Pletcher has busy weekend prepping for Breeders' Cup
Several of trainer Todd Pletcher's Breeders' Cup hopefuls worked at Belmont Park on Sunday morning.
Quality Road, pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic, breezed 6 furlongs in 1:13.46 as he continues to build stamina in the lead up to the 1¼-mile race, which will be his first start following an easy victory in the Grade 1, 11⁄8-mile Woodward on Sept. 4.
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"We're running 1¼ miles off a little bit of a layoff, so we want to make sure we have him fit enough," Pletcher said. "He finished strongly and galloped out well, which is what we wanted."
Grade I Three Chimneys Hopeful runner-up Stay Thirsty, headed to the Juvenile, covered five furlongs in 1:00.27 in the second quickest of 28 moves over the course and distance.
"We were looking to get a good, solid five-eighths into him," Pletcher said. "He galloped out strongly, and we are pleased."
Rose Catherine, a Turf Sprint contender breezed four furlongs in 48.27. Bribon traveled 5 furlongs in 1:00.46 and is under consideration for either the Sprint or the Dirt Mile.
Life At Ten and Malibu Prayer, both probable starters in the Ladies' Classic, turned in separate works on Saturday.
Winner of four graded stakes this year, including the Grade I Beldame on Oct. 2 the last time out, Life At Ten breezed four furlongs on the training track in 49.90.
Malibu Prayer, who captured the Grade I Ruffian Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 1 and was second as the beaten favorite in the Grade II Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park on Aug. 29 most recently, went five furlongs in 1:01.26.
■ Mine That Bird, the 2009 Kentucky Derby winner, and Haynesfield, upset winner of the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup the last time out, tuned up for runs in the Breeders' Cup on Sunday at Churchill Downs. Mine That Bird breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. The move was the sixth-fastest of 25 at the distance over a "fast" track. Lukas is pointing Mine That Bird, who has failed to win in eight races since his historic victory, toward a possible run in the Dirt Mile.
Haynesfield, a winner of three of four races in 2010 and bound for the Classic, covered five-eighths of a mile in 1:02.20. It was the 13th fastest of 25 works at the distance.
■ Violon Sacre, the 4-5 favorite, rallied for a one-length victory over Whatsthescript on Sunday in the $100,000 Knickerbocker Stakes on the turf at Belmont Park. Pablo Fragoso was aboard for trainer Patrick Biancone as the 5-year-old got his third win in five starts in the U.S. since arriving from France after last season. The time was 1:52.62 for the 11⁄8 miles on the yielding course.
"He seems to be improving with every race," Biancone said. "In Europe, he was just below the good horses. Some horses come to the United States and do not acclimate well. He has. I am very happy with him."
Acoma likely headed for Breeders' Cup
The long-shot winner of the Juddmonte Spinster could take a crack at the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. Trainer David Carroll said on Sunday that Acoma, which won Oct. 10 at Keeneland, will be entered in the Breeders' Cup next month if she continues to train well. The Juddmonte Spinster had been expected to be Acoma's final race. Carroll said that Helen Groves, who bred and owns Acoma with her daughter Helen Alexander, is keen on giving the 5-year-old mare a shot at the Breeders' Cup in part because Acoma is 2-for-2 on the dirt at Churchill Downs.
Volleyball wins its third straight
The Kentucky volleyball team (11-9, 5-5) swept visiting Mississippi State — 25-20, 25-22, 25-13 for its third consecutive Southeastern Conference victory. The Wildcats lead the series 38-1. Senior Blaire Hiler led had a match-best 13 kills and classmate Lauren Rapp added 10. Sophomore setter Christine Hartmann had 36 assists and four kills.
■ The UK women's soccer team (8-6-2, 2-4-2 SEC) played to a 1-1 tie with Auburn on Sunday afternoon. The Wildcats got on the board first in the 53rd minute on Caitlin Landis' sixth goal of the season. The Tigers answered in the 72nd minute when Ana Cate took a pass from Mary Coffed along the end line and pushed a shot past UK goalie Sydney Hiance from about three yards out.
■ Trailing in the 69th minute, Kentucky men's soccer standout sophomore Matt Lodge evened the game with his third goal of the year and the Wildcats salvaged a 1-1 tie at the UK Soccer Complex.
7 shots down, Green rallies in Portugal
Richard Green shot a 65 to win the Portugal Masters, beating a group of four players by two strokes after overnight leader Pablo Martin collapsed down the stretch. Green started the round seven shots behind Martin, but birdied four of the first five holes. The left-hander from Australia was at 9 under after No. 15, but two late bogeys meant he had to spend an anxious hour in the clubhouse to see whether his 18-under 270 would hold up.
"Coming from seven behind I knew I had to play the best round of golf I probably could and I had a 64 in mind," Green said. "And when I got to 9 under for the day and 20 under and I thought I was in with a chance. But then I had a couple of bogeys, which I thought left me short. But in the end a 65 was good enough, and a win is a win."
■ Rocco Mediate holed out for eagle for the fourth straight day, hitting a pitching wedge approach from 116 yards that spun back into the cup on the par-4 17th Sunday en route to a one-stroke victory over Bo Van Pelt and Alex Prugh in the Frys.com Open in San Martin, Calif. Mediate, 47, won his sixth PGA Tour title and first since 2002.
■ Padraig Harrington earned his first victory in two years, winning the Asian Tour's Iskandar Johor Open in Malaysia by three strokes over Noh Seung-yul. Harrington last won at the 2008 PGA Championship.
■ Beatriz Recari won the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge for her first LPGA Tour title, overcoming soggy conditions and a late bogey for a one-shot victory over Gwladys Nocera in Danville, Calif.
Date Krumm comes up short in Japan
Tamarine Tanasugarn beat Kimiko Date Krumm 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1 in the Japan Women's Open finals Sunday, spoiling the 40-year-old Japanese player's bid to become the oldest WTA Tour singles winner. The 33-year-old Thai broke the sixth-seeded Date Krumm twice in the third set to take control in a match that lasted 3 hours, 7 minutes. Date Krumm, who turned 40 last month, was bidding to become the oldest player to win a WTA singles title. Billie Jean King won in Birmingham in 1983 when she was 39 years, 7 months, 23 days. Date Krumm is already the second oldest player to win a title after her victory in Seoul last year at 38 years and 11 months.
■ Andy Murray defeated an error-prone Roger Federer 6-3, 6-2 Sunday to win the Shanghai Masters for his second title of the year. Murray broke the Swiss player's serve four times while fighting off six break points. He also served six aces, while Federer had three.
■ Ana Ivanovic routed Patty Schnyder 6-1, 6-2 in the finals of the Generali Ladies in Austria to win her first WTA Tour title in two years and ninth overall.
■ The United States qualified behind Russia and China on Sunday, setting up a classic finals for the women's gymnastics team gold at the world championships in the Netherlands. With their major challengers already through on Saturday, the Americans had a 5 a.m. wake-up call for their session. They were fully focused from the opening on the uneven bars through to the concluding vault and finished with 233.643 points, behind Russia's 234.521 and China's 233.778.
The last word
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who made a pair of hits that knocked the Cleveland Browns' Joshua Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi out of Sunday's game:
"You don't want to injure people. I don't want to injure any body. But I'm not opposed to hurting anybody."