Tonalist, La Verdad headline Breeders’ Cup workers at Belmont Saturday
Edited Press Release
A cadre of candidates for the Breeders' Cup took to Belmont Park's tracks Saturday morning, led by Jockey Club Gold Cup victor Tonalist, who clocked six furlongs on the fast main track in 1:14 under exercise rider Lee Vickers in advance of the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Trainer Christophe Clement said he was "delighted" with the move, as well as that of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile contender Red Vine, who with jockey Joel Rosario up went five furlongs in a bullet :59.45 in company.
"They both went well, sound, happy, willing, and we're very excited," Clement said of Tonalist and Red Vine. "They will work again next week, with John Velazquez aboard Tonalist, most likely."
The 2014 Belmont Stakes winner was not equipped with blinkers for Saturday's breeze, nor will he wear them next week, said Clement, who added a decision on whether to outfit him with blinkers for the 1 1/4-mile Classic will be made after his final work.
Working toward a start in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint was La Verdad, who went five furlongs in a bullet 1:00.80 over Belmont's fast training track with exercise rider Raul Munoz up. The move was the fastest of 10 at the distance.
"She went very well, but she's a pretty strong breeze horse anyway," trainer Linda Rice said of La Verdad, who is five-for-five this year and will also be entered in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. "I think the track was a little slow this morning. She'll have one more breeze next Saturday."
Rice reported that Sprint candidate Palace may miss a scheduled work this weekend due to a foot issue, but hopes to have him back on track for a final pre-Breeders' Cup move next weekend.
"We had a bit of a setback with him from the injury he sustained at Saratoga, but he's fit enough so that (missing a work) won't make a difference," she said.
Back on the main track, trainer Chad Brown sent out the trio of Wavell Avenue (BC Filly & Mare Turf), Big Blue Kitten (BC Turf) and Slumber (BC Turf). Wavell Avenue logged a half-mile in 49.04 while Big Blue Kitten and Slumber worked a :48.77 half-mile in company.
Trainer Ralph Nicks sent out Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies candidate Tap to It to record a half-mile in :47.86 on Belmont’s main dirt.
Tonalist photo courtesy of NYRA/Susie Raisher/Adam Coglianese Photography)