ELMONT, N.Y. -- The connections of After Market made Saturday's $250,000 Kelso Handicap a much more interesting race when they decided to ship the 4-year-old from Southern California to Belmont Park for the Grade 2 race.
Owner Marty Wygod made the decision to run After Market in the one-mile Kelso, and said After Market will now be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Mile instead of the Breeders' Cup Turf at 1 1/2 miles.
"If it doesn't work, I'm the one responsible," Wygod said from his office in New York.
Trainer John Shirreffs said Wygod chose the Kelso over the Oak Tree Mile at Santa Anita on Oct. 7 because he felt that race might be too close to the Breeders' Cup.
"I think that's what Marty was thinking," Shireffs said. "I think that's what went into part of the decision."
After Market, who is 8 for 12 in his career, has won four consecutive graded stakes in Southern California ranging in distance from 1 1/16 miles to 1 3/8 miles. He is winless in two starts at a mile, including the Frank Kilroe Handicap in March, his first race for Shirreffs. The horse had previously been trained by Bill Mott.
"He had just shipped in, and we ran him right away," Shirreffs said. "I don't think he had a chance to adjust."
After scratching out of the Arlington Million on Aug. 11 due to soft ground, After Market won the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 25. Off of that race, Shirreffs said he would not have had a problem attempting to stretch After Market out to 1 1/2 miles.
"Watching the Del Mar Handicap, I wouldn't say he couldn't go a mile and a half," Shirreffs said. "I couldn't draw that conclusion."
Asked his thoughts about running After Market a mile as opposed to longer, Shirreffs said "To me I think he could do it all."
The Kelso will be a homecoming of sorts for After Market who began his career in New York with Mott and in 2006 won a first-level allowance race and the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Belmont.
After Market is the assigned 124-pound highweight for the Kelso. He'll be giving seven pounds to both Art Master, the Poker winner; and Icy Atlantic, who has won his last two starts at a mile.
Wygod said he didn't know if After Market would be up to catching a horse like the speedy Jet Propulsion going a mile Saturday, but said, "If he doesn't catch him now, he'll catch him the next time."
Others pointing to the Kelso are Kavafi, Trippi's Storm, and Strike a Deal. Ballast and Classic Campaign are possible.
Curlin, Lawyer Ron work for Gold Cup
Preakness winner Curlin and multiple Grade 1 winner Lawyer Ron completed preparations for their showdown in Sunday's Gradeo1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup by putting in their final workouts Monday.
At Belmont, Lawyer Ron went five furlongs in 1:01.21 under exercise rider Eddie King. Lawyer Ron was prompted through the final stages of his work by E Z Warrior, who was working a half-mile but credited with a five-furlong move in 59.27 seconds. While King had Lawyer Ron under restraint, E Z Warrior was rolling through the stretch, came to him, and passed him late. Todd Pletcher, the trainer of Lawyer Ron, said King took a strong hold of Lawyer Ron when E Z Warrior came to him.
Pletcher said he wasn't looking for a fast drill from Lawyer Ron, who is coming off wins in the Whitney and Woodward at Saratoga.
"His work was very good," Pletcher said. "He's an eager horse. If you let him, he'll work very fast. That wasn't what we were trying to do."
Curlin, who has not run since finishing third in the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 5, worked four furlongs in 48.56 seconds over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. Curlin, who was scheduled to ship to Belmont on Tuesday, has spent more than two months training at Saratoga.
"He was traveling extremely well over the surface," trainer Steve Asmussen said. "I was very pleased with how it was going. The [cooler] temperature and him being a big horse, we just though it was the best thing to do with him."
Others pointing to the Gold Cup are Brother Bobby, Indy Wind, Political Force, and Sun King. Malibu Moonshine is possible.
Gomez reunites with Discreet Cat
Garrett Gomez climbed aboard Discreet Cat's back for the first time in 10 months Monday morning, guiding him through a five-furlong workout in 1:00.84 in preparation for Sunday's Grade 1 Vosburgh at six furlongs.
Discreet Cat got his final three-furlongs in 36.29 seconds with Gomez keeping a stern hold on the colt, which actually prompted him to jump back to his improper lead late in the drill. Gomez said he didn't want Discreet Cat to do too much six days out from the Vosburgh, his first race since finishing last in the Dubai World Cup on March 31.
"I know how talented he is," said Gomez, who rode Discreet Cat to three victories last year, including the Grade 1 Cigar Mile. "We're so close to the race, I can't let him do too much, but we got to do just enough to make sure he gets something out of it without taking the race away from him. He's one of those who'll go a lot faster than he needs to if you let him. He's one of those horses when you turn for home he tells you 'let's go.' I had to tell him no this morning."
The work was Discreet Cat's fifth move since Aug. 27. He came out of the Dubai World Cup with a severe throat abscess. He arrived in the United States on May 19 and didn't begin serious training until mid-July.
"I really wanted to make the Forego," said Rick Mettee, the assistant trainer who oversees Godolphin Racing's New York string. "If I was going to take on good horses, I'd rather do it at seven [furlongs] than in a souped-up three-quarter race the way this is with all the pace in it."
The Vosburgh is shaping up a terrific field, with Fabulous Strike, First Defence, Mach Ride, Park Avenue Ball, Talent Search, Teuflesberg, and Will He Shine all expected to run. On Monday, First Defence breezed four furlongs in 48.24 seconds over Belmont's main track under Javier Castellano.
Shamdinan, Mustanfar in Hirsch field
With only two of the original 14 invitees expected to run in Sunday's $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, the racing office came up with an alternates list consisting of 10 additional names.
Those on the alternates list expected to run include Interpatation, winner of the Lawrence Riviello Stakes at Philadelphia Park; Shamdinan, winner of the Grade 1 Secretariat; and Mustanfar.
English Channel, winner of last year's Joe Hirsch, and Kiss the Kid, runner-up in the Oceanport Handicap at Monmouth, were the only ones from the original list to be considered definite.
Mustanfar, who won the 2004 Lexington Stakes over this course via disqualification, was being pointed to this weekend's Kentucky Cup Classic over Turfway Park's Polytrack before it was known that Street Sense was going to run there.
Desormeaux gets seven days
Though the stewards did not disqualify Be Bullish from first place in Saturday's sixth race, they did rule jockey Kent Desormeaux's ride to be careless and handed him a seven-day suspension. Desormeaux appealed the suspension and rode three winners on Sunday's card at Belmont.
In Saturday's race, Desormeaux guided Be Bullish off the rail and into Pygmalion, the odds-on favorite. Pygmalion finished sixth while Be Bullish rolled to a one-length victory. The stewards, who under recent rules changes are allowed more discretion whether to make a disqualification, felt that Be Bullish was much the best and the bump would not have changed the order of finish.
"It certainly couldn't have helped the horse he bothered, but it didn't affect the outcome of the race," said Carmine Donofrio, the New York State Racing and Wagering Board steward. "Everybody wanted the rule changed, and now that it is and we're applying it, everybody's questioning it."