Tourist, Celestine Headline Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Workers

Tourist, Celestine Headline Keeneland Breeders’ Cup Workers

Tourist (outside) breezing at Keeneland on October 22nd – Keeneland/Coady Photography

Celestine working at Keeneland on October 22nd - Keeneland/Coady Photography
Celestine working at Keeneland on October 22nd – Keeneland/Coady Photography

Two weeks before the Breeders’ Cup is held at Santa Anita, a handful of Breeders’ Cup contenders turned in morning workouts at Keeneland in Kentucky, including Bill Mott-trained pair of Tourist and Celestine.

Tourist, who won the Foustardave Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga this summer, went four furlongs in :49 flat over the main track at Keeneland while working in company with Theophilia, a four-year-old filly that won two allowance races earlier this year. Their time ranked as the 18th-fastest of 44 morning workouts at the distance, and they galloped-out five furlongs in 1:02.20.

In his most recent race, Tourist finished third in the $1,000,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. I) at Keeneland, beaten just a half-length despite a slightly troubled trip. Tourist has competed in the Breeders’ Cup Mile twice before, finishing thirteenth in 2014 and eighth in 2015, but he’s in much better form this season, having competed exclusively in grade I company while finishing no worse than fourth in any of them.


Celestine, also trained by Bill Mott, worked by herself and went three furlongs in :36.40, the fastest time of the morning at that distance. According to Keeneland clockers, she ran the first furlong in :12.60 and galloped-out four furlongs in :48.80.

Earlier this year, Celestine won the Honey Fox Stakes (gr. II) and Just a Game Stakes (gr. I), winning the latter in the brilliant time of 1:31.63 for a mile, which missed the course record by just a hundredth of a second. Four months later, she returned to action in the First Lady Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and finished third behind Photo Call and 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Tepin.


 

Although Celestine had been under consideration for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, her connections told Keeneland publicity that Celestine would instead cut back in distance and contest the 6 1/2-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (gr. I).

“(Last year) she won a seven-furlong race at Belmont and she showed a lot of speed at Gulfstream when she broke her maiden and won a little overnight stakes,” Bill Mott assistant Rodolphe Brisset said. “We feel pretty comfortable shortening her up. She bounced back really, really good from the (First Lady). The breeze today was very good. We really didn’t want to do too much.”

Valadorna (outside) working at Keeneland on October 22nd - Keeneland/Coady Photography
Valadorna (outside) working at Keeneland on October 22nd – Keeneland/Coady Photography

Also on the Keeneland work tab was the two-year-old filly Valadorna, a daughter of Curlin that broke her maiden by six lengths on October 7th at Keeneland. Trained by Mark Casse, Valadorna worked in company with stablemate Smart Moon and went five furlongs in a bullet :59.60, a fifth of a second faster than her workmate. On the Keeneland website, clockers reported that Valadorna had a “good breeze” and “pulled away from Smart Moon at the finish.”

Valadorna is a candidate for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the Bloodhorse.com blog Unlocking Winners.

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