Beethoven – Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith’s Beethoven was led onto the track by trainer Aidan O’Brien’s traveling head lad Pat Keating Wednesday morning, walked the wrong way around the bend, then galloped once around.
“They are all doing well,” Keating said.
Court Vision – Fourth beaten 1 ½ lengths by two-time defending champion Goldikova in last year’s TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile, the Rick Dutrow Jr.-trained Court Vision is back for another crack after one of the best efforts in his career, a win in the Woodbine Mile.
“The Woodbine race was right up there,” Dutrow said. “It was a gigantic effort. He had some traffic, got blocked, and just exploded late in the stretch to win. It was a really good field and this horse just did what he’s been doing for a long time.”
At the age of five, Court Vision has won eight times from 24 starts en route to banking over $2.5 million.
“You don’t come across too many horses like Court Vision,” Dutrow said. “He’s been a major player at the top of his game year after year. The great thing about ‘Court’ is he’s raced all over the country, has won a bunch of Grade 1s, and handles any kind of turf course.”
Delegator – Godolphin’s 4yo Dansili colt cantered on the main track Wednesday morning.
Jockey Frankie Detttori will ride Delegator in the Mile for the second consecutive year. In 2009, they finished fifth, 3 ¼ lengths behind Goldikova. Delegator drew post five and is 12-1 on the morning line.
Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor saddled two horses in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday and is expected to be at Churchill Downs Thursday morning.
Get Stormy – Sullimar Stable’s Stormy Atlantic colt galloped 1 3/8 m Wednesday morning on the main track at Churchill Downs.
Anna Hollander, an assistant to trainer Chad Brown, galloped Get Stormy and has been caring for him while trainer Tom Bush is in New York. Bush is scheduled to be at the barn Thursday morning.
“He’s training very well,” Hollander said.
Get Stormy drew post eight in the field of 11 and will be ridden by Javier Castellano.
Gio Ponti – While the Mile will be dual Eclipse champion Gio Ponti’s third Breeders’ Cup race, it may not be his final race.
“I don’t know what will be next for him” Christophe Lorieul, the assistant to trainer Christophe Clement said after he took the 2009 Eclipse-Award winning Turf Male and Older Male out for a gallop once around the track on Wednesday morning. “His performance in this race will tell us what is next for him and then the owners will make that decision.”
Gio Ponti, second to Zenyatta in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic, was also pre-entered in this year’s Classic, but his connections opted instead for the Mile, where he is the 4-1 second choice in the morning line behind 6-5 favorite Goldikova.
“Gio Ponti had his final work two weeks ago and that is the same schedule he had leading up to his win in the Shadwell Mile,” said Lorieul.
The 5yo son of Tale of the Cat, who was eighth in the 2007 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf after encountering traffic problems on a yielding course, is Clement’s first Eclipse Award winner and the veteran horseman has called him the best horse he has trained.
Clement will arrive on Friday to supervise the final preparations for Gio Ponti and Turf contender Winchester.
Goldikova – Trainer Freddie Head, who’s won four runnings of the Mile, two as a jockey and two as trainer, is cautiously optimistic that his 5yo mare can become the first horse ever to win three consecutive Breeders’ Cup races. Goldikova, who came from the outside post 11 to win last year’s Mile, drew post 10 for this running.
“I would have liked more of an inside draw,” said Head, “but she won from the outside last year, so we’ll manage. I think I won with Miesque from the same draw.”
(Miesque, who won her second straight Mile in 1988, started from post 8 at Churchill Downs that day.)
“She’s coming into this race better than she did last year, when she lost the prep (Prix de la Foret),” said Head. “In fact, this has been her best year so far. Everything is going well. It’s like it’s too good to be true.”
Goldikova, who set a record for European runners when she made the Foret her 11th Group or Grade 1 victory, was beaten just once in five tries this year, and that came on soft ground at Deauville in August.
“She doesn’t really like it soft,” said Head, “and the horse who beat her (Makfi) is a very talented 3-year-old who loved the going.
“I’m sure the ground here will be to her liking. As far as tactics, that’s up to the rider.”
Goldikova will again be ridden by Olivier Peslier, who has been aboard in every one of her 20 starts, with 14 wins, three seconds and two thirds.
Paco Boy – With jockey Ryan Moore aboard, the 5yo horse cantered 7f Wednesday morning on the main track.
Assistant Richard Hannon Jr. is caring for Paco Boy for his father, who underwent successful heart bypass surgery earlier this week. Hannon said the veteran stakes horse has settled in well in Kentucky since shipping from Europe on Saturday.
“He looks great,” Hannon, Jr. said. “He keeps that sort of summer coat all year round anyway. He’s in good form. He’s moving well. We’ll give him a little bit (Thursday) on the grass, I would think. Then go from there.”
Paco Boy has one a Group 1 race in each of the last three seasons. He has finished behind two-time Mile winner Goldikova each of the four times that they have met, but has never been beaten more than a half-length by the European female star.
Proviso – The 5yo mare went out for an easy canter and toured the paddock Wednesday morning before jockey Mike Smith stopped by to check in with trainer Bill Mott.
“She’s training amazing, Billy says,” said Smith, who will draw slightly more attention on Saturday’s card riding another female named Zenyatta. “Not just him, I’ve heard that from several people that are really watching. I’ve been getting texts and phone calls from people saying how great she’s doing.”
A confirmed closer, she drew what might otherwise be a difficult outside post for the race and will be one of two females in the field of 11. The other is two-time defending champion Goldikova.
“I know Goldikova’s going to be extremely tough to beat, but we’re the kind of horse that if she’s going to get beat, we can certainly be the one to do it. I’m excited about it. She’s had a great year this year. She’s beaten the boys already once this year (Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March). We’ll be ready.”
Sidney's Candy – The possible pacesetter in Saturday’s Mile jogged 1m Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs at approximately 6:45 under exercise rider Jose Alferez.
The 3yo son of Candy Ride was bred and is currently owned by weight-loss guru Jenny Craig. Plans have been in the air for the past few months to possibly sell the chestnut speedster to Middle East interests prior to his Breeders’ Cup start, but they have not materialized to this point.
“I haven’t heard any more in that regard,” trainer John Sadler said Wednesday morning at his Barn 39 headquarters. “There’s nothing further to report. Jenny will be in (from California) tomorrow and will see him run on Saturday.”
Sadler had earlier indicated that no matter who owns the colt, Sidney’s Candy will run in the $2 million test.
Joel Rosario rides Sidney’s Candy, whose last start was Aug. 14 at Del Mar in the La Jolla Handicap, a race he won handily while setting a grass-course record of 1:39 2/5 for 1 1/16m.
Society's Chairman – The oldest horse in the Mile field at age 7, the son of Not Impossible was out on the Churchill Downs main track Wednesday morning for some light exercise with assistant trainer Sue Lorimer aboard. Trainer Roger Attfield is en route to Louisville and will be on hand Thursday.
“He jogged a mile and galloped a mile-and-a-half,” Lorimer said. “Roger will have him blow out on the grass Friday morning.”
Society’s Chairman, owned by Charles Fipke and George Waud, finished second to Gio Ponti in the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last out on Oct. 9. Julien Leparoux, who rode that day for the first time, will have the mount again in the Mile.
Society’s Chairman has won once in five starts this season, taking the Appleton Stakes at Gulfstream in March.
The Usual Q. T. – It took some convincing, trainer Jim Cassidy said, but he finally persuaded his owners to send the son of Unusual Heat to contest the Mile following a runner-up effort in the Woodbine Mile.
“They didn’t want to come with him, but I persisted and I finally wore them down,” Cassidy said, half-joking.
The Usual Q.T. galloped 1 ½ m Wednesday. Cassidy said he was very happy with the 4yo gelding’s post position 7, adding that he normally expects poor post positions.