2018 Breeders’ Cup: Oscar Performance Works

Amerman Racing’s four-time Grade 1 winner Oscar Performance continued his preparations for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3 by working 5 furlongs in company in 1:01 over a fast main track Wednesday morning at Keeneland.

Working with Teryn It Up, a 3-year-old maiden, Oscar Performance edged in front at the wire as he completed his final quarter-mile in :24 with regular rider Jose Ortiz up.

“I am happy with it,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “I wanted him to go in around 1:01 or 1:01 and change.”

Oscar Performance, winner of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile (G1) in his most recent start Sept. 15, on Oct. 7 worked a half-mile in :52.20 on a turf course labeled good. He was scheduled for another grass work this past Sunday, but rainy conditions curtailed any turf activity.

“You do what you can,” Lynch said of the missed grass work. “But he has worked well on the dirt, and this year he has never lost when I have worked him on the dirt before a race.

“He worked on dirt before Woodbine and before the race at Belmont (the Grade 3 Poker in June).”

Winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Santa Anita in 2016 and ninth in last year’s 1½-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at Del Mar after setting the pace, Oscar Performance likely will have his final Breeders’ Cup work on the turf at Churchill Downs Oct. 28.

Source: Keeneland

Breeders’ Cup 2018: Disco Partner to Turf Sprint

Trainer Christophe Clement enjoyed a successful October Festival of Racing last Saturday at Belmont Park, saddling Disco Partner to an impressive victory in the $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational followed two races later by Have At It, an 11-1 upset winner of the Grade 2, $500,000 Hill Prince.

Patricia Generazio’s homebred Disco Partner reaffirmed his status as a top turf sprinter, besting a field of six for his second straight win in the Belmont Turf Sprint. It was his first start since finishing third in the Grade 3 Troy Handicap this summer at Saratoga Race Course.

Breaking from the rail as the odds-on favorite with Irad Ortiz, Jr. aboard, the 6-year-old New York-bred stalked from fourth as stablemate Pure Sensation darted to the front, setting fractions of 21.97 seconds for the opening quarter mile and 45.08 for the half.

With five furlongs completed in 56.84, Disco Partner made his way to the front at the three-eighths pole and exploded away from Pure Sensation in the stretch, extending away to the wire to win by 5 ½ lengths.

The final time for the six-furlong distance was 1:08.50 on an inner turf course listed as good.

“He made me feel very confident on top of him,” Ortiz said. “When I asked him, he was there for me. He was traveling perfect and then I smooched on him at the three-eighths pole and he took off right away for me. I knew he was going to be there for me. He’s a fighter. He always shows up.”

Returning $4.20 for a $2 win wager, the son of Disco Rico picked up his 11th win from 26 career starts, boosting his career earnings to $1,264,810. Clement said Disco Partner will likely target the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 3 at Churchill Downs. He finished third in last year’s edition at Del Mar. Pure Sensation, winner of the 2016 Belmont Turf Sprint, was fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup.

“[It’s] a great credit to their program, Mr. and Mrs. Generazio. He’s getting older, but he’s still one of the best, if not the best sprinter, in New York, and I thought it was a very impressive performance,” said Clement. “Irad was not too hard on him, which is great. As long as he comes back in good shape, we’ll get him ready for the Breeders’ Cup. I don’t like to have too hard of a race before the Breeders’ Cup, so I was very happy with the performance today.”

Pure Sensation Possible for Turf Sprint

Clement applauded the performance by third-place finisher Pure Sensation, also owned and bred by Generazio, adding that he is possible for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint as well.

“He actually ran very well,” said Clement. “It’s not really his best ground, and he ran really good and got caught in the last furlong. We’ll see how he comes out of it. He could be a possible as well. I’ll ask Mr. and Mrs. Generazio. It’s a good position to be in.”

Blind Ambition closed well to earn second and following Pure Sensation in third was Proforma, Gidu and Pocket Change to complete the order of finish. Simon Bar Sinister and Maniacal were scratched.

Source: NYRA

Breeders’ Cup 2018: Classic Longshot Gunnevera

Gunnevara Fountain of YouthMargoth’s multiple graded-stakes winner Gunnevera breezed five furlongs Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park West in advance of his next anticipated start in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 3.

With regular rider Edgard Zayas aboard, Gunnevera completed the distance in 1:02 over a wet-fast main track, second-fastest of 13 horses. It was his first work since overcoming a wide trip to rally from 11th and finish second to Yoshida in the Woodward (G1) Sept. 1 at Saratoga.

“He did it very easy. We wanted to give him an easy work after his race at Saratoga,” trainer Antonio Sano said. “I’m so happy with the work and how my horse is doing. I’m so proud of the way he’s come back from the race.”

Sano said Gunnevera will have another breeze next Sunday over his home track, this time in company, before heading to Churchill Downs Friday, Oct. 26.

“Next week he’ll do a little bit more,” Sano said. “He’ll work one more time with a couple horses. I want to get a little stronger work before we go to Churchill.”

A 4-year-old son of Dialed In that has won earned more than $3 million, Gunnevera ran third in the $16 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) in January before sustaining a nasty foot injury while finishing off the board in the Dubai World Cup (G1) March 31. Given two months in Ocala to allow the foot to heal, he returned with a sharp 6 ½-length victory in an Aug. 10 optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream Park prior to the Woodward.

Gunnevera finished in a dead heat for fifth with inaugural Pegasus winner Arrogate in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic. They were 6 ¼ lengths behind winner and 2018 Pegasus winner Gun Runner.

“I’m so happy to be going back to the Classic for a second year,” Sano said. “My horse is doing very good and we are looking forward to trying again.”

Breeders’ Cup 2018: International Win And You’re In

Note: The Arc is today in France

Godolphin’s 5-year-old, 2.8-1 favorite Fine Needle (JPN) closed powerfully in the last 100 yards under jockey Yuga Kawada to collar 3-year-old filly Love Kampf (JPN) at the wire to win Sunday’s six furlong, $2,169,091 Sprinters Stakes (G1) at Nakayama Racecourse by a neck, and earned an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 85 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 2-3.

As part of the benefits of the Challenge series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Fine Needle to start in the $1 million Turf Sprint, a Grade 1 race run at 5 ½ furlongs on turf, for three-3-year-olds and up, at Churchill Downs on Nov.3. Breeders’ Cup also is providing all starters based outside of North Americas with a $40,000 travel allowance to compete in the World Championships.

Fine Needle joins Disco Partner, who won the Jaipur Invitational (G2) at Belmont Park in June and Havana Grey (GB), who captured the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five (G1) earlier this month at Leopardstown as the other Turf Sprint “Win and You’re In” contenders.

Melbourne_Australian racingToday’s 52nd Sprinters Stakes was run under rainy conditions with a huge typhoon closing in. Once in a Moon (JPN) gunned for the lead in the 16-horse field and set the pace. Fine Needle, trained by Yoshitada Takahashi, broke from post 8 and was settled in mid-field and three-wide. Shifting farther out in the last turn to avoid traffic, he unleashed his trademark turn of foot all the way to the wire while picking off his rivals one by one and finally catching Love Kampf in the final strides to win by a neck.

Sent off at 31-1, Love Kampf broke sharply and chased the pace in second. Hitting the straight still in second and two-wide, she took over the lead from the pacesetter while shaking off second favorite Nac Venus (JPN) 100 meters out and dug in gamely but was pinned by the winner at the wire.

Rhein Spirit (JPN) saved ground in third to fourth, struggled for room behind the battling front runners in the stretch, but broke through chasing Love Kampf in the final 50 meters, stretching his neck in front of Daimei Princess (JPN) to grab third.

Fine Needle completed the six furlongs in 1:08.3 under a course listed as good.

Fine Needle, a bay son of Admire Moon (JPN), won his fourth group stakes race is five starts this year. On Sept. 6, he came back after a four-month layoff to score an impressive 1 ½-length victory over Love Kampf at Hanshin in the six-furlong Centaur Stakes (G2). He began 2018 by winning the six-furlong Silk Road Stakes (G3) at Kyoto by two lengths on Jan. 28, and returned in March to take the Group 1 Takamatsumomiya Kinen at Chukyo by a nose. His lone defeat this year was in Hong Kong in late April where he finished fourth, beaten four lengths in the Group 1 Chairman’s Prize at Sha Tin.

Fine Needle was bred by Darley Japan KK.

“I am relieved to have been able to come up with the best results as the race favorite,” said Takahashi. “I knew by the look of Fine Needle’s eyes at the saddling area that he had switched into racing mode. He was positioned exactly where I had imagined and I was a little concerned when the jockey was urging the horse on at the third corner, but the horse got into gear and then geared up again once entering the stretch so from there I was just hoping with all my heart that he would reach the leader in time.”

Said winning-jockey Kawada: “He wasn’t as sharp in the first half of the race and we had to race further out than we’d hoped, but despite the unideal trip, he really made up for it with his legs at the straight and we just managed to clinch our victory at the wire. He sure validated his win in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen with this JRA-sprint-G1 double and two other grade-race victories which undoubtedly places him as the top sprinter in Japan.”

Breeders’ Cup 2018: Veteran Runner Pay Any Price heading to Turf Sprint

Averill Racing and Matties Racing Stable’s Pay Any Price withstood top weight of 130 pounds and a bold stretch challenge to capture the $75,000 Tamiami Handicap at Gulfstream Park on Sunday 9/16, taking huge strides toward a planned start in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Churchill Downs Nov. 3.

The 8-year-old gelding, who set a world record for five furlongs on turf (53.61 seconds) at Gulfstream last year, carried between 12 and 15 pounds more than his six rivals in the five-furlong turf handicap while winning his fourth straight race and 11th of his last 16 starts.

“He’ll get one more race and then we’re planning on going to Churchill,” said trainer Georgina Baxter following her first career stakes victory.

Pay Any Price broke alertly under Edgard Zayas to show the way while being pressed by Phantom Ro past fractions of 21.64 and 43.94 seconds. Turning into the homestretch, Phantom Ro pulled alongside the gelded son of Wildcat Heir, but the 2-5 favorite fought back under strong urging and pulled away to a 1 ½-length triumph.

The Breeders' Cup horse racing“He handled the 130 pounds well,” Zayas said. “I was a little worried because that’s a lot of weight. But he handled it well and when the other horse got to him he was game like he always is and kept on going and fought back.”

Phantom Ro, a stakes winner making his first start on turf, finished second while carrying 115 pounds, including jockey Tyler Gaffalione. Tenacity Zip and jockey Paco Lopez finished a head back.in third.

Pay Any Price, who ran five furlongs in 55.57 seconds, was making his first start since capturing the Bob Umphrey Turf Sprint on the June 30 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream.

“I was kind of worried because he was coming off a bit of a layoff and carrying a lot of weight. He was giving 15 pounds to some of the horses,” Baxter said. “He dug in good today. He’s dug in before, but today he surprised me. He really dug in. He was training really well.”

Pay Any Price has overcome chronic foot issues and behavioral issues to establish himself as a star stakes performer and fan favorite in South Florida.

“That’s my project,” Baxter said. “I get on him every day. It’s no secret he’s a hard horse to train.”

Source: Gulfstream Park