Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Daily Cup Update: Dirt Mile, Monday, Nov. 1
Aikenite – The 3yo son of Yes It’s True is expected to get into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile from the preference list with Morning Line likely headed for the Classic. He was a troubled fifth in the Juvenile at Santa Anita last year.
“It looks like we’re going to get in, so that makes 11,” said trainer Todd Pletcher of his contingent of runners in the two-day Breeders’ Cup events. Aikenite worked on Sunday at Churchill, breezing 4f in 48 4/5, ranking him 13th among 60 at the distance.
“He came out of it in good order,” Pletcher said. John Velazquez, who was not aboard in last year’s Juvenile (Alan Garcia), will get the mount.
Awesome Gem – see Marathon
Cool Coal Man – The 5yo son of Mineshaft galloped 1 1/2m at Churchill Downs Monday morning under exercise rider Carlos Correa.
“Everything was good,” said Stacy Prior, assistant to trainer Nick Zito, who was en route to Louisville.
Cool Coal Man is expected to gallop up to the Dirt Mile after finishing his serious training at Saratoga.
Crown of Thorns – The 5yo horse walked at Hollywood Park Monday after working 5f Sunday. He finished second in the Breeders' Cup Sprint last year, beaten by a nose, but trainer Richard Mandella chose the Dirt Mile for him this year.
“I decided not to go in the Sprint after the seven-eighths race at Del Mar (the Pat O'Brien Stakes on Aug. 28, when he was a closing second),” said Mandella. “He acted like he wanted to go farther.
“I knew the Classic would have a lot of horses, and a lot of good horses,” he continued. “You better have some experience with those guys, so I'm sticking with the (Dirt) Mile. He's a very good horse. I know he will give it a good try.”
Crown of Thorns has started on synthetic in all eight outings but Mandella is not worried about the change to dirt.
“I think he'll run on whatever,” said Mandella. “I don't think he'll care. He's a tryer.”
Crown of Thorns is scheduled to be flown to Kentucky Tuesday and will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano.
Dakota Phone – San Diego Handicap winner Dakota Phone will definitely go in the Dirt Mile. The 5yo gelding arrived at Churchill Downs around noon on Sunday and jogged Monday morning.
Owned by George Todaro, John Carver, and Halo Farms, Dakota Phone worked 5f at Hollywood Park on Thursday, Oct. 28 in 1:13 4/5, but assistant Archie Cross said that time was unimportant with him.
Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said that Joel Rosario will ride Dakota Phone, who will gallop Tuesday morning, and blow out 4f on Wednesday.
Hollendorfer said he would start taking his three horses to the track starting as soon as it opens around 5:30–6 a.m.
Gayego/Vineyard Haven – Assistant trainer Rick Mettee reported that Gayego and Vineyard Haven, part of the Godolphin contingent that had been based at Belmont Park over the summer and fall had departed from Belmont early Monday afternoon.
“They pulled out of Belmont about 1 p.m.,” Mettee said. “No problems whatsoever. Everything is on schedule.”
Here Comes Ben – The Forego winner, riding a four-race win streak into the Dirt Mile, galloped 1 ¼m at his Keeneland base on Monday. He will continue to train there through Wednesday morning and will then ship to Churchill Downs, arriving before the noon deadline.
When asked if not starting Here Comes Ben since the Sept. 4 Forego was by design, trainer Charles Lopresti said it was.
“The Dirt Mile has always been our target,” said Lopresti. “If you look, it’s about the same spacing between the Forego and Dirt Mile as there was between the Kelly’s Landing and the Forego. He couldn’t be doing any better right now.”
Jockey Alex Solis will have the mount.
Hurricane Ike – The 3yo colt who captured the Derby Trial at Churchill Downs in April, jogged 1m Monday morning as he moves toward his start Saturday in the Dirt Mile.
With Jose Alferez up and trainer John Sadler observing, the son of Graeme Hall went trackside at 6:40 and accomplished his exercise in good fashion under the lights.
Hurricane Ike’s victory in the Trial was on the same one-turn mile course he’ll be asked to navigate Saturday. His victory also was accomplished with rider Calvin Borel aboard, which also will be the case in the Dirt Mile.
Mine That Bird – The 2009 Kentucky Derby winner walked the D. Wayne Lukas shedrow Monday following his wrap-up of serious training for the Dirt Mile with a 3f 37 2/5 blowout at Churchill Downs Sunday.
Lukas said he’s planning nothing special for the 4yo son of Birdstone as he moves forward toward his Saturday date.
Mine That Bird, who gets Mike Smith in the saddle, hasn’t won in eight starts since the Derby.
Morning Line – see Classic
Thiskyhasnolimit – Bob and Cathy Zollars’ Thiskyhasnolimit worked 4f in 48 4/5 over a fast Churchill track Monday in final preparation for Saturday’s Dirt Mile.
With exercise rider Eric McNeil aboard, the 3yo son of Sky Mesa logged splits of 12 1/5, 24 1/5, 36 1/5 and he galloped out 5f in 1:02 3/5.
“I'm very pleased with how he worked,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “He trains really well at Churchill, and he’s had some good races here.”
Thiskyhasnolimit owns a pair of Churchill stakes wins, capturing the Iroquois as a 2yo and the Matt Winn in his 3yo debut. With a record of three wins from five starts here, he has a proven affinity for the track.
“We do know he handles this racetrack, so that’s one of the variables you don’t have to worry about,” Asmussen said. “At this level you have to be good enough, and the trip comes into play.”
Asmussen confirmed Jamie Theriot will ride Thiskyhasnolimit in the Dirt Mile.
“He’s ridden him the last two times and got very good races out of him,” Asmussen said.
Tizway – William L. Clifton Jr.’s Tizway jogged 2m at Saratoga Race Course Monday morning.
Tizway captured the Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park in his most recent start.
“He’s doing very well right now,” trainer James Bond said.
The 5yo son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow is scheduled to ship to Louisville on Tuesday and will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh.
Tropic Storm – see Turf Sprint