With the 2019 Breeders’ Cup rapidly approaching, key contenders for the 14 championship races have been busy wrapping up their pre-race workouts at racetrack across the country.
UPDATED with trainer Tweets from Jorge Navarro, Richard Mandella and John Sadler
Much of the action has taken place at Santa Anita, where the Breeders’ Cup will be held on November 1-2. One of the last to train was Classic (G1) favorite McKinzie, who worked five-eighths of a mile on October 28. Conditioned by three-time Classic-winning trainer Bob Baffert, McKinzie went solo and clocked the distance in 1:00 1/5.
Mongolian Groom, who conquered McKinzie in the Awesome Again Stakes (G1), worked five furlongs in an easy 1:02 on October 27. He was joined on the work tab by Elate (three-eighths in :36.70) and Yoshida (half-mile in :50.00), who turned in maintenance moves six days out from the Classic. Higher Power went to the track one day prior, working six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.60, while across the country at Belmont Park, Vino Rosso (half-mile in :48.40 on October 25) and Code of Honor (four furlongs in :53.82 on October 27) wrapped up preparations at home.
Major players for the Distaff (G1) have also been in action at Santa Anita. Standout star Midnight Bisou, as is typical for a Steve Asmussen-trained runner, went easy in her final workout, clocking four furlongs in :50.80 on October 28. Grade 1 winners Paradise Woods (five furlongs in 1:00 on October 27) and Ollie’s Candy (four furlongs in :47.00 on October 26) were a bit flashier, while Serengeti Empress (half-mile in :47.60 on October 25 at Churchill Downs) and Blue Prize (five-eighths in 1:01.40 on October 24 at Keeneland) remained in Kentucky for their final pre-race moves.
Meanwhile, three-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown has been staying busy at Belmont Park. Turf (G1) favorite Bricks and Mortar led the charge by working a half-mile in :49.11 over the inner turf course, while reigning Filly & Mare Turf (G1) champion Sistercharlie clocked five furlongs in 1:00.85. Mile (G1) contenders Uni and Without Parole breezed four furlongs in :49.08 and :49.11, respectively, while on the main track, Distaff (G1) candidates Dunbar Road and Wow Cat went five furlongs in 1:01.05 and 1:01.01.
Among the 2-year-olds, possible Juvenile (G1) favorite Dennis’ Moment had racing fans and analysts abuzz after rocketing a half-mile in a bullet :46.60 on October 25 at Santa Anita. Two days later, rival Eight Rings responded with a half-mile in :47.20, while Maxfield breezed the same distance in :47.80 at Keeneland on October 25.
Eight Rings was joined on the Saturday work tab by his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Bast, who wrapped up her preparations for the Juvenile Fillies (G1) by working five furlongs in 1:01.60. Key challengers Wicked Whisper (five furlongs in 1:00.20 on October 23) and British Idiom (half-mile in :48.40 on October 25 at Churchill Downs) have likewise turned in encouraging workouts in recent days.
Wesley Ward sent out three contenders for the Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) on October 27 at Keeneland. Each one worked half a mile, with Four Wheel Drive going by far the quickest (:48.60). Kimari (:52.00) and Cambria (:54.40) turned in much easier moves.
For the Juvenile Turf (G1), Structor (half-mile in :49.56 on dirt) and Decorated Invader (half-mile in :49.00 on turf) were both seen in action October 26 at Belmont Park. Selflessly, possible favorite for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), joined them with a half-mile in :50.70 on the main track.
Dirt Mile (G1) favorite Omaha Beach turned in his most serious pre-race move on October 23, cruising five furlongs in a bullet :59.60. Halfway across the country at Churchill Downs, serious Mile (G1) contender Got Stormy worked a half-mile in :47.40 on October 25.
Even further from the spotlight at Monmouth Park, possible Sprint (G1) favorite Imperial Hint blazed four furlongs in :46 on October 24, two days before younger rival Shancelot caught eyes working the same distance in :46.40 at Santa Anita. Yet Mitole arguably outshone them both when working a swift five furlongs from the Santa Anita starting gate in :58.80 on October 22.
Two-time defending Turf Sprint (G1) winner Stormy Liberal, prepping for an unprecedented three-peat in his signature race, casually worked a half-mile in :49.20 on October 22 at the San Luis Rey Training Center. Eddie Haskell, another key player in the competitive Turf Sprint, went faster breezing the same distance in :47 on October 26 at Santa Anita.
Top contenders for the Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) wrapped up their serious preparations away from Santa Anita. The brilliant sophomore Covfefe blazed five furlongs in a bullet :59.80 on October 25 at Churchill Downs, while Come Dancing worked a maintenance three-eighths in :37.55 on October 26, having turned in a scintillating six furlongs in 1:10.20 one week prior.
(All images in this story are by Horsephotos.com)