Grand Arch has been near the top of the list of horses touting themselves during morning outings in the days leading up to the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Keeneland.
The Grade I winner continued to sell himself as a leading threat for the Breeders' Cup Mile on Saturday, putting in a four-furlong workout in 50.80 over a turf course labeled good on Sunday.
The rain that hit Central Kentucky most of Saturday caused havoc with trainer's plans on Sunday. With the Keeneland main track sealed and the usual renovation break canceled, many had to call an audible with their training schedules — most notably trainer Richard Mandella who sent champion Beholder for a gallop over the training track's Polytrack surface instead of the main track.
But turf works were still a go, and Grand Arch handled the cut in the ground with little problem.
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"He's a big horse and it's nice to see him get over it as comfortably as he does because you always think big horses are going to sink into the grass a lot deeper," trainer Brian Lynch said. "But he seemed comfortable enough doing it. He looked happy going past the wire, I saw our rider giving him a little pat on the neck and his ears were pricked up. We didn't want to do too much with him but overall I think it was a nice piece of work."
Owned by Jim and Susan Hill, Grand Arch got the first Grade I win of his career when he held off Arlington Million winner The Pizza Man by a head in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile over a yielding course at Keeneland on October 3.
The 5-year-old gelded son of Arch had won three of five starts this year and has not been worse than second in six career starts over the Keeneland turf course. Grand Arch has seven wins from 23 starts lifetime with winnings of $1,607,230.
"I think he's as good as we can get him going in there," Lynch said. "It's nice to have a horse that can handle a rain-affected turf."
Ward contenders work
Trainer Wesley Ward sent four of his Breeders' Cup hopefuls out for works on the turf Sunday.
Sheikh of Sheikhs (Juvenile Turf) and stakes winner Ruby Notion (Juvenile Fillies Turf), worked in company, going five furlongs in 1:01.80.
Also working in company were Ward's horses pointed at the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint: stakes winner Green Mask and Group I winner Undrafted. The pair went five furlongs in 1:01.80.
Nemoralia worked a half-mile on the turf course in :51.60 in preparation for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.