New York-based contenders tune up for Breeders’ Cup

December 10, 2019

ELMONT, N.Y. - A key group of Breeders' Cup candidates readied for their respective assignments next weekend at their New York bases on Friday morning, led by Godolphin Racing's Frosted, who fired a half-mile bullet at Greentree Training Center near Saratoga Race Course in his final breeze ahead of the Breeders' Cup Classic.

The 3-year-old Tapit colt earned an official time of 47 seconds for the move and galloped out in a solid 59 2/5, according to his trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who added that all systems are a "go" for next Saturday's Classic at Keeneland.

"He'll ship from Greentree on Monday and should arrive Tuesday morning. He couldn't be doing any better," he said.

Frosted, winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial this spring at Aqueduct, has finished behind Triple Crown winner American Pharoah thrice this year, including a second-place finish behind the champion in his history-clinching sweep of the Belmont in June. McLaughlin, for his part, is optimistic about Frosted's chances to turn the tables on his rival on racing's world stage.

"Thinking about the race with my handicapper hat on, American Pharaoh is going to be tough because he should be on an uncontested lead," said McLaughlin. "Hopefully Beholder puts some pressure on him, that would be great. Maybe we're laying second or third, but I think the race shape will be OK for us."

Breeders' Cup Distaff heavyweight Wedding Toast, winner of the Grade 1 Beldame and Ogden Phipps this year, also turned in her final work for McLaughlin at Greentree, covering a half-mile in 49.40 seconds.

"Wedding Toast worked a little slower than Frosted but galloped out real strong," McLaughin said. "It rained [on Thursday] so we had to change plans; we usually give ourselves options. I think she should be on or near the lead. There's a couple of them that could put pressure on us. Hopefully two turns is not a negative. She loves one turn, especially at Belmont Park, so hopefully it's not a negative. She's doing great and I think she is the filly to beat."

McLaughlin will also saddle Stonestreet Stable's Grade 1 Test winner Cavorting, who breezed a half-mile in 48.77 over Belmont's training track Thursday, for the Filly and Mare Sprint.

"I think [Cavorting is] the filly to beat even though she's facing older fillies. Seven furlongs is her best distance," he said.

Rounding out McLaughlin's Breeders' Cup contingent is Godolphin's Sentiero Italia, most recently third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II on October 10 at Keeneland, who is scheduled to train up to the Filly and Mare Turf.

"I would've liked more time between races, but she's run well enough to deserve a shot," said McLaughlin. "If we draw inside and there's not much pace, we could sit second or third. I think we're very live."

Meanwhile, Christophe Clement's Dirt Mile trainee, Red Vine, turned in a five furlong maintenance work over Belmont's main track Friday morning, covering the distance in 1:01.12. The Grade 2 Kelso runner-up, who breezed a bullet five-eighths in 59.45 last Saturday, worked solo with jockey Joel Rosario aboard.

"I thought he worked well. He worked a touch more aggressively than we might have expected last week so, by design, we worked him on his own today," said Clement. "Joel seemed very happy with him afterwards. I'm very happy. The horse came back in good shape and, as of now, everything's good."

Clement reported that his Classic candidate, two-time Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Tonalist, is scheduled to have his final breeze Saturday morning with regular jockey John Velazquez, while Hard Not to Like is set to work over the turf ahead of her bid in the Filly and Mare Turf.

Clement's Breeders' Cup delegation is slated to ship from Belmont to Keeneland on Monday, according to the trainer.

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