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ELMONT, NY – A number of star equines including Maxfield, Wit, and Jack Christopher breezed Saturday morning at Belmont Park in preparation for next weekend’s lucrative card that will feature seven graded races worth $2.3 million in purse money.
A pair of Grade 1s highlight the Saturday, October 2 card with the $500,000 Woodward for 3-year-olds and up going a one-turn 1 1/8 miles on Big Sandy and the $500,000 Champagne for 2-year-olds running 1 mile in a prestigious race, affording a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) to the winner. The $200,000 Miss Grillo (G2) will see juvenile fillies running 1 1/16 miles on turf that day, along with the $200,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational (G3) for 3-year-olds and up going 6 furlongs on the grass.
Sunday, October 3 will continue the high-level action, with the $400,000 Frizette (G1) for 2-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the main track with a spot in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) up for grabs. The day will also include the $200,000 Pilgrim (G2) for juveniles going 1 1/16 miles on the turf and the $300,000 Fasig-Tipton Waya (G3) at 1 3/8 miles in a turf route for fillies and mares 3 and up.
Godolphin’s Maxfield registered his final breeze for the Woodward on Saturday, covering a 1/2-mile in 48.55 seconds on the main track.
Under mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60s, the 5-time graded stakes-winning millionaire completed his 1/2-mile move at 8:45 AM, marking the 1/4-mile in 24.71 and galloping out 5 furlongs in 1:02.10 and up 6 furlongs in 1:14.81 under Jose Ortiz, who has piloted Maxfield to 5 of his 7 lifetime victories.
“It was a very good work,” said Maxfield trainer Brendan Walsh. “We just wanted to give him a feel for the track. He did all of his serious work in Saratoga. It was just a routine 1/2-mile. He galloped out really well. We’re all set for the Woodward.”
Maxfield, a dark bay 4-year-old son of Street Sense, enters the Woodward off a runner-up effort to Knicks Go in the Whitney (G1) on August 7 at Saratoga. Maxfield arrived at the Whitney from wins in the Alysheba on April 30 and the Stephen Foster on June 26, both Grade 2 events at Churchill Downs.
Maxfield will be targeting his first Grade 1 victory since winning the Breeders’ Futurity in October 2019 at Keeneland.
Mighty Maxfield Much The Best In Stephen Foster
Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher also worked a slew of horses in pursuit of graded stakes action next weekend.
Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Gainesway Stable’s Wit, second in the Hopeful (G1) last out on September 6 at Saratoga, and Robert and Lawana Low’s decisive maiden winner My Prankster worked in company at 7:45 AM over the Belmont training track in preparation for the Champagne.
Wit and My Prankster breezed through splits of 25.25 and 37.25 before completing their 5-furlong breeze in 1:01.84.
“It was a good solid work for them both,” said Pletcher, who eyes his seventh Champagne conquest. “They’re pointing for the same race, so I thought it made sense to work them together. They make good workmates, they were head-and-head throughout.
“My Prankster was very impressive in his maiden win,” Pletcher added. “His gate work I thought was impressive before he first ran, he’s not a horse that is an overzealous work horse. If you hadn’t seen that gate work, you might not have expected the debut he had, but he’s a pretty laid-back colt. It’s always a big stretch to go from a one start maiden to a Grade 1 stake, but we’ve had some success doing that.”
Pletcher worked 3-time Grade 1 winner Malathaat at 9:30 AM on the Belmont training track in company with graded stakes winner and fellow Curlin daughter Spice Is Nice, who completed their 4-furlong works in 49.46.
Shadwell Stables’ Malathaat is scheduled to train up to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) and was a last-out winner of the Alabama (G1) on August 21 at Saratoga. Earlier this year, she won the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland en route to a victory in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
Malathaat Prevails On Class In Alabama
Robert and Lawana Low’s Spice Is Nice, a winner of the Allaire DuPont Distaff in May at Pimlico, will target the $250,000 Beldame (G2) on October 10.
“Everything has gone according to plan with Malathaat,” Pletcher said. “This was her second 1/2-mile breeze since the Alabama and we’ll go 5/8 (of a mile) next week and start to pick things up a bit. There’s quite a bit of time in between races, so hopefully we’ll have her ready.”
Pletcher also worked Spendthrift Farm’s Following Sea, a dual Grade 1-placed sophomore son of Runhappy, who will face elders next out in the $250,000 Vosburgh (G2) on October 9 at Belmont – a “Win And You’re In” qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1).
Following Sea went a 1/2-mile in 49.23 over the Belmont training track. He finished a distant third to Jackie’s Warrior and stablemate Life Is Good last out in the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) on August 28 at Saratoga. In his only start over Big Sandy, Following Sea bested winners going 6 1/2 furlongs on June 3.
“He went well,” Pletcher said. “He seemed to run really well in his allowance win here at Belmont, so that’s part of the reason why we chose the Vosburgh.”
Classy Edition Puts Talent On Display In Joseph A. Gimma
Pletcher said Robert and Lawana Low’s Classy Edition emerged from her Joseph A. Gimma triumph on Friday in good order. While the daughter of Classic Empire is likely for the $250,000 Maid of the Mist against fellow New York-breds on October 30, Pletcher did not rule out a start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
“She’s been very impressive in both starts, so I think we have to consider open company,” Pletcher said. “The Maid of the Mist comes (1 week) before the Breeders’ Cup, so we’ll target that race, but if she’s doing so well that we can’t resist, we’ll talk about it.”
Pletcher also stated that Classy Edition could target the $250,000 Demoiselle (G2) on December 4 at Aqueduct.
Jim Bakke and Gerald Isbister’s promising Champagne aspirant Jack Christopher, trained by 4-time Eclipse Award-winner Chad Brown, breezed 5/8 in company with sophomore maiden winner Pipeline in 1:00 flat Saturday on the main track.
Jack Christopher, a Munnings chestnut who was purchased for $135,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, registered a 92 Beyer for a his 8 3/4-length debut score in a 6-furlong maiden special weight on August 28 at Saratoga.
John Gunther and Eurowest Bloodstock Services’ Pipeline, by Speightstown and out of the Empire Maker mare Vivo Per Lei, graduated at fourth asking in a 7-furlong maiden tilt on September 4 at Saratoga. The bay colt’s 3 1/4-length score matched a career-best 97 Beyer.
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