Pletcher Breeders’ Cup Brigade Works at Belmont
by Laura Pugh
Trainer Todd Pletcher sent out an army of Breeders’ Cup-bound workers at Belmont Park on Sunday morning led by Classic (GI)-bound Keen Ice, the 2015 Travers Stakes (GI) winner, who recorded his second work back since a lackluster third-place finish in a Belmont allowance back on Oct. 7. The son of Curlin covered six furlongs in 1:13, which was the fastest of two for the distance and his second consecutive bullet work.
Keen Ice galloped out seven eighths in 1:26 and one mile in 1:39 4/5, according to Pletcher’s stopwatch. As long as he emerges from the work in good order he will be pre-entered in the Classic on Monday morning.
“My impression, talking to Jerry, is that everyone is on board to pre-enter and take a look at it,” Pletcher said. “The real key for him is that he’s proven that he wants a mile and a quarter and what he needs is a legitimate pace in front of him and it certainly looks like this race could offer that. Obviously, it’s a very difficult race to win but the pace scenario and distance could suit him.”
Curalina, last seen running second in the Personal Ensign Stakes (GI), also worked five furlongs, posting the bullet in :59 in company with grade 2-placed Zulu. The four-year-old filly galloped out six furlongs in 1:12 3/5, which would have bested stablemate Keen Ice’s bullet work for the distance.
“She’s always been a good workhorse,” Pletcher said. “A lot of times, we don’t work her in company because she does things pretty willingly on her own, but for today’s work we wanted to make sure we got a good, solid work.
“This is her most significant breeze leading into it and we wanted to make sure she got a good one and she certainly did.”
Pletcher also sent out juvenile hopefuls in Syndergaard and Sweet Loretta, who will take part in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) and Juvenile Fillies (GI), respectively. Syndergaard, under John Velazquez, covered five eighths in 1:00 4/5 in the company of Kahramani, a 2-year-old maiden. Sweet Loretta covered the same distance in 1.01 2/5.
Rounding out Pletcher’s Breeders’ Cup workers on Sunday morning were With Anticipation Stakes (GIIT) winner Made You Look and J. S. Choice ($1 million Juvenile Turf), who worked four furlongs in company on the dirt in 50.22; and Grade 1 First Lady Stakes (GIT) heroine Photo Call, who will be pre-entered in both the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GIT) and Filly & Mare Turf (GIT), who logged a half-mile in 49.23.