Working in company with Galloping Giraffe, Forty Tales was clocked in 49.10 seconds shortly after the first renovation break at 8 a.m. Capo Bastone and Verrazano went together after the second break, with Capo Bastone caught in 48.87 and Verrazano, under jockey Javier Castellano, timed in 48.86.
“I thought Forty Tales was good this morning,” said Pletcher of the Tale of the Cat colt, runner-up to fellow Cigar Mile hopeful Clearly Now in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap. “He’s normally not a horse that works real fast, but he seemed enthusiastic out there this morning, and happy.
“I thought Verrazano and Capo Bastone put in their typical 48 and change half,” he added. “Both seemed relaxed, happy, and are doing well.”
• Working in company with Grade 1 winner Alpha, Grade 2 Nashua winner Cairo Prince completed preparations for Saturday’s Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen this morning, breezing five furlongs in 1:01.08 on the training track at Belmont.
“Cairo Prince might have won the photo by a head,” said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin of the Pioneer of the Nile colt, who broke his maiden on October 6 in his only other start. “He looked great doing it.”
Also next Saturday, McLaughlin will saddle Godolphin Stable’s Wedding Toast in the Grade 3, $400,000 Comely for 3-year-old fillies.
“She continues to train well,” he said. “The Comely is a tough race, but for $400,000 it’s supposed to be a tough race.”
• With six graded stakes over Thanskgiving weekend, the Big A will have special post times on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
On Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, which features the Grade 3, $300,000 Fall Highweight Handicap, post time for the first race is 11:25 a.m.
On Friday, first race post time will be noon, with the Grade 2, $300,000 Go For Wand Handicap as the featured race.
First race post time on Saturday, Cigar Mile Day, also will be noon. Supporting the Grade 1 Cigar Mile will be the Grade 3, $400,000 Comely, the Grade 2, $400,000 Remsen and the Grade 2, $400,000 Demoiselle.
• Goldencents, winner of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, today was assigned 120 pounds, high weight among the nine expected starters for Saturday’s Grade 1 $500,000 Cigar Mile Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Doug O’Neill, who also plans to saddle Grade 1 Vosburgh Invitational winner Private Zone (118 pounds) in the Cigar Mile, Goldencents arrived at the Big A on Thursday seeking to add to his resume in the silver anniversary edition of the race.
By virtue of his Breeders’ Cup victory, Goldencents will be competing for an enhanced purse of $1 million in the Cigar Mile, as will Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint heroine Groupie Doll, who was assigned 118 pounds.