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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Breeders' Cup Decision Soon for Aruna

10/29/2011

Aruna worked five furlongs over the main track at Churchill Downs in 1:03.20, a move that left trainer Graham Motion saying he will make a next-race decision tomorrow.

Aruna, who never has run on dirt, is pre-entered in the Ladies’ Classic and the Filly & Mare Turf (GI) at 1 3/8 miles with first preference being the Ladies’ Classic.
Fractions for the solo work were :12.60, :25, :37.40, :50 and out six furlongs in 1:16.80 for the 41st fastest of 49 at the distance.

“Sheldon was very happy with her and he said she handled the track fine,” Motion said.  “She was not going to have a flashy work this morning regardless of which race she goes in.”

The dilemma for Motion is whether to test the dirt in the Ladies’ Classic or try Aruna at the 1 3/8-mile distance for the first time.

“The distance of the turf (race) is a concern because she has never done it,” Motion said. “I wanted to have her go a mile and a quarter (in the Flower Bowl), but we didn’t do it (because of soft turf)." Instead, Aruna was sent to Keeneland and won the Grade I Juddmonte Spinster on Polytrack.

“The race was not even on our radar until the race began to fall apart. I would hate to make the wrong decision and run on dirt and have her not handle it.”

Motion said he would confer with Maria Niarchos-Gouaze and Alan Cooper of Flaxman Holdings over the next couple days with the final decision having to be made by entry time Monday. He told other sources he'd decide by Sunday.

Ramon Dominguez, the regular rider for Aruna, would have the mount if she goes in the Ladies’ Classic. But Dominguez is also the regular rider for Stacelita (FR), one of the favorites for the Filly & Mare Turf. Motion said that Julien Leparoux would ride Aruna if she goes in the Filly & Mare Turf.

“That’s why I didn’t want Julien to work her this morning,” Motion said with a laugh. “They might have worked in 1:06.”

--Edited Churchill Downs release with additional content by Dick Downey

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