Albertrani says Bernardini
is the horse to beat in the Classic.
A Classic win would make Bernardini the 2006 Horse of the Year. His leading challengers figure to be Lava Man, who has won seven in a row in Southern California, and Whitney (gr. I) winner Invasor.
Bernardini exited the 1 1/4-mile Gold Cup in good shape, according to Albertrani.
"He was bouncing around here this morning and he came back like it was a routine work," Albertrani said.
Owned and bred by Darley, Bernardini enters the Classic in search of his sixth straight victory. Aside from his career debut in January when he ran fourth, Bernardini has not been tested.
"I think the toughest race on him was his first race," Albertrani said. "It just seems like he has so much left. He just wins by daylight every time. He's so impressive. I think there's still more in the tank, more to come. He showed that yesterday."
Albertrani plans on keeping Bernardini in New York as long as possible before shipping to Kentucky the week of the Breeders' Cup.
"I'm looking to work him the Tuesday before, as always, then ship him," Albertrani said. "He'll probably have two works before the Classic."