Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Daily Cup Update: Turf Spint, Wednesday, Nov. 3
Bridgetown – The Eugene Melnyk homebred went to the track early on Wednesday and galloped 1 ½ m in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
The 3yo son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown, who also raced for Melnyk, finished second in the Juvenile Turf at 1m last year, but has found his niche sprinting this season, winning two of three starts.
“He’s good, they’re all good,” said trainer Ken McPeek, who will have four Breeders’ Cup runners this year.
California Flag – The gray gelding was on the track at Churchill Downs Wednesday morning at 6:45 for a good gallop of 2m under exercise rider Colleen Hartford. Trainer Brian Koriner looked on.
The defending champ in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will “shorten up” for this year’s edition of the $1 million grass test, which will be contested at 5f Saturday after having been run at 6-1/2f last year on Santa Anita’s unique downhill turf course.
“He loves that downhill at Santa Anita,” Kornier noted. “He’s won three times on it and set the course record. But he’ll run five furlongs, too, and we’ll see how it goes here Saturday.”
California Flag, a 6yo homebred Californian by the Seattle Slew stallion Avenue of Flags, has made 20 starts, but only four this year. He’ll be ridden by Victor Espinoza as they start from post 12 in the 14-horse lineup.
Central City – The 4yo City Place colt galloped 1 m on Wednesday for trainer Ronny Werner as he prepares for the Turf Sprint. On Tuesday, the colt drew post 2 for the 5f race.
“I think we were down to four posts left, two inside and two outside, so we had a 50-50 chance of drawing a bad post,” said Werner. “We were sweating bullets until they called the two. It’s a good post for us, actually a great post. In a race like this, the post is pretty important.”
Chamberlain Bridge – The Bret Calhoun trainee went to the gate and schooled Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs, then galloped 1 ½m.
“Everything’s great,” Calhoun said of his Turf Sprint starter. The 6yo gelded son of War Chant comes off a fourth-place finish after missing the break in the Oct. 9 Woodford Stakes at Keeneland to run in the Breeders’ Cup. He is still targeting the race in spite of an abscess that was discovered Oct. 29 and treated over the weekend – a slight issue that already healed nicely, the trainer said.
Due Date – The El Prado homebred, who runs for owners Richard, Elaine and Bertram Klein, galloped 1 ¼ m before the renovation break on Wednesday. Trainer Steve Margolis says that at age 5, Due Date is really starting to get good at the right time.
“He’s really coming into himself,” said Margolis. “We turned him out in February (after he ran eighth in the Colonel Power Stakes) and he came back even better than before. We feel we’re coming in with a live horse.”
Grand Adventure – The 4yo Grand Slam colt, second in the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine last out, was out for some light exercise on the main track Wednesday morning as he jogged 1m and galloped 1 ½ m.
Trainer Mark Frostad said Grand Adventure should appreciate the 5f distance of the Turf Sprint after his runner-up effort in the 6f Nearctic on Oct. 16.
“He got through the traffic,” Frostad said, “and got to the front with a furlong to go. But then that filly (Serious Attitude) appeared from nowhere and ran right by. She was way out in the middle of the track, and I don’t think our horse saw her.”
Grand Adventure drew post 11 for the Turf Sprint, which Frostad saw as a good spot for the colt.
“It could get rough down on the inside with all the speed horses trying to get position,” he said.
Owned by Sam-Son Farms, Grand Adventure has won two of seven starts this year, taking the 1m King Edward in June and 7f Connaught Cup in May.
Patrick Husbands, who has been the colt’s regular rider most of the season, will be on hand for the mount on Saturday.
Rose Catherine – One of three females in the full field of 14, the 3yo daughter of Speightstown will be one of the main dangers to the morning-line favorite (Silver Timber), the most lukewarm choice of all 14 Breeders’ Cup races at 4-1.
“She’s obviously a turf sprint specialist,” said trainer Todd Pletcher following a Wednesday morning gallop. “We’re having to jump into the deep end of the pool running against older horses and males, but she’s basically been perfect every time she’s sprinted on the grass (6-for-6).”
This will be the first Graded stakes start for Rose Catherine in a grass sprint. She was second in last year’s 1m Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita. Javier Castellano rides from post 9.
“This is the one opportunity you get in the Breeders’ Cup,” Pletcher said. “I’d love to be able to run her against fillies on the grass sprinting, but that’s not the option. I think her morning-line odds (6-1 third choice) show how good her form is.”
Silver Timber – The Chad Brown-trained Turf Sprint contender jogged 1 1/8 m under exercise rider Anna Hollander after the renovation break on Wednesday morning. He has settled in nicely in Barn 43 at Churchill Downs, Brown said, since arriving on Sunday from Keeneland.
“He’s good. He’s happy. He worked good at Keeneland on Saturday and he’s doing good,” Brown said of the 7yo son of Prime Timber. Silver Timber drew post five and was installed as the 4-1 favorite on the morning line at Tuesday’s post position draw.
“He jogged around there very well and he’s doing good. He’s in good form, this horse,” Brown said. “I’m not sure what he’ll do tomorrow, I’m going to sleep on it. But he’ll go to the track around the same time as today.”
Stradivinsky – A $25,000 claimer in March at Gulfstream, Turf Sprint contender Stradavinsky was claimed out of a winning effort for double the price on May 27 at Churchill Downs by trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. on behalf of owners Michael Dubb, Jack Mandato and Bethlehem Racing.
“I saw the horse in a claiming race and I was the one that sort of put it in front of Dubb (part owner Michael). “I liked him because he had serious speed and I figured we’d have a ton of opportunities to run him in turf sprints on the East Coast. It’s been nothing but good stuff since we claimed him.”
Dubb is also the part owner of Turf Sprint morning line favorite Silver Timber.
“We give Dubb a nice one-two punch in this race,” Dutrow said. “Dubb’s on a roll. He’s a great guy, with a sharp eye for a horse. You can see it for yourself. He’s got a great opinion and knows the game.”
Tropic Storm – The Turf Sprint candidate galloped 1m Wednesday under the watchful eye of trainer Craig Dollase, who is hopeful the outside draw (post 13) will not compromise the 6yo gelded son of Stormy Atlantic’s effort in the 5f race Saturday.
“We’ll make the most of the post. He’ll have to hustle away from there, but David (jockey David Flores) knows him really well, so I’m not going to struggle with that.”