The Brad Cox stablemates Chop Chop (City of Light) and Verifying (Justify) worked five furlongs in company Friday morning at Churchill Downs as they prepare for next Friday's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile, respectively.
The pair broke off and began their breeze at the 4 1/2-furlong pole and were clocked in fractions of :11.80, :23.40, :35.80 and :47.40 before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13 flat, according to Churchill clocker John Nichols. Joe Talamo was aboard Chop Chop, last seen finishing a desperately close second to Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief) in the GI Darley Alcibiades S. at Keeneland, while Florent Geroux partnered with Verifying, an impressive debut winner on the GI Runhappy Travers S. undercard at Saratoga Aug. 27 ahead of a runner-up effort to Blazing Sevens (Good Magic) in the GI Champagne S. at Aqueduct.
“It was a real good move for both of them,” said Cox, who will saddle five horses on Breeders' Cup weekend. “I thought Chop Chop was moving maybe a little easier on the outside. They both cooled out well and will head over to Keeneland Monday. (Chop Chop) ran a winning race in the Alcibiades and came up short. If she has similar effort and gets out of the gate well I think she'll run well. I'm really happy with both her and Verifying at this stage of their career. They are both being young horses and seem to be developing the right way into the Breeders' Cup.”
There was an unfortunate development during Friday trackwork at Churchill when Cox assistant Katie Tolbert suffered a serious injury to her left leg and was transported to a local hospital via ambulance, according to Daily Racing Form's Marty McGee. Tolbert was reportedly thrown off an unraced 2-year-old in the pre-dawn hours and struck a grandstand box-seat railing. DRF reported that training at the track was halted for about 40 minutes while Tolbert was attended to.
Also on the Friday worktab at Churchill were Breeders' Cup hopefuls Xigera (Nyquist), who went a half-mile in company in :48.80 for either the GI Juvenile Fillies Turf (first preference) or Juvenile Fillies; and GI Mile candidate Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute).