Diversify sizzles in workout for Jockey Club Gold Cup
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
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.
Battle of Midway (left), shown winning the 2017 BC Dirt Mile, will ship from California for the Grade 2 Kelso Handicap.