Friday, November 4, 2011
Taking it easy
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Friday is an easy day for me at Churchill Downs. I ride a few horses on the undercard before the Breeders' Cup begins, and then I have two Breeders' Cup mounts in the afternoon.
Earlier in the week, Graham Motion and Aruna's owners decided to run her in the Filly & Mare Turf, so I picked up the mount because Ramon Dominguez is scheduled to ride Stacelita for Chad Brown. They worked her on the dirt, but then the connections decided to stay on the turf because she's already proven to like that surface. She won the Spinster, which is a "win and you're in" race for the Ladies' Classic, but this race seems much more suited to her. The only question now is the distance, but she's got very good form so I think I've got a good chance. If you look at the PPs, she's been first or second ever since she's been here.
Aruna came here last summer from France. Now, she's just like any American horse. When a lot of European runners first get here, they don't break from the gate as good and they take more time to get going, but they are more likely to have a good bit of kick at the end.
Earlier on the card, I ride Seeker in the Juvenile Sprint. This horse ran third in the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes at Belmont on Oct. 2, and before that he broke his maiden by 6½ lengths at Saratoga. I've ridden him in all three starts for Steve Asmussen. He ran good last time out; we were down on the inside, which isn't really the place to be at Belmont. Hopefully he likes this track better and runs his big race like he did in Saratoga. He ran big that day.
These horses in the juvenile races are obviously still very young and still have a lot of time to develop. This winter is when you're going to see them either step up to be something special or just stay where they are.
A lot of my family is in town, so I've been hanging around with them a lot. They came to the races yesterday, and my uncle and my friends came in the mornings to the backside with me. It's just fun for me to have them here, and a lot of friends are over here too. I was on the backside Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and got the chance to enjoy the atmosphere while showing them around. Now, it's time to get to work. Happy Breeders' Cup Friday, everyone!