Trainer Todd Pletcher was hoping the workmate he sent with Rachel's Valentina Friday morning would provide the Grade I winner with just the right amount of prodding in her last major work before the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on Oct. 31.
Instead of offering some push, the dark bay colt named Ransack got shoved into submission as Rachel's Valentina dismissed him handily while covering 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 over the Keeneland main track.
Owned by Stonestreet Stables, Rachel's Valentina was pretty much left to her own devices during her breeze as she easily drew clear of Ransack, notching splits of :37.20, 1:00.80 with a gallop out in 1:13.20 and 1:28.20.
"She toyed with her workmate who basically couldn't keep up at any point," Pletcher said. "It was almost like a solo work for her really. I thought she looked great, did it very easily.
"I was actually concerned that I didn't have the right horse to work with her today. And I didn't want to match her up with someone who was going to go too fast. I was hoping that Ransack would step up a little bit and at least provide her some entertainment for a little while. But she's just too much for him."
Due to her parentage, Rachel's Valentina has been a force since birth. The daughter of Bernardini is the second foal out of 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra.
She is also likely the last foal her brilliant mother will ever produce. Rachel Alexandra underwent emergency abdominal surgery after foaling Rachel's Valentina and spent more than month at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital.
Barbara Banke, owner of Stonestreet Stables, has said she will not risk her prized mare suffering such complications again. Just two starts into her career, Rachel's Valentina has already ensured her mother will still go down as a success as a broodmare. After breaking her maiden first time out at Saratoga on Aug. 2, she captured the Grade I Spinaway Stakes by a length on Sept. 5.
"Any time you have a filly with a pedigree like that and you're able to win a Grade I race like the Spinaway, it's a fantastic achievement for her and her dam and the entire family," Pletcher said. "Aside from that, she's just a lovely filly to be around. She's a really cool horse to train. She has such a sweet personality."
Before sending Rachel's Valentina out for her last bit of fine-tuning, Pletcher also worked Breeders' Cup Turf contender Red Rifle, Mile hopeful Mshawish and Filly & Mare Sprint contenders Dame Dorothy and Sweet Whiskey.
Dame Dorothy, Sweet Whiskey and Red Rifle each covered their half-mile works in 49 flat while Mshawish was exceptional in his 4-furlong move, clocking in at :47.80.
Juvenile contenders work
Four pre-entrants for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile were also in action Friday morning. Ralis, winner of the Grade I Hopeful, covered 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 with Kieren Fallon aboard.
Richard Ravin and Patricia's Hope's Cocked and Loaded worked a half-mile in :49.20 while Grade I Champagne winner Greenpointcrusader breezed a half-mile in :46.20. Completing the string of workers was Sticksstatelydude, who worked a half-mile in :47.20.
Defending Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint winner Bobby's Kitten was also on the tab at Keeneland, working a half-mile in :47.80 on the dirt for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Graded stakes winner Frivolous showed her readiness for next Friday's Breeders' Cup Distaff by working 5 furlongs in :59.80.
Conquest Big E's work 'just awesome, again'
Conquest Big E's gray frame makes him easy to spot even in the early-morning darkness. The 2-year-old son of Tapit was a standout on merit rather than just his looks Friday morning as he worked 4 furlongs in 48.40 at Churchill Downs in preparation for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 31.
Conquest Big E worked in company with stablemate City Flyer. Just as he inhaled Conquest Windycity when those two worked together last Friday, the big-bodied colt handled his latest partner with little effort, finishing 4 lengths in front with a gallop out in 1:01.80 and 1:15.80.
"Big E was just awesome, again," trainer Mark Casse said. "As impressive as he was last time he may have even been more impressive today. I told Shaun (jockey Bridgmohan) I wanted to go in 48 and I think he went in 482⁄5. But ... he was geared down the last three-eighths of a mile."
Owned by Conquest Stables, Conquest Big E is heading into the Breeders' Cup off a maiden win at Keeneland on Oct. 2. In his career debut at Churchill Downs on Sept. 11, Conquest Big E finished second to Brody's Cause, who went on to win the Grade I Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland.
Casse, who is seeking his first Breeders' Cup win, is also set to send multiple Grade I winner Tepin in against males in the $2 million Mile on Oct. 31. The winner of the First Lady Stakes at Keeneland also put in her final piece of serious work on Friday, covering 4 furlongs in 49.80 over the Churchill main track under jockey Julien Leparoux.
Casse also worked graded stakes winner Airoforce, a contender for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile hopeful Siding Spring on Friday. Airoforce worked 4 furlongs in :48.40 in company with Souper Awesome while Siding Spring covered 4 furlongs in 47.60.
Siding Spring is cross-entered in the Juvenile Turf and Juvenile but Casse said following Friday's move, he would enter the son of Warrior's Reward in the Juvenile on Monday in hopes of making the 14-horse field.