, Seeking the Soul, Thunder Snow (IRE), Whitmore and Wonder Gadot logged their penultimate breezes for the Nov. 2-3 championship event on a chilly Friday morning beneath the historic Twin Spires.
Mind Your Biscuits, who has been based on the backstretch of Churchill Downs in Barn 18 since early September, worked six furlongs in 1:15 with jockey Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle and in company with possible Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (Grade I) contender Imperative (1:16.40) through splits of :13.40, :26.60, :39.40 and :51.80, before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:28 and one mile in 1:41.20, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“That was perfect 'T,'” trainer Chad Summers said over the radio to Gaffalione. “Absolutely perfect.”
Mind Your Biscuits, the richest New York-bred in history with $4,279,566 in earnings, is targeting either the Breeders' Cup Classic (GI), Dirt Mile or TwinSpires Sprint (GI), according to Summers.
“We're just keeping our options open as we have been all year,” Summers said. “It was a really strong breeze and he's doing great here at Churchill. The work itself may have started a bit too slow but I think visually it was good. The pre-entry deadline is Monday and we'll go from there. We saw in the (1 1/8-mile) Lukas Classic he can stretch out and go long. We'll just see what happens.”
Mind Your Biscuits, a 5-year-old chestnut-son of Posse, has eight victories through 24 starts including two victories in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (GI) and, most recently, a win in the Lukas Classic (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
One of the contenders Mind Your Biscuits could face should he enter the Classic is Godolphin's Dubai World Cup (GI) winner Thunder Snow, who worked one mile in 1:42.20 through eighth-mile splits of :14.20, :26.60, :39.60, :51.80, 1:04.20 and 1:16.80, according to Nichols.
“We're very happy with the way he's doing,” Godolphin's travelling manager Tommy Burns said. “We gave him an extra blow today since he's been pretty fresh. We're very pleased with how it went.”
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor is expected to arrive to Louisville the week of the Breeders' Cup, according to Burns.
Thunder Snow, a 4-year-old colt by Helmet (AUS), most recently finished second in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) behind fellow Breeders' Cup Classic-contender Discreet Lover.
Also on the Friday morning work tab at Churchill Downs was Charles Fipke's Clark Handicap (GI) winner Seeking the Soul, who worked five furlongs in 1:01 at 5:45 a.m.
“It was a really solid work,” trainer Dallas Stewart said. “I'm a big believer in following patterns. When I worked with Wayne (Lukas) through three of the Derby wins we had the same work pattern and it obviously worked out. I like breezing on Fridays to give us an extra day wiggle room in case of bad weather. That way if we have to push the work back, we're not on top of the race if it's on a Saturday, like the Classic is. We just hope we can get in the Classic.”
Just prior to Seeking the Soul's work, Robert Lapenta, Southern Springs Stables and Head of Plains Partners' top sprinter Whitmore breezed a half-mile in :47 inside of stablemate Petrov through splits of :11.60, :23 and :35 prior to galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60, according to Nichols
“He's a happy horse right now,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “It was a great breeze. He's a naturally fast horse. Sometimes he can be tough to breeze because he can go that fast at the push of a button but when we try to get something easy into him it's sometimes tough to hold him back.”
Whitmore is likely to be pre-entered in both the Dirt Mile and Sprint, according to Moquett.
Rounding out the locally-based Breeders' Cup contenders who breezed Friday morning was Gary Barber's Longines Distaff (GI) contender Wonder Gadot, who worked five furlongs in 1:00 on the outside of stablemate Awesome Slew.
“It was a strong work,” trainer Mark Casse's assistant Nick Tomlinson said. “Both horses breezed well together and (Wonder Gadot) galloped out strong. It was what we wanted to see two weeks prior to the race.”
Wonder Gadot, an Ontario-bred daughter of Medaglia d'Oro was most recently third in the Sept. 22 Cotillion (GI) at Parx behind Distaff competitors Midnight Bisou and Monomoy Girl.
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