Oleksandra looking sharp ahead of Turf Sprint

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Oleksandra
May 25, 2020; Arcadia, CA, USA; Fox Hill Farms’ Jolie Olimpica and jockey Mike Smith, right, outleg Oleksandra (Joel Rosario), left, to win the Grade II, $200,000 Monrovia Stakes, Monday, May 25, 2020 at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia CA. Mandatory Credit: Benoit Photo/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale is confident that Oleksandra looks sharp ahead of her bid to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland this weekend.

Oleksandra ran a six-furlong breeze Sunday in 1:14.04 under the watchful eye of Drysdale. The ultra-consistent Animal Kingdom mare has already bagged more than $500,000 in prize money for her connections.

Her most recent outing was in the six-furlong Jaipur on June 20th where she came from last-to-first in defeating males. Her trainer couldn’t be happier with her big test now just days out.

“She’s doing very well,” said Drysdale. “She doesn’t need speed because she’s very fast. She worked in company behind another horse and started a half dozen lengths back and finished well.”

Oleksandra has been completing her track-work at Belmont since early October in preparation for the Breeders’ Cup. A strong five-furlong effort in 1:01.58 last week preceded her latest showing.

In all, she has worked six times on the track over the last four weeks and Drysdale is confident he’s going the right way in getting her race-fit after a longer than normal layoff.

“That was because of the layoff to get her fit,” said Drysdale regarding the busy work pattern. “We gave her some small easy works and then we’ve only done two serious works — this one and the last one.”

The mare landed the Grade 3 Franklin County 12 months ago in her sole previous Keeneland start. Drysdale, already a six-time Breeders’ Cup winner, suggests any rainfall in the Kentucky region this week won’t deter his charge.

“She’s won down there, and if it comes up a bit soft she doesn’t mind,” he said.

Drysdale first sampled Breeders’ Cup glory all the way back in 1984 when Princess Rooney won the Distaff at the original meeting, while his most recent win came via War Chant in the Breeders’ Cup Mile two decades ago. He also landed the Classic in 1992 with A.P. Indy.

Got Stormy, winner of the 2020 Franklin County for trainer Mark Casse, as well as fellow Grade 2 winners Leinster, Big Runnuer and Diamond Oops for trainers George Arnold, Victor Garcia and Patrick Biancone respectively, are amongst a strong field of probable contenders at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday.

Oleksandra trades as big as 10/1 to win the Grade 1 contest, which boasts a purse of $1m.

Trainer Peter Miller has won the last three renewals with Stormy Liberal (2017/2018) and Belvoir Bay last year. He could rely on Bulletproof One and Texas Wedge in Saturday’s race over five-and-a-half-furlongs as he bids to extend his record-breaking run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.

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