Breeders’ Cup 2018: Stars Perform Workouts at Churchill Downs

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Godolphin’s Dubai World Cup (GI) winner Thunder Snow (IRE) completed his final step prior to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) with a seven-furlong move in 1:27 at 5:30 a.m. EDT Friday at Churchill Downs.

Thunder Snow worked through eighth-mile splits in :13.20, 26, :38.40, :50.40, 1:02.40 and 1:14.60. The 4-year-old colt completed his work with a one-mile gallop out in 1:41.20, according to Nichols.

Godolphin’s Traveling Manager Tommy Burns watched intently from Section 318 of the Churchill Downs grandstand with a smile on his face. Burns reported trainer Saeed bin Suroor likely will arrive at Churchill Downs early next week.

Mind Your Biscuits Works for Summers

Trainer Chad Summers’ top Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) contender Mind Your Biscuits completed what appeared to be his final major preparation for the $6 million test with an easy five-furlong move in 1:03.20 early Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It was a two-minute lick,” Summers said. “We’re really happy with how he’s doing and how he went this morning.”

Mind Your Biscuits, the winner of the Lukas Classic (GIII) on Sept. 29 at Churchill Downs and multiple Grade I-winning sprinter, has pre-entered in both the Classic and TwinSpires Sprint (GI).

“I actually originally pre-entered in the Classic and Dirt Mile,” Summers said. “However, once I heard X Y Jet was coming for the Sprint, I changed my pre-entry at 11:50 a.m. on Monday (deadline was noon).”

Tyler Gaffalione, a new addition to the Churchill Downs jockey colony, has the call on Mind Your Biscuits in the Breeders’ Cup.

Currently on the outside of the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) field looking in is locally based trainer Dallas Stewart’s Ack Ack (GIII) winner Seeking the Soul who worked a half-mile in :47.60 Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It seems we have some luck sneaking into races when we are on the outside looking in,” said Stewart, who finished second in the Kentucky Derby in 2013-14 with Golden Soul and Commanding Curve. “One thing we know for certain is that this horses loves this track. If we can’t get into the Classic, then we can run in the Dirt Mile. I think he’ll do great in either spot.”

Currently, Seeking the Soul is ranked No. 17 on the Breeders’ Cup preference list for the Classic, that is limited to 14 starters.

The winner of the Grade I Clark Handicap last November worked Friday through opening splits of :11.60 and :23.20, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols. The work was ranked the third fastest out of 26 at the distance over the “good” dirt surface.

Gunnevera Works. Expects to Make Classic

Margoth’s Gunnevera breezed six furlongs in 1:15.20 Friday morning at Gulfstream Park West in preparation for a planned start in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

The Antonio Sano-trained 4-year-old worked by himself under exercise rider Raul Velasquez.

“It was a nice work. We gave him a nice easy work,” said Sano, whose stretch-running son of Dialed In had previously turned in three strong five-furlong breezes in company.

Gunnevera, who ranks second on the list of alternates for the Classic, is a probable to make the field Monday, when Bravazo and City of Light are expected to be entered in the $1 million Dirt Mile (G1), listed as the first-preference for both horses in the pre-entries for the 35th Breeders’ Cup.

“It was a surprise to me. Never in my life did I think he wouldn’t be selected [into the main field],” Sano said.

Gunnevera, who finished in a dead-heat for fifth with Arrogate in last year’s Classic at Del Mar, started his 2018 campaign with a third-place finish behind Gun Runner and West Coast in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) at Gulfstream in January. Two months later, he finished eighth in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1), in which he sustained a nasty hoof injury that sent him to the sidelines for five months. Gunnevera has returned to action as good as ever, capturing an Aug. 10 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park by 6 ½ lengths before finishing second behind Yoshida in the $750,000 Woodward (G1) at Saratoga in his most recent start Sept. 1, closing from 11th with a six-wide rally.

“My horse is doing good. He has a chance to win. The mile and a quarter is good for him,” Sano said.

Irad Ortiz Jr. is scheduled to ride Gunnevera for the first time in the Classic.

Gunnevera is scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs by van at 7 p.m. Friday.

Kathleen O’Connell-trained Well Defined, the easy winner of the $400,000 FSS In Reality last time out, and Stormy Embrace, the winner of the ‘Win and You’re In’ Princess Rooney (G2) on the June 30 Summit of Speed card, arrived at Churchill Downs Friday morning for scheduled starts in the $2 million Juvenile (G1) Nov. 2 and the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, respectively.

“They just arrived this morning. Everything seems to be good,” said O’Connell, who will join her Breeders’ Cup candidates at Churchill Sunday.

Stanley Gold-trained Cookie Dough, the winner of the $400,000 FSS My Dear Girl last time out, was also scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs Friday for a scheduled start in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies (G1) Nov. 2. Georgina Baxter-trained Pay Any Price, the first-alternate for the $1 million Turf Sprint (G1) Nov. 3, was also slated to depart Gulfstream Park Friday.

David Fawkes-trained Louder Than Bombs, who captured the Armed Forces Stakes over the Gulfstream turf course last time out, breezed a half-mile in 47.02 seconds at Gulfstream Friday morning. The 2-year-old son of Violence, who posted the fastest of 31 recorded at the distance, is the second alternate for the $1 million Juvenile Turf (G1) Nov. 2.

Source: Churchill Downs

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is also a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program. He is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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