Brown takes penultimate step with Breeders' Cup contingent
by NYRA Press Office
- Qurbaan pointed to Breeders' Cup Mile; Endorsed approved for Remsen
- Carrick to pass on Breeders' Cup, will shoot instead for Grade 1 glory at Del Mar
- Oscar Performance looks to give another show-stopping effort in BC Mile
- Mind Control targets BC Juvenile
Continuing preparations for the upcoming Breeders' Cup World Championships on November 2-3 at Churchill Downs, Belmont fall meet-leading trainer Chad Brown sent a bevy of Breeders' Cup contenders to both the main track and inner turf course for workouts Sunday morning.
Impressive Grade 2 Miss Grillo winner Newspaperofrecord, pointing towards the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, visited the main track in company with multiple graded-stakes winner Significant Form,as the pair completed four furlongs in 48.78 seconds.
"I just went with my gut and decided to keep her on the dirt this morning because she worked terrific on it last week," said Brown of Newspaperofrecord. "She worked again in company with Significant Form. They were a good match last week and I was very pleased today. She seems to be holding her form well from her win in the Miss Grillo. She'll come back with a maintenance breeze either Saturday or Sunday next week and then ship to Churchill. She's fit and ready."
Owner Peter Brant's multiple graded stakes runner Sistercharlie, unraced since capturing the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park on August 11, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.56 on the inner turf course in company with multiple graded stakes runner Uni. Expected to headline the Grade 1, Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, the Irish-bred 4-year-old daughter of Myboycharlie has registered a stellar record of three Grade 1 wins and two second-place finishes since arriving in North America in June 2017.
"I wanted a real solid work," said Brown. "Sistercharlie is coming off a bit of a layoff now, and I felt we got that today. A minute and change and the work was sharp and solid. She galloped out with plenty of energy. Uni is a good workmate for her. Although she [Uni] won't be participating in the Breeders' Cup she will run in a Grade 1 her next time out in the Matriarch [December 2 at Del Mar]."
Looking to rebound off a pair of disappointing performances in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland, in which graded stakes winners Almanaar and Analyze It finished eighth and fourth respectively, the pair worked in company on the turf Sunday morning completing four furlongs in 49 seconds flat in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Turf Mile.
"Each was their first breeze back since their race at Keenland where neither of them were effective and I thought they looked terrific this morning," said Brown. "I wanted to see how they were doing. It's not really my style to come in off a poor performance and take a shot in a big race with one horse let alone two, but they were training so well going into the Shadwell that I just feel like they didn't handle the turf over there. I just can't believe those two results based on how well they were training coming into that race, so I'm going to draw a line through that thinking maybe they just didn't care for Keeneland's turf course particularly that day. It was a little wet. Maybe they will each prefer firmer ground at Churchill."
Rounding out Brown's Breeders' Cup workout contenders Sunday was Robert Bruce, who worked in company with 3-year-old Instilled Regard making his first appearance on the turf completing five furlongs in 1:00.77. A Raving Beauty and Fourstar Crook worked four furlongs in 48.77 seconds as well on the inner turf.
On Saturday, Grade 1 Champagne winner Complexity returned to the main track for his first workout since his impressive stakes win, breezing four furlongs in 49.32 seconds for start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
"He looks like he came out of the Champagne in good order," said Brown. "He ran a hard race in there setting fast fractions and having enough to finish well. I thought he got a lot out of that race and in between the Champagne and Breeders' Cup, I'm just looking to keep him sound and happy. I just let him stretch his legs. He came out of the work well, so one more to go."
Grade 1 Beldame winner Wow Cat completed Brown's Breeders' Cup workers on Saturday breezing four furlongs in 49.32 seconds.
"She's a decent work horse that needs some company," said Brown. "She worked with Pacific Wind and I thought it looks like she's come out of the win fine and is in good order for the [Breeders' Cup] Distaff".
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Qurbaan pointed to Breeders' Cup Mile; Endorsed approved for Remsen
Shadwell Stable's Qurbaan, who captured a dramatic nose score in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch while making his North American debut, is taking dead aim at the Breeders' Cup Mile.
The 5-year-old Speightstown chestnut campaigned mainly in France for trainer Francois Rohaut before arriving to trainer Kiaran McLaughlin's care this summer. Sent to post at 13-1 odds under Irad Ortiz, Qurbaan overcame gate trouble before launching a determined bid to nail Forge at the wire of the 1 1/16-mile turf event.
Last out, Qurbaan rallied from near the back of a field of 13 in the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on October 6 to finish a strong third, defeated just 4 ¾-lengths by the victorious Next Shares.
Qurbaan worked four furlongs in 48.82 seconds on Friday morning over the Belmont Park main.
"He worked very well in 48 and change, galloped out well, and we'll try to work next Friday and hope he gets in the Mile. It might overfill. He doesn't have to get in, but we hope he gets in," said McLaughlin. "He does everything right in a race, he was a little wide at the Shadwell Mile and it was a little soft that day, so he might be better on firmer turf. But, he's a neat horse, tries hard, and has done very well for us. He fits in the race if we get in."
Godolphin Stable homebred Endorsed earned a lofty 89 Beyer Speed Figure for his August 18 debut at Saratoga when a neck the best in a six-furlong maiden allowance event. The Medaglia d'Oro bay returned to action on October 6 at Belmont in the Grade 1 Champagne but failed to menace when sixth in a race won by the convincing Complexity. McLaughlin said he will look for local options for Endorsed.
"We'll look maybe at the Remsen [December 1, Aqueduct]. He's very talented but he didn't run that well [in the Champagne], so we'll, not back off, but just not go to the Breeders' Cup," said McLaughlin.
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Carrick to pass on Breeders' Cup, will shoot instead for Grade 1 glory at Del Mar
Michael Carrick, the professional soccer player who enjoyed stints with West Ham, Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United, was a force to be reckoned with on grass at stadiums across England.
"He was the rock that 'Man U' were built on," joked trainer Thomas Morley, a longstanding Spurs supporter.
Carrick, the 3-year-old son of Giant's Causeway, has also made a name for himself on the green, albeit on firmer footing at racecourses across North America. Owned by Donegal Racing, the sizable chestnut made a winning debut over 1 1/16-miles of good turf on May 12 at Belmont when 4 ½-lengths the best, while in for a maiden claiming tag of $40,000. He returned on June 21 to win a key allowance tilt at Belmont when stretching out to nine furlongs with next-out winners Sentry and Not in Charge left in his wake. After finishing third in the Grade 3 Kent at Laurel Park, Carrick earned Grade 1 status with a narrow neck score in the 1 ¼-mile Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park.
Last time out, Carrick faltered when travelling 12 furlongs over soft going, under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez, in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational. With the Breeders' Cup off the cards following that result, Carrick will instead ship west to California to try for a second Grade 1 win in the 1 1/8 miles Hollywood Derby, slated for December 1 at Del Mar.
"He's doing really well. You can draw a line completely through the Joe Hirsch, he hated the soft ground. He was beat going onto the backside and Johnny looked after him. We had a bit of a swing for the fences there, but I do think he's an extremely talented horse who will go to the Hollywood Derby which is the last chance we have to run against straight 3-year-olds in a Grade 1," Morley said. "And then, we'll give him a bit of a freshening through the winter and map out a 4-year-old campaign revolving around the Grade 1 races in New York. He's proved himself to be of that caliber. I always said that anything he did this year as a 3-year-old would be a bonus because he is a very big, long rangy horse and he will get better as he gets older."
Morley is over the moon with Carrick, who has banked $310,300 in purse money through just five career starts.
"Especially with a horse this big," agreed Morley. "He didn't even come into training as a 2-year-old, he only started up at the beginning of his 3-year-old year and we've just mapped out a plan where we let the horse take us where he's been ready to take us."
Morley earned his first Grade 1 score when Haveyougoneaway captured the 2016 edition of the Ballerina at Saratoga, but the conditioner admits that Carrick's score at Arlington this summer meant just as much.
"It was a very special day, no doubt, and it's been the highlight of our year so far. I wasn't actually there, it was the first day of the New York sale, so I watched it in the Fasig-Tipton office," said Morley. "You hate to not be there when you have a runner in a Grade 1, but I watched the race with Conor Foley who is a longtime friend of mine. We did the Darley Flying Start program together and he is our daughter Grace's Godfather. Conor buys a lot of horses for Donegal so he was an integral part of the purchasing of this horse, and the fact that the horse came to me to be trained, so it was very special to be able to watch it with him."
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Oscar Performance looks to give another show-stopping effort in BC Mile
Amerman Racing's Oscar Performance continues to look well heading into the Breeders' Cup Mile on November 3 at Churchill Downs, trainer Brian Lynch said by phone Sunday morning.
The four-time Grade 1 winner has breezed twice at Keeneland this month, including a five-furlong work in 1:01.00 on the main track on Wednesday. The 4-year-old Kitten's Joy colt had previously worked five furlongs in 1:03.23 on Belmont's inner turf on October 1 before shipping to Kentucky, where he worked four furlongs in 52.20 seconds on the turf.
"He looked really good coming out of it and it seems like there's no hiccups," Lynch said. "I'll bring him to Churchill soon and hopefully everything continues to be fine between now and the Breeders' Cup."
Oscar Performance tied a personal best with a 104 Beyer Speed Figure with a gate-to-wire win in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on September 15. Lynch said the effort was encouraging after having to be vanned off before completing the Grade 1 Arlington Million on August 11 at Arlington Park.
"It got him back on track and he's doing really well now," said Lynch, who added Oscar Performance will have one more breeze before the Breeders' Cup.
Lynch said he's hoping for cooperative weather at Churchill, where Oscar Performance ran 10th in his only previous start in the 2017 Grade 2 American Turf on softer turf. The Kentucky homebred has won two of his last three starts, both on firm turf, in the Grade 3 Poker on June 17 at Belmont before his victory at Woodbine.
"We're hoping that Mother Nature is kind to us and everything will suit us like it did at the Woodbine Mile," Lynch said.
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Mind Control targets BC Juvenile
Mind Control came out of his second consecutive breeze in good order and remains on target for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on November 2 at Churchill, trainer Greg Sacco said by phone Sunday morning.
The Stay Thirsty colt made a splash in his stakes debut, winning the seven-furlong Grade 1 Hopeful by three-quarters of a length over Mucho on September 3 at Saratoga. After breaking his maiden at second asking on August 12 at his home base of Monmouth Park, Mind Control earned an 84 Beyer for his Hopeful win in the eight-horse field.
The original plan was for Mind Control to make one more start before the Juvenile, but he was scratched from the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity on October 6 when he came down with a fever prior to the race.
"The fever was just an unfortunate thing, but he was never sick. The bloodwork was perfect there and the bloodwork has been perfect here in Jersey, so we weren't dealing with a sick racehorse," Sacco said. "It's a shame he spiked a temperature, but everything has been good since."
Working in company with Candy Cane Lane, Mind Control breezed six furlongs in 1:13.80 Saturday at Monmouth. That built on his five-furlong work in 1:02.00 over the same track on October 14.
"His first work back let him stretch his legs and yesterday, we asked a little bit more, and he just did it well and [stayed] within himself," Sacco said. "His regular exercise rider Benny Sanchez said he felt as good as he ever did and real strong. He was bouncing around the barn this morning. We'll have one more work and if everything goes well, we'll fly him out on the 29th."
Mind Control has stretched out in distance in each of his three career starts, beginning with his runner-up effort at 5 ½ furlongs on July 5 at Delaware Park. He will now take aim at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile 1 1/16-mile distance, which will mark his first race at longer than a mile.
"From all indications, it doesn't look like he'll have any distance limitations for a mile and a sixteenth," Sacco said. "You don't know until you try a horse going two turns. [I think] he'll handle the distance well. We've been pleased with his training."
Mind Control has consistently either set the speed of the race or been right off the pacesetter, though Sacco said Mind Control doesn't need one particular type of trip to be successful. His conditioner also said jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. will pick up the mount for the Juvenile.
"I think he'll be able to rate off of horses and he [can be] a horse who doesn't need the lead," Sacco said. "For Irad, once he gets open, I think he'll be forwardly placed, and we'll leave the rest up to him."
Mind Control, owned by Red Oak Stable and Madaket, has impressed Sacco with his intelligence.
"He's one of the smartest horses I've ever trained, if not the smartest. He's like an older horse," Sacco said. "He's shipped to Delaware in the blistering heat and handled it well. He went to Monmouth and Saratoga. He's a horse who brings his track with him. I don't foresee any reason he can't handle Churchill. The good horses do overcome things. One of his best attributes, besides being talented, is that he's very smart. There's no wasted energy. On race day, he puts his game face on."