by NYRA Press Office
W.S. Farish's Code of Honor resumed serious business on Saturday morning with an easy half-mile move in 50.65 seconds over a fast main track at Belmont Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the homebred chestnut Noble Mission sophomore logged his first serious breeze since being elevated to first in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup following the disqualification of Vino Rosso.
"I thought he looked great," McGaughey said. "We're just getting him started again and he went off easy, finished up well, galloped out great and came back in good order. So we'll come back next weekend and get a solid work into him."
McGaughey said he expects to see a stronger work next week out of Code of Honor, who became the veteran conditioner's fourth winner in both the Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup.
"[Saturday] was just something to get him going again and I'll come back and do more with him next weekend and blow him out and then send him to California and run him," McGaughey said.
A frontrunner for Champion 3-Year-Old, Code of Honor won the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers en route to a triumph in the Jockey Club Gold Cup against elders. In his second start of the year, he won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park before running third in the Grade 1 Florida Derby and eventually, was elevated to second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby after Maximum Security was disqualified.
A victory in the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic would make Code of Honor the 13th 3-year-old to win the 1 ¼-mile event, which has been won by eventual Champion 3-Year-Olds Arrogate (2016), American Pharoah (2015), Curlin (2007), Tiznow (2000), A.P. Indy (1992) and Sunday Silence (1989) during their respective campaigns.
Bred in Kentucky, Code of Honor is out of the graded stakes winning Dixie Union broodmare Reunited.
McGaughey also spoke of impressive second-level allowance winner Performer stating the chestnut son of Speightstown is targeting the Grade 3, $200,000 Discovery on November 30 at Aqueduct.
"He's been galloping but I'm not in any hurry with him," McGaughey said.
Owned by Phipps Stable and Claiborne Farm, Performer emerged from a seven-month layoff a winner when breaking his maiden at Belmont Park before securing victories against winners in his next two starts. Bred in Kentucky, Performer is out of the graded stakes placed A.P. Indy broodmare Protesting whose dam On Parade is a full sister to champion Storm Flag Flying.
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Come Dancing 'smooth' in Saturday morning breeze
Trainer Carlos Martin saw just what he wanted out of Come Dancing in her second work following the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom, where she drilled through five furlongs, with Rajiv Maragh up, in 1:00.44 on Saturday morning over the Belmont Park training track, which was the fastest of 14 recorded works at the distance.
Owned by Blue Devil Racing, Come Dancing is a four-time graded stakes winner this season including a victory in the Grade 1 Ballerina at Saratoga in August.
Come Dancing, a 5-year-old Malibu Moon dark bay, remains on target for the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 3 at Santa Anita.
"She was smooth. Just really, really comfortable," Martin said of the work. "She just does things so easily. Rajiv just nudged her a little bit and she just took off. I wanted to get a decent work into her but not squeeze the lemon dry and still have some time for the Breeders' Cup. I wanted to go between a minute and 1:01 and just get her to finish a bit the last eighth and she did that. I think they got her last quarter in 23 and 1, but she really did it the right way. She didn't draw a breath after, cooled out really sensationally."
Martin said the Gallant Bloom effort wasn't too taxing for Come Dancing.
"It doesn't seem that way. I wasn't going to run her," Martin said. "I was just going to train her up to the Breeders' Cup but she has just been really thriving. It seems like the best time of year to be thriving, when it counts the most. She seems to be getting better and stronger."
Martin said he would be delighted to see Come Dancing win an Eclipse Award for Champion Female Sprinter. When taking the Ballerina, she gave Martin his first Grade 1 victory since Buy the Firm won the Top Flight 1991.
"It's been a great ride. She's been an amazing mare for me," Martin said. "It would mean everything to me. It's a culmination of a lot of hard work and to come up with a champion mare would be a dream come true."
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Crystalle breezes in preparation for Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf; Mr. Buff set for Empire Classic
Crystalle, trained by John Kimmel for owners Tobey Morton and Chuck Hovitz, breezed four furlongs on the Belmont turf in 50.04 seconds in company with promising maiden winner Famished [50.77] on Sunday.
A dark bay daughter of Palace Malice, Crystalle crossed the wire first in her August 4 debut at Saratoga only to be disqualified and placed third. She graduated at second asking when rallying last to first in the P.G. Johnson, which set up a similar rallying effort last out in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo on September 29 at Belmont when missing by three-quarters of a length to Selflessly.
Famished, an Ontario-bred son of Uncle Mo, graduated at second asking at Saratoga on August 31 and was fourth in the Grade 3 Pilgrim on September 28 at Belmont in his turf debut.
"It was a very good work. They started off kind and finished with good energy. They both have similar running styles," said Kimmel.
Crystalle will make her next start in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf traveling one mile at Santa Anita. Kimmel said the slight turnback in distance will be a factor for the late-running filly, who will be piloted by Joel Rosario.
"It's a concern. It's a big field so the pace scenario will be legitimate," said Kimmel. "I've been watching the races out there and they go, so hopefully Joel, who has ridden out there for many years, can put her in a position where she has a legitimate chance of closing into it because we know she won't be carving out any fractions on the front end."
Kimmel said a slow pace in the Miss Grillo severely hampered any chances Crystalle had of winning.
"It's one of those things where you scratch your head. Why was the horse so far out of it with a moderate pace scenario up front," said Kimmel. "Obviously, with the slow pace, they were going to quicken significantly and she had to close into a slow pace scenario. She actually closed very well, running the last quarter in 22.17 and got beat three-quarters of a length and was by the winner in the next jump or so.
"She needs to be a little more tactful, especially out in California," added Kimmel. "Hopefully, Joel will be cognizant of that. He knows that track. She came out of that race really well. I know there's more to be had there if he had asked her a little sooner."
Kimmel said the versatile Famished will make his next start in either the Grade 3, $150,000 Nashua on November 3 at one mile on the main track or on turf in the $100,000 Awad set for one-mile at Belmont on October 26.
"Probably the Nashua [for Famished], but I'll work him back," said Kimmel. "He looks very comfortable out on that turf course. There's also the Awad so I'm not exactly sure which just yet."
Kimmel stable star Mr. Buff will make his next start in the $300,000 Empire Classic, part of the lucrative Empire State Breeders' Showcase Day on Saturday, October 19 at Belmont which features eight stakes races worth $1.75 million, topped by the Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles.
The Chester and Mary Broman homebred breezed four furlongs in 47.83 on the main track in company with impressive New York-bred maiden winner Harris Bay.
Owned by Nedlaw Stable, Harris Bay earned a 78 Beyer Speed Figure for his September 15 debut score at Belmont when three-quarters of a length the better of Dream Bigger, who next out won the New York Breeders' Futurity at Finger Lakes. Harris Bay will contest next weekend's $250,000 Sleepy Hollow.
"I thought it was a really nice work. I work Mr. Buff by himself most of the time but I know we have a big battle on our hands to try and beat Pat on the Back so I want to have him pretty sharp. I worked him in company with the 2-year-old Harris Bay, who is going to run on Showcase Day," said Kimmel. "They worked really nice. I had them in 48 and 1:01 and out in 1:15. In company, he [Mr. Buff} gets pretty strong. It was a good breeze.
"Harris Bay broke his maiden in 1:09 and 1 and beat Dream Bigger, who came back and won the Breeders' Futurity by 10," added Kimmel. "He ran a big figure on the sheets. I think he'll have a good shot and the added distance will be helpful."
Promising juveniles Mandatory and Undefeated worked four furlongs in company in 47.85 on Big Sandy on Sunday.
Mandatory is by first crop sire and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and is a half-brother to three-time Grade 1-winning multimillionaire I'm a Chatterbox. Both are out of the Lost Solider broodmare Chit Chatter. He finished third in his September 28 debut when leaving from post eight in a nine-horse six-furlong maiden sprint. The unraced Undefeated, by Uncle Mo, was purchased for $375,000 at the March OBS.
Kimmel said Mandatory will appreciate some added distance in an upcoming maiden event while Undefeated will be pointed toward a turf debut.
"Mandatory had a wide post and an outside trip on debut," said Kimmel. "He had to alter course a little bit but finished with good energy and galloped out extremely well. I think the horse is a natural router. He worked this morning in 47 and 4 with Dylan Davis up and Dylan said he had plenty of horse underneath him and did it well within himself. He'll come back in a one-mile maiden race. Undefeated will run the same day on the grass."
Kimmel has enjoyed a strong season with his juveniles and said he hopes to have at least one contender lined up for the Grade 2, $250,000 Remsen on December 7 at the Big A. The nine-furlong test offers 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
"I'm hopeful that one of these horses will be around for the Remsen in early December before giving them a break down in Florida to get them up and running for the spring," said Kimmel. "With Famished, I'd like to get him pointed to the Queen's Plate. Mandatory and those other colts will hopefully be able to do some running in the 3-year-old division with such great purse money to be had."
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Pat On the Back breezes for Empire Classic
New York-bred millionaire Pat On the Back, recent winner of the Grade 2 Kelso at Belmont, worked four furlongs on Big Sandy in 48.44 in company with Puttheglassdown on Sunday.
Pat On the Back, trained by Jeremiah Englehart, had won seven stakes against fellow New York-breds heading into the Kelso, where he prevailed to make the grade in his 26th career start. Sunday's breeze was overseen by Englehart's assistant trainer Axelle Solares.
With exercise rider Cristian Gaete up, Pat On the Back worked outside of Puttheglassdown with the duo reaching the wire together before the graded stakes winner edged clear and galloped out in front through the turn.
"The work went very well. The last breeze [before a race] we always try to put them in company to bring that energy that you want. He's pretty tough to breeze," said Solares. "We always ask to keep him with the company until the gallop out and let him gallop out nicely. His last two breezes were excellent. Today he went in 48 and 4 pretty easy on the bridle and galloped out good, so I think we're good to go.
"Puttheglassdown just won a race at Monmouth," added Solares. "I like how he's training right now. I think putting them together today gave us a good idea of how the horse is feeling. It was an excellent breeze."
Solares said Pat On the Back has continued to thrive at Belmont Park since the Kelso.
"I think he looks better now than before his last race. His coat is shiny and he's more dappled out. He loves to be here at Belmont," said Solares.
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$1.2 million purchase Snap Chap nearing debut
OXO Equine's Snap Chap breezed five furlongs in 1:02.18 from the gate on the Belmont main track on Saturday for trainer Don Chatlos. Purchased for $1.2 million at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Chatlos said the Into Mischief colt is pointed to a six-furlong maiden event on October 23 at Belmont.
"I think he's quick enough to win sprinting," said Chatlos. "I haven't asked him for everything in the morning, but he's done everything right. You put him in company with other horses and he will fight. He likes that. You can't train that into them; they either have it or they don't."
The stalky colt has breezed six times at Belmont since spending the summer at Saratoga.
"He came from Saratoga pretty fit. We knew we weren't going to make Saratoga so we just tried to put a good foundation into him," said Chatlos. "We started the serious work when we got here.
"He's been steady," added Chatlos. "He's worked in company a couple of times and he was waiting on the company. He could have just blown him away but that's not what we were looking for."
The multiple graded-stakes placed Brill has returned to training with Chatlos at Belmont after enjoying a brief freshening following her fourth in the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 5 at Belmont. The 3-year-old Medaglia d'Oro bay finished third last year in the Grade 1 Chandelier at Santa Anita and since that effort has finished third in the Grade 3 Fantasy at Oaklawn and fourth in the Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico.
"We decided to give Brill a break after running in the Victory Ride. She shipped twice to Oaklawn and once to Pimlico and then from Pimlico to here. I think we just knocked her out," said Chatlos. "We sent her to Bruce Jackson at Fair Hill and they did an unbelievable job. She looks great. We'll move her to turf and see if that's something she wants to do."
Chatlos said Instagrand, who captured the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar last year, will look to enter an allowance tilt before the end of the Belmont meet. He also noted that Forever Poe, an $850,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year-Olds In Training Sale, is nearing a debut before the barn moves to California for the winter.
"We'll leave here on November 2 for Del Mar," said Chatlos. "I'm looking forward to getting back here in the spring. Now that we've got the lay of the land we'll be a lot stronger next year."
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Morley looking to springboard hot streak into more success
After saddling two allowance winners in the past week with 4-year-old gelding Red Right Hand for Rainbow's End Racing Stable and New York-bred 4-year-old Foolish Ghost for Pinnacle Farms Racing, conditioner Tom Morley said he is looking to close out the Belmont Fall meet in strong fashion.
"It had been a quiet start since the Saratoga meet for us," said Morley. "We ended the Belmont spring meet with six wins and then our horses came back to give us another good run at Saratoga. They're just getting back into form after that meet.
"It's nice to get some good wins for a barn like ours competing with the number of horses we have."
Claimed after breaking his maiden on the dirt on June 29 at Belmont in his seventh career start, Red Right Hand made his first start on the turf for Morley finishing third in an allowance race on July 29 at Saratoga Race Course. Since then, the Lookin At Lucky gelding has wheeled off three consecutive wins taking an allowance race in his next start at Saratoga followed by an allowance victory on September 4 at Delaware Park and most recently capturing a second-level optional claiming race by 1 ½ lengths on October 6.
"It's nice to have a quality horse like him in the barn," said Morley. "He's really moved forward in a tremendous way and worked through his conditions."
Still eligible for a third-level allowance, Morley said he would consider that as a possible option next for Red Right Hand as well as nominate for the $150,000 Artie Schiller on November 9 and the Grade 3, $200,000 Red Smith on November 23.
"We'll keep the third level allowance for him as a possibility if that race is able to go as well as nominate for the Artie Schiller and Red Smith," said Morley. "Foolish Ghost came out his victory in good shape as well and we'll look to move forward from here. I'm not certain on where we'll point him to next but we've got some runners rounding back into form so we'll look to keep the momentum going."
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Carrera Cat on schedule for Iroquois
Carrera Cat, a 4-year-old New York-bred for owners Stone Bridge Farm and Very Un Stable, is on schedule to make her next start in the $150,000 Iroquois on the October 19 Empire State Showcase Day Card trainer John Morrison said.
Carrera Cat jumped up to face graded stakes competition in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap On September 22 in her most recent start, finishing fourth. She posted a four-furlong breeze in 48.44 seconds on Saturday, and Morrison said Carrera Cat is training forwardly into the Iroquois.
"Her breeze went great and we're on schedule for next Saturday's Iroquois," said Morrison. "It was a good work and it gave us the confidence she came out of her start in the Gallant Bloom well. Hopefully, she'll return to the good form she has had facing fellow New York breds."
Breaking her maiden against fellow New York-breds in her ninth career start in November of 2018 at Aqueduct Racetrack, Carrera Cat went on to win her next three starts including a first level allowance against open company on June 13 at Belmont. She followed up with a second-place effort in a second-level allowance race on July 17 at Saratoga where she won the Union Avenue before entering the Gallant Bloom.
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Ryerson points to $125K Autumn Days with Fire Key
After successfully protecting her title in Saturday afternoon's Floral Park, Fire Key will likely target the $125,000 Autumn Days on December 1 at Aqueduct, according to trainer Jim Ryerson.
A Backwards Stable New York homebred, Fire Key notched a sixth stakes victory in the six-furlong sprint over the Widener turf course, where she outbattled five-time stakes winner Goldwood in the stretch run. The daughter of Friesan Fire won the 2017 edition of the Autumn Days over eventual stakes winner and graded stakes placed Stormy Victoria.
Fire Key has proven herself consistent all season long having won or placed in six of nine starts in 2019. Prior to Saturday's win, she won the License Fee over the Widener turf course in April.
Ryerson said there is a strong possibility that Fire Key, a 6-year-old, will remain in training in 2020.
"She came out of the race really well," Ryerson said. "We'll look at the [Autumn Days] on the first of December. I think the owners are considering bringing her back, so we'll see."
Fire Key has amassed $735,910 in career earnings and has won nine of 33 lifetime starts. She is out of the Albert the Great broodmare U R Key.
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G3 Nashua a possibility for maiden winner Ashaar
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin saddled Shadwell Stables' Ashaar to a debut win on Saturday at Belmont. Ashaar broke sharply from the gate and strolled home to victory by 2 ½ lengths in a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Belmont Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Colts Neck Farm, the bay 2-year-old was purchased for $650,000 from the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling Sale and is out of the Coronado's Quest broodmare Well Spring whose dam was two-time Grade 1 winner Chaposa Springs.
"He was a little bit backward and leggy and tall and green early on, but he came around the last six weeks or so and has a lot of ability," McLaughlin said. "We didn't know for sure how he would be in the race but he broke sharp and [jockey] Joe [Bravo] rode him great. He did everything right and we're excited about going forward."
McLaughlin said that the Grade 3, $200,000 Nashua on November 3 at Aqueduct is a possibility for Ashaar, whose name is Arabic for "brave" or "strong".
"We're looking forward to possibly the Nashua or an allowance thereafter, but we hope to run in the Nashua. He seems to have come back in good shape," McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin also mentioned the Nashua as a possibility for Ajaaweed who was a recent fourth in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland after a second out maiden win at Belmont Park.
"He's looking at the Nashua too but we won't run them both," McLaughlin said. "We'll just see how they're both doing. We have the Remsen, December 7, too so hopefully they're that kind."
Ajaaweed, a Kentucky homebred, is by Curlin out of the Daaher broodmare Asiya who was twice placed against stakes company.