Alice Springs – See European Report
Todd Pletcher (Azar, Juvenile Turf; Thrilled, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Both Alto Racing’s Azar and Michael Tabor’s Thrill made it clear early to trainer Todd Pletcher that they preferred running on grass than dirt.
Azar made his debut on turf with a seventh-place finish, but Pletcher sent him right back to grass at Saratoga, where he finished second before breaking his maiden in the With Anticipation Stakes.
“We didn’t know for sure, but we felt when we worked him on the turf we saw significant improvement, so we started him on it right away,” said Pletcher, who saddled the 2yo son of Scat Daddy for a second-place finish in the Pilgrim Stakes last time out.
Thrilled broke her maiden in her career debut on Saratoga’s turf course.
“She trained well on the dirt, but we thought she showed a little more on the grass and knowing the bottom side of her breeding we felt that grass would suit her well,” said Pletcher of the daughter of Uncle Mo and the Giant’s Causeway mare Excited. “She’s breezed well and run well on it every time.”
Thrilled finished second in the P.G. Johnson Stakes before getting nosed out in the Miss Grillo. Although both have shown an affinity for turf, Pletcher said that both Azar and Thrilled would likely be tested on dirt at some point.
Birchwood – See European Report
Mark Casse (Catch a Glimpse, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Airoforce, Juvenile Turf, Conquest Daddyo, Juvenile Turf) – Seven-time Sovereign Award winner Trainer Mark Casse has trained three Canadian Horse of the Year award winners and knows talent when he sees it. Nevertheless, Natalma stakes winner Catch a Glimpse remains a mystery.
“How good is she? We don’t know yet. But we all do know that she is very good from what we’ve seen so far,” he said.
Gary Barber’s daughter of City Zip blew the other fillies off the Woodbine turf with a commanding five lengths victory in the Natalma last out. Her final time for the 1 mile was 1:35.4, which was almost a full second faster that stablemate Conquest Daddyo ran in the Summer Stakes against males on the same card. Conquest Daddyo runs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, along with the Casse-trained Airoforce.
“She beat a much better than normal field in the Natalma, and did so very impressively,” said Casse, who has won the stakes race seven times and for three straight years. “But this is a pretty good bunch she’s going to have to run against. Even so, I do like her chances.”
Casse will saddle five Breeders’ Cup hopefuls this weekend.
While Juvenile contenders Conquest Big E and Conquest Daddyo carry the same orange-and-teal colors of Conquest Stable, Mile hopeful Tepin belongs to Robert Masterson, and Airoforce is John Oxley’s.
“It’s all okay. We’re really fortunate because we have a wonderful group of owners. They root for us. It sounds a little crazy, but they’re all a big part of our fan club so they’re proud when we have horses running in different races. Believe me, if they can’t win, they want one of the other horses to win and I don’t think that’s the case with all trainers. We’re so fortunate,” said Casse.
Because of the “off” conditions of the main track Thursday morning, Catch A Glimpse, Airoforce and Conquest Daddyo stayed in the barn and walked. Tepin and Conquest Big E went out for a routine gallop.
Cymric – See European Report
Bill Mott (Gliding By, Harmonize) – The duo of Bill Mott-trained fillies galloped early on the training track in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“They did fine, they went well,” trainer Bill Mott said of the fillies.
Mirage – Mrs. Fitriani Hay will look to add to her international accomplishments as a thoroughbred owner when her Mirage starts in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. In the care of Simon Callaghan, the daughter of Oasis Dream has two starts, including a win on debut in England going six furlongs on good-to-soft ground and a troubled runner-up effort last out in the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita. Hay, who was 10th in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf with Treasure Beach, counts the Irish Derby and Arlington Million as some of her ownership triumphs (both with champion Cape Blanco).
Mirage left Barn 62 on Thursday morning and galloped on the training track.
“We have been keeping her on the tracking track since we came here,” Callaghan said. “She ran some on soft turf in Europe, so we’re thinking it would not be a problem for her if its soft on Friday. She will likely take back and make a run.”
Last out, she steadied hard at the sixteenth-pole while rallying in the Surfer Girl. Originally third, she was moved up to second place after Lucky Folie was disqualified.
“She possibly would have won that race and she definitely would have been a clear second,” Callaghan said. “She has improved for this race.”
Shogun – See European Report
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf
Alice Springs – See European Report