Two of the star Phoenix Thoroughbreds string are due to run over the holidays with both Dream Tree and Axelrod targeting Grade One success on December 26th.
Bob Baffert reports the unbeaten Dream Tree to be “doing well” after she returned to the work tab this month following an entrapped epiglottis that kept her out of the Breeders’ Cup. She is being pointed towards the La Brea Stakes and stepped up her prep this week by working over five furlongs in 59.60 at Santa Anita. She seems to be picking up from where she left off before her set back as she looks to extend her unbeaten record to six and add a second Grade One success to her resume. The Uncle Mo filly was last seen, in competitive action, taking on the Grade Two Prioress in which she ran out an easy winner and put in her best ever speed figure.
On the same day it will be the Malibu Stakes for Axelrod before he possibly heads to Dubai for a tilt at the World Cup in March. Owned in partnership with Slam Dunk Racing, the Florida bred colt has put in a couple of nice pieces of work over four furlongs at Santa Anita in the last month, his first bits of action since running a solid race in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
“He ran a good race, to be honest,” said Phoenix CEO Amer Abdulaziz of Axelrod’s Classic effort.“You know how it is with horses. You want them to run well and we think he did. He’s only a three-year-old and he wasn’t far behind (fifth-place) Mendelssohn. We have high hopes with him. He’s a beautiful horse.”
It was a run that saw him, like Dream Tree’s most recent effort, run to the best speed figure of his career and continued to show his late three-year-old progress. The Michael McCarthy trained colt is a dual Grade Three winner, having won the Smarty Jones Stakes and Indiana Derby all before running McKenzie close in the Pennsylvania Derby, form which was reversed at the Breeders’s Cup.