Start of a busy Tuesday of morning workouts at Santa Anita. (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire)
I seriously love going to the track on the mornings before the Breeders’ Cup: there are so many ridiculously talented horses, riders and trainers here that the day absolutely flies. For anyone who loves horse racing (or just horses. Or excitement. Or free coffee, because that’s here, too!) Clockers’ Corner at Santa Anita is a little piece of heaven right here on Earth.
I decided to get out to the track as early as I could again this morning. The Breeders’ Cup has a shuttle service for the media that leaves from the press hotel, so I was up and at ’em and on the first bus of the morning. After all, there were horses to see!
Since it was another full day with tons of Breeders’ Cup contenders galloping, I’ll keep to my plan from yesterday and group the horses according to the race in which they’re running.
Since I ended with it yesterday, I’ll kick off today with the Classic. First up is Ron the Greek. This horse is coming into the Classic off of a win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in New York, and while he’s one of the longshots in the Classic you’d never know it because he looks fantastic. I’m not sure if he earned his name from his Greek statue-style good looks, but he’s a beautiful horse.
I also saw Travers winner Will Take Charge again. Unfortunately, the sun wasn’t all the way up yet so the photo is a little blurry (although to be honest, I think it looks kind of cool) but he was galloping really strongly and looks like he could be a serious contender to finish in the top three in Saturday’s big race.
When Mucho Macho Man arrived at the gap (which is what the entrance to the track from the barn area is called) he was very much on his toes. He’s a big, smart horse and he definitely knew that it was time to go!
However, once he got down to galloping he was all business, and I love the way he moved over the track. And by the time he was finished training and was headed back to his barn, Mucho Macho Man was walking along as quietly as a child’s pony That’s a cool horse! He’s got a win here at Santa Anita already this year and he barely missed victory the Classic in 2012, so he’s definitely one to keep an eye on as we head into Saturday.
Flat Out was the other Classic contender that I was able to get photos of today. He’s such an eye-catching horse and seems like another one that’s a smart cookie. He kept striking poses for all of the fans and photographers and seemed to want to make sure that we were all getting his best angle. Love him!
The only Distaff horse I saw today was a good one – Royal Delta! She’s won this race twice now and seeks to become only the second horse in the event’s 30-year history to win three Breeders’ Cup races. (The other was Goldikova; if you have a moment, look up some of her races on YouTube – you won’t regret it!) Royal Delta looked absolutely fantastic, and even though the Distaff only has six horses entered this year, it’s the race I’m probably the most excited to see. All six horses have a reason to be in there, and I can’t wait to see who comes out on top on Friday.
On to the Dirt Mile! The first contender I saw today was Alpha. He’s the kind of horse who dances every dance, and this year he won the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, which is one of the nation’s most prestigious races. He looked very keen and alert this morning, and I’ll be interested to see how he goes on Saturday.
Next up was Holy Lute; to be honest, I don’t know much about this horse off the top of my head, but I was very impressed by his physical condition and focus throughout his gallop. Also, he’s a dapple gray, and I’m a total sucker for a dappled gray. They activate my inner 7-year-old and all I want to do is feed them carrots.
Another Dirt Mile contender I spotted was Hymn Book. I’ve always had a soft spot for him, and I really hope to see him do well on Saturday. This horse is a total ham, and was playing up his personality for the cameras. I mean, he went so far as to check to make sure that his name was spelled correctly on his saddle towel!
Here’s Fed Biz. He’s another horse who seems like he has a great attitude, and he has a superb physical presence.
I managed to see two Turf Sprint horses today: Handsome Mike and Capo Bastone. Handsome Mike certainly lives up to his name, and in the predawn light he was on his toes even after his gallop. He definitely has the energy to get a piece of his Breeders’ Cup division.
Capo Bastone looks very, very good. Of course, he’s trained by Todd Pletcher, and his horses always come into key races at the top of their game.
The Breeders’ Cup Turf is definitely going to be a tough race, and I was lucky enough to see five of the entries this morning during training hours. The first runner I spotted was Indy Point getting a little loving from the rider of his escort pony. He’s clearly a pretty mellow horse, which will definitely be to his advantage during the Breeders’ Cup festivities on Saturday.
Real Solution was out and about this morning as well – and he was on his toes and dancing up a storm on his way back to his barn after his gallop.
Little Mike was another Turf runner who was raring to go this morning. He actually got away from his handler on the ground in an attempt to start his gallop early, but once he got onto the track he settled right down and focused on the business at hand.
Point of Entry was also here, which made me a very happy girl indeed; he’s a longtime favorite of mine and overcame an injury to get here. You can tell he’s a cool dude, and he wasn’t fazed at all by any of the shenanigans going on around him at the entrance to the racetrack.
The last turf contender I spotted was Vagabond Shoes. I absolutely love that name – but I’m also a big Frank Sinatra fan, so any reference to the song “New York, New York” is a home run in my book! Anyway, the horse himself looked very good this morning and was very workmanlike in his training.
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is another race that’s shaping up to be a tough one. I still love reigning champ Trinniberg; he’s always dressed to the nines with matching pom-poms, wraps and bridle, and he’s a notorious tough guy. Today, he was up to his usual tricks of hopping around before deciding that he would in fact return to his barn – you gotta love a horse with personality!
Fast Bullet behaved oppositely of Trinniberg – he was calm and collected on his way to the track, and his trainer D. Wayne Lukas was with him on his pony to escort him to the track.
I have to say that I was very impressed by Bahamian Squall – he’s an absolutely beautiful horse who seems to be in peak physical condition; and while he was definitely pulling on his exercise rider, he was also behaving very well and was totally focused on his gallop. He may be a good bet in the Sprint.
I also spotted Laugh Track this morning; he’s another horse that displayed a lot of focus during his gallop, but I did notice him getting a little flustered during the wait to get on the track this morning. However, it was kind of nuts at the gap – there were horses everywhere as well as press and fans, so I can’t really blame him for getting distracted.
The Breeders’ Cup Mile is another race I’m really excited about – after all, my boy Wise Dan is running in it! While I’m definitely rooting for him, I’m always excited to check out the competition, and I spotted two of his co-entrants this morning.
I have to admit, I was very impressed with No Jet Lag when I saw him. He’s a very well-put-together horse, and he was extremely eye catching as he went around the track this morning. There’s no way I’m abandoning my favorite horse, Wise Dan, but I wouldn’t be surprised if No Jet Lag gets a piece of the action on Saturday.
Silentio is another horse who looked fantastic this morning, and he looked very strong as he galloped. The more I see of these Mile horses, the more nervous I become for Saturday! I’m going to be quaking like a lost kitten by the time the race rolls around.
The next group of horses we’ll look at are the Marathoners; the contender who really caught my eye this morning was London Bridge. He’s got a ton of presence, and let’s face it: he’s extremely pretty. I may have just found the horse to play with my other favorite in the race, Indian Jones.
Worldly is a big, strong horse, which is what you want for a longer race. He was definitely pulling his rider around the racetrack this morning, and if he can keep that energy up over a mile and a half he could be a threat in the Marathon.
The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf always attracts an interesting group: there are horses in the race from all over the world, and lots of them are kind of unknown quantities since they’re only two years old. The one that stood out for me today was the British horse Outstrip; he’s a very mature-looking colt, and when a horse roared up on his inside (aka his left side) while he was galloping he didn’t bat an eyelash but instead stayed focused on the task at hand. That’s pretty impressive for a horse so young, and he may be my pick for his race.
Poker Player is another looker, and I just really like this picture of him. He’s giving me the total side-eye, and I can appreciate that kind of attitude so early in the morning.
Shamson is coming in from Ireland, and clearly his globetrotting tendencies have made him into a cool customer: he wasn’t ruffled at all by the crowd or the multitude of horses around him this morning as he took his exercise.
Home School was the final Juvenile Turf competitor I saw today. He’s a big guy for a 2-year-old, and he was clearly ready to go as he trained. He kept trying to break out of his gallop and into full racing mode, so he’ll be one to watch if he can harness his energy on race day.
I think I may have seen more Juvenile Fillies Turf contenders than any other group out there! My favorite of the bunch is still My Conquestadory. I’ve been lucky enough to be there for both of her career wins, and she’s just a dominant filly. She did draw the very outside post position for her race, but I’m confident that she can overcome that on Friday.
Sky Painter is another lovely filly, and she was very eye-catching as she galloped this morning.
Granny MC’s Kitten is another contender in the race; I don’t know a ton about her, but that is one heck of a name for a horse! But she was very businesslike in her training this morning and will be one to keep an eye on in the lead up to Friday.
Ready to Act is a very pretty filly, and didn’t seem rattled by the scene at Clockers’ Corner at all. Again, I’m a total sucker for the grays, so I may be a little biased!
I very much like the looks of Nesso; her coat gleams, she has great muscle tone and an alert look in her eye.
This pair of Testa Rossi (left) and Kitten Kaboodle went out together this morning, and seemed to be extremely happy to stretch their legs. I got another shot of Kitten Kaboodle as she came back per the request of Mary Hathaway from my last blog. Enjoy!
I also spotted a bunch of the Juvenile Fillies this morning. Sweet Reason looked very good, and was patient waiting for her turn to go on the track and focused as she trained.
Secret Compass looks good, y’all. She’s covered in dapples (those are the subtle spots on her coat that mean she’s in good health) and has a very calm demeanor. She’s going to be tough in the Juvenile Fillies.
Concave also looked very well; she had a spring in her step this morning and was clearly enjoying herself out there on the track.
Scandalous Act was all business as she went around and while she was certainly alert to her surroundings she was very professional in her training.
Also, I just really like the photo below where she’s loving on the pony horse as her rider gives her a little affection. Very sweet!
Designer Legs is a well-named horse: if you were to put together a racehorse, you’d want one with legs as long as hers!
On to the Juveniles! These horses are, as I mentioned yesterday, the ones we’ll see on next year’s Triple Crown trail, so I love seeing them as they’re really starting to come into their own at the end of their 2-year-old year.
The funniest sight I saw this morning amongst the Juvenile crew was courtesy of New Year’s Day and his rider. They both had the exact same expression on their faces as they were waiting to get on the racetrack!
Why so disgruntled, guys? He looks great!
Cleburne is definitely a horse I’m very interested in: he had a huge win in the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs earlier this year, and he was raring to go as he took his exercise this morning.
Smarty’s Echo was bright and alert as he jogged this morning, and I liked the way he moved so easily on a crowded racetrack.
Diamond Bachelor was full of run as he galloped by, and I heard other members of the press commenting on how well he looked as he swept past us.
He also has a very beautiful face with unusual markings – he’ll definitely be easy to spot on Saturday!
Bond Holder is another horse I really, really like. He was very convincing in his win here in the FrontRunner Stakes, and I put him on my short list then for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. I’m keeping him there after seeing him this morning – he looks fantastic.
The only Filly and Mare Turf contender I saw today was Romantica. She’s a British invader with a ton of buzz surrounding her, and I very much liked the way she moved this morning as she was jogging around the track. She has a big stride that covers a ton of ground, and I’ll be keeping an eye on her throughout the rest of the week.
I caught two of the Filly and Mare Sprint runners this morning: reigning champ Groupie Doll and up-and-comer Dance to Bristol. They were both out very early, before the sun came out, and it was breathtaking to see them surrounded by steam after their workouts.
Groupie Doll is a favorite of mine, and from what I hear she’s ready to run a monster race. She looked fantastic training this morning, and I’ll be rooting for her in the Filly and Mare Sprint.
This isn’t the best photo of Dance to Bristol, but I like it because I always love seeing the affection that riders have for their horses. Plus, the rumor is that she may be an extremely good bet in her race, so I wanted to be sure to put her on your radar for her race on Saturday.
So that was my morning with the Breeders’ Cup contenders! After all of that picture taking, I decided it was time for a reward: In ‘N’ Out burger! What better way to end a morning at the track than a Double-Double Animal Style? I can’t think of one.
Thank you so much for stopping by, and I’ll be back with even more horses tomorrow. Hit me up in the comments if there’s a horse you’d like me to look out for, and happy Breeders’ Cup week!