Only three trainers have won more Breeders’ Cup races than Bill Mott, whose 10 successes include two victories in the Classic, with Cigar in 1995 and with Drosselmeyer in 2011, the last time the Breeders’ Cup was run at Churchill Downs, host of this year’s event.
As with Drosselmeyer, who was 14-1, Mott will take aim at this year’s Classic on Nov. 3 with a longshot, Yoshida, who is 12-1 on the early line from Mike Watchmaker, Daily Racing Form’s national handicapper.
Yoshida raced exclusively on turf the first 10 starts of his career, but his Breeders’ Cup plans changed in less than two minutes on Sept. 1, when he captured the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga in his first start on dirt. He has remained at Saratoga since the Woodward and has worked each of the last three Mondays, including a five-furlong move in 1:02.90 this week.
“It was good. Very good,” Mott emphasized on Wednesday from Saratoga.
Mott on Wednesday said Yoshida would work at least once at Churchill Downs, and perhaps twice.
Joel Rosario rode Yoshida in the Woodward, but he is committed to Accelerate, the Classic favorite. Mott on Wednesday said Yoshida would be reunited in the Classic with Jose Ortiz, who rode Yoshida to victory in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Derby undercard on May 5 as well as to a fifth-place finish in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot in June.
Yoshida and Turf runner Channel Maker will be the only Breeders’ Cup starters for Mott, who is still smarting over what might been. Ill-timed injuries sent to the sidelines Elate, who would have been a major player in the Distaff, and Mucho, who would have been a leading contender in the Juvenile.
“Tough races to miss, particularly for Elate,” Mott said. “At this juncture, she stands out, except for Abel Tasman, and she didn’t run well the other day.”
Mott said Elate is scheduled to remain in training next year at age 5. After her rough-and-tumble stretch duel with Abel Tasman in the Personal Ensign, she had a splint injury, forcing her to miss the Breeders’ Cup, Mott said.
Mucho had a minor ankle issue, Mott said, and is at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. Mott said he should come back to his main barn around Nov. 1, when he relocates for the winter to South Florida.
Mott also had hoped to run Hofburg in the Classic but abandoned those plans after he finished fourth in the Pennsylvania Derby.
“Coming off his last race, it was difficult to see putting up the kind of money it would take to run in the Classic,” Mott said.
“I wish I hadn’t gone there,” Mott said of the Pennsylvania Derby. “The way the Jockey Club Gold Cup went, it would have played right into his style. But we were 5-2 for $1 million at Parx.”
Hofburg is scheduled to remain in training at age 4, but before that, Mott said he is looking at running him in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs at the end of November.
In other Classic developments:
◗ Discreet Lover worked a half-mile in 48.63 seconds at Parx on Wednesday in an effort to get off the veterinarian’s list. He was placed on the list following his upset victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He is expected to be removed from the veterinarian’s list when his blood work returns, according to trainer Uriah St. Lewis.
Shari Silverman, a Pennsylvania state veterinarian, examined Discreet Lover and oversaw his workout. Silverman said the blood-work rules for the work “are the same as for a race-day sample.”
She added, “The blood will go out Monday, and it will take about a week to get the results.”
◗ Catholic Boy, the winner of the Travers, has returned to the track following a brief illness that caused him to miss a workout last weekend. He is expected to work this weekend at Belmont Park.
◗ Accelerate won the Awesome Again Stakes on Sept. 29, and is scheduled to have his first work since then on Saturday. That will be the first of three works trainer John Sadler said he has in mind for Accelerate leading up to the Classic. All will take place at Santa Anita.
◗ McKinzie, the Pennsylvania Derby winner, and West Coast, the runner-up in the Awesome Again, both are scheduled to return to the work tab at the end of this week, trainer Bob Baffert said.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
Visit DRF.com for additional news, notes, wagering information, and more.