Concerned that Keeneland would seal the main track as rain began to fall early Oct. 24, trainer Todd Pletcher went ahead and sent Breeders' Cup Longines Distaff (gr. I) contenderStopchargingmaria to the track for a "super" breeze.
Owned by Louise Courtelis' Town and Country Farms, the 4-year-old Tale of the Cat filly was timed in a quick :47 for a half-mile, with splits of :12 3/5 and :24 3/5 and gallop out times in :59 and 1:12.
"She went super," Pletcher said at his barn shortly after the 6:15 a.m. work. "That was a very strong gallop out. It was lively. For her to do it that fast and pretty easy and come back and cool out as quickly as she did is a sign she is doing really well and I'm happy with it. She's doing really well."
Watching the weather made for a sleepless night for Pletcher.
"We were down to just her (among Pletcher stable Breeders' Cup hopefuls) and I was laying awake last night thinking I should have gone (Friday). But I woke up a couple of times and looked at the radar and said 'I think we're going to be OK if we get it in early.' I checked the track at 4:15 and the tractors were out there harrowing and I said let's go early."
The winner of eight of 15 starts, Stopchargingmaria is coming into the Breeders' Cup off a fourth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths, in the Personal Ensign (gr. I). Included among her seven stakes wins, all graded, were back-to-back wins in the CCA Oaks and Alabama Stakes, both grade I.