Velazquez breezed Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice four furlongs in 48.40 on the training track, then took the reins aboard Point of Entry for a 1:01.74 five-furlong breeze around dogs on the inner turf course
When Velazquez rides Palace Malice in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, he will replace fellow Hall of Famer Mike Smith, who has opted to ride Game On Dude.
“I thought Palace Malice was his normal, very good self,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “A good work and a strong gallop out.”
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey admits he doesn’t have a lot of time to prepare Point of Entry for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but likes the progress he has seen from the 5-year-old.
“He worked very well,” said McGaughey. “I think we’re on the right track. He galloped out good and strong and finished up good.”
• Working towards a possible start in the Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap on November 30 at Aqueduct Racetrack, Kentucky Derby winner Orb returned to the worktab Sunday morning, breezing a half mile in 49.77 over the main track at Belmont.
“I thought he worked fine,” said McGaughey of the Malibu Moon colt, most recently eighth in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 28. “I’m trying to get him started again and go from there.”
The trainer added that 2-year-old standout Honor Code, runner-up in the Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne on October 5, could work next week as he begins preparations for the Grade 2 Remsen on November 30 at Aqueduct.
“I’ve got plenty of time,” said McGaughey. “I might work him next weekend, but he’s not going to run until November 30, so I don’t have to pound on him.”
• Trainer Gary Sciacca was pleased with Saratoga Snacks’ final serious work this morning leading up to Saturday’s Empire Showcase Day, but has yet to decide whether he will run in the $250,000 Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles or the $150,000, six-furlong Hudson.
“It’s tough,” said Sciacca. “He’s going to run in one of them. I just don’t know which one.”
A 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat owned by Bill Parcells’ August Dawn Farm, Saratoga Snacks is 6-2-1 from nine lifetime starts. Sciacca said he would discuss the pros and cons of each race with Parcells before they are drawn on Monday.
• Her father Wayne is a horseman. Her father’s father Clyde is a horseman. Her aunt Linda is a horseman. So it’s no surprise that like her brothers, Taylor Rice wound up in the family business. The difference being she’s riding them.
“I’m the only one in my generation who’s small enough to ride,” said Rice, 25, who began riding professionally at Presque Isle Downs in August and moved her tack to Belmont Park earlier this month. “My whole family is involved with horses, and I’ve always been around horses, so there was never any question this would be the field I went into.”