Pletcher: Halladay Puts In ‘Good Solid Work’ For Mile, Happy Saver Out Of Breeders’ Cup

Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has 4,993 career wins heading into Friday’s racing action, breezed a quintet of Breeders’ Cup contenders over the past two mornings at Belmont Park.

Harrell Ventures’ Halladay, winner of the Grade 1 Fourstardave last out on Aug. 22 at Saratoga Race Course, worked five-eighths in company Friday in 1:00.60 on the fast dirt training track while being pressed from the outside by maiden winner Jerry the Nipper, a 3-year-old New York-bred.

It was the second breeze back for the Breeders’ Cup Mile contender after scratching out of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile on October 3 at Keeneland with a hind leg infection.

“I thought it was a good work. We normally don’t work him in company, but seeing as we’re a little rushed for time between races, I wanted to get a good solid work into him today in company,” said Pletcher. “He’s a very willing work horse on his own but the fact that we missed the prep race we wanted to get a good solid company work into him and we got what we were hoping for.

“He responded quickly to antibiotics and everything has gone according to plan so far,” added Pletcher.

The 4-year-old War Front gray, who captured the Tropical Park Derby in December at Gulfstream Park, took a big step forward in his 4-year-old campaign, reeling off a trio of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures over his last four starts from wins in an optional-claimer [102] on the Gulfstream turf in April; a 1 ¼-length score in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch [103] at the Spa in July; and a 105 Beyer for his frontrunning Fourstardave coup.

“He’s always been an impressive horse to watch train,” said Pletcher. “The key to him getting better has been that he’s learned to settle and relax a bit in the early part of his races. He was on the bridle in the early part of his breeze today with his company but he wasn’t throwing his head and getting silly about it.”

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, Martin S. Schwartz and CHC Inc.’s Valiance made the grade last out in the nine-furlong Grade 1 Spinster on October 4 at Keeneland. The Tapit gray clocked a half-mile in 48.04 on the dirt training track Friday while working outside of 3-year-old allowance-winning filly Thankful.

“I thought it was an excellent work,” said Pletcher. “She seems to be in really good form at the moment. I was really happy with the work and gallop out.”

A six-time winner from eight starts, Pletcher said the $650,000 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga Select Yearling Sale purchase continues to improve with each start ahead of facing deeper waters in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

“This is another step up but she seems to be in the best form of her career,” said Pletcher. “As she’s gotten older and more mature and stronger, she’s trained better on the dirt. She’s won her last two starts on the dirt and has a win over the track which never hurts.”

Valiance, who won the off-the-turf Eatontown at Monmouth Park in August ahead of her Spinster score, is out of the Grade 1-winning Empire Maker mare Last Full Measure.

Breeders’ Cup hopefuls Mutasaabeq [Juvenile Turf], Likeable [Juvenile] and Union Gables [Juvenile Fillies Turf/Juvenile Turf Sprint] worked on Thursday at Belmont.

Shadwell Stable’s Mutasaabeq, who was third in the Grade 1 Runhappy Hopeful in September ahead of a last-out win in the Grade 2 Bourbon on October 4 at Keeneland, worked a half-mile in 49.75 through the fog on the dirt training track.

“We were under quite a bit of fog at the time, but what we could see looked very good. He seemed to be moving great and came back well,” said Pletcher.

By Into Mischief and out of the Scat Daddy mare Downside Scenario, Mutasaabeq was a $425,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase.

Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable and Stonestreet Stables’ Likeable worked five-eighths in 1:02.11 on Big Sandy under Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.

The Frosted bay finished second in his August 22 debut at Saratoga under Irad Ortiz, Jr. ahead of his impressive 8 ¼-length maiden score under Luis Saez in a one-turn mile on September 19 at Belmont.

“I wanted him [Velazquez] to get a feel for the horse and to learn something about him,” said Pletcher. “We’ve always liked this horse a lot. His two races have been good and he’s trained like we would have hoped since then.”

Pletcher said Likeable is training forwardly enough that he opted for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile rather than the Grade 3 Nashua on November 8 at the Big A.

“The choices are do you take a conservative route like the Nashua or do you take a shot at the long ball when the horse is doing really well,” said Pletcher. “We figured there’s a lot of upside if we’re fortunate and not a lot of downside if were not.”

GMP Stables and F. Bellavia’s Union Gables, a 2-year-old Speightstown filly, breezed a half-mile in 50.25 on the dirt training track. She finished third in the off-the-turf P.G. Johnson on September 3 at Saratoga ahead of a last-out second in the Grade 3 Matron at six furlongs on the Belmont turf on October 11.

“I think we’ll pre-enter Union Gables in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and second choice in the Juvenile Turf Sprint after her second in the Matron. We’ll see where she lands and how popular those races are,” said Pletcher.

Union Gables was a private purchase following her first-out graduation on the Saratoga main track on August 4 for former trainer Gary Gullo.

Pletcher said Wertheimer and Frere’s undefeated Happy Saver, last-out winner of the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on October 10 at Belmont, will not enter the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The Super Saver sophomore graduated on June 20 at Belmont ahead of a nine-furlong allowance win against older horses in July at the Spa. He entered the Jockey Club Gold Cup from a prominent win in the Federico Tesio at Laurel Park on September 7.

“We’re going to pass on the Breeders’ Cup with him and make a decision in the next week on whether we’ll give him some time off or focus on a Plan B towards the Pegasus [at Gulfstream]. I think the Classic is coming up a little too soon,” said Pletcher. “He’s a horse we plan to race next year and I felt like for the long term skipping this race and focusing on 2021 is the right move for him. He has a lot of talent and we want to make sure we keep him fresh for next year.”

The post Pletcher: Halladay Puts In ‘Good Solid Work’ For Mile, Happy Saver Out Of Breeders’ Cup appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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