Sep 26, 2020
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Liveyourbeastlife 'nice and steady' in final work for Preakness (G1)

by NYRA Press Office

  • Liveyourbeastlife 'nice and steady' in final work for G1 Preakness
  • Happy Saver to target G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup; Pletcher stars lining up for Belmont fall meet stakes
  • Prioritize continues to train at the Spa ahead of G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup
  • Newly Minted to target Empire Showcase Day
  • Bourbon Bay possible for Empire Showcase Day stakes action

A week after a quicker than anticipated breeze of Liveyourbeastlife, trainer Jorge Abreu said he wanted something a little easier from the 3-year-old son of Ghostzapper, and he got just what he was looking for with a six-furlong work in 1:16.20 on the Belmont Park main track in preparation for the Grade 1, $1 million Preakness on October 3 at Pimlico Race Course.

Last week, the dark bay colt worked five-eighths in a swift 59.89, prompting Abreu to breeze Liveyourbeastlife without blinkers on Saturday morning. The conditioner said the equipment would remain on the horse for the Preakness.

"He had a nice maintenance breeze this morning; nice and steady. I wasn't looking for anything crazy," Abreu said. "He had a nice, long gallop out which is just what I wanted. Last week, he breezed a little quick. I didn't want him to do too much, so I took the blinkers off for the work."

Owned by William H. Lawrence, Liveyourbeastlife was a late-closing second to Mystic Guide in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on September 5 at Saratoga in his most recent start, where he registered a career-best 94 Beyer Speed Figure at 14-1 odds.

Bred in Kentucky by Phillips Racing Partnership, Liveyourbeastlife is out of the multiple black-type producing Kris S. mare Ellie's Moment, whose notable progeny include Time and Motion - a Grade 1 winner on turf. Despite the fact that Liveyourbeastlife boasts a pedigree that would suggest turf, Abreu said the horse does not handle the grass as well as one would think.

"I worked him on the turf one day at Saratoga last summer and he didn't work well at all. He went [five-eighths] in 1:05," Abreu recalled. "But he does well on the dirt, so no need to change anything."

Liveyourbeastlife will give Abreu, who took out his trainer's license at the end of 2016 after working as an assistant for Chad Brown, his first contender in an American Classic. Abreu said he is looking forward to the milestone opportunity.

"I am very excited. The horse is going into the race in very good shape, so we'll take the shot and see what happens," Abreu said.

A 4 ¼-length winner on debut last September at Belmont Park for a $62,500 tag, Liveyourbeastlife did not find the winner's circle again until August 12, where he won a first-level allowance event at Saratoga that included graded stakes placed Candy Tycoon prior to his runner-up effort in the Jim Dandy.

Abreu said the horse has continued to show gradual improvement throughout the summer.

"The horse isn't a flashy horse in the morning," Abreu said. "Nobody expected him to run that big in the Jim Dandy, but he's just getting better with age and with more racing experience."

Liveyourbeastlife is expected to ship to Pimlico Race Course on Tuesday morning and will be ridden by Mid-Atlantic based rider Trevor McCarthy.

In other Preakness Stakes related news, Paul Pompa, Jr.'s Country Grammer, who went a half-mile in 50.25 seconds over the Belmont main track Saturday, has been confirmed for the final leg of the 2020 Triple Crown and will look to give Brown his second victory in the prestigious event after saddling Cloud Computing to a victory in the 2017 Preakness. The son of second-crop sire Tonalist won the Grade 3 Peter Pan on July 16 at Saratoga and was a last-out fifth in the Grade 1 Runhappy Travers.

Happy Saver to target G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup; Pletcher stars lining up for Belmont fall meet stakes

Wertheimer and Frere's undefeated stakes winner Happy Saver and Grade 1 Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post will both bypass next Saturday's Grade 1 Preakness for trainer Todd Pletcher, with the conditioner saying the former of the two will target the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10 at Belmont Park. 

Happy Saver, by Super Saver, graduated on June 20 at Belmont and followed with a nine-furlong allowance score on July 26 at Saratoga ahead of a driving 1 1/2-length score last out in the nine-furlong Federico Tesio on September 7 at Pimlico.

He worked a bullet five eighths in 1:01.09 Friday on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. Pletcher said extra time between races will benefit the lightly raced Happy Saver.

"I was happy with his work yesterday and I just decided I like the extra week and it looks to be a shorter field here," said Pletcher. "He's done everything we've asked of him so far. It's pretty hard to win your first three races at three different tracks and stretch out to win a stakes at a mile and an eighth. He's been very impressive and we're happy with his development."

Last year, the Pletcher-trained Vino Rosso crossed the wire first in the Jockey Club Gold Cup but was demoted to second after a rugged stretch run with Code of Honor, who was elevated to victory. Vino Rosso exited that effort to win the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.

A win by Happy Saver would provide Pletcher with his first Jockey Club Gold Cup score.

"The Jockey Club has been a frustrating race for us. We've had some tough losses and last year's was especially tough but it was a great stepping stone to a great win in the Classic, so it would be fun to win it," said Pletcher.

Pletcher said he preferred not to look too far into the future for Happy Saver with regard to a potential start in the Breeders' Cup Classic on November 7 at Keeneland.

"One race at a time," said Pletcher.

Pletcher said St Elias Stable's multiple graded-stakes placed Dr Post, who finished fourth last out in the Grade 2 Jim Dandy on September 5 at the Spa, is enjoying some downtime at WinStar Farm in Kentucky.

"We sent him to Kentucky to give him a little bit of a freshening. He'll get some turn out time at WinStar and join us back in Florida in December," said Pletcher.

The Quality Road colt graduated at second asking in March at Gulfstream Park ahead of a score in the 1 1/16-mile Unbridled at the Hallandale Beach oval. After completing the exacta in the Belmont Stakes, Dr Post was a distant third in the Grade 1 Haskell won by eventual Grade 1 Kentucky Derby champ Authentic.

Pletcher will be well represented in the Grade 1, $250,000 Belmont Derby Invitational, a 10-furlong turf test for sophomores offering a berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf, in which he will saddle Farmington Road and No Word with Mo Ready also under consideration for the October 3 tilt.

"We're looking at the Belmont Derby for all three. It's a good opportunity for 3-year-olds on the turf," said Pletcher.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Chrysalis Stables and Robert LaPenta, Farmington Road rallied from last-of-five to capture a Colonial Downs allowance route last out on July 29 in his turf debut.

Wertheimer and Frere's No Word, a dark bay son of Silent Name, boasts a record of two wins and three thirds from six career starts all on turf. The dark bay closed to finish third last out in the Saratoga Derby Invitational on August 15 at the Spa, defeated a half-length to victorious Domestic Spending.

Repole Stable's Mo Ready, a New York homebred son of Uncle Mo, boasts a record of 7-2-1-1 and captured a one-mile state-bred turf allowance last out on August 15 at Saratoga.

Harrell Ventures' Halladay made the grade with a sparkling performance last out in the Grade 1 Fourstardave on August 22 at Saratoga that garnered a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure.

The 4-year-old War Front colt breezed a half-mile in 48.75 Friday on the Oklahoma dirt training track in preparation for the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on October 3 at Keeneland.

"The breeze went well. He's doing great and will ship out on Monday for the Shadwell Mile," said Pletcher. "He ran so well in the Fourstardave we wanted to give the race there at Keeneland a try and give him a race over the course. Hopefully, it will be a good stepping stone to the Breeders' Cup Mile."

The ultra-consistent grey boasts a record of 14-6-2-4 with purse earnings of $517,485.

Prioritize continues to train at the Spa ahead of G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup

William L. Clifton, Jr.'s Prioritize is coming off back-to-back career-high Beyer Speed Figures and is training well heading into the Grade 1, $250,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10, trainer H. James Bond said Saturday morning.

Making his graded stakes debut on the dirt last out, Prioritize ran third in the Grade 1 Woodward on September 5 at Saratoga Race Course, earning a 99 Beyer for the second consecutive race, following his win by a neck in a 1 1/8-mile optional claimer on July 25 at the Spa.

Prioritize has stayed at Bond's home base in Saratoga, breezing on September 18 and following with a five-furlong work in 1:01.49 on the Oklahoma training track on Friday.

"He worked really good and came out of it in good order and we're looking in that direction," Bond said.

Prioritize started his career on turf, making his first nine starts on the grass, including third-place efforts in the 2018 Better Talk Now and the Grade 2 Hill Prince that year in consecutive races.

In December 2019, Bond switched him to dirt, where he has thrived in going 2-2-1 in five starts, improving his speed figures in his first four attempts before putting up the matching figure earlier this month.

"The surface switch has helped, and he's gotten bigger and stronger and he's handling it really well," Bond said. "He's improving. He has that 5 number by his age now, which I think is a really good number for me, where horses seem to really get it all together. He's getting it all together."

The 102nd running of the Jockey Club Gold Cup is a "Win and You're In" qualifier to the Grade 1, $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic, the highlight of the Breeders' Cup Championships from November 6-7 at Keeneland. The JCGC is one of five graded stakes on the day's loaded Belmont card and one of four Grade 1s with Breeders' Cup spots on the line, joining the $250,000 Flower Bowl (Filly and Mare Turf), as well as the $250,000 Frizette (Juvenile Fillies) and the $300,000 Champagne (Juvenile).

In the Woodward, Prioritize ran 1 ¼ lengths behind runner-up Tacitus and three lengths behind the winner Global Campaign in the first time he contested at the Classic distance of 1 1/4 miles.

"I thought he ran a good race the last time," Bond said. "He's a digger. He just keeps plugging along as they say and the mile and a quarter is in his range. He likes the Belmont track, too, and our fingers are crossed that he'll be ready for the 10th. He's still here at Saratoga and that's good mentally and physically for him. His works on the Oklahoma track have been exactly what we wanted, and we are just trying to improve our race from last time a little more."

Bond said Prioritize will pick up the services of jockey Luis Saez for the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

R and H Stable's Evaluator won his first start since 2017 when he cruised to a 13-length score over a sloppy and sealed Saratoga track on September 2. Off of that effort, Bond said the 5-year-old son of Overanalyze will be back to stakes company for the $175,000 Empire Classic on Empire Showcase Day for state-breds October 24 at Belmont.

Evaluator, who ran seventh in the 2018 Grade 2 Wood Memorial before finishing second in that year's edition of the Albany, was transferred to the care of Bond last year, where he tried him on turf in August 2019 and again off an 11-month layoff on July 30, with both efforts resulting in third-place finishes. Returning to the main track last out, Evaluator cruised to the easy victory and will now target his first stakes appearance since the 2019 Evan Shipman, where he was eased and did not complete the race.

Newly Minted to target Empire Showcase Day

Beach Haven Thoroughbreds' Newly Minted will have her choice between two races on Saturday, October 24 when the best New York-breds gather at Belmont for the Empire Showcase Day card which will offer eight stakes worth $1.2 million.

Trainer Linda Rice said the 4-year-old daughter of Central Banker, bred in the Empire State by Chester and Mary Broman, will target either the $125,000 Iroquois at 6 ½-furlongs or the 1 1/16-mile Empire Distaff.

Boasting a record of 11-6-3-1, Newly Minted has won four restricted stakes, including a last-out neck score in the Union Avenue at Saratoga on August 13.

"She's doing well," said Rice. "We're going to shoot towards Empire Showcase day with her. I'm not sure if we'll go to the sprint or the longer race. She's pretty versatile."

Paul Pompa, Jr.'s Turned Aside, a bay son of American Pharoah, made the grade on July 24 in the Grade 3 Quick Call sprinting 5 ½-furlongs on the Saratoga turf. The Kentucky homebred followed with a level fifth in the Grade 3 Franklin-Simpson, a 6 ½-furlong turf sprint for sophomores on September 16 at Kentucky Downs.

"We ran him in the stakes at Kentucky Downs on the up and down course and he ran an even fifth. I'm not sure where we're going to run him back yet, but he came back well," said Rice.

Chris Fountoukis' Montauk Traffic, winner of the seven-furlong Jimmy Winkfield in February at Aqueduct, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.58 Saturday on the Belmont dirt training track.

It was the fourth breeze back for the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Cross Traffic, who rallied for fourth last out in the Grade 3 Gotham on March 7 at the Big A.

"He went five-eighths in 1:01 and 2 and galloped out three-quarters. He's making steady progress," said Rice.

Rice said Montauk Traffic could make his return in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bold Ruler Handicap, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up on October 31 at Belmont.

"He's coming along really well. We're getting there with him, but we're still about a month away," said Rice. "The Bold Ruler is a possibility because it's a good distance for him."

Wicked Trick, owned by Rice in partnership with Stephen G. Cooper, returned to the work tab Saturday at Belmont covering a half-mile in 50.23 on the dirt training track.

The 5-year-old Hat Trick gelding was claimed for $16,000 out of a winning effort in August 2019 and won his next four outings for new connections at the allowance level from October through January, culminating with a career-best 101 Beyer for a 9 ¼-length score traveling one-mile at the Big A.

He completed his campaign with a fifth in the Stymie in his stakes debut and followed last out with a fourth in June in the Grade 2 True North off the more than three-month layoff at Belmont.

"We're excited to have him back," said Rice. "That was his first breeze and it's good to get him going again. He's really fun to have at the barn. We did really well with him last fall and winter, so we gave him the summer off to rest him up and now he's back in action."

Bourbon Bay possible for Empire Showcase Day stakes action

Trainer Mark Hennig said he was delighted to get Bourbon Bay a triumph against winners when the son of second-crop sire Bayern defeated his New York-bred counterparts in Friday's eighth race going a one-turn mile over the Belmont main track. 

Owned by Michael McMahon and Jamie Hill's Bourbon Lane Stable, Seidman Stables and Lake Lonely Racing, Bourbon Bay broke his maiden at second asking on December 5 at Aqueduct and was subsequently three-times stakes paced, including the open company Jerome on New Year's Day at Aqueduct, where he dead-heated for second alongside Prince of Pharoahs, finishing four lengths to Independence Hall.

Hennig said he had been anxious to get Bourbon Bay at one mile, which he said is the ideal distance for the 3-year-old bay colt, who prior to Friday's race ran eighth in a turf allowance event at Saratoga.

"It's been tough getting the distance we really want," Hennig said. "At Saratoga, you're kind of in between distances, that's why we tried him on the grass. We finally got to do what we wanted with him on Friday."

Bourbon Bay matched a career-best 76 Beyer for Friday's score. With a triumph against winners under his belt, Hennig did not rule out the possibility of running the horse against elders next out in the nine-furlong Empire Classic, which is one of eight stakes races carded for the October 24 Empire Showcase Day.

"It would be a tough task to face older horses, but we'll nominate. I don't know how big of a field it will be, but we'll sure look at it," Hennig said.

Bred in the Empire State by Oak Bluff Stables and Christophe Clement, Bourbon Bay is out of the Ontario-bred Street Sense mare Savvy Sassy.

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