Atta Boy Roy – The Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint contender tack-walked at Trackside Training Center on Monday morning, part of his usual routine following a pre-race work. Trainer Valorie Lund said the 5yo son of Tribunal would train Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at Trackside before taking the short van ride over to Churchill Downs.
Atta Boy Roy already has been over the Churchill Downs track, shuttling back and forth between Trackside and Churchill for his serious moves. He most recently completed his final prep for the Sprint on Saturday going 5f in 48 2/5 under jockey Calvin Borel. The move was fifth best of 36 at the distance and set the runner up well for his Breeders’ Cup debut.
“We’ve been here since April,” said Lund. “I brought this horse out specifically to see if he liked the surface. He did, so we stayed here to make this home for him next Saturday. I’ve kept him at Trackside and I like it, it’s real quiet there, but we ship to Churchill for all of his works because he’s too fast and too big to work around the turns at Trackside.”
Lund, a 52-year-old native of Arizona, saddles her first Breeders’ Cup starter with Atta Boy Roy. She bought him for $4,500 in 2006 out of the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association’s summer yearling sale for R.E.V. Racing.
“He was a beautiful colt, well-bred, but he was pretty wild and he didn’t show well, so we bought him very inexpensively and just waited for him to grow up,” she said. “It’s a pretty neat story; there aren’t many $4,500 yearlings that make the Breeders’ Cup.”
Atta Boy Roy comes into the Sprint off a failed attempt over the grass in Keeneland’s Oct. 9 Woodford Stakes. He finished eighth, not a typical effort, as his five other starts in 2010 (all on dirt) resulted in three wins and two seconds – including a victory here in the May 1 Churchill Downs Handicap. His most recent score in the start before the Woodford came in the Remington Sprint Cup on Aug. 21 at Remington Park.
“He’s been a slow-developing horse; he didn’t start at two and even at three I thought he was fairly immature,” Lund said. “But he ran some really good races and started to come around as a 4-year-old last year. This year, he’s just a bigger horse, more mature-looking. He’s really coming into his own. The nice thing about my clients is that they’re willing to wait. I told them this horse is really, really talented. This could be a once in a lifetime horse for us.”
Big Drama – Big Drama was prepared on Monday to leave his base in South Florida on a 7 p.m. cargo flight from Miami and arrive at Churchill Downs at 2 a.m. Tuesday, where he will be met and settled in to his stall by trainer David Fawkes.
Fawkes said that the 4yo colt has finished with all of his breezes and will walk on Tuesday and then jog a couple of miles on Wednesday, provided he ships well.
Eibar Coa is the regular rider for Big Drama, who has two wins and two seconds in four starts in all stakes races this year and has earned $1,559,560 in 15 career starts.
Cash Refund – With owner Richard Klein watching from the rail with trainer Steve Margolis, the Petionville gelding galloped 1 ½ m at Churchill. Klein owns the homebred with his parents Elaine and Bertram Klein.
Cash Refund will be making his first start since finishing third in the Iowa Sprint in June, but his connections are pleased with how he is coming into the race.
“He’s doing really well,” said Margolis. “He’s fresh, he’s happy and he’s hitting the ground really well right now. It’s been nothing but positives.”
Jockey John Velazquez has the mount.
Girolamo – Assistant trainer Rick Mettee reported that Girolamo, part of the Godolphin contingent that had been based at Belmont Park over the summer and fall had departed by van from Belmont early Monday afternoon.
“They pulled out of Belmont about 1 p.m.,” Mettee said. “No problems whatsoever. Everything is on schedule.”
Hamazing Destiny – Finished with all his serious preparation, the D. Wayne Lukas-trained 4yo son of Salt Lake galloped 1 1/2m Monday at Churchill Downs as he goes forward to Saturday’s Sprint.
The Hall of Fame conditioner expects the colt, who comes into the race from a victory in an optional claiming race at Delaware Park Sept. 13, to turn in a nice effort. In the interim he has a string of steady workouts at Churchill Downs, capped off by 4f in 49 3/5 on Oct. 28.
Joel Rosario has the call.
Kinsale King –The gelded son of Yankee Victor stretched his legs at Churchill Downs after 8 a.m. Monday after having flown in from California the previous day. Trainer Carl O’Callaghan doubled as the exercise rider for Kinsale King, winner of five of his 10 starts and more than $1.4 million in purses.
“He shipped fine,” O’Callaghan said. “He loves traveling. He’s like an old senior citizen; happy to be going somewhere. He jogged about a mile this morning.”
Kinsale King’s most recent starts have come in England and Dubai; prior to that he raced in Southern California.
The Kentucky-bred 5yo was pre-entered in both the Sprint and the Turf Sprint, with a first priority given to the Sprint.
“We’re going to go for the dirt,” O’Callaghan said.
The trainer also said he’s signed California-based Martin Garcia to ride Kinsale King in the Sprint. Garcia rode Kinsale King three times previously in California and the results were good. He won an allowance race and a stakes at Santa Anita, as well as a stakes at Hollywood Park.
Pashito the Che – According to trainer Scott Lake, Tuna Stable LLC’s and Off the Hook LLC’s Sprint contender Pachito the Che is slated to work 4f after the break Tuesday morning at Churchill.
“My wife Jennifer Stisted will be up for the work,” Lake said. “It’s just for maintenance. We’d like for him to go an easy 49.”
The 4yo son of Flatter has run at eight racetracks, but he’s yet to perform at Churchill.
“Traveling is second nature to him, he hasn’t missed an oat,” Lake said. “We got here Saturday. He just bounced around this racetrack the last couple of mornings and has handled everything well. We’ll get an even better feel for just how much he likes the track during the work.”
Javier Castellano has accepted the call aboard Pashito the Che.
Riley Tucker – In his final major preparation for Sprint, Zayat Stables’ Riley Tucker (photo by Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs) breezed 4f Monday over a fast main track at Churchill in 49 3/5.
“He’s a nice horse, a very straight-forward horse,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s very easy to be around, and did what we wanted him to do this morning.”
With exercise rider Dominick Terry, the 5yo son of Harlan’s Holiday knocked off splits of 12 3/5, 25 1/5, 37 2/5 and he galloped out 5f in 1:04.
Ramon Dominguez, who was aboard in Riley Tucker’s most recent race, a second-place finish behind Sprint contender Girolamo in the Vosburgh, has the return call.
Smiling Tiger – The multiple graded stakes-winner walked for the second day following a quick 58 4/5 5f workout on Saturday at Churchill Downs on an adventurous morning Saturday.
The 3yo Hold That Tiger colt took off on what was to be a normal work, but he picked up some company right away and battled his way for nearly the entire workout distance. Trainer Jeff Bonde said Monday the adventure didn’t cause him, the trainer, any problem, adding, “(the horse) ate well after the work and is acting good. He has plenty of time to recover.”
The colt has been at Churchill Downs since Oct. 22, leading Bonde to say, “We don’t want to have any excuses.”
He said Smiling Tiger would go to the gate a couple of times before Saturday’s race and would jog Tuesday.
Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, North America’s all-time winning rider, will be in the irons for the Sprint.
Warrior’s Reward – The Ian Wilkes trainee breezed a sharp 4f in 49 flat in preparation for the Sprint on Monday, galloping out 5f in 1:02 under exercise rider Tracey Wilkes.
“He was awesome, he just didn’t follow instructions,” Tracey Wilkes said. “Ian said to go easy to the pole, and he pulled me on up there.”
“He’s full of energy, pulling up wanting more, and that’s what I want to see,” said Ian Wilkes. “He looked good, everything was perfect this morning. The main thing was just getting in a maintenance work and getting some air into his lungs, letting him run down the lane a little and finish feeling good, wanting more. He’s a fit horse, he had a race at Keeneland, he’s there. We’re just tweaking him a little bit and I expect to see him bounce out of this work ready for the race.”
Warrior’s Reward was last seen finishing third in the Oct. 8 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland. His most recent win was in the April 3 Carter Handicap at Aqueduct; between those starts he ran sixth in the May 31 Metropolitan Handicap behind Breeders’ Cup Classic contender Quality Road, then came back in the Sept. 4 Forego Stakes at Saratoga to finish fourth, beaten 2 ½ lengths. The 4yo son of Medaglia d’Oro has been training from Wilkes’ main barn at Churchill since then.
“He belonged all year long after we won the Carter, but everyone knows I screwed up with the Met Mile,” Wilkes said. “I tried to win it instead of letting my horse win it. Then I gave him some time off, and in the Forego I needed a race. My horse was ready that day. He was fit, but just wasn’t race savvy. He ran a good race, just got beat a few lengths. And he just didn’t like the Polytrack last time out, but he loves it here at Churchill and he’s been training fantastic. I’ve got no excuses coming into this race.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux will have the riding assignment in the Sprint.
Wise Dan – The Phoenix Stakes winner galloped 1 ¼ m at Keeneland on Monday and will continue to train at his home base through Wednesday morning before leaving for Churchill Downs before the noon deadline.
“He came out of his last race (the Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 8) really well and has had two good works since. He’s right on target. We may run him down the lane on Wednesday before we ship, but for the most part, we’re done with our major work.”
Jockey Rafael Bejarano will have the mount.