Oct 14, 2018
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Francesca LeDonne Photo

G1 Travers winner Catholic Boy back to work for BC Classic

by NYRA Press Office

  • Brown continues Breeders’ Cup contingent preparations
  • Sea Foam to Empire Classic; veteran turf sprinters pointed to BC for Clement
  • Code of Honor stepping up for BC Juvenile
  • Empire Showcase Day to feature variety of family fun events

Multiple Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy got back to his serious Breeders’ Cup Classic preparations on Sunday morning at Belmont Park with a five-furlong breeze in company in his first appearance on the worktab since September 30.

Catholic Boy, a 3-year-old colt by More Than Ready, worked outside his stablemate, graded stakes winner March, with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano aboard, edging his workmate late to complete the move in 1:01.26. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 3/5 seconds, according to NYRA clockers.

“I thought the work was executed perfectly,” said Jonathan Thomas, who trains Catholic Boy for Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm, and Twin Creeks Racing Stables. “We wanted a nice, long, rhythmic breeze, and I thought Javier did a great job getting him to relax early. The work started out in 12 and four [fifths of a second], 13 [seconds], and got faster from there and ultimately, it ended in a really nice gallop out.”

Winner of the Grade 1 Belmont Derby on turf prior to taking the Grade 1 Travers on August 25 at Saratoga Race Course, Catholic Boy missed a total of three days under tack last week due to a slight fever, according to Thomas, including a scheduled work last weekend. However, based on the strength of Sunday’s breeze, Thomas said he remains undeterred by what he considers a minor setback as his team continues to ready the versatile sophomore for the $6 million Classic on November 3 at Churchill Downs.

“He had a small temp, what basically turned out to be a two-day virus that he got over, but it cost us a breeze last weekend,” Thomas said. “When you prep for the Breeders’ Cup, you really don’t want any hiccups, but in the grand scheme of things, he recovered very quickly. He’s such a fit horse and I find it hard to believe that one [missed] breeze would dismantle what we’re trying to do here. And the fact that he breezed as well as he did this morning lets me know that maybe missing the work last week was a blessing, I don’t know. He did everything the right way.

“With the weather that we had, there’s a chance we might’ve pumped the breaks and had a couple easy days anyway, but with what I saw this morning, I don’t think it’s really derailed us much if at all,” he added.

Catholic Boy is slated to van to Churchill on Tuesday and have two works over the local surface before the Breeders’ Cup. It will be the first start at Churchill for the bay colt, whose nine career starts have come at six different tracks.

“I’d love to let him breeze over the racetrack there twice, just get a feel for it and get adjusted to his surroundings. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of plane activity from New York to Kentucky. So, we’re going to van down, which is fine, but I prefer to do that two weeks out or two and a half weeks out as opposed to one.

“Historically, he’s a horse that’s translated his form basically all over the country since he was two,” he continued. “He’s intelligent and I think it takes him a couple days to kind of soak everything in and relax. Everyone has their different methods, but this method seems to be one that’s worked for us, so I’d like to stick with it.”

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Brown continues Breeders’ Cup contingent preparations

Belmont Fall Championship Meet leading trainer Chad Brown didn’t let the recent inclement weather that forced the cancellation of turf works get in the way of continuing preparations for his upcoming Breeders’ Cup contingent, sending a bevy of stakes contenders to Belmont’s main track Sunday morning.

Multiple graded stakes winner Robert Bruce breezed four furlongs in 49.04 seconds in his first workout since finishing second over the soft going in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic on September 29, working in company with graded stakes winner Projected.

“With turf works cancelled this week, we had to movie his work to the dirt, which we’ve done before, and he did it fine,” said Brown. “I just wanted to see how he was moving since his last race, and he came out of it well. He was really moving good and hopefully we’ll get him back on the grass next week.”

The 4-year-old Chilean-bred colt is expected to make his next start in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Brown said his tentative plans would most likely involve getting one more breeze at Belmont before shipping to Churchill.

Irish-bred multiple graded stakes runner Sistercharlie also visited the main track to breeze over the surface for the first time, completing four furlongs in 48.56 in company with multiple graded stakes winner Uni.

“[She is] another horse we had to breeze on the dirt, and I thought she handled it fine,” said Brown. “We’ll try to get her on the grass next week as well. I haven’t breezed her on the dirt before, but she’s been here a long time and obviously, she gallops on it every day, so we gave it a shot, and I thought she handed it well.”

With three Grade 1 wins from five starts in North America, Sistercharlie is probable to make her next start in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Impressive Grade 2 Miss Grillo winner Newspaperofrecord also was on the worktab for Brown Sunday as the Klaravich Stable-owned filly breezed four furlongs in 48.52 in her first work since her victory working in company with multiple graded stakes winner Significant Form, who was scratched from Saturday’s Pebbles due to the soft turf course.

Newspaperofrecord, a 2-year-old Irish-bred filly by Lope De Vega, earned an all-fees-paid berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, a race in which Brown has won four times, including three of the last four runnings and most recently with Rushing Fall in 2017.

“She [Newspaperofrecord] worked great,” said Brown. “She just had a maintenance half-mile, her first work back since the Miss Grillo, and I thought she looked really well. I’m not really sure what we’re going to do with Significant Form yet. I don’t like her on soft turf, so we’ll regroup and work out a plan for her.”

Rounding out the notable workers form Brown’s barn Sunday was maiden winner U S Navy Cross, who breezed four furlongs in 48.66 and is expected to make his next start in the Grade 3, $200,000 Nashua on Sunday, November 4 of opening weekend at Aqueduct Racetrack.

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Sea Foam to Empire Classic; veteran turf sprinters pointed to BC for Clement

Trainer Christophe Clement holds a strong hand heading into the fall classics both in New York and Kentucky as the 2018 season reaches the final furlong. Next Saturday, Clement expects to send out promising 3-year-old Sea Foam in the $300,000 Empire Classic, the headlining act of Empire Showcase Day, while veteran turf sprinters Pure Sensation and Disco Partner continue to thrive as they look to return to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, slated for November 3 at Churchill.

Waterville Lake Stable homebred Sea Foam boasted a perfect in-the-money record as a juvenile with two wins and three thirds from five starts, including a season-closing score in the Notebook for state-breds at Aqueduct to open his stakes account. The Medaglia d’Oro bay has notched two more added-money wins in 2018, taking the New York Derby at Finger Lakes and the Albany at Saratoga. Last time out, on September 30, Sea Foam finished a good fifth, defeated just 2 ¼ lengths in the Grade 3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park.

Sea Foam breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Saturday morning over the Belmont Park main and will point towards the 1 1/8-mile Empire Classic for 3-year-olds and up.

“He ran the other day at Remington Park and he ran a good race. He came back in great shape and had a very easy work and I thought he looked good. It’s very ambitious and very aggressive, but as of now, I am training him for that race because it’s the last major New York-bred stakes and I think it’s foolish not to be part of it. I do realize it’s very quick back, it’s only 20 days, but as long as the horse is doing well this week, that’s the plan,” said Clement.

Although Sea Foam would have to face older horses, Clement believes his charge is talented enough to face the challenge this late in the season. Joel Rosario will have the call.

“I took on some of the leading 3-year-olds the other day at Remington Park and now we’ll take on older horses,” said Clement. “It just makes sense to take a look at it. Rosario knows him well and doesn’t make it complicated. Just let him run his race. He had a good breeze today and if he has a good week and trains well, we’ll make a decision on Thursday or Friday and go for it. If he needs more time we’ll give him more time, but my gut feeling is so far so good.”

Sea Foam is out of Strike It Rich, who Clement trained to added-money scores in the Grade 3 Boiling Springs and the listed Little Silver at Monmouth Park in 2010.

“She was a very nice mare,” recalled Clement. “And this horse [Sea Foam] is OK and he’s going to be an even better 4-year-old. I’m very excited to train him.”

Clement’s veteran turf sprinters are both in line for a Breeders’ Cup return. The New York-bred Disco Partner, who captured the “Win and You’re In” Grade 2 Jaipur Invitational at Belmont, finished third in last year’s Turf Sprint after a troubled trip saw the 6-year-old Disco Rico gray in 11th position at the second call. An 11-time winner from 26 career starts, Disco Partner is a barn favorite and will head to Churchill Downs off a victory in the Belmont Turf Sprint.

“He’s extraordinary. At Belmont, when he is right, he’s basically unbeatable. He just loves this track and has run some amazing races. He makes me feel, as a trainer, a little disappointed that we don’t have the Breeders’ Cup in New York,” said Clement. “As long as the race is not run on turf which is too soft, we won a ‘Win and You’re In’ race, the Jaipur, so there is no fee to go there, so he will be there.

“He ran very well last year at Del Mar,” continued Clement. “He didn’t have the best trip but finished third. He’s a very good horse and we have to try the Breeders’ Cup.”

Pure Sensation, a 7-year-old son of Zensational, will look to make his fourth appearance in the Turf Sprint after finishing eighth (2015), third (2016) and fifth (2017) in the past three runnings. With 10 wins from 30 career starts and more than $1.5 million in purse earnings, Pure Sensation has shown little sign of slowing down.

“He’s been a fun horse to be around. Very consistent, overall. Since he was a 2-year-old, he has been running at the top level which is great. I started him on dirt and then I switched him to turf and he’s even better on the grass. He’s a lovely horse to be around,” said Clement.

The Patricia Generazio homebred finished third in the Belmont Turf Sprint after setting a torrid pace.

“He ran well the other day to be third, but the ground was softer than he would have liked,” offered Clement. “The Breeders’ Cup is 5 1/2 furlongs so as long as the ground is not too soft, if it’s on the firmer side of good, we will go for it.”

Both horses are expected to post at least one more timed work ahead of shipping to Kentucky.

“They’re both very fit. I will under-train them and just worry about their soundness,” said Clement. “Ideally, we fly on Tuesday [October 30] and arrive that day at Churchill Downs.”

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Code of Honor stepping up for Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

W.S. Farish’s homebred Code of Honor remains on track for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with his first work since finishing second to Complexity in the Grade 1 Champagne tentatively scheduled for Thursday or Friday, said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey on Sunday morning.

Code of Honor broke his maiden in gate-to-wire fashion on August 18. McGaughey said he expected a similarly forward trip in the one-mile Champagne on October 6, but Code of Honor stumbled badly at the break under Eric Cancel, spotting the pacesetting Complexity more than 10 lengths in the early stages. The 2-year-old Noble Mission colt regrouped in the far turn and came running with a five-wide move into the stretch albeit too late to catch Complexity, who won by a comfortable three lengths.

“The owner and I talked Friday and decided what have we got to lose?” McGaughey said of making the trip to the Breeders’ Cup. “I would think that if he breaks good, he’ll have a pretty good chance. [The break in the Champagne] cost us what I was wanting to do. We had the outside [post] and I thought there would be more horses forwardly placed. But, if we had broke better, I think we could’ve been laying on the winner’s tail. What would’ve happened from there, I don’t know, but we wouldn’t have given up as much ground as we did.

“In hindsight, maybe it was good for him,” he added. “It should be a good learning experience and hopefully he moves forward.”

McGaughey said the plan is to work twice at Belmont before flying to Kentucky on Sunday, October 28 ahead of the Juvenile on Friday, November 2.

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Empire Showcase Day to feature variety of family fun events

In addition to a packed day of live racing on Saturday, featuring New York-breds competing in eight stakes worth more than $1.75 million in purse money, Empire Showcase Day will mark the return of Taste NY to Belmont Park.

Taste NY successfully connects racing fans with the very best in New York-produced foods, spirits, and crafts. Craft vendors from the Tri-State Area will also be on hand.

In Belmont Park’s spacious backyard, an exciting, fun-filled array of family activities will take place from 12 to 4 p.m. A pumpkin patch will allow kids to pick their own pumpkins, complete with a decorating station to add their own fall-themed designs. A Halloween themed haunted house will also be on hand for children to experience as well as face painters and a train ride track through the backyard.

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