Breeders’ Cup Notes - Friday, October 31

December 10, 2019

Art Sherman (California Chrome) – “He looked great,” said trainer Sherman Friday after the Kentucky Derby winner galloped 1 5/8m at 6 am under regular exercise rider Willie Delgado for the Classic.

“I plan to jog him in the morning the wrong way for a mile,” said Sherman of the final touch with the 4-to-1 second choice in the race. “I’m hoping everything goes smooth. He’s as good as I can get him. Let the cards fall where they may.”

Sherman said he was concerned about a forecast of rain, but added that he did not think it would hamper California Chrome, who has raced on tracks listed fast in all 14 of his starts.

“We trained him on an off track at Los Alamitos and he seemed to handle it good,” said Sherman.

Co-owner and co-breeder Steve Coburn visited his colt for the second straight morning. “He’s in disguise today,” quipped Coburn. “He’s dressed like a horse. It is Halloween!”

Turning to a serious tone, Coburn said California Chrome will be carrying the hopes of many people other than him and his wife Carolyn in the Classic.

“It would mean a lot to horse racing, especially to small guys,” said Coburn when asked what a victory would mean with the blue-collar colt. “A year ago, we never thought we would be back here. He ran on the undercard (finishing sixth in the Golden State Juvenile Stakes). It’s like coming full circle.

“I’m happy to share him with people from all over the United States and Canada,” added Coburn of the popular colt’s burgeoning fan club. “He has nothing to prove to anybody. I just want them all to come home safe.”

California breeders will also be cheering loudly for the California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit. California Chrome seeks to become the second Cal-bred to win the Classic, joining Tiznow, repeat winner in 2000 and 2001.

Christophe Clement (Tonalist, Classic; Irish Mission, Filly &Mare Turf, Summer Front, Mile)- Christophe Clement is enjoying a banner season with winner Tonalist, who provided him with his first Triple Crown victory and first trophy from the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Although he has saddled 23 Breeders’ Cup starters since 1999, victory has been elusive so standing in the winner’s circle with the Belmont Stakes hero on Saturday would be deeply meaningful.

“It would be very, very nice to win my first Breeders’ Cup in the same year,” Clement said on Friday morning after tightening the screws on his charges. “But, it will be tough. It’s a very good race with some very good horses. He’s been a wonderful horse to be around and my job is to bring him over there doing and feeling as good as possible and he is, so we’ll go from there.”

Clement has come close in past Breeders’ Cups with Gio Ponti, who had to compete against the sensational Zenyatta in the 2009 Classic and then the brilliant Goldikova in the 2010 Mile. Zenyatta beat him by a length and he finished 1 ½ lengths behind Goldikova the second time.

“I am a ladies man, I guess,” he said with a smile. “This year we only have to race against the boys, so we’ll see what happens.”

Clement has enjoyed remarkable success with grass specialists throughout his career, and was often considered just a turf trainer. That label no longer fits.

“It’s always better to be labeled as something than nothing,” he said. “I am fortunate in that I have owners who send some very nice horses to me. I train mostly for breeders, and I am very grateful to the people I train for. Whether the horses run on turf, dirt, in sprints or at a mile and a half, as long as they keep coming our way we are happy.”

George Papaprodromou (Imperative, Classic) – Trainer George Papaprodromou completed a geographic double of sorts Thursday when his two starters on the 10-race program – Athens and Memphis – found the winner’s circle in the third and seventh races, respectively.

He is hoping that run of luck continues Saturday when he saddles his first Breeders’ Cup starter in Imperative for KM Racing Enterprise Inc. in the Classic.

“I am just hoping for a good trip,” Papaprodromou said. “(Jockey) Frankie (Dettori) knows what to do. Hopefully, we can get lucky.”

Rain is in the forecast for later Friday into Saturday, but Papaprodromou was not worried about a possible wet track, a surface on which Imperative never has raced.

“I don’t think it will matter wet or dry,” Papaprodromou said. “He has been on tracks in the morning with a lot of moisture in them and it has been no problem.”

Jerry Hollendorfer (Shared Belief, Classic; Parranda, Filly & Mare Turf; Majestic Presence, Juvenile Fillies) -- Jungle Racing (Jim and Janet Rome), KMN Racing (Kevin and Kim Nish), Jason Litt, George Todaro and Alex Solis II’s Shared Belief, the morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Classic, galloped 1 1/2m under exercise rider Sal Martinez.

Hollendorfer’s other two Breeders’ Cup entrants, Mark DeDomenico LLC and North American Thoroughbred Horse Company Inc.’s Majestic Presence (Juvenile Fillies) and Gilbert Campbell, D. Clark, Gatto Racing LLC, Greg Skoda, Kathy Justice (Lessee) and Hollendorfer’s Parranda also galloped 1 1/2m.

The trainer said he has not mapped out any ideal scenarios for his charges yet.

“I just want to win,” Hollendorfer said. “We haven’t sat down yet (to talk out the races). I just want them all to get good trips.”

The forecast of rain and a possible less-than-fast main track or firm turf did not phase Hollendorfer.

“I don’t think that will be a factor for any of them,” Hollendorfer said.

Mark Casse (Conquest Eclipse, Juvenile Fillies, Conquest Harlanate, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Conquest Typhoon, Juvenile Turf, Kaigun, Mile)- Mark Casse has been honored six times and in three consecutive years with the Sovereign Award as the Canada’s Outstanding Trainer, but it wasn’t until this year that he reached the major milestone of victory in the Queen’s Plate.

In 19 Breeders’ Cup tries, his horses have finished second twice and third twice, and he heads into the weekend with four opportunities to add a Breeders’ Cup trophy to his case.

“It would be icing on the cake for this year,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate to win an awful lot of big races over the years, but these races are something extra special.

“We finally won the Queen’s Plate and to top it off with a Breeders’ Cup would be an extraordinary accomplishment. The only thing that could make it better would be the Kentucky Derby, and hopefully, we’ll get that one in the spring.”

Michelle Nevin (By the Moon, Juvenile Fillies) – Jay Em Ess Stable’s By the Moon jogged under exercise rider Tom Singh Friday morning to the satisfaction of trainer Michelle Nevin.

By the Moon, who represents Nevin’s first Breeders’ Cup starter, will break from post 12 Saturday.

“Being in the 12 hole, I would like to see her break good and get a good position,” Nevin said. “Hopefully, she can slide over and save some ground and go from there.”

By the Moon’s two victories have come on sealed, sloppy tracks and rain is in the forecast beginning Friday night through Saturday morning.

“It would be nice to get on a dry track so she can show what she can do,” Nevin said. “However, if it rains, it won’t really bother me.”

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