• SONGBIRD, BEHOLDER BREEZE FOR DISTAFF • CLASSIC COUNTDOWN IS ON FOR CHROME
SONGBIRD, BEHOLDER WORK TOWARDS DISTAFF SHOWDOWN
Songbird and Beholder, two thirds of the three “Fab Females” set to run in the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff next Friday, Nov. 4, had their final major works about an hour apart Thursday morning, undefeated two-year-old female champion of 2015 Songbird going five furlongs under exercise rider Edgar Rodriguez in 1:01, breezing, after the 6:30 a.m. renovation break, and the six-year-old Beholder, winner of three Eclipse Awards, working six furlongs at 7:45 in 1:14.40 with regular rider Gary Stevens up for Richard Mandella.
Stellar Wind, champion three-year-old filly of 2015, is scheduled to have her final Distaff breeze Friday for John Sadler, weather permitting. Rain is forecast in the Arcadia area starting Thursday night. “If not Friday,” Sadler said, “she’ll work Saturday.”
“She’s doing very well,” trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said of Songbird, winner of all of her 11 races by daylight margins. “She’s training up to the race well and that should be her final work, because we’re anticipating rain tomorrow.
“We just wanted to give her one more work before she runs. It was a nice easy work and she galloped nicely, too.”
Santa Anita clocker Dane Nelson had Songbird galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.80, with a half-mile time of 49 flat.
Hollendorfer said Songbird would walk Friday, jog Saturday, then gallop into the race. She will also school in the paddock. “We couldn’t ask her to be coming into the race any better than she is right now.”
Added her regular rider, Mike Smith, who watched the workout sitting just behind Hollendorfer in the Grandstand: “She looked great. She looked like she was two-minute licking around there and she went 1:01 like it was nothing. This looks like our deepest Distaff.”
“Very nice,” is how Mandella termed the move by Beholder, who worked in company with WhiteRockLake (1:02.60). “I said last week that was the big work (59.20 last Thursday). This was a little tune up and she went real good.”
Beholder’s fractional times were 24, 36.40, 49.20 and 1:00.80.
CALIFORNIA CHROME HAS ‘GREAT’ PRE-CLASSIC WORK
California Chrome, favored to win the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita next Saturday, Nov. 5, had his final major workout for the 1 ¼ mile race for three-year-olds and up, going six furlongs Thursday in 1:12.20 at his Los Alamitos headquarters.
“He’s great,” said Alan Sherman, son of and assistant to Art Sherman, trainer of the five-year-old California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit who will be seeking his seventh straight victory come Saturday.
California Chrome had been working on a Saturday-to-Saturday schedule, but his routine was altered due to rain forecast starting Thursday night. California Chrome is expected to arrive at Santa Anita Sunday between 11 a.m. and 12 noon.
In other Breeders’ Cup news: • Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist (Classic) worked seven furlongs in company in 1:27.40 under regular rider Mario Gutierrez. “He worked great,” said Doug O’Neill, who sent out Ralis as a workmate. “We had a little separation early on, but Nyquist caught up. He showed good stamina, scoped clean and we’re excited about where we are.” Nyquist was given fractional times of 25.80, 38, 50.40, 1:02.80 and 1:15.60. Ralis was timed in 1:18 flat for six furlongs. • Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup winner Melatonin (Classic) worked five furlongs for David Hofmans in 59.40 with regular rider Joe Talamo aboard. Melatonin’s fractional times were 23.20, 35.20 and 47.20, with a six furlong gallop out of 1:12.40. “Very nice” is how Hofmans described the breeze. “I might blow him out before the race. We’ll see.” Workmate Bluegrass Bronco was timed in 59.60. • Multiple Grade I winner Frosted (Classic) worked four furlongs for Kiaran McLaughlin in 48 flat with a five furlong gallop out of 1:01. • Tyler Baze rides Grade I winner What a View for trainer Kenny Black in the Mile. • Trainer John Shirreffs said FrontRunner winner Gormley (Juvenile) could breeze “Saturday or Sunday,” depending on track conditions. • Finest City (Filly & Mare Sprint) went four furlongs in 47 for Eric Kruljac, while Big Score (Juvenile Turf) went five furlongs in 1:00.40 for Tim Yakteen, Tamarkuz (Dirt Mile) four furlongs in 48.40 for Kiaran McLaughlin, Lady Shipman (Turf Sprint) four furlongs in 48.60 for McLaughlin, Land Over Sea (Distaff) seven furlongs in 1:28.60 for O’Neill, Texas Ryano (Turf), five furlongs in 1:00.80 for Carla Gaines, and Gomo (Filly & Mare Sprint) six furlongs for O’Neill in 1:15, in company with Paynes Prairie (1:16.60).