Di­ver­sify siz­zles in work­out for Jockey Club Gold Cup

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

ELMONT, N.Y. – All the in­gre­di­ents were in place for Di­ver­sify to have a strong work­out Fri­day morn­ing, and the mul­ti­ple graded stakes-win­ning New York-bred de­liv­ered by siz­zling five fur­longs in 58.90 sec­onds over Bel­mont’s main track in prepa­ra­tion for the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 29.

Be­fore Fri­day, Di­ver­sify had just one work­out since his pow­er­house vic­tory in the Grade 1 Whit­ney on Aug. 4 at Saratoga. Due to sev­eral days of wet tracks, Di­ver­sify’s re­cent rou­tine con­sisted mostly of jog­ging, with the ex­cep­tion of a gal­lop on Thurs­day.

In Fri­day’s drill, Di­ver­sify had jockey Irad Or­tiz Jr. up, a freshly har­rowed track to work over, and a pair of Chad Brown­trained horses breez­ing a half­fur­long or so in front of him.

Thus, Di­ver­sify zipped his first three fur­longs in 34.65, went three wide as he got to the Brown duo, which picked up the pace turn­ing for home, and Di­ver­sify, still three paths wide, came home in 24.25 and gal­loped out six fur­longs in 1:11.25.

“This will just wake him up,” said Melissa Co­hen, as­sis­tant to trainer Rick Vi­o­lette, who was in Ken­tucky on Fri­day.

Vi­o­lette, af­ter speak­ing with Co­hen, said, “I was pretty tick­led.”

Di­ver­sify will have one more work, likely an easy half-mile, next week­end.

Di­ver­sify will look to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup for a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year. He will bring a three-race win­ning streak into this year’s run­ning, with vic­to­ries in the Com­men­ta­tor, Grade 2 Subur­ban, and Whit­ney lead­ing to this.

Vi­o­lette said that fol­low­ing the Gold Cup, the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic will re­main “in play,” and a de­ci­sion on whether to run or not won’t be made un­til Vi­o­lette sees how the horse trains over Churchill’s main track.

Vi­o­lette said he does plan to ship Di­ver­sify to Ken­tucky shortly af­ter the Gold Cup to see how Di­ver­sify ac­cli­mates to the sur­face. Last year, Vi­o­lette skipped the Breed­ers’ Cup Clas­sic at Del Mar and ran Di­ver­sify in the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill, where he fin­ished fourth af­ter set­ting an un­con­tested pace. Vi­o­lette said Or­tiz told him that Di­ver­sify didn’t han­dle the sur­face.

“If he hates it, we’re out of luck,” Vi­o­lette said.

Bat­tle of Mid­way com­ing

Bat­tle of Mid­way, the 2017 Breed­ers’ Cup Dirt Mile win­ner, will make the sec­ond start of his come­back in the Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Hand­i­cap next Satur­day at Bel­mont Park, trainer Jerry Hol­len­dor­fer said Fri­day.

Bat­tle of Mid­way was put back into train­ing ear­lier this year af­ter he was found to be sub­fer­tile. He fin­ished a well-beaten sec­ond to Catalina Cruiser in the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien on Aug. 25 at Del Mar. Hol­len­dor­fer thought about run­ning Bat­tle of Mid­way in the Awe­some Again at 1 1/8 miles at Santa Anita but ul­ti­mately de­cided the Kelso, a one-turn mile, was “the best plan of ac­tion.”

The Kelso could be a good step­ping-stone to a re­peat bid in the Dirt Mile on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.

“With­out pre­dict­ing what we would do, I’m sure that’s some­thing that’s in the back of ev­ery­body’s mind,” said Hol­len­dor­fer, who trains Bat­tle of Mid­way for Don Al­berto and WinS­tar Farm.

Bat­tle of Mid­way worked a strong five fur­longs in 58.80 sec­onds on Sept. 8 at Santa Anita and was sched­uled to work Satur­day be­fore ship­ping to New York on Wed­nes­day.

Flavien Prat, Bat­tle Mid­way’s reg­u­lar rider, sched­uled to ride.

Oth­ers point­ing to the Kelso in­clude No Doz­ing, Pat On the Back, Pat­tern­recog­ni­tion, Realm, and Time­line. Still Hav­ing Fun, Sunny Ridge, and Aztec Sense are pos­si­ble, though the lat­ter two also could run in the $150,000 Penn­syl­va­nia Derby Cham­pion Stakes at Parx Rac­ing on the same day.

On Fri­day at Bel­mont Park, Realm worked five fur­longs in 59.90 in com­pany with the filly Verve’s Tale, who is point­ing to the Grade 1 Bel­dame. Realm has won his last two starts, in­clud­ing the Aly­dar at Saratoga.

En­gle­hart has trio for Gimma

of is

Trainer Jeremiah En­gle­hart will send out three of the seven run­ners en­tered for next Wed­nes­day’s $150,000 Joseph A. Gimma Stakes for New York­bred ju­ve­nile fil­lies at seven fur­longs.

En­gle­hart on Fri­day en­tered Party Like Grandma, win­ner of the Seek­ing the Ante Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 25; Ma Meat­loaf, run­ner-up in the Lady Fin­ger Stakes at Fin­ger Lakes on Sept. 8; and Cartwheelin Lulu, a de­but win­ner at Fin­ger Lakes on Aug. 16.

The En­gle­hart trio will meet Maiden Beauty and She’s Trouble, sec­ond and third in the Seek­ing the Ante, and More Mis­chief and El­e­gant Zip, maiden win­ners at Saratoga in Au­gust.

◗ Mu­cho, run­ner-up as the fa­vorite to Mind Con­trol in the Grade 1 Hope­ful, will get a break and point to a 3-yearold cam­paign, trainer Bill Mott said Thurs­day. Mott said Mu­cho will be out of train­ing un­til at least Nov. 1 and then re­sume at Payson Park in South Florida.

BAR­BARA D. LIV­INGSTON

Bat­tle of Mid­way (left), shown win­ning the 2017 BC Dirt Mile, will ship from Cal­i­for­nia for the Grade 2 Kelso Hand­i­cap.

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