Juvenile Turf and Juvenile Fillies Turf Report

December 10, 2019

Aidan O'Brien (War Envoy, Juvenile Turf; Qualify, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report

Bill Mott (Quality Rocks, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Quality Rocks had a routine gallop for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott Thursday.

In her third career start and first for Mott, she finished second by 1 ½ lengths in the Jessamine at Keeneland.

Mott said the filly has had problems at the gate early in her career but is showing improvement.

“Her previous trainer (William Helmbrecht) went through some challenging times with her,” Mott said. “I talked with him and we haven’t had any trouble with her because he let us know what her issues were and we addressed them and been careful about it.

“She ran once for us and was second and was doing real good. Her hair coat doesn’t look as good as when she ran at Keeneland, which is a little troubling, but she seems to be training very well on the racetrack.”

Brian Meehan (Faithful Creek, Juvenile Turf) – see European report

Chad Brown (Offering Plan and Startup Nation, Juvenile Turf; Lady Eli, Partisan Politics, Sivoliere, and Tammy the Torpedo, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – For the second year in a row, trainer Chad Brown will saddle four starters in the Juvenile Fillies Turf. The quartet, Partisan Politics, Lady Eli, Sivoliere and Tammy the Torpedo, all went out for 1 1/2m gallops Thursday.

Brown’s Juvenile Turf runners, Offering Plan and Startup Nation, also had 1 1/2m gallops for their morning exercise.

“The two colts seemed to have shipped in well coming off third- (Offering Plan) and fourth-place (Startup Nation) finishes in the Pilgrim. For Offering Plan, it was a real nice step forward for him, off his maiden win beating New York-breds. He stepped up in open company and really ran credible. Both of his races in his career have been good and I think he deserves a shot in the races. He’s had two breezes since the Pilgrim and they were A-pluses for me. His energy level is terrific.

“Startup Nation seems to be training well. With him, I was very disappointed in the Pilgrim. He was a heavy favorite off his race in the With Anticipation at Saratoga where he showed that huge burst of foot.”

Brown said jockey Joel Rosario told him that the colt never seemed comfortable on the inside.

“He came out of the race in good order and since then he’s been training well. He’s another one who would appreciate more pace up front, to get a little further back and, of course, in the clear this time. I’m OK to lose ground with him and he drew toward outside anyway. I don’t want to see him down on the fence this race. I’m willing to give up ground and see if he prefers to run outside of horses.”

Charlie Hills (Commemorative, Juvenile Turf) – see European report

Charlie Fellowes (Wet Sail, Juvenile Turf) – see European report

D. Wayne Lukas (Lady Zuzu, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Lady Zuzu finished her training for Friday’s Juvenile Fillies Turf with a spirited gallop for trainer D. Wayne Lukas Thursday morning.

Lukas believes Lady Zuzu, set at odds of 15-1 on the morning line, could be dangerous in the race. Additionally, jockey Julien Leparoux will be trying to get his next one thousand victories off to a big start with a Breeders’ Cup race victory. Leparoux chalked up his 2,000th victory with a win Wednesday at Churchill Downs.

Hugo Palmer (Aktabantay, Juvenile Turf) – see European report

Jamie Osborne (Prize Exhibit, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report

John Sadler (Daddy D T, Juvenile Turf) – Daddy D T galloped 1 1/2m and stood in the gate for his exercise Thursday morning.

The son of Scat Daddy will be the fourth Breeders' Cup starter for Hronis Racing LLC of brothers Kostas and Pete Hronis. Previous starters for the stable have been Lady of Shamrock, fifth in the 2012 Filly & Mare Turf and eighth in the 2013 Filly & Mare Turf and Vagabond Shoes, fifth in the 2013 Turf.

Hronis Racing LLC owns two other Breeders' Cup 2014 entrants, Iotapa in the Distaff and Sweet Swap in the Turf Sprint. All are trained by John Sadler.

Owners of a family grape growing business in the San Joaquin Valley of California, the Kostas brothers have only owned horses since 2010. A favorite usher near the Kostas' box at Santa Anita made the introduction to Sadler that has resulted in leading owner titles at Del Mar the last two years in a row.

"They haven't been in the business that long, but they've had a lot of success," Sadler said. "They've got a lot of horses and are having a lot of fun and enjoying the business."

Kiaran McLaughlin (Imperia, Juvenile Turf) – Godolphin Racing’s homebred Imperia has only made two starts, but the Graded stakes winner established that he does not show early speed.

In winning the Pilgrim on Belmont’s turf last out and at the 1 1/16m distance of the Juvenile Turf, he graduated from the maiden ranks with a big closing kick under Javier Castellano, who gets the return call.

“We’re going to try to save some ground. Hopefully they’ll go real fast and we’ll be laying somewhere from fifth to eighth so we can save a little ground, have a clean trip and finish with a run,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who is looking for a second Breeders’ Cup trophy after Invasor won the Classic for Godolphin and him in 2006.

Imperia is out of Cocoa Beach, who won Grade I races on dirt and turf, and he is by Medaglia d’Oro, who was the back-to-back Classic runner-up in 2002-03. The dark bay colt galloped 1 1/2m on Thursday and was schooled in the paddock.

Mark Casse (Conquest Typhoon, Juvenile Turf; Conquest Harlanate, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – When Conquest Harlanate, who has made all four of her lifetime starts at Woodbine, shipped from Canada to join trainer Mark Casse’s Southern California division and compete in the Juvenile Fillies Turf, she was dressed in what Conquest Stables called “her pajamas”.

It was actually an air compression suit virtually identical to the Hidez International Australia gear which the brilliant and undefeated mare Black Caviar wore when she was flown from Down Under to England to compete at Royal Ascot last year.

“It’s the same thing as what Black Caviar had. The only difference is that Ernie (Semersky, Conquest Stables’ co-owner with Dory Newell) had Harlanate’s designed and custom made with their logo,” said trainer Mark Casse.

Conquest Harlanate, a dual Graded stakes winner in four starts, had her adventure chronicled with comments and photos posted on the Conquest Stables’ Facebook page.

Semersky wrote that the cabin pressure in cargo planes is not the same as in commercial or private aircraft and that the lower pressure can cause a variety of ailments in horses when they are being transported. He said that the maladies can range from mild fatigue to phlebitis, which at its most serious can prove fatal.

“All of the Conquest horses will be wearing the suits when they fly now,” said Casse, a six-time Sovereign Award winner. “Does it help their performance? I can’t tell you it does, but it certainly doesn’t hurt them. Throughout my career I’ve learned that if you try 10 things and one of them works, then it’s worth it.”

As for her performance on Friday, Casse said that’s still a mystery as well.

“I’m not worried about her. She’s done all she can do and is ready to run. We got a two-turn race into her and she won (the Mazarine). The question is going to be if she’s good enough and I don’t know that anybody knows that at this point,” Casse said. “Whether you’re from New York, California, Canada or wherever, they’re 2-year-olds and you’re putting them all together. What I do know is that she’s ready.”

Conquest Harlanate completed her lessons in the paddock on Wednesday and galloped 1 1/2m on Thursday.

When Summer Stakes runaway winner Conquest Typhoon came back next time out in the Grey Stakes on Woodbine’s Polytrack, the 125 pounds he had to shoulder was 10 more than the winner and he lost by 1¼ lengths after dueling through the lane. Now he’ll compete in the Juvenile Turf under equal weights.

“We think he is superior on the grass. I think, honestly, and I may have to eat my words and am not one to usually make predictions, but people are underestimating him. You never know until the running starts, but he won the Summer (on the turf) with ease. I think he was going to gallop in the Gray Stakes even while carrying 125 pounds, but he put his brakes on. He’s done that before. He loses focus. But he’s not going to have that problem in the Breeders’ Cup. There will be plenty for him to focus on.”

Conquest Typhoon, a $330,000 yearling purchase, has never worn blinkers and Casse will not add them or make any other equipment changes for the race.

Richard Hannon (Osaila, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – see European report

Todd Pletcher (Isabella Sings, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – Siena Farm’s Isabella Sings galloped 1 1/4m at Santa Anita Thursday morning.

The Todd Pletcher-trained filly is a daughter of Eskendereya, whom her trainer saddled for victories in the 2010 Fountain of Youth and Wood Memorial. Eskendereya was the morning-line favorite for the Kentucky Derby before being scratched with a career-ending injury.

“He’s off to a good start, and I think we’ll see him have a strong fall and late part of the year. They’ll be coming along,” said Pletcher. “He was a very talented horse.”

Although Eskendereya’s Kentucky Derby prep victories came on the main track, Pletcher started off Isabella Sings on turf.

“Mainly because the bottom part of her pedigree suggested that she was meant for the turf,” Pletcher said. “It was an easy decision.”

Isabella Sings captured her debut over the Belmont Park turf course in July before finishing a close second in the Natalma Stakes at Woodbine last time out.

Wesley Ward (Hootenanny and Luck of the Kitten, Juvenile Turf; Sunset Glow, Juvenile Fillies Turf) – The Wesley Ward-trained Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf duo of Luck of the Kitten and Hootenanny both galloped 1½ m at Santa Anita as they prepare to be two of the favorites in the Grade I event.

Luck of the Kitten, owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, is expected to show speed under Mike Smith, while Hootenanny – who has a great deal of pace himself – is expected to stalk under Frankie Dettori.

“I’m kind of looking at it and it looks like Luck of the Kitten might be the speed of the speed,” Ward said. “He will probably go if no one else is dead-set on getting the lead. I wouldn’t mind seeing Hootenanny sitting off him, as long as he doesn’t push him.”

Ramsey showed a little apprehension about the pace scenario. “I’m going to have to talk to Wesley about what we’re going to do. I have no problem flipping a coin to see who goes to the front,” he laughed. “I just want to make sure we both get a chance to run our races. If they go too fast, I also have International Star in the race – but I would rather Luck of the Kitten win because he’s a Kitten’s Joy and that’s my stallion.”

Ward also thinks Luck of the Kitten has a big chance to win.

“He’s done really well in each race and should run another good one,” he said. “He has a race on the track – I just hope that race didn’t take too much out of him. It’s ample spacing and he’s doing well.”

Dettori, who defeated Hootenanny last out in France’s Prix Morny at Deauville aboard The Wow Signal, will try to win on the son of Quality Road this time in the colt’s second consecutive attempt at the Grade I level.

“He has the best form on paper,” Dettori said. “The only question is the distance and if he can get it done. He has a favorite’s chance. Luck of the Kitten should have no problem getting the distance.” Dettori rode Luck of the Kitten in his successful debut at Arlington International Racecourse on Arlington Million Day in August.

Hootenanny’s workmate, Ten Broeck Farm’s Sunset Glow, is the morning-line favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf and galloped 1½ m for the third consecutive morning on Thursday. Over the last few weeks, the two have worked together at Keeneland, including a work over soft grass two weeks ago in which Sunset Glow was ousted by her male counterpart.

“She’s been beating up on (Hootenanny) every week, but he was getting better with each work and she was farther along,” Ward explained. “On the last work the turf course was very soggy and she likes to feel her feet rattle (on firm turf). Also, I think he liked the track a lot better than she did – but he will run on anything. She has great speed, will love the grass at Santa Anita and will be very tough to beat. We’re very pleased with her.”

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