Ward sextet, Grand Arch & Nemoralia take to Keeneland’s turf ahead of BC
Edited Press Release
Trainer Wesley Ward was pleased with the moves of his six horses pre-entered in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships that worked or galloped over Keeneland’s good turf course on Sunday.
“Everything went great,” Ward said.
Two of Ward’s juveniles – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) pre-entrant Sheikh of Sheikhs and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) hopeful Ruby Notion – worked in company, going five furlongs in 1:01.80.
Sheikh of Sheikhs, far down on the preference list for the Juvenile Turf, is expected to run instead in Saturday’s $100,000 Juvenile Dirt Sprint.
Also working in company were Ward’s Group 1 hero Undrafted and stakes winner Green Mask, who are both pointing to TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Clockers caught the pair going five furlongs in 1:01.80 with a gallop-out time of 1:16.
Stakes winner The Great War, readying for the Turf Sprint, and champion Judy the Beauty, bidding for a second consecutive win in the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), each galloped. Ward said he would work Judy the Beauty Monday on the main track.
Those six horses have trained all year at Keeneland, where Ward for several years has maintained an operation. Asked whether he believed he might have a home-court advantage in the Breeders’ Cup, Ward flashed a large smile in agreement.
“It’s a Breeders’ Cup,” Ward said. “They’re coming from all over the world with the world’s best. You’re always crossing your fingers, but you try to get ‘em there the best you can and hope that racing luck gets you there.”
Also working over Keeneland’s turf on Sunday was last-out Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) victor Grand Arch, who turned a half-mile in :50.80 with exercise rider Marco Romero aboard ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1).
“I thought that was a nice piece of working considering how far out the ‘dogs’ were this morning,” trainer Brian Lynch said. “He is as good as we can get him.”
Grand Arch covered the first quarter-mile in :26.60 and finished the move with a :24.20 final quarter.
Romero, who used to gallop horses for the late Bobby Frankel and is here at Keeneland with trainer Neil Drysdale, gave Lynch a thumbs-up as he brought Grand Arch off the track.
“We didn’t want him to do too much today,” Lynch said of the five-year-old Arch gelding, who worked a half in :51.60 on the dirt last Sunday.
“This is a horse that doesn’t need to take his track with him. There was a little cut in the ground for the Fourstardave ([G2] at Saratoga) and the Shadwell as well as his race here in the spring.”
It wasn’t exactly according to script, but Nemoralia worked a half-mile on the good turf course in :51.60.
“We were supposed to have a lead horse, but they went earlier,” said Kerri Radcliffe, who was aboard the two-year-old daughter of More Than Ready. “She never has worked on her own. This was the first time.”
Trained by Jeremy Noseda, Nemoralia produced a first quarter-mile in :27.60, and she galloped out five furlongs in 1:06.20.
“The ground was heavy, but she just glided over it,” Radcliffe said.
Wayne Tanner, assistant to Noseda, said despite the mix-up, the work was fine.
“You can only do what you can and we thought we were going to have company,” Tanner said. “But, we’re happy and she handled it well.”
Tanner said Noseda would return to Keeneland Tuesday and that the filly, who is pre-entered to both the Juvenile Fillies and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), would be entered Monday in the latter race.
Dual Breeders’ Cup champion and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) contender Beholder galloped 1 3/4 miles over Keeneland’s all-weather training track on Sunday morning before schooling in the paddock and returning to her stall in the Breeders’ Cup barn area on Rice Road.
Trained by Richard Mandella, the popular Henny Hughes mare is scheduled to work five furlongs Monday at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).
In other Breeders’ Cup news, the first two waves of European-based horses for the 32nd Breeders’ Cup World Championships have arrived at the Quarantine Barns on Rice Road at Keeneland.
Arriving early Saturday evening after flying into Louisville was Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Golden Horn, who is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), and Godolphin runners Birchwood and Cymric, pre-entered to the Juvenile Turf.
A second plane touched down at Louisville International Airport early Sunday morning, with those horses arriving at Keeneland a little after 7 a.m.
Among the horses on that flight were Illuminate for the Juvenile Fillies Turf; defending champion Karakontie, Esoterique, Make Believe, Time Test and Impassable for the Mile; and Miss France, Queen’s Jewel, Secret Gesture and Bawina for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
Slated to arrive late Monday afternoon at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are runners from the stable of trainer Aidan O’Brien. Leading the Breeders’ Cup contingent is Classic hopeful Gleneagles. Other O’Brien runners are Hit It a Bomb, Shogun and Waterloo Bridge for the Juvenile Turf; War Envoy for the Mile; Found for the Turf; and Alice Springs for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Also on that plane is expected to be Legatissimo, who is pre-entered to the Filly & Mare Turf.
All photos courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography
Sheikh of Sheikhs (outside) & Ruby Notion (inside)
Undrafted (outside) & Green Mask (inside)