Beethoven – Beethoven was among the Ballydoyle contingent to make their first appearance on the turf Thursday morning. The Desmond Stakes winner circled in the chute after a brief walk on the dirt, then galloped strongly once around, and eased down to a jog as he made a second circuit of the 7f turf course.
Aidan O’Brien’s traveling head lad Pat Keating said, “He pulled up nice and easy.”
Court Vision – Fourth beaten only 1 ½ lengths by Goldikova in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, IEAH Stables and Resolute Stables Court Vision has taken a slightly different path to this year’s edition.
“I really like the spacing between the Woodbine Mile (win on Sept. 19) and the Breeders’ Cup,” trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said. “Last year, we had 26 days between the Shadwell and the Mile, and that’s not our game. He still ran unbelievable and only got beat a little more than a length.”
Both of Court Vision’s previous starts over the Churchill Downs turf course came in the 1 1/8 m Turf Classic on Kentucky Derby Day. In 2009 he finished third behind Einstein, and this year he was second, beaten a neck, by General Quarters. Robby Albarado has ridden Court Vision in his last seven starts.
“He’s already run big on that (Churchill) turf course,” Dutrow said. “Robby Albarado gets along with him beautifully.”
Delegator – Godolphin’s 4yo colt exercised on the turf course Thursday morning under the direction of trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who arrived at the track following a long flight from Australia.
Bin Suroor said Delagator is coming up to the race in good order.
“He did his main work in England before he traveled here,” bin Suroor said. “He jogged and cantered today and he looked fine. He came back happy. So far, so good with him.”
Delagator will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. They finished fifth in the Mile last year.
Get Stormy – Sullimar Stable’s homebred had a routine morning, galloping about 1½ m for trainer Tom Bush.
The 4yo Stormy Atlantic colt has won eight of 15 career starts, including the Commonwealth Turf at Churchill Downs last November. This year, he opened the season with a win in the Elkwood at Monmouth, finshed fourth in the King Edward at Woodbine, swept the Fourstardave and Bernard Baruch at Saratoga and was fourth in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.
“He’s done with his training. He had a five-eighths work at Keeneland last Thursday and we are following the same pattern we followed between the Fourstardave and the Bernard Baruch,” Bush said. “The one work seemed to be more than enough for him. We’ve been traveling a little bit, so I think that is plenty.”
The Mile has a deep field, led by two-time winner Goldikova and Bush said it will be a real test for his colt.
“We’re 20-1 on the morning line,” he said. “The horse doesn’t know that, but at the same time we know we’re facing the best milers in the world. He’s going to have to come up with an absolute `A’ race to get a piece of it.”
Gio Ponti – Dual Eclipse champion Gio Ponti, who will run in the Mile rather than in the Classic, galloped 1 ¼ m under Christophe Lorieul on Thursday morning before the break.
“He’s as good as can be,” said Lorieul, the assistant to trainer Christophe Clement. “Everything is right on schedule. For this year’s Breeders’ Cup, his third, nothing in his training had to be altered because of bad weather or for any other reason. His preparation has been perfect.”
Last year, Gio Ponti led in the stretch during the running of the Classic, but then was passed by Zenyatta, but held on for second. This year, he won’t have a rematch with Zenyatta as she tries to become only the second horse to win back-to-back Classics, but he will attempt to deny Goldikova her chance at immortality by becoming the first horse to win three consecutive Breeders’ Cup races.
“That’s how it worked out,” said Lorieul. “He was pre-entered in both races so he was going to have to race against one great filly or another.”
Gio Ponti, seventh in the 2007 Juvenile Turf after a terrible trip on soft footing, has won two Eclipse Awards (2009 Male Turf Horse and Older Male) and close to $4.7 million while under Clement’s tutelage.
“He does everything right and he always has,” said Lorieul. “A good horse like him makes us look good and he’s been doing that all along.”
Clement will arrive on Friday to supervise the final preparations for Gio Ponti and Turf contender Winchester.
Goldikova – The 5yo mare, looking to make history here as the first three-peat winner in Breeders’ Cup history, had an easy canter on the main track Thursday morning under the watchful eye of trainer Freddie Head.
According to the trainer, everything is falling into place for Goldikova’s record try in the Mile, although he says winning is more difficult for the invaders.
“For (Europeans) to win a Breeders’ Cup race is always a little bit difficult,” Head said. “We lose a little bit by traveling. I think you have to be 100-and-something-more percent to be at the top here. We need everything in our favor.”
But Head feels he has the horse to make history in Goldikova, who won the Mile in 2008 and 2009 with rousing performances at Santa Anita.
“She can do a lot of things,” Head said. “Last year, she came from way back. Last time (Prix de la Foret) she led from the start. She is very, very handy. It all depends on the pace – the faster the better for her. We leave that all to (jockey Olivier) Peslier.”
Head, who rode Miesque to back-to-back wins in the Mile in 1987-88, says Goldikova is the equal of that champion, and that at 5, she still has a great attitude.
“She’s put on weight since last year, she’s stronger,” said the trainer, “but she’s the same. She’s kept that willingness. She’s still fresh like a 3-year-old. She doesn’t seem tired of racing. That’s what is so great about her.”
Paco Boy – Assistant trainer Richard Hannon Jr. asked his rider to give the 5yo horse a brisk gallop during their visit to the turf course Thursday morning.
“He did six furlongs on the grass,” Hannon Jr. said. “He moved very well and we’re very pleased. He was a little bit fresh (Wednesday). It was a little bit more than a canter.”
Hannon described the trip to the turf course as a schooling-type of exercise for Paco Boy.
“It was just to let him see the grass, let him go around and have a look at the bends and the grandstand,” Hannon Jr. said. “He loved it. He had a good look around. He’s in good form. He looks like a million as well.”
Hannon Jr. is handling Paco Boy for his father, who underwent a successful heart bypass operation earlier this week.
Proviso – Three was not a charm in Europe against race favorite Goldikova for this 5yo mare, but trainer Bill Mott believes that now may be the best time for the English-bred daughter of Dansili to try the two-time defending champion and some high quality males again.
“I think she’s pretty darn good,” Mott said after Proviso visited the paddock and galloped once around the main track Thursday. “I think four Grade 1s speaks for itself. There are not many horses that ever do that.”
And she has done it in her last four starts, piling up victories against her own sex in the First Lady, Diana and Just A Game after knocking off males in the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March.
“This may be the most competitive race the whole day,” said Mott, who was not the trainer (Andre Fabre) when she lost three times to Goldikova abroad. When she came to the states, the late Bobby Frankel took over the training for Juddmonte Farms. Mott has had Proviso for her five races in 2010.
Proviso will be making her 23rd career start seeking her 10th victory, breaking from the outside post in a field of 11 milers with Mike Smith in the irons.
“From top to bottom, I think it’s a great race,” Mott said.
Sidney's Candy – The Candy Ride colt galloped 1 ½ m Thursday morning in the dark with exercise rider Jose Alferez in the saddle as he moves forward toward his start in Saturday’s Mile.
The double-quick 3yo, owner of both a main track and turf course record at Del Mar in California, has done everything right for trainer John Sadler leading up to his first outing in 11 weeks.
Kentucky Derby followers will remember that Sidney’s Candy helped carve out the early fractions in this year’s renewal of the Run for the Roses and the chestnut 3yo is more than likely to be on or near the lead in Saturday’s 8f race.
Sadler has scheduled another session of paddock schooling for Sidney’s Candy Thursday, similar to the one he put his horse through Wednesday.
Jenny Craig, the weight-loss guru and Sidney’s Candy’s owner, was scheduled to into Louisville Thursday.
Joel Rosario will ride the colt in the Mile and they’ll start from post 9.
Society's Chairman – The 7yo – senior competitor entered in the Mile – had a strong gallop on the turf course Thursday morning with trainer Roger Attfield looking on.
“I usually like to blow him out the day before the race,” Attfield said, “but the turf course will be closed tomorrow morning, so I had to do it today.”
The son of Not Impossible, owned by Charles Fipke and George Waud, ran second behind Mile foe Gio Ponti last out in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland.
“He’s in good form,” Attwell said. “He blew out a quarter-mile today in 25-ish, which is what I wanted. He does well on the smaller courses with tighter turns.”
Society’s Chairman will be one of the longshots (20-1 in the morning line) in the Mile, since he hasn’t won a race since he took the Appleton at Gulfstream in March.
“Well, we’ll have to see how it unfolds,” Attfield said. “He’s an over-achiever. He’s up against it a little bit in this race. But he’s (the horse) an optimist, and the owner is an optimist, and anything can happen.”
Julien Leparoux, who was aboard in the Keeneland race, has the mount again Saturday.
The Usual Q. T. – The son of California stallion Unusual Heat galloped 1 ¼ m on the Churchill Downs turf Thursday as he moved a day closer to his date with the Irish-bred super mare Goldikova, seeking a special place in history with a third consecutive victory in Saturday’s running of the Mile.
“He’s taking really well to the course here,” trainer Jim Cassidy said of his 4yo gelding who comes to the race from a second-place finish in the Woodbine Mile.
Cassidy will send The Usual Q.T. to the paddock with the horses running in Thursday’s third race for a schooling session.