Edited Press Release
Private Zone, a four-time Grade 1 winner and possible favorite for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) on October 31 at Keeneland, worked a half-mile at that venue in :48.60 under Carlos Marquez Jr. just before the track closed Saturday for morning renovation at 8 a.m. (EDT).
Going from the three-eighths pole to the seven-eighths in a light drizzle, Private Zone produced fractions of :12.80, :35.80 and :48.60 while galloping out five-eighths in 1:03.60 over the fast main track.
“Before a big race, I want better than that,” trainer Jorge Navarro stated. “I wanted a little more. We were going to go at 8:30, but they were sealing the track and I didn’t want to work on a sealed track.
“This is the first time he has worked for me when it was this dark. He came back OK and that’s the main thing. Carlos is an old-time rider who takes care of the horse. He said not to worry (about the work), that he is still doing good.”
Also working for the TwinSpires Sprint was King’s Bishop S. (G1) runner-up Limousine Liberal, who covered a half-mile in :46.40 for trainer Ben Colebrook.
Coming on the track after walking through the Paddock at 5:30 a.m., Limousine Liberal broke off at the three-eighths pole and posted fractions of :12, :34.80 and :46.40 at the seven-eighths pole. He galloped out five furlongs in :59.80.
“I got him in :46,” Colebrook said. “Nice.”
Exaggerator, winner of the Saratoga Special S. (G2) and runner-up in the Breeders’ Futurity S. (G1) at Keeneland on October 3, worked five furlongs in company in :59.60 with Jose Valdivia Jr. aboard for trainer Keith Desormeaux.
Exaggerator started five lengths behind his workmate and finished 10 lengths in front while producing fractions of :12.20, :24.20, :36 and :59.60. The Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) contender galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60.
“The track was perfect, and I thought it was going to be sloppy,” Desormeaux said. “We were under pressure to get this in with the rain in the forecast and it rained more last night than I thought it would.
“The work was very nice. He was very smooth, finished strong and galloped out strong. He did all the things that you would want to say.”
Desormeaux, who has raced sparingly at Keeneland, owns one stakes victory at the track thanks to Gangbuster in the 2009 Fort Harrod S. He would love to double that total next Saturday with Exaggerator.
“We’re going to see if we can get lightning to strike twice,” said Desormeaux, who won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita with Texas Red.
Two pre-entrants for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) worked before the morning renovation break at Keeneland.
With jockey Florent Geroux up, Grade 1 heroine I’m a Chatterbox worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer Larry Jones.
Breezing on her own, I’m a Chatterbox produced fractions of :11.80, :23.60, :36.20 and 1:00.40, with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:14.60. It was the third Keeneland work for the daughter of Munnings since she won the Cotillion S. (G1) on September 19 at Parx Racing.
“We called a little audible and went early because they were going to seal the track (at the break),” Jones said. “The track was OK (at 7:15 a.m.) so we said, ‘Let’s go.’ Things couldn’t have gone better for her since she has been here and the only question now is do we have enough horse.”
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent multiple Grade 1 victress Stopchargingmaria to the track at 6 a.m. for a half-mile work in :47. Working in company with Catron, a five-year-old allowance winner, Stopchargingmaria posted fractions of :12.60, :24.60 and :47. She galloped out five-eighths in :59 and three-quarters in 1:12.
The main track was rated fast at Churchill Downs on Saturday, where Breeders’ Futurity winner Brody’s Cause worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Also working at Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile was third-place Breeders’ Futurity finisher Rated R Superstar, who turned five-eighths in 1:01.20.
Pocahontas S. (G2) heroine Dothraki Queen and Ma Can Do It, the respective second and third in the October 2 Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland, worked five-eighths in 1:02.40 and 1:01.20, for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Grade 3 winner Barbados, runner-up in the Phoenix S. (G3) last out at Keeneland, worked five furlongs at Churchill in 1:00.80 for the TwinSpires Sprint.
In other Breeders’ Cup news, Sheer Drama arrived at Keeneland Friday following a 16-hour van ride from her home base at Gulfstream Park for a run in next Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Trained by David Fawkes, Sheer Drama is slated to make her first appearance on track Sunday.
“We didn’t train today because of the rain and it was a long van ride up here,” said Fawkes, who is seeking his second Breeders’ Cup victory.
Fawkes has had four previous starters in the World Championships and won with his first entrant, eventual champion sprinter Big Drama, in the 2010 Sprint at Churchill Downs. The five-year-old Sheer Drama is a half-sister to Big Drama and like her brother is a Harold L. Queen homebred.
Sheer Drama, who captured the Personal Ensign S. (G1) and Delaware H. (G1) in her last pair, put in her final work for the Distaff on Wednesday at Gulfstream.
“Her last work was super,” Fawkes said of the bullet, five-furlong move in :58.88. “She will have no work here. She will train lightly. She runs best when she works eight or nine days out.”
Sheer Drama has not raced since winning the Personal Ensign at Saratoga on August 29 in which she defeated Distaff rivals Got Lucky, Untapable and Stopchargingmaria.
“That was the plan all along,” Fawkes said of the two months between the Personal Ensign and Distaff. “We had hoped to get the ‘Win & You’re In’ race at Churchill Downs (the Fleur de Lis H. [G2] in June), but we got the ‘Win & You’re In’ at Saratoga and that allowed us to sit still for here.”
Sheer Drama has been ridden in all of her 2015 starts by Joe Bravo, who will be aboard next Friday.
“She steps up to the table every time,” Bravo said. “You have to appreciate that.”
All photos courtesy of Keeneland/Coady Photography
I’m a Chatterbox
Stopchargingmaria (inside) & Catron (outside)