It was a busy morning at Churchill Downs as five Breeders' Cup contenders, led by Rupp Racing's $400,000 Oklahoma Derby (GIII) winner Owendale (Classic) and Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider's multiple Grade I-winning mare Elate (Classic or Distaff), logged their second-to-last workouts prior to the Nov. 1-2 World Championships at Santa Anita.
Along with the works by Owendale (six furlongs, 1:13.60) and Elate (three furlongs, :34.60), other Breeders' Cup contenders to work beneath the Twin Spires (with distance, time and likely Breeders' Cup race): Arklow (four furlongs, :47.80, Turf); Got Stormy (five furlongs, 1:01.20, Mile); and Mr. Money (five furlongs, :59.20, Dirt Mile).
Owendale, trained by Brad Cox, was the first horse to work Saturday at 5:30 a.m. and began his breeze slowly with opening eighth-mile fractions of :13.80, :26.20 and :37.80. The 3-year-old son of Into Mischief, who was working on the inside of 6-year-old stakes winner Pioneer Spirit, picked up the pace significantly in the final stages of his workout with a five-furlong time of 1:00.80 before galloping out a strong seven furlongs in 1:26.80.
“They went really slow to start the work and I didn't really draw it up that way,” Cox said. “(Owendale) really came home strong and galloped out well. Overall I thought it was a good work even though they went so slow for the opening three-eighths.
“He's always been a really talented horse and showed that in many of his races this season as a 3-year-old. He may have not gotten over the track that well at Saratoga for the Travers (GI) but besides that he's been on a very strong campaign and deserves a chance in this race.”
Ten minutes later, Cox breezed Breeders' Cup Turf (GI) contender Arklow in company with multiple grade stakes-winner Mr. Misunderstood. The duo worked through fractions of :11.80 and :23.40 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80 and six furlongs in 1:13.80.
The Cox Breeders' Cup quintet of Andesite, Arklow, British Idiom, Covfefe and Owendale are scheduled to fly to Santa Anita on Oct. 29 and will have their final breezes next week at Churchill Downs.
After the track renovation break at 7:30 a.m., the brilliant mare Elate took to the track under Penny Gardiner and jogged one mile prior to her three-furlong move. Elate galloped out a half-mile in :47.40. She is scheduled to leave Churchill Downs on Sunday to fly to Santa Anita, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's assistant Kenny McCarthy.
Also donning the work tab Saturday morning was Allied Racing Stable's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (GI) runner-up Mr. Money, who was united with his regular jockey Gabriel Saez for the workout. The tandem worked through splits of :12, :23.60 and :35.60 before galloping out seven furlongs in 1:25.80 and continuing his work through a one-mile time of 1:41.80.
“It was a really strong work this morning,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “He works fast every time he's out there and today was no different.”
Mr. Money is slated to take on the highly-touted Omaha Beach in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (GI).
“I know they were going back and forth as to which race (Omaha Beach) would go in,” Calhoun said. “I was always under the assumption he was going in the Dirt Mile so I expected we'd have to take him on.”
Mr. Money is scheduled to fly to California on Oct. 29 and work next weekend at Churchill Downs.
Completing the Breeders' Cup workers Saturday morning was Gary Barber and Southern Equine Stable's 4-year-old filly Got Stormy, who is likely to take on the boys in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile (GI). The chestnut worked outside of stablemate Osage Moon and came home her final furlong in :24.40, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.
“I thought it was a very nice and relaxed work for her,” trainer Mark Casse's assistant David Carroll said. “It was pretty busy on the track when she worked but I thought she really galloped out nicely and was well within herself throughout the entire work. The track gets a little deeper as the morning goes on but she handled it very nicely.”
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister's $150,000 Ack Ack (GIII) winner Mr. Freeze worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 at 9 a.m. on Saturday. His Breeders' Cup status has not been decided, according to trainer Dale Romans.
Joel Politti's Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) heroine Serengeti Empress was scheduled to work Friday but trainer Tom Amoss was diagnosed with appendicitis late Thursday night and pushed her work back.
On Monday, Ray Francis, Cindy Jones, Larry Jones, Medallion Racing and MyRaceHorse Stable's $1 million Cotillion (GI) winner Street Band is likely to work, according to assistant trainer Corey York.
Something Special Racing's $400,000 Woody Stephen's Stakes (GI) winner Hog Creek Hustle is also based at Churchill Downs and is targeting the Breeders' Cup Sprint or Dirt Mile, according to trainer Vickie Foley. He is scheduled to work Thursday.
Joseph Sutton's $200,000 Iroquois Stakes (GIII) runner-up Scabbard is likely to breeze next Friday, according to trainer Eddie Kenneally. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith has the call for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
There are five other locally-based likely Breeders' Cup contenders who worked Friday (with distance, time and likely race): Andesite (five furlongs 1:01.60, Juvenile Turf); British Idiom (five furlongs, 1:01.60, Juvenile Fillies); Covfefe (six furlongs, 1:12.20, Filly and Mare Sprint); and Dennis' Moment (five furlongs, :58.60, Juvenile). The Breeders' Cup decision on Whitmore, who worked a bullet half-mile in :46.80 Friday, has not been decided, according to co-owner/trainer Ron Moquett.
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