ELMONT, N.Y. - A cadre of candidates for the Breeders' Cup took to Belmont Park's tracks Saturday morning, led by Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Tonalist, who went six furlongs in 1:14 under exercise rider Lee Vickers in advance of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic.
Trainer Christophe Clement said he was "delighted" with the move, as well as that of Dirt Mile contender Red Vine, who with jockey Joel Rosario up went five furlongs in a bullet 59.45 seconds in company. All were on the main track.
"They both went well, sound, happy, willing, and we're very excited," said Clement of Red Vine and Tonalist. "They will work again next week, with John Velazquez aboard Tonalist, most likely."
The 2014 Belmont Stakes winner was not equipped with blinkers for Saturday's breeze, nor will he wear them next week, said Clement, who added a decision on whether to outfit him with blinkers for the 1 ¼-mile Classic will be made after his final work.
Working toward a start in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint was Lady Sheila Stable's La Verdad, who went five furlongs in 1:00.80 over Belmont's training track with exercise rider Raul Munoz up. The move was the fastest of 10 at the distance.
"She went very well, but she's a pretty strong breeze horse anyway," said trainer Linda Rice of La Verdad, who also will be entered in the Sprint. "I think the track was a little slow this morning. She'll have one more breeze next Saturday."
Rice reported that Sprint candidate Palace may miss a scheduled work this weekend due to a foot issue, but hopes to have him back on track for a final pre-Breeders' Cup move next weekend.
"We had a bit of a setback with him from the injury he sustained at Saratoga, but he's fit enough so that [missing a work] won't make a difference," she said.
Back on the main track, trainer Chad Brown sent out the trio of Wavell Avenue (Filly & Mare Turf), Big Blue Kitten (Turf) and Slumber (Turf), with Wavell Avenue going a half-mile in 49.04 and Big Blue Kitten and Slumber working a half-mile in 48.77 in company, and trainer Ralph Nicks worked Juvenile Fillies candidate Tap to It a half-mile in 47.86.
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