Biondetti – Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni said Monday that the unbeaten Godolphin colt is likely to run in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile rather than the Juvenile Turf.
“We haven’t decided yet, but it’s 90 percent that we will go for the dirt,” Al Zarooni said.
The son of Preakness winner Bernardini broke his maiden on turf, won a stakes on a synthetic surface at Kempton and won the Group 1 Gran Criterium at San Siro in Italy on Oct. 9.
Al Zarooni said the decision would be based on two factors.
“It would be because of Bernardini and the breeding for the dirt and because he’s a Group 1 winner on turf,” he said. “The Juvenile is a Grade 1 and the Juvenile Turf is a Grade 2. We would rather have a Grade 1.”
Jockey Ahmed Ajtebi, who rode Juvenile winner Vale of York last year, has the mount on Biondetti.
After clearing quarantine, Biondetti made his first visit to the track at 10 a.m. Monday. The Kentucky-bred went out for some light exercise on the main track with two other European-based horses that had cleared quarantine, Debussy and Delagator.
Boys At Tosconova – Boys At Toscanova breezed 5f over Aqueduct’s main track in 1:01 Monday morning. Jockey Ramon Dominguez was aboard for the workout, in which New York Racing Association clockers caught the colt in splits of 25 1/5, 37 3/5 and 49 1/5. Boys at Toscanova galloped out 6f in 1:13 3/5.
“It was everything we wanted,” trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said. “Ramon was very happy with the horse and I got to go by what my riders tell me in the morning. We figure we’re sitting on a stick of dynamite. We’re very excited about this horse.”
Boys at Toscanova will fly to Kentucky on Tuesday. Dominguez has the mount Saturday.
J P's Gusto – The multiple stakes-winner walked the shedrow at Hollywood Park Monday after working 6f Sunday.
“He's coming into it great,” said Brent Fabbri, assistant to trainer David Hofmans, who was en route to Kentucky.
“He's such a smart horse,” added Fabbri. “Iggy Puglisi, who worked him Sunday, said when he went to look at his watch, he moved his hands, and the horse was ready to go.
“I think he is versatile enough to be on the lead or to sit off it,” added Fabbri. “In his last race, we wanted him to rate, so he got some experience out of it.”
J P's Gusto will be flown to Louisville Tuesday and be ridden by Patrick Valenzuela.
J.B.’s Thunder – The 2yo son of Thunder Gulch got in his final drill before the Juvenile when he took to the track Monday morning under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, who will have the mount in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile event.
Walking onto the track in company with stablemate Heritage Hall around 8:42 a.m., J.B.’s Thunder avoided the antics of a loose horse and waited until that one was captured before beginning his preparations.
J. B.’s Thunder broke off about one-length behind the workmate, who was under exercise rider Randi Melton, and finished on the outside on even terms, clocking the 4f in 50 flat. The gallop out was 1:03 1/5, and trainer Al Stall Jr. said it was “all systems go” for Saturday’s competition.
“It was a perfect work,” Stall said. “Shaun said he was perfectly relaxed, dragged him up to that horse, wanted to accelerate on his own when he turned for home. He had to slow him down a little bit, and when he got to the wire he dropped his hands a little bit and ‘J.B.’ took off again with his ears forward. It was a great work.”
The Columbine Stable runner has just two starts under his girth, but both resulted in victories at the 1 1/16m distance – a solid maiden score at Saratoga on Aug. 21 and an impressive four-length win in the Oct. 9 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
“He acts like an old horse, he’s been that way since Day One,” Stall said. “He came over here from Keeneland and took to the dirt just like he’d been here his whole life, although he was here for 3 ½ months from April to mid-July, so we weren’t too concerned. He likes it here. I loved the way he trained here in the spring. He did just fine.”
In both of his starts, J.B.’s Thunder has taken the field wire to wire, but that hasn’t necessarily been by design.
“We had no intention of ever being on the lead, he just kind of ‘out-athleted’ them out there,” the trainer said. “He rates kindly but he just breaks so sharp that he usually just spurts away from them. He took a big, deep breath in the middle of the turn at Keeneland and just relaxed and kicked on home on his own so that’s always a good sign, too.
“I just don’t want to deny him the chance of being 2-year-old champion, which is what would happen if he wins this race. He just has to be perfect, he’s got to look perfect, train perfect, his legs have to be perfect, and so far he’s been that way. We’ll see what he looks like tomorrow but we haven’t had any problems with him and the way he worked today I have to say he’s a definite go.”
Jaycito – The Norfolk Stakes winner galloped 1m at Hollywood Park Monday under exercise rider Sherri Alexander.
“He looks better than ever: his weight, his color, the way he's training,” said Phil D'Amato, assistant to trainer Mike Mitchell, who was en route to Kentucky. “Mike said this is the best 2-year-old he's ever had. He's a natural. It's like watching a boy become a man.”
Jaycito will be flown to Louisville Tuesday and be ridden by Mike Smith.
Madman Diaries – see Juvenile Turf
Murjan – Silverton Hill’s Peruvian import Murjan arrived at Churchill Downs Friday morning and into barn 9A, while trainer Darrin Miller’s regularly Churchill-based horses are at the Trackside training center.
Murjan tack-walked Friday, jogged on the track Saturday and on Sunday had a light gallop of only 4f. He galloped 1 1/4m on Monday at 9 a.m., which is when he will gallop the same distance again on Tuesday. Miller comes over from Trackside at that time to oversee Murjan’s progress.
“This is really a get-acquainted time for him,” he explained. “There is a lot for him to see, which is a completely different environment than he is used to. I’m trying to get in a little training at the same time.”
Miller is not yet sure if the Officer colt will work this week, as he’s taking it one day at a time. After being alerted to the Peruvian 2000 Guineas winner by Lexington-based agent Stanley Petter, owner Tom Hamilton and Miller went to Peru to look at him and purchased the undefeated colt in early October.
“I like him – he’s athletic enough,” Miller said of the colt, who is handling the travel well.
Peruvian native Rafael Bejarano will ride Murjan in the Juvenile.
Riveting Reason –A trip to the gate Monday was the highlight of this maiden colt’s day on Monday as he continued preparation for Saturday’s Juvenile. Assistant trainer Maria Ayala watched as the 2yo went through the exercise and said later that the gate crew gave him a thumbs-up.
Even so, she said, she might give the colt another schooling trip to the gate before his racing date on Saturday.
Owner-trainer Myung Kwon Cho, who spent only $25,000 for the son of Fusaichi Pegasus as a yearling at the 2009 Keeneland September sale, will head for Kentucky on Friday.
Victor Espinoza will ride.
Rogue Romance – Catesby Clay’s Bourbon Stakes winner jogged 1m and galloped 1m on Monday at Churchill Downs. He will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Trainer Ken McPeek says he has trained for Clay and his Runnymeade Farm for the last year, but their association goes back further. Runnymeade bred the McPeek-trained Tejano Run, third in the 1994 Juvenile and second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby.
Stay Thirsty/Uncle Mo – Stay Thirsty, a son of Bernardini, has won only one of three starts, but ran into Juvenile contender Boys At Toscanova in the Hopeful at Saratoga and finished a respectable second.
Pletcher, who has three Breeders’ Cup wins in his career but none in this race, said Monday that Javier Castellano would get the mount on Saturday.
Uncle Mo, one of two Todd Pletcher-trained contenders from Repole Stable in the Juvenile, walked the shedrow the day after his final work in company with entrymate Stay Thirsty. The pair went 4f in a leisurely 50 3/5 on the main track at Churchill.
“I don’t think those two have worked together before,” Pletcher said. “Most of the time they both work with a workmate. It was fine, and they both came out of it well.”
Uncle Mo has won both of his starts, including the Champagne in his Breeders’ Cup prep on Oct. 9 at Belmont Park. He broke his maiden by nearly 15 lengths at Saratoga. John Velazquez, who normally rides both 2yo colts, will ride Uncle Mo in the Juvenile.