Asmussen Eightsome at Churchill Downs
Trainer Steve Asmussen has eight candidates for this year’s Breeders’ Cup Championship races.
Seven of the eight are on the grounds at Churchill Downs, and Regally Ready is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday after winning the Grade I Nearctic at Woodbine on Sunday. The More Than Ready gelding is perfect in two starts over the Churchill Downs turf course, with his most recent run here being a victory over Bridgetown and defending Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Chamberlain Bridge in the Grade III Churchill Downs Turf Sprint on Kentucky Derby Day.
My Miss Aurelia, winner of the Grade I Frizette at Belmont Park and Saratoga’s Grade II Adirondack, headlined the Asmussen workers at Churchill Downs today with a five-furlong move in 1:02 (5/35). The homebred daughter of Smart Strike covered the distance in fractional times of :12.60, :24.80, :37 and :49.60, and galloped out six furlongs in 1:16.
“I’m very pleased with her breeze,” Asmussen said. “We’re obviously extremely impressed with her talent and how she’s going. We have a pretty good comfort level with the Breeders’ Cup running here. She didn’t start here, but she spent a lot of time here in the spring. She’s comfortable with the surroundings.”
Tapizar and Wilburn, coming off wins in their most recent outings, also worked five furlongs today. Working in company with the 2-year-old Seeker, a candidate for the Juvenile, Tapizar breezed five furlongs as the workmates competed the distance in 1:02.80 (18/35) in tandem. Internal fractions for Tapizar were :13.60, :25.80, :38.20, and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:17.20.
Tapizar was considered a major contender for Kentucky Derby 137 following a 10 1/2-length victory in a Churchill Downs maiden race in November and a 4 1/4-length romp in the Grade III Sham at Santa Anita in his stakes debut in January. But he went to the sidelines with injury following a fifth-place run in the Grade II Robert Lewis at Santa Anita. He returned to competition on Oct. 8 with a 2 1/4-length victory in a Belmont Park allowance race. If Tapizar competes in Breeders' Cup, the Dirt Mile is the target.
Wilburn, who notched his third consecutive victory in a 4 3/4-length win over Shackleford in the Grade II Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 (8/35). His internal fractions were :12.60, :25.20, :37.60 and :49.80, and he galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.80. He, too, is a candidate for the Dirt Mile, according to Churchill Downs.
Sabercat is a Bluegrass Cat colt that won the $75,000 Garden State at Monmouth Park last time out. The Juvenile candidate worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 (8/35).
She Digs Me, heading to the Juvenile Sprint off a win of the Grade III Sapling at Monmouth Park, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 (14/35).
Daddy Nose Best, a Juvenile Turf possible, was third in the Grade III Summer Stakes on turf at Woodbine. He breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60 (12/28) over a fast main track on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
If all eight horses start in their Breeders’ Cup races on Nov. 4 and 5, it will be the largest contingent of Asmussen trainees to compete in the year-end Championships. Asmussen, who is closing in on 6,000 career victories and ranks fifth in all-time wins by U.S. trainers, started four horses in the 2008 Breeders’ Cup and saddled a trio of starters in three other years (2003, 2007 and 2010).
“We’re very pleased with the physical condition that we’re in right now,” Asmussen said. “We surely want a couple of more weeks of that.”
--Edited Churchill Downs release