Lady and The Track | September 23, 2023

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Juveniles Top Churchill’s Breeders’ Cup Worktab Friday

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Dale Romans, Brad Cox Trainees Top Churchill Works

By LATT Staff/Churchill Downs Press Release

Sittin On Go. Photo: Churchill Downs

Trainer Dale Romans sent out his stakes-winning duo Girl Daddy and Sittin On Go for Friday morning works at Churchill Downs in preparation for next Friday’s Breeders’ Cup “Future Stars Friday” program at Keeneland. Girl Daddy, who is set for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), logged a half-mile in :48.20 while Sittin On Go, a starter in the Juvenile (G1), went in :47.40. The main track was labeled “good” after overnight rain.

“We’re coming into the Breeders’ Cup with some good chances and ready to take our shot,” Romans said.

“I think that across the board each of the Breeders’ Cup races are shaping up to be competitive. It’s fun getting to compete on this stage and seeing who is the best of the best.”

Sittin On Go is an undefeated son of  Romans-trained Brody’s Cause. Girl Daddy is by Ashford Stud stallion Uncle Mo.

Romans also pre-entered Derby City Distaff  third-place finisher Sally’s Curlin for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), Fayette Stakes hero Mr Freeze to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) and maiden winner Smiley Sobotka for the Juvenile. They will work at Churchill on Saturday.

All five will ship to Keeneland on Monday, according to Romans.

Trainer Brad Cox’s juvenile trio of Abarta (Juvenile Turf), Aunt Pearl (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Essential Quality (Juvenile) logged their final Breeders’ Cup works on Friday morning at Churchill Downs.

Essential Quality. Photo: Churchill Downs

Godolphin’s undefeated $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner Essential Quality went 1:01 under jockey Florent Geroux in company with stablemate Mr. Misunderstood. The pair logged early splits of :12.2 and :24.1, according to Churchill Downs clocker John Nichols.

Donegal Racing and Newton Anner Stud Farm’s Bourbon Stakes (G2) runner-up Abarta worked a half-mile in :47.60 in company with Juddmonte Farm’s stakes winner Set Piece (GB). Abarta posted splits of :11.60, :23.80 and :35 and galloped out the five furlongs in 1:00.40.

Geroux was also aboard Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Peter Deutsch, Michael Kisber and The Elkstone Group’s Jessamine Stakes (G2) winner Aunt Pearl (IRE), who went half-mile in :48.60 in company with unraced stablemate Palm Cottage. Aunt Pearl broke off well behind and logged early splits of  :24.80 and :36.80.

Aunt Pearl. Photo: Churchill Downs

“We have some really nice 2-year-olds in our barn this year,” Cox said. “A lot of them have already shown early promise. Essential Quality is growing up well. He’s continuing to learn and I’m very pleased with how he’s progressing. He has a ton of raw talent which he’s shown in both of his starts. We added blinkers to him over the summer to help him focus a little bit more and they’ve really helped. We have experience around two turns and we have experience at Keeneland, which is always helpful. It’s 1 1/16 miles, so it’s a short stretch. You need to be in position when you turn for home.

“Abarta had a really nice late kick in the Bourbon to run second. He didn’t have the best of trips but really showed some adversity that afternoon. I think it’s good he has already run well over that course.

“Aunt Pearl acted like she could really run at the start. She and Essential Quality were two of them that really jumped out to us early in their training and showed they have some ability. The good ones kind of do that – they’ll let you know there is a lot of talent there. Given the pedigree we were optimistic she’d be able to carry her speed around two turns. We thought about taking her to Saratoga over the summer but when Churchill’s condition book came out I thought it might be better to keep her at home. It’s turned out really well so far.”

Dayoutoftheoffice. Photo: Dom Napolitano/NYRA

Up the road at Keeneland, where the Breeders’ Cup will be held beginning in a week, undefeated Frizette Stakes (G1) winner Dayoutoftheoffice worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 with Alfredo Clemente aboard for trainer Tim Hamm.

The daughter of Into Mischief clipped off splits of :12.80, :25.40, :37, 1:00.40 with a six-furlong gallop out in 1:12.80 and seven-eighths in 1:27 over a muddy main track.

“I think it was her best work,” Hamm said of the filly he co-ownes with breeder Siena Farm. “She finished up really strong and galloped out great. I weighed working today and went out and looked at the track twice and saw it was opened up. Plus, the timing was a lot better today.”

Dayoutoftheoffice will be the first Breeders’ Cup starter for Hamm, who used to train on the Kentucky Circuit but is now based out of Ohio and Florida.

“It is close by for us and I always like coming to Keeneland,” Hamm said. “Having the Breeders’ Cup here is perfect for us.”


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