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McLaughlin's Breeders' Cup Quartet Works
By New York Racing Association
ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin worked the final four of his Breeders’ Cup contenders early Saturday morning over Belmont Park’s training track.
Under jockey Calvin Borel, Classic-bound Rattlesnake Bridge worked five furlongs in company with the Juvenile-bound Alpha, with the pair covering the distance in 1:00.83 and 1:00.84, respectively, out of the gate. Trappe Shot, pre-entered in the Dirt Mile and the Sprint, went a half-mile in 49.83 and Miss Netta, who is heading for the Juvenile Fillies, worked a half in a bullet 46.87 out of the gate under jockey Rajiv Maragh.
“It was nice to get Calvin here to get a feel for the gray horse because he will ride him Saturday,” said McLaughlin. “He’s a bit keen, and we want Calvin to take him back like he can do. We hope that he settles toward the rear. Calvin didn’t think that would be a problem, so we’re glad he worked him. Trappe Shot, we were looking for just what we got. Miss Netta worked a bit quick out of the gate, but sometimes the gate gets them a bit eager. We wanted to kick her out of the gate after her nightmare day at the Frizette. She came out of it great, we had a good morning.”
All five are scheduled to depart Belmont Park Monday by van, arriving at Churchill Downs early Tuesday morning.
McLaughlin had high praise for NYRA Director of Racing Surfaces Glen Kozak, who had the training track ready for an onslaught of workers Saturday morning following rain on Thursday and in advance of more wet weather arriving Saturday.
“I hadn’t been sleeping well, worrying about the weather and how the track was going to be, when we were going to harrow, what’s going on,” said McLaughlin. “So I got a text from Glen at 4:05 this morning, saying the track was harrowed to open, with the rain moving in between 8 and 9. He said it looked OK and that it would be harrowed at 7:30 if the rain didn’t arrive early. We were going to work two at 6 a.m. and two at 7:30, but it looked good so we went with all four at 7:30. By 8:05, it was raining, so we got lucky. We need to give him a nice pat on the back.”
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Trainer Christophe Clement said Saturday morning that Mr. and Mrs. Bertram Firestone’s Winchester, winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational, was unlikely to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
The trainer said he was not happy with the results of an endoscopic examination performed after the 6-year-old horse worked four furlongs Saturday in 50.62 in company with Grassy (51.00), who is headed to the Grade 2 Red Smith Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“Winchester had a dirty scope after the breeze,” said Clement. “I do not like the fact the horse did not have a good, clean scope after the breeze and I do not like to put pressure on the horse. So most probably we will regroup. Mr. Firestone is leaning against running, and passing on the race, because he is not comfortable running the horse after a dirty scope.”
The trainer reported that Gio Ponti, headed to the Breeders’ Cup Mile, came out of Wednesday’s breeze in good order and galloped 1 ¼ miles on the Belmont Park training track Saturday morning. He is scheduled to fly to Kentucky on Tuesday.