Monday Morning Trainer: Good Read

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Posts will be drawn Monday morning (West Coast time) for the 30th Breeders’ Cup and this past weekend’s races provided at least a little insight into the strength of two divisions on the World Championships card.

Sunday’s Grade 1 races at Woodbine – the Canadian International and E. P. Taylor – do not carry direct Breeders’ Cup implications but the winner and runner-up of the former and winner of the latter might give a read on the strength of the Breeders’ Cup Turf and Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Joshua Tree won the International for a third time in four seasons (he was second in 2011), leading a European contingent that also took third (Seismos) and fourth (Now We Can). Joshua Tree was 13th in his previous start in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which used to be a pretty good source of Turf entrants but this year doesn’t feature a single Breeders’ Cup runner.

Still, the fact that the 6-year-old Montjeu horse handled a good group of North American and European turf routers the way he did might not bode well for the home team’s chances against the European trio of The Fugue, Magician and Grandeur pre-entered in the Turf.

Hyper, the runner-up in the Canadian International, could provide a better read although he’s a bit more tricky since he was kept out of the Turf so he wouldn’t spoil the chances of Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Kitten’s Joy-sired duo of Real Solution and Big Blue Kitten.

Ramsey, not surprisingly, is high on both his Turf entrants with probably a bit more enthusiasm for Real Solution. How Hyper stacks up against his stablemates isn’t crystal clear, but he did defeated Boisterous fairly convincingly two starts back and Big Blue Kitten lost to that same rival back in June at Monmouth going shorter than he probably prefers.

Speaking of stablemates providing a read, Tannery probably appreciated the change of scenery in the E. P. Taylor and we’re not talking about the beautiful turf course at Woodbine.

Tannery most likely enjoyed the absence – if even for just a short while – of stablemate, multiple Grade 1 winner and pro-tem divisional leader Laughing as she won the supporting Grade 1 event on the International program.

Tannery, an Irish-bred by Dylan Thomas, employed a much different style than her front-running Irish-bred stablemate by coming from last in the field of 10 on the yielding ground to outlast European import Fitful Skies by a head. Tannery was coming off a second-place finish behind Laughing in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational Sept. 28 at Belmont.

Laughing is riding a four-race win streak heading into the Filly and Mare Turf, including the Grade 1 Diana for owner Richard Santulli. Tannery and Laughing are trained at Santulli’s Colts Neck Stables training center in Colts Neck, N.J. by Alan Goldberg.

 

Settle In

The smattering of fans outside and small groups inside the paddock Sunday at Belmont Park got their last glimpse of live racing there with racing set to shift to Aqueduct for about the next six months.

Trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano, who won their respective titles, teamed to win the closing-day feature as Storming Inti won the Awad overnight stakes. Storming Inti, a 2-year-old by War Front, finished third behind Bashart in his debut back in mid-August. Bashart goes next in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Castellano finished the meet with 55 victories for his third straight NYRA crown, adding the fall meet to the Belmont’s spring/summer and Saratoga stands. He’s North America’s leading rider heading into the Breeders’ Cup with purses of more than $20.8-million.

Ramon Dominguez holds the single-season North American earnings record with $25,634,852. Castellano could threaten that mark with several live Breeders’ Cup mounts led by Princess of Sylmar in the Distaff.

The final graded stakes of the year at Belmont went to Clearly Now in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler and Stanwyck in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm. Stanwyck spent the fall with trainer John Shirreffs’ string in Saratoga at the Oklahoma Training Track and the Empire Maker filly frequently trained in the back fields.

 

Record Meet

Keeneland wrapped its 2013 racing season Saturday with attendance and betting records for the fourth straight fall meet. The track reported total attendance of 266,466 (an average of 15,674), total wagering of $142,999,271 (an average of $8,411,722) and on-track wagering of $18,173,355 (an average of $1,069,021). Fans in Lexington certainly come to Keeneland for more than the burgoo.

On the racing side, 17 was the magic number.

Rosie Naprvanik won her first Keeneland title with 17 wins. She’s the first woman to leading the standings at Keeneland and she was six better than Joe Rocco Jr. and Alan Garcia. Mike Maker saddled 17 winners for the training title and his main client, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won 17 races for yet another owner’s crown.

 

Near Sweep

Now it’s time for a little self-promotion. TIHR’s Joe Clancy, gearing up for the 14-race Breeders’ Cup handicapping test later this week, nearly swept the jump card at Aiken with four winners from the five races on the program. Joe tabbed Street Fight, General Partner and Brilliant Match in the first three races and Alajmal in the fifth for his four-pack.

The four wins pushed Joe’s total on the season to 43. Sean and Tom are reeling with 38 and 34 wins, respectively, after just a single victory each at Aiken.

The races at Aiken did little to affect the seasonal standings as William Pape (owner, money won), Jonathan Sheppard (trainer, races and money won), Darren Nagle (jockey, races won) and Paddy Young (jockey, money won) maintained their leads.

Check out the NSA standings.