Breeders’ Cup Classic - Tuesday notes

December 10, 2019

Bayern – The 3yo son of Offlee Wild jogged once around the track Tuesday morning, the second day after working 5f in 59 4/5 in his final exercise for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Trainer Bob Baffert said he was pleased with the No. 7 post position and the way he's training. Bayern trained at Del Mar before shipping to Monmouth Park to win the Haskell Invitational in July and trained at Santa Anita before shipping to a victory in the Pennsylvania Derby in September.

“He's happy and doing fine, he just needs things to go his way (in the race),” Baffert said. “If not, they run these things every year, right?”

Big Cazanova – Trainer Peter Miller said from his training base at San Luis Rey Downs that he hoped the Argentine-bred ridgling would draw in from the also-eligible list for the Classic Saturday.

“We wanted to run and would love to run from the outside,” said Miller, hoping for one defection from the 14 entrants. “We will wait as long as we can wait Friday (for a scratch),” said Miller, who also entered the horse for the Las Vegas Marathon Friday in case of no Classic scratches at deadline that day.

Miller said the horse returned in good order from a work Monday and would be one of four Breeders’ Cup entrants shipping to Barn 44 at Santa Anita Wednesday.

California Chrome – “The morning report is that California Chrome is training great,” said assistant Alan Sherman, son of trainer Art Sherman, during a press briefing.

“He was dragging Wille (Delgado) around this morning,” said Sherman of a morning gallop on the Santa Anita main track with his regular exercise rider. “We took him to the paddock and he was walking on his hind legs. He’s pretty happy right now.”

Sherman repeated the happiness of drawing post 13 in a field of 14 after a series of inside draws in recent races. “Out there, you can dictate your own race,” said Sherman. “It looks like Moreno and Bayern are going to be out there. Hopefully we can be sitting a length or two behind them. Hopefully at the quarter pole, we can get the lead and keep going.”

The Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Santa Anita Derby winner was moved from his Los Alamitos base to Barn 56 at Santa Anita Sunday with groom Raul Rodriguez. Sherman said the California-bred colt would gallop up to the race. He also planned to stand him in the gate Wednesday and return to the paddock Thursday or Friday.

Sherman said that co-owners and co-breeders Steve Coburn and Perry Martin may visit the stable Thursday.

Candy Boy – The 3yo son of Candy Ride galloped 1 1/2 miles three days after a final major work of 7f in 1:25 flat handily. "He's doing well and I think the distance will suit him well," jockey Corey Nakatani said. "When I rode him in the West Virginia Derby, I thought I won the race (narrowest of nose losses to Tapiture), so I'm glad to be riding him again."

Cigar Street – The Classic runner with the tallest owners, NBA veteran Rashard Lewis and his longtime friend Jake Ballis, shipped from New York Monday and had an easy morning Tuesday at Santa Anita.

Since the flights were delayed and his horses did not get into their stalls in Barn 78 until after midnight, trainer Bill Mott called for light exercise, jogging and light gallops for his runners.

Cigar Street missed 17 months recovering from surgery on a rear ankle. He returned to competition this summer and earned his fifth victory in eight career starts on Sept. 27 in the Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs.

“Physically he’s doing well,” Mott said. “He’s come back off a long layoff and he’s had two races. Some handicappers like the third start off a layoff best; if you subscribe to that theory. He’s a relatively fresh horse. He hasn’t had a hard year. He’s had two races and he should be fit. It’s the toughest competition that he’ll have ever been in, but he’s a nice horse and we’ll just have to give him his chance.”

Mott has handled the horse for Lewis and Ballis since late 2012, but the son of Street Sense went on the extended time away from the track following his victory in the Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March 2013. He has returned running.

“We’ve always thought that he was this kind of horse,” Mott said. “There was a time, earlier on, the connections and not only me, believed that he was this type of horse. He showed that early his career that he was pretty nice. We’ve run him five times and he’s won four and been second once. He’s done nothing wrong.”

Cigar Street drew post two in the 14-horse field and will be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.

Footbridge – The Godolphin Racing-owned 4yo son of Street Cry exited his Monday work in pleasing order, according his trainer Eoin Harty.

“He’s great today,” said Harty. “He just walked today and will probably jog tomorrow.”

Imperative – KM Racing Enterprise Inc.’s Imperative galloped Tuesday morning at Santa Anita with regular exercise rider Mary Donald aboard for the exercise at 8 o’clock.

Trained by George Papaprodromou, Imperative joins Prayer for Relief as the only Classic entrants to have raced for a claiming tag.

“These are new owners and we were shopping around,” said Papaprodromou, who will be saddling his first Breeders’ Cup starter. “I liked the pedigree, by Bernardini, and saw him in for $50,000 and we took him.”

That was in December and the new owners quickly recouped the purchase price with a runner-up finish in the San Antonio Handicap in February and then hit the jackpot with a $1 million check for winning the Charles Town Classic.

In that race Imperative defeated Breeders’ Cup Classic rival Moreno and it is a performance Papaprodromou would like to see repeated Saturday.

“He has been training great and I just hope my horse runs his race,” Papaprodromou said. “I want him to run back to the Charles Town race and run them down at the end.”

Frankie Dettori will have the mount Saturday.

“I just called him up, because his style suits this horse coming from off the pace,” Papaprodromou said. “(Jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) had gotten hurt and we could not wait until the last minute to see if he would be able to ride.”

Majestic Harbor – After jogging twice around Santa Anita’s training track Tuesday morning, the 6yo bay son of Rockport Harbor was declared “doing super” by trainer Sean McCarthy.

“We’ll probably take him through the paddock on the way home (to the barn) tomorrow (Wednesday) and then school him in the paddock during the races that afternoon.”

As for how his post 14 choice resounds, McCarthy said, “It’s a nice 3f run to the turn so there’s no need to panic. We will need to have some racing luck in a field this big and this talented. But Tyler (jockey Baze) knows the horse really well and he’ll guide him into good position.”

Moreno – Known for his tight-lipped responses to the media, trainer Eric Guillot Tuesday morning offered, “He jogged two miles.”

Implying Moreno is not an easy horse to train, Guillot said, “If people knew what it has taken for me to get him this far, they’d give me a medal as big as those mountains over there,” pointing to the San Gabriel Mountains that provide a picturesque backdrop for Santa Anita.

He said that jogging will be the regular routine heading up to the Classic for the 4yo gelded son of Ghostzapper.

Prayer for Relief – Trainer Dale Romans says his Classic hopeful is as good as he’s ever seen him, but whether he’s good enough to win the Classic won’t be known until after Saturday’s race.

“He’s sharp, he’s eager to train,” said Romans. “He’s as good or better than he’s been all year. The mile and a quarter is good and the race should set up good for him, but the question is whether or not he’s good enough.”

Like many other Classic trainers with older horses in the race, Romans feels the toughest competition for Prayer for Relief will likely come from the 3yo’s.

“This is a strong group of 3-year-olds,” said Romans. “But, they are all going to have to step up against the older horses. Shared Belief is probably the one to beat, but he did show he was beatable in his last race.”

Shared Belief – Shared Belief, the 9-5 morning-line favorite for Saturday’s Classic, completed his major training Tuesday morning at Golden Gate Fields by working 4f in 52 2/5 with Russell Baze aboard at 7 o’clock.

“After the work, Russell said it was awesome,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said. “He said there is a lot left in the tank.”

Owned by Jungle Racing (Jim and Janet Rome), KMN Racing (Kevin and Kim Nish), Jason Litt, George Todaro and Alex Solis II, Shared Belief is scheduled to arrive at Santa Anita around 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Undefeated in seven starts, Shared Belief passed his only Santa Anita test in his most recent start, the Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 27. Tuesday’s work over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate was his fourth since the Awesome Again with two of the drills being bullet works.

“He will walk tomorrow and then gallop Thursday and Friday,” said Hollendorfer, whose lone previous Classic starter was Nonios who finished sixth in the 2012 renewal here. “He won’t go to the track Saturday morning.”

Toast of New York – Toast of New York took everything in his stride when he gained his first experience of the main track Tuesday morning when doing a hack canter of a couple of circuits under the guidance of James McCarthy.

“He was really good today and I was really pleased with him,” McCarthy said.

His trainer, Jamie Osborne, is expected in California Wednesday evening.

The lightly raced 3yo and winner of this year’s UAE Derby was in very good spirits when he came off the track pleased McCarthy on his return to the barn

Tonalist – Christophe Clement’s Breeders’ Cup horses were embarking on a Federal Express flight bound for California at approximately noon Tuesday. Tonalist galloped 1¼ miles over Belmont’s main track Tuesday morning.

“They are all doing well,” he said. “We couldn’t be happier. They had a good morning training and we are set for the trip to the Breeders’ Cup.”

V. E. Day – The 3yo son of English Channel breezed 4f Tuesday morning at Santa Anita, in 48 3/5 under exercise rider Kelvin Pahal.

“He went really good. We weren’t looking for a whole lot. He had worked a half-mile before we left for here,” trainer James Jerkens said.

V. E. Day is coming off a troubled sixth-place finish in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Sept. 27.

“I usually don’t kid myself about giving horses excuses, but I thought he had a lot of them that day,” Jerkens said. “We were going to call it a year or run in the Discovery, but we got to thinking, ‘you know what? Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.’ The more I watched the race, he would have had to be Citation to win that race. He got hung out so wide.”

V. E. Day had won his previous four races, including an upset over stablemate Wicked Strong by a nose in the Travers Stakes. He has been victorious on turf and dirt.

“He’s a beautiful, big, long horse with a beautiful, absolutely gorgeous shoulder. He just has the mechanics to cover the ground,” Jerkens said. “He’s got the same way of going on both surfaces.”

Zivo – At this time last year, Thomas Coleman’s homebred was being prepared for the $100,000 Move It Now, a New York-bred stakes at Aqueduct. Nine races - six of them wins - later trainer Chad Brown has him ready for the Classic.

A win in the Suburban in July and a runner-up finish to Tonalist in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 27 have carried Zivo to the richest race in America.

Zivo arrived at Santa Anita Monday evening after the flight from New York was delayed. Like the other nine horses from Brown’s barn that shipped Monday, he jogged Tuesday morning.

“He’s doing really well,” Brown, 35, said. “He’s earned his way up the ladder. He’s doing super. I’ve never seen this horse look as good as he does now. The horse is really peaking physically.”

Zivo, a son of True Detective, comes from off the pace and has had success in the Suburban and the Gold Cup at the 1 1/4m Classic distance. Brown said that it might be his best distance.

“That’s what it’s starting to look like, as he’s gotten older,” Brown said. “Horses change and he really seems to have appreciated the extra distance as we’ve given him the opportunity.”

Coleman, a hedge fund manager from Westchester County, N.Y., said the horse is named after an artist he and his wife met in France.

Zivo drew post eight in the Classic and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano, who has been aboard for his last three starts.

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