“I’m extremely confident that he’s going to run big here on Saturday, extremely confident.” – Richard Dutrow

Breeders’ Cup notes team caught up with the Classic entrants on Thursday. The Japanese star USHBA TESORO may well be the favourite but WHITE ABARRIO and ARABIAN KNIGHT are formidable.

Horse: Arabian Knight

Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Flavian Prat
Set: 8 a.m.
Morning Activity: Had a light gallop shortly after 8 a.m. Went once around the track, then exited through the tunnel and around the walking ring en route back to the barn. Planned Activity: More of the same Friday; he will have a light gallop.
Quote: “He’s done all the hard work. He’s ready to run. He’s doing really well.” – Bob Baffert

Horse: Bright Future

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: John Velazquez
Set: 5:30 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped approximately 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Hector Ramos.
Planned Activity: Will gallop approximately 1 1/4 miles Friday morning. Time TBD.

Horse: Clapton

Trainer: Chad Summers
Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione
Set: 7 a.m.
Morning Activity: Jogged with Rikki Ramdial on board and stood in the gate.
Planned Activity: Will walk the shedrow Friday.
The Quote: “At this point, you just want to go. It’s good for the handicappers when the draw is so far out, but it’s bad for us because once the entries are out, you just want to run. To pull the upset, everything needs to be perfect. If we didn’t run well in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), if we didn’t win the Lukas Classic (G2), if we didn’t ship over good, if we didn’t breeze good, if the bloodwork wasn’t perfect, we wouldn’t be here.” – Chad Summers

Horse: Derma Sotogake (JPN)

Trainer: Hidetaka Otonashi
Set: 6:30 a.m.
Morning Activity: Warmed up with a jog and some footwork (circles and figure-eights) in the chute before an easy canter of the main track and then a walk through the paddock.
Planned Activity: A repeat of today’s routine.

Horse: Dreamlike

Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Jockey: Jose Ortiz
Set: 9 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped approximately 1 1/4 miles under exercise rider Dominic Merrit.
Planned Activity: Gallop approximately 1 1/4 miles. Time TBD.
Closer Look: After Six Starts for Hall of Famer Pletcher, Dreamlike Remains a Work in Progress
Patience has been key for Dreamlike, a son of Gun Runner, who most recently was second in the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) with blinkers off. Jockey Jose Ortiz will replace his brother Irad in the irons Saturday for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). After pre-entering in the Classic and the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), Pletcher and his owners, Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable, opted for the Classic.

“He’s a horse that we’ve always had high hopes for,” Pletcher said. “He’s a beautiful, expensive yearling, very well-bred, a very good-looking horse. A little bit temperamental when he first came in, very studdish. We tried to get him going at 2. Then ended up having to give him a little time off. He came back and he was training exceptionally well. Couldn’t quite break through with that win. We took a shot in the Wood Memorial (G2), which he ran very well in (finishing third by a head).”

After the April 8 Wood, Dreamlike did not race again until July 14 at Saratoga. He broke his maiden impressively, but stumbled at the start of an Aug. 13 allowance race and was beaten 13 lengths. “We regrouped in Pennsylvania Derby,” Pletcher said. “We made an equipment change, took the blinkers off after getting some feedback from Irad. He felt like maybe we’re asking the horse to stay a little closer early in the race than he wanted to. So our strategy in the Pennsylvania Derby was just let him relax settle where he’s comfortable and make one run, which he did very well. Unfortunately for him, the horse to beat got an easy pace up front and didn’t have anyone going with him.”

Pletcher said the expected pace challenge to Saudi Crown never materialized. “I thought, despite that, that Dreamlike ran very well to close into those fractions against a good horse like that. He has trained well since. He and Bright Future have been pretty much workmates the last few times and it seems like they are pretty evenly matched up there.” Considering the Pennsylvania Derby performance, Pletcher said the Classic looked to be a better spot for Dreamlike.

“It seems like on paper that the Classic, at a mile and a quarter, actually has more pace in it than the Dirt Mile does, which you wouldn’t expect. I just felt like if we’re going to allow him to run the way he wants, so he’ll make one run, that wasn’t going to be very effective in the mile if there’s not a real pace. It felt like the additional quarter and hopefully an honest pace makes a difference. He obviously needs to step up and run better than he ever has in his life.”

Horse: Missed the Cut

Trainer: John Sadler
Jockey: Luis Saez
Set: 5 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/2m under Juan Leyva
Planned Activity: Same schedule as Thursday
The Quote: “When he first got here, he was a little quirky. It was a little hard to figure out what made him happy. Once we did, he has been training great with no hiccups.” – Juan Leyva, assistant trainer and exercise rider.

Missed the Cut Looks to Make the Cut in Breeders’ Cup Classic
The word was out that a son of Lane’s End Farm stallion Quality Road named Missed the Cut was making some noise in Great Britain – and the word reached Bill Farish.

“He got off to a strong start and he’s a Quality Road and we don’t miss too many of those,” said Farish, a two-time Chairman of the Breeders’ Cup Board and whose family owns Lane’s End Farm.

Missed the Cut won three of his first four starts on the grass for owner Edward Babington and trainer George Boughey with two of the victories coming at a mile and a quarter.

“He jumped out at us and it looked like he could run well on the dirt as well,” Farish said. “We got a call and we got in touch with Ed Babington, who kept a share, then a lot of people got together … Vinnie (Viola of St. Elias Stables) was interested and the Hudsons (Edward and Lynne), so we went and did it.”

Off-the-board finishes in two Group 2 grass tests sandwiched a minor stakes victory over an all-weather surface at Lingfield in the first three starts for the new ownership group. After Missed the Cut finished fourth in the Neom Turf Cup (G2) in Saudi Arabia at the end of February, trainer John Sadler got a call.

“They told me after he ran in Saudi that he would be coming,” said Sadler, who just months before had savored the moment of Flightline’s tour de force in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland.

The success of Flightline was one reason Missed the Cut came to Sadler in April. “Coming on the heels of Flightline, plus John does a great job and we thought he always does well with older horses and it matched up well,” Farish said of sending Missed the Cut to California.

Missed the Cut made his debut for Sadler at Santa Anita on June 11, finishing second in a mile race on the dirt.

“He was a nice colt,” Sadler said of his initial impressions, “and he ran well in his debut.” A seventh-place finish behind Senor Buscador in the San Diego Handicap (G2) going a mile and a sixteenth followed.

“In the San Diego, the setup was not good and he was too close to the pace,” Sadler said. “Then we ran him on grass at Del Mar, but when we came back up here, he really liked the dirt track here at Santa Anita.”

Missed the Cut responded to the return on dirt by posting a 5 1/2-length win in the Tokyo City (G3) on Oct. 1 at Santa Anita going a mile and a half. Going forward, Sadler said the plan is to stay at a mile and a quarter on the dirt.

Which is the test that awaits Missed the Cut on Saturday in the Longines Breeders Cup Classic (G1) and a chance to give Sadler back-to-back wins in the $6 million race. Luis Saez has the mount Saturday.

“I am an optimist,” Sadler said. “I look forward to the 2-year-olds coming in and I am not wondering if this is the next Flightline. I am optimistic about our 2-year-olds and the ones coming in.”

Horse: Proxy

Trainer: Mike Stidham
Set: 6:30 a.m.
Morning Activity: Having arrived Monday and having a very light day on Tuesday, Proxy
repeated his Wednesday morning track work Thursday with a gallop around the Santa Anita
main track. He then promptly returned to his stall in Barn 48 and remained relaxed and
reportedly even took a nap just a couple hours after his morning efforts. He will school during
the third race Thursday.
Planned Activity: Will likely jog and have an easy an easy canter/light gallop, one day prior to
the Classic.
The Quote: “He’s great. He had a nice little gallop in the draw reins and looked perfect. He’s not like (Dubai World Cup winner) Mystic Guide, who was a lot more to handle on a lot of levels, he’s very laid back and a cool character. That makes things a little easier. He doesn’t do any more than he’s asked. Physically, he looks outstanding.” – Mike Stidham

Horse: Saudi Crown

Trainer: Brad Cox
Jockey: Florent Geroux
Set: 5:45 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/2 miles with Kelvin Perez on board.
Planned Activity: “He‘s doing good, settled in here good. Schooled good yesterday. – Brad

Horse: Senor Buscador

Trainer: Todd Fincher
Jockey: Geovanni Franco
Set: NA
Morning Activity: Walked the shedrow.
Planned Activity: Will school in paddock with horses in Thursday’s third race. Gallop Friday
and jog Saturday morning.
The Quote: “We planned the whole year to get to this point and we want to showcase the horse. It’s not about me. We just want to show how good this horse is. I try not to get too high. I will get pumped when the gates open.” – Todd Fincher

Horse: Ushba Tesoro (JPN)

Trainer: Takagi Noboru
Set: 6:30 a.m.
Morning Activity: Had another easy canter around the Santa Anita dirt track and then schooled
for about 10 laps of the parade ring.
Planned Activity: Will have an easy canter once again Friday. Much the same as today.

Horse: White Abarrio

Trainer: Richard Dutrow Jr.
Jockey: Irad Ortiz, Jr.
Set: 6:30-6:45 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped 1 1/2 miles under exercise rider Emily Ellingwood.
Planned Activity: Will jog one lap of the track at 6:30 a.m.
The Quote: “I’m extremely confident that he’s going to run big here on Saturday, extremely confident.” – Richard Dutrow

(How has he developed since he came to you?): “We picked him up in the middle of his 4-year-old season. He’s supposed to be developed by then. I just believe that we got him at the right time where he was getting good. I think it was just the little things that we did, which was (farrier) Ian McKinley putting the glue-ons (shoes) for the Whitney (G1). Then afterwards, we glued him on behind. I think that has made a big difference with him. Also, he’s picked up a lot of weight, which he kind of needed. So those are really the only two things that he needed and he got. Now everyone can see what he can do when he’s really right, when he’s really a full racehorse. That’s what he is right now. But I do believe that we got him at the right time. We just got so lucky. It’s the same thing that we do around all of our horses that we want to do everything that we possibly can to make it easier than to be as good as they can be.” – Richard Dutrow

“Right away when we took his front shoes off, we could see he was awkward. So we called Ian. We shod him regular for the Met Mile. But, he just needed glue on shoes in order for him to get better and better. That’s what happened.” – Richard Dutrow.

Horse: Zandon

Trainer: Chad Brown
Set: 7:45 a.m.
Morning Activity: Galloped a circuit of the Santa Anita dirt