War Emblem will go straight to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He will not pass go, he will not collect $200.
So says Richard Mulhall, racing manager for The Thoroughbred Corp., which owns this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner. Mulhall said the dark bay colt will ship from Del Mar where he finished sixth as the even-money favorite in the Pacific Classic, to trainer Bob Baffert’s Santa Anita headquarters where he will train up to the $4 million Classic at 11/4 miles at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.
"He came out of the race fine," Mulhall said of the Pacific Classic, in which War Emblem was antsy before settling in the starting gate. "I don’t think we’ll run him again until the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll give him a little bit of a break, because we’ve run him pretty hard. He’s starting to get a little on the sour side with that business at the gate. He doesn’t normally do that, not as bad as this. He’s getting worse and worse, so we’ll freshen him up a little bit and just bring him right into the Breeders’ Cup."
The Thoroughbred Corp. is likely to bring an undefeated 2-year-old from Europe to run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Elusive City, a son of Elusive Quality, broke his maiden on an all-weather track overseas and on Aug. 25 won his third race, the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville in France by three-quarters of a length in 1:10.40 for six furlongs, the same time Johannesburg won the race in last year.
"He’ll probably run next in the Middle Park (Stakes at Newmarket, a six-furlong, Group 1 race on Oct. 3) and there’s a possibility we could bring him over for the Breeders’ Cup," Mulhall said of the Kentucky-bred colt. "We are considering the Breeders’ Cup."
As for the Grade I stakes-winning filly, Habibti, Mulhall said they are looking for a race.
"I don’t know where we’ll run Habibti, to be honest with you," said Mulhall, whose 20-year-old daughter, Kristin, won her first race as a trainer when she saddled Altarama in Del Mar’s feature last Monday. "There is no spot for Habibti right now and we don’t really want to ship her at the present time, but she did work seven-eighths the other day in 1:25 and some change, so she’s close to running. We just have to find a race."
Mulhall said the talented Bertrando colt, Officer, "needs another month yet" before he returns to Baffert’s barn from The Thoroughbred Corp.’s Bradbury farm. The California-bred has been sidelined with an ankle injury since winning the Zany Tactics on April 7.
THE HOMESTRETCH: With the Breeders’ Cup less than a month from Oak Tree’s opening day on Oct. 2, to accommodate Breeders’ Cup aspirants, Oak Tree Racing Association has moved its Breeders’ Cup prep races from their customary spots later in the 26-day meet to the first weekend. Six stakes races with Breeders’ Cup implications will be decided on Saturday, Oct. 5, and Sunday, Oct. 6. They are the 11/6-mile Norfolk Stakes for 2-year-olds; the six-furlong Ancient Title for 3-year-olds and up; the Oak Tree Breeders’ Cup Mile on the turf; the 11/4-mile Yellow Ribbon Stakes for fillies and mares on turf; the 11/16-mile Oak Leaf Stakes for 2-year-old fillies; and the 11/8-mile Goodwood Breeders’ Cup Handicap for 3-year-olds and up. Astra and Golden Apples are pointing to the Grade I Yellow Ribbon, while Pacific Classic winner Came Home will use the Goodwood as a steppingstone to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Yet another Breeders’ Cup prep, the 11/16-mile Lady’s Secret Breeders Cup Handicap for fillies and mares, will be presented on opening day . . . Word from the Darrell Vienna barn is that turf specialist Suances "will have a little break" with an unrevealed ailment that is "nothing major" but will cause him to miss Sunday’s $1 million Atto Mile at Woodbine. Another Vienna runner, Nuclear Debate, will replace him under Gary Stevens . . . Bobby Frankel plans to run Skipping in Belmont’s $500,000 Man o’ War at 13/8 miles on the turf on Sunday, with Kent Desormeaux in the saddle, and Milwaukee Brew in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at 11/4 miles on Sept. 28.