The Breeders’ Cup Classic hope from Japan, Espoir City, worked a half-mile after the renovation break in :49.60 with exercise rider Toshiyuki Abematsu up.
What made the work unusual was the 5-year-old horse worked from the wire to the half-mile pole.
“That is how they usually do it with him in Japan, and they wanted to keep him in his routine,” said Mikki Tsuge, West Coast Representative for the Japan Racing Association who has been serving as the connections’ liaison at Churchill Downs. “Toshiyuki said the work went very well and he handled the track fine.”
Fractions for the work were :13, :25.40, :37.60 and out five furlongs in 1:05.
Espoir City had worked a leisurely six furlongs in 1:18.20 last Sunday under jockey Tetsuzo Sato. Sato and trainer Akio Adachi are scheduled to return to Louisville from Japan on Monday afternoon.
(Edited from track notes)