Byword – Byword went out to the main track for some light exercise at 8:30 a.m. Friday with a group of European runners.
The 5yo chestnut by Peintre Celebre is a half-brother to Proviso. He has won seven times in his career, including three at a mile. His biggest win came at 1 1/4m in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes during the 2010 Royal Ascot meet.
Courageous Cat – Pam and Martin Wygod and William Farish’s 5yo son of Storm Cat galloped over the muddy track Friday morning for trainer Bill Mott.
“Everything’s good,” said Mott, who will be saddling his 15th Mile starter and looking for his first victory in this race. Courageous Cat finished second to defending three-time defending champion Goldikova in the 2009 Mile.
Court Vision – The 6yo Gulch horse, preparing to make his third start in the Mile, galloped 1 ½m over the muddy main track.
“Everyone’s good,” said trainer Dale Romans. “All three of my horses are doing great. We schooled in the gate Wednesday, went to the paddock yesterday and just galloped today. We’re ready.”
Get Stormy – The 5yo Stormy Atlantic horse continued his preparations for the Mile with a routine gallop before dawn Friday.
Gio Ponti – Instead of galloping, the three-time Eclipse Award-winner jogged twice around the muddy main track on Friday morning and then went to the gate, where he stood and backed out.
“We never gallop on a sloppy track at home,” said Christophe Lorieul, who has supervised Gio Ponti for his Breeders’ Cup runs in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for trainer Christophe Clement. “But it won’t affect his race in any way. Right now, we’re keeping him nice and fit, sound and happy.”
Whether Gio Ponti makes another start this year, perhaps in the Hong Kong Mile, remains to be seen but this is his last year in training. The Castleton Lyons homebred will go back to the farm to begin his stallion career in 2012.
“We’re all going to miss him. His groom, the hotwalkers, the boss (Clement), me and everyone,” said Lorieul. “It’s been four great years of racing with him. He took us so many places, like Dubai, that I never thought I’d go. This horse is an amazing story and he’s been lucky for everybody in the barn. He’ll be sorely missed. I try not to get too attached to the horses. But I love them and I love my job. The horse still loves his job and enjoys what he’s doing.”
The multiple Grade 1 stakes-winning Gio Ponti finished second to Goldikova in last year’s Mile, second to Zenyatta in the 2009 Classic, and eighth in the 2007 Juvenile Turf.
Goldikova – With trainer Freddy Head watching from aboard a pony and wearing a tiny television camera on his helmet, the three-time TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile winner went to the track at 8:30 a.m. Friday. The 6yo mare galloped during her time on the muddy main track.
Head said the rain that fell Thursday and into Friday morning would not keep her from going to the gate for the final scheduled start of her remarkable 17-win career.
“Even if the track is soft, and I don’t think it will be as soft as it is in Europe, she will start,” he said. “There is no doubt.”
Before turning to training, Head was a standout jockey. He rode the great filly Miesque to victories in the Mile in 1987 at Hollywood Park and 1988 at Churchill Downs.
“I don’t think Miesque could have done what she (Goldikova) has done for so many years,” he said. “Miesque, of course, was a champion and was very impressive when she won the Breeders’ Cup. She had a great turn of foot, but Goldikova is something special. To do that for four years and meeting every new generation of colts and fillies is something incredible.
“I’ve had a lot of questions about that. I have ridden horses that for one race could have been as good as her, maybe even better, but none would have done what she has done. In all my career, I haven’t seen a horse that has done what she has done over years, running always the same form and winning 14 Group 1’s.”
Jeranimo – The 5yo California-based horse galloped 1 1/2m Friday morning, mostly because he had to according to trainer Mike Pender.
“I had to put him on the track,” said Pender. “I didn’t like going out on that wet surface (listed officially as “muddy”), but he was so full of himself and on the muscle I had to put him out there. He came back fine, happily, and now we’re ready to go. He’s A-OK and spot on. We’re ready to roll.”
Jeranimo, a son of Congaree, comes into the Mile off a win Oct. 8 at Santa Anita in the Oak Tree Mile. He was handled by Martin Garcia that afternoon and will have the same rider up Saturday.
Mr. Commons – The 3yo Artie Schiller colt put the finishing touches on his preparation for Saturday’s Mile with a bit of leg stretching Friday morning at about 7:30 over a muddy main track.
Trainer John Shirreffs looked on from the second deck of the Breeders’ Cup Hospitality Pavilion.
“We’re just going to jog him around there once the wrong way,” he said. “Nice and easy. He doesn’t need any more.”
Sidney's Candy – The WinStar Farm and Rubio Stable colt galloped 1 1/4m Friday morning over the muddy main track at Churchill Downs.
“He’s ready,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “By tomorrow we’re hoping conditions improve, and they’re supposed to.”
The Candy Ride colt has won 7 of 16 starts, four of those on synthetic surfaces and two on grass.
Strong Suit – The Arkansas-bred son of Rahy blew out 2f on the turf course Friday in 23 4/5.
Trainer Richard Hannon had planned to work the colt on the turf course Thursday morning, but the work was canceled when the grass course was closed prior to the trackwork period when rain began falling.
Strong Suit will be the second Arkansas-bred to run in Breeders’ Cup. The chestnut has won three of his last four starts in Europe. The first was Dust On the Bottle who finished 11th in the 2000 Classic.
Turallure – The 4yo Wando colt, coming off a come-from-behind win in the Woodbine Mile, went to the track with a pony just after the renovation break and jogged.
“He just jogged a couple times around,” said trainer Charles Lopresti. “If he’s not fit by now, he’s not going to be.”
Zoffany – Zoffany, who disappointed connections with an eighth-place finish in the Shadwell Mile at Keeneland, stretched his legs on the main track Friday morning ahead of Saturday’s Mile. He did an easy canter on the muddy track before returning to the barn.