Diversify to skip BC Classic
ELMONT, N.Y. – Diversify, the Grade 1 Whitney winner who finished fifth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, will not run in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, owner Ralph Evans said Thursday night.
Evans said a number of factors went into the decision, including the health of trainer Rick Violette, who has been hospitalized for the past few weeks with an illness, Diversify’s poor performance in the Gold Cup, and the horse’s previous poor experience at Churchill Downs.
“The fact Rick was not going to make it back in time to train him was probably the primary reason,” Evans said. “Also, he had a tough race in the Gold Cup and was not 100 percent. Churchill was not kind to the horse the last time.”
Last year, Diversify won the Jockey Club Gold Cup but passed on the Breeders’ Cup Classic and instead ran in the Grade 1 Clark at Churchill, where he finished fourth. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. said Diversify didn’t seem to handle the Churchill surface.
Evans said Diversify “will get a little bit of rest” and perhaps be pointed to the $9 million Pegasus World Cup in January at Gulfstream Park.
Prior to the Gold Cup, Diversify had won three straight races, beginning with the Commentator Stakes for New York-breds and then powerful victories in both the Grade 2 Suburban and Grade 1 Whitney, a Win and You’re In race for the Classic.
Forty Under works at Spa
Forty Under, winner of the Pilgrim Stakes, worked a halfmile in 48.57 seconds Friday morning over the Oklahoma dirt training track at Saratoga in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The track, which had some moisture in it, was labeled “good.”
Trainer Jeremiah Englehart put Forty Under in company with Prince of New York, a maiden New York-bred, and said he got the desired result from both horses.
“I was really happy with him today,” Englehart said of Forty Under. “He showed more energy than in his works in the past.”
Englehart said Prince of New York “worked a little better today” than he had prior to finishing eighth in his only start.
Englehart said Forty Under would have one more work at Saratoga before vanning to Churchill Downs on Oct. 22 with two more of his horses, including Aveenu Malcainu, a recent New York-bred allowance winner who is pointing to the $200,000 Cherokee Run Stakes, a seven-furlong race for 3-year-olds on Nov. 3.
On Thursday, Opry worked a half-mile in 50.32 seconds over the Belmont main track for trainer Todd Pletcher in preparation for the Juvenile Turf. Opry won the With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga and finished fourth as the favorite in the Pilgrim.
Carrick to Hollywood Derby
Carrick, the Grade 1 Secretariat winner who finished a well-beaten sixth in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, will be pointed to the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby at Del Mar on Dec. 1, trainer Tom Morley said.
Morley said the soft turf at Belmont Park for the Joe Hirsch compromised Carrick, a 3-year-old colt.
“I could tell after 10 strides we were in trouble,” Morley said.
Morley said Carrick came out of the race “absolutely fine” and that after the Hollywood Derby, Carrick would be put away and target a 4-year-old campaign.
“I think anything he did at 3 is a major bonus,” Morley said. “He’s going to get even better, and hopefully he does what I think he’s going to do next year.”
Brown active at Tattersalls
Trainer Chad Brown was back at Belmont Park on Friday morning following another trip to Europe for the Tattersalls auction of yearlings. Brown said he “bought plenty of horses” for clients Peter Brant and Seth Klarman.
Last year, Brown bought a dozen, including Newspaper-of-record, who has won both of her starts this year, including the Miss Grillo Stakes, and has emerged as the favorite for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Brown said he bought more colts this year than last.
“I was really happy with the selection of horses offered, really good group of horses,” Brown said. “I felt like we were able to get a large number that we were happy with.”
Diversify, shown training at Saratoga Sept. 3, didn’t seem to like the Churchill Downs surface when he ran fourth in the 2017 Clark Handicap.