Update on Oaklawn’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Starters
Effinex – Tri-bone Stables’ Oaklawn Handicap winner Effinex galloped 1 5/8 miles Friday morning at Santa Anita in preparation for a start in Saturday’s Classic. Trainer James Jerkens “is happy with how he’s doing” and is hoping he get a chance to run his best race.
“You just hope to get a good trip. Other than those two horses (California Chrome and Arrogate) everybody has been taking turns beating each other,” Jerkens said. “You just hope to get a good trip.”
Effinex got a good trip in last year’s Classic, in which he broke sharply to most closely follow pacesetting American Pharoah and fought off challenges in the stretch to finish second behind the Triple Crown champion. With the presence of California Chrome, Arrogate and Melatonin in the field, Jerkens is hoping for another stalking trip for Effinex.
“I’d like him to break cleanly and have him come running out of there and keep his nice rail spot and let the others go to the lead. I hope they run out of there so he won’t be cramped up in there. That would be ideal,” Jerkens said.
Flavien Prat will ride Effinex for the first time.
Melatonin –The Oaklawn Handicap runner-up Melatonin, who won The Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup at Santa Anita this year, jogged twice around the track Friday morning.
“He's good, he's been put away and is resting,” trainer David Hofmans said before daybreak. “I haven't decided what we'll do tomorrow (race day), but he will do something. He might do the same as today, or he might gallop.”
Melatonin has not raced since the Gold Cup on June 25. A minor illness scrubbed plans for the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in August. Hofmans, therefore, is bringing Melatonin into the Classic on workouts alone.
“I've done it before, I just don't remember when or what horse,” Hofmans said. “And I used to watch Charlie Whittingham do it all the time.”
Hoppertunity – The 2014 Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity had a routine gallop under regular exercise rider Dana Barnes Friday morning. He and his highly regarded stablemate Arrogate will be seeking to give Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his third straight Breeders’ Cup Classic victory. He won the race in 2014 with Bayern, who had finished third in the Arkansas Derby earlier in the year and again last year with Rebel Stakes, Arkansas Derby and Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
Update on Oaklawn’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Starter
Haveyougoneaway – The morning-line favorite Haveyougoneaway, who won both the American Beauty and Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn for trainer Allen Milligan before being sold privately, went through her distinctive day-before-the-race routine and walked without a saddle on. Trainer Tom Morley and his crew have found success with the 5yo New York-bred by jogging her a mile two days out from the race, walking her without tack the day before and then having her jog a mile the morning of the race.
“It's something I came up with myself,” Morley said. “She's a long-backed filly but she is also a very forward-trainer. I don't dare take her with a pony, so that's why I give her a day without a saddle on her back, so there is no weight on her back. Then on the morning of the race I like her to go out and loosen up.”
Haveyougoneaway earned her trip to the Filly & Mare Sprint by winning the Ballerina – a Breeders' Cup Challenge “Win and You're in Race” on Aug. 27, Travers Day at Saratoga Race Course. It was Morley's first Grade 1 win and he and his wife, NYRA television personality Maggie Wolfendale, celebrated in the winner's circle.
“This is what all the early mornings are about,” Morley said. “Those days when you drag your backside out of bed at 4 o’clock in the morning in the middle of February and it’s freezing cold. This means the world to me. It really does. It means the world to me and my wife. She comes from a racing family. I think we both agreed on Travers day that it actually probably meant more to us than the day we got married. It rocked me to a place I didn’t know existed to win a Grade 1 at Saratoga. Even thinking about it now makes me get a little emotional about it, to think that I’m 33 years old and we’ve won a Ballerina. You don’t win the Ballerina very often.”
Update on Oaklawn’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint Starter
A.P. Indian – Green Lantern Stables’ A. P. Indian, on the eve of his Breeders’ Cup debut, galloped 1 1/4m Friday morning with Moises Nava aboard for trainer Arnaud Delacour. In 2014, he finished second in his one and only race at Oaklawn again allowance company.
The 6-year-old son of Indian Charlie won his first start this year via disqualification and taken his next five starts with Joe Bravo aboard. Bravo picked up the mount from Daniel Centeno who was sidelined by injury.
“He’s a very talented horse,” said Bravo, who will be riding in his seventh Breeders’ Cup. “I’m going to let him do the talking and see what he has to say.”
In A. P. Indian’s most recent start, he broke 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy’s 6f track record at Keeneland with a victory in the Phoenix.
“People are saying he only won by a nose, but he had a lot to overcome that day,” Bravo said. “He showed a new dimension that day by running inside of horses.”
Although it was a seven-horse field in the Phoenix, the same that will go to the post in Saturday’s TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint, it was not smooth sailing.
“It was very nerve-wracking to watch when he had no place to go,” Delacour said. “I just hope things go smoother this time and I would really like to have the third straight winner of the Phoenix win the Breeders’ Cup.”
2014 Hot Springs Stakes winner Work All Week trumped his Phoenix victory with a triumph at Santa Anita and Runhappy completed the Phoenix-Breeders’ Cup double at Keeneland last year.