With the clock inexorably ticking ever closer to the 29th Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita nine days hence, event participants went through their daily regimen without a hitch on a clear, crisp, sun-filled Thursday morning with the scenic San Gabriel Mountains providing their ever-present picturesque background.
Among the horses working on Santa Anita's fast main track Thursday were trainer Doug O'Neill's Classic contenders Richard's Kid and Handsome Mike.
Richard's Kid worked six furlongs in company with the two-year-old Cinco de Mario, a maiden who has yet to hit the board. The multiple Grade 1 star completed the drill in 1:15 2/5, while his workmate finished up in 1:17.
"There was not a lot of deep thought going on" as to why O'Neill worked Richard's Kid in company, the Kentucky Derby-winning trainer said.
"I wanted to see a good three-quarters and let him finish up good, which he did. I got him in 1:14 with him finishing up faster than he started off. He galloped out great, so we're very pleased."
Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby winner Handsome Mike covered his six furlongs in 1:15 1/5, while Grade 2-winning juvenile Know More was caught in 1:15 2/5.
"Know More and Handsome Mike both worked great," O'Neill said. "Today was a day for maintenance works and an excuse to give them an easy day tomorrow and then we'll get right back into our normal good gallops right into the race."
O'Neill later confirmed to Daily Racing Form that Handsome Mike was definite for the Classic. He had been cross-entered to the Dirt Mile as his second preference during the pre-entry stage.
Know More listed the Juvenile Turf as his first preference, with the Juvenile as his second choice.
O'Neill's first preference for the Juvenile, He's Had Enough, zipped six furlongs from the gate in a bullet 1:12 2/5.
Rounding out the barn's Breeders' Cup workers, all at six furlongs, were Cogito (Turf), 1:14 3/5; South Floyd (Juvenile Sprint), 1:15 2/5; Quail Hill, who needs one defection to draw into the Marathon, 1:14 4/5; and Boxeur de Rues, on the also eligible list for the Turf Sprint and Sprint, 1:13 4/5.