Mon­tauk would add in­trigue

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By David Gren­ing

Free Drop Billy and Firenze Fire cer­tainly es­tab­lished them­selves as con­tenders for the Breeders’ Cup Ju­ve­nile by virtue of their Grade 1 vic­to­ries last week­end. How­ever, it was an­other 2-year-old who could be an in­trigu­ing player in the race if – and it’s a big if – his con­nec­tions choose to run.

Mon­tauk, a son of Medaglia d’Oro trained by Todd Pletcher, was most im­pres­sive win­ning a seven-fur­long maiden race by 11 1/4 lengths last Satur­day at Belmont Park. He cov­ered the dis­tance in 1:22.97 and earned a Beyer Speed Fig­ure of 87.

While jump­ing from a sev­en­fur­long maiden race at Belmont on Oct. 7 to the Grade 1, $2 mil­lion Breeders’ Cup Ju­ve­nile, run around two turns at 1 1/16 miles Del Mar on Nov. 4 would be quite daunt­ing, the idea has not been dis­missed.

John Panagot, rac­ing man­ager for Robert LaPenta, who owns Mon­tauk along with Eclipse Thor­ough­bred Part­ners and Twin Creeks rac­ing, said Wed­nes­day: “All op­tions are on the ta­ble . . . . Over the next cou­ple of weeks, we’ll for­mu­late a plan based off what Mon­tauk is telling Todd.”

New Year’s Day (2013) and Ac­tion This Day (2003) both won the Ju­ve­nile in their third start and com­ing out of maiden wins in their sec­ond out. Both horses were based in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia in years when the Breeders’ Cup was held at Santa Anita.

“I think it’d be a lot to do, but it hasn’t been ruled out com­pletely,” Pletcher said. “He was very im­pres­sive, but ship­ping to Del Mar for his sec­ond start, run­ning against more sea­soned horses, the fa­vorite’s al­ready run twice there and is based in Cal­i­for­nia, you’re kind of tak­ing all the worst of it in that sit­u­a­tion.”

The fa­vorite is Bolt d’Oro, who is 3 for 3 in­clud­ing the Grade 1 Del Mar Fu­tu­rity and a most im­pres­sive vic­tory in the Grade 1 Fron­tRun­ner on Sept. 30 at Santa Anita.

Mean­while, trainer Dale Ro­mans said he in­tends to send Breeders’ Fu­tu­rity win­ner Free Drop Billy and Iro­quois run­nerup Hol­ly­wood Star to South­ern Cal­i­for­nia from Kentucky on Mon­day. They will be based at Santa Anita, and each will have one work there and one work at Del Mar lead­ing up to the Breeders’ Cup. The Del Mar back­stretch doesn’t open un­til Oct. 22.

Ro­mans said send­ing the colts early to Cal­i­for­nia will al­low them to ac­cli­mate to the weather.

“I just think there’s no down­side to it,” Ro­mans said Wed­nes­day.

Ro­mans said that Robby Al­barado will ride Free Drop Billy, while Joel Rosario has picked up the mount on Hol­ly­wood Star.

Ro­mans said Tiz Mis­chief, an im­pres­sive maiden win­ner on last Satur­day’s card at Keeneland, would skip the Breeders’ Cup to fo­cus on the Kentucky Jockey Club on Nov. 25 at Churchill Downs. Ed­die Kane, rac­ing man­ager for Calumet Farm, said Breeders’ Fu­tu­rity run­ner-up Bravazo also would skip the Breeders’ Cup to await the Kentucky Jockey Club.

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