Breeders' Cup

Restoration of Tornado-Battered Churchill Downs Barns Completed; Horses Moving In

Fewer than three months after a tornado roared the stable area at historic Churchill Downs, restoration and repair work on barns damaged by the storm’s winds is complete and horses are moving into those structures to prepare for competition during the track’s Oct. 30-Nov. 27 Fall Meet.

Churchill Downs had established a target date of Sept. 15 for the completion of the barn repairs, and crews from Louisville-based Hall Contracting accomplished that task.  The project included major repairs on 6 ½ barns that were deemed uninhabitable by city safety officials following the storm that hit the track on the evening of Wednesday, June 22.  Despite the major damage inflicted by the storm, no injuries to horses or humans were attributed to the tornado and the track missed only one day of racing in its aftermath.

National Weather Service officials in Louisville said the Churchill Downs tornado packed top winds of 105 miles-per-hour as it tore through the stables and significantly damaged a group of barns constructed in the 1940’s.  The tornado was rated as an FI storm on the Fujita Scale, the official classification system for tornado damage.

The storm caused approximately $1 to $1.5 million in damage  The structures impacted the most were Barns 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 40 and 5, as well as the stable area’s chapel.

“This is a very special day for Churchill Downs, our horsemen and all who felt the impact of the tornado that hit our track on an evening that five of those storms took Kentucky and Southern Indiana by surprise,” said Churchill Downs Racetrack President Kevin Flanery.  “We continue to consider the fact that no horses or humans were injured in the tornado to be miraculous, but the completion of repair work on our damaged barns during a very narrow window of time is also remarkable.

"A long list of partners headed by Louisville’s Hall Contracting, Luckett & Farley architects, our horsemen and our Churchill Downs team made major contributions to this effort and worked hard to make the goal of getting horses back into these barns by Sept. 15 a reality.  We thank those partners and every individual, public agency, and the many community and church groups that reached out to offer help to our track and support the individuals impacted by the tornado in the hours after the storm and during the following weeks and months that led to this special day.”

Flanery also thanked the Louisville Metro Police Department, Louisville Fire Department, Louisville Gas & Electric (LG & E), the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and representatives of the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau for their contributions to the recovery effort in the hours following the surprise storm.

The completion of the restoration and repairs of the tornado-damaged barns allows stables and horses to return to the track and resume normal training in preparation for Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet.  The meet will be highlighted by the unprecedented eighth visit by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to Louisville on Nov. 4-5 and the 137th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap (Grade I) on Friday, Nov. 25.

Grade I Clark 'Cap, Pair of 'Stars of Tomorrow' Programs Top 2011 Fall Meet Stakes Schedule

The 137th running of the Grade I, $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare, a race that shares its long history with the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI), and a pair of “Stars of Tomorrow” programs devoted exclusively to races for 2-year-olds head a schedule of 14 stakes events with total purses of more than $2.1 million that will be featured in the 21-day Fall Meet at Churchill Downs.

The Oct. 30-Nov. 27 fall racing session includes the record eighth visit by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships to the home of the Kentucky Derby on Nov. 4-5.  The return of the Breeders’ Cup will mark the first time that the event has been held at Churchill Downs in back-to-back years and will be its second stop as at the Louisville track in its two-day format.  Last year’s Breeders’ Cup attracted record two-day total attendance of 114,353 and record total wagering.  The 2010 renewal was highlighted by a narrow victory by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s homebred Blame, the winner of Churchill Downs’ 2009 Clark Handicap, over Mr. and Mrs. Jerome Moss’ previously unbeaten Horse of the Year Zenyatta in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).

The Clark, a 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up, will return in its traditional day-after-Thanksgiving spot on Friday, Nov. 25.  Last year’s renewal featured a stirring stretch battle between the Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak over Morton Fink’s Successful Dan, who appeared to score a narrow victory but was disqualified and placed third after stewards ruled he had interfered with another rival.  Like the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, the Clark Handicap, named to honor Churchill Downs founder Meriwether Lewis Clark, has been run annually without interruption since the first meet of the historic track, originally known as the Louisville Jockey Club, in May of 1875.

Churchill Downs’ 2011 Fall Meet schedule is nearly identical to the last year’s version in terms of races and purses.  Aside from the shuffling of positions on the schedule for some events, the only significant change in the schedule from 2010 is a $25,000 increase in the purse for the Falls City Handicap (GII), a 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares ages 3 and up that will carry a value of $175,000-added for its 96th renewal on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24.  The boost to the Falls City purse will lift total purses for the meet’s 14 stakes races to $2.12 million.

The Fall Meet will open on Sunday, Oct. 30 with the first of its pair of “Stars of Tomorrow” racing programs made up exclusively of races for 2-year-olds.  “Stars of Tomorrow I” will be highlighted by the 43rd running of the $150,000 Pocahontas Stakes (GII) for fillies and the 30th running of $100,000 Iroquois (GIII), both of which will be run at a mile on the main track. 

The juveniles-only “Stars of Tomorrow II” card is set for Saturday, Nov. 26, the next-to-last day of the meet, and the day will be topped again by the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) for fillies, the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII).  The 1 1/16-mile races are early preps for the 2012 renewals of Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, which will be run, respectively, on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5.  Along with earning the first-place purse, the winner of the 85th running of the Kentucky Jockey Club will automatically be nominated to the 2012 Kentucky Derby and the $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII).  The winner of the 68th Golden Rod will earn automatic nominations to the 2012 renewals of the Kentucky Oaks and the $100,000-added Eight Belles (GIII), a seven-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies that will be run on Kentucky Oaks Day.

Each of the Breeders’ Cup programs on Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5 will include a pair of additional stakes races.  On the Friday Breeders’ Cup schedule are the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles and the $85,000-added Jimmy V overnight stakes for 3-year-olds at six furlongs.  The Saturday Breeders’ Cup program will include the $150,000-added Chilukki (GII) for fillies and mares ages 3 and up at a mile and the $85,000 Dream Supreme, an overnight stakes race for 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs.





Distance (surface)

Sun., Oct. 30

Stars of Tomorrow I


$150,000-added Pocahontas (GII)

2 YO Fillies

1 M


$100,000-added Iroquois (GIII)

2 YO

1 M

Thurs., Nov. 3

$100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII)

3 YO

1 1/16 M (Turf)

Fri., Nov. 4

Breeders’ Cup World Championships




$85,000-added Jimmy V

3 YO

6 F


$100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII)

3 YO & Up

1 1/16 M

Sat., Nov. 5

Breeders’ Cup World Championships




$150,000-added Chilukki (GII)

3 & up F & M

1 M


$85,000-added Dream Supreme

3 YO F

6 F

Sun., Nov. 6

$100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII)

3 & up F & M

1 1/8 M (Turf)

Sat., Nov. 12

$175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII)

3 YO F

1 1/16 M (Turf)

Sat., Nov. 19

$100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII)

3 YO & up

1 1/8 M (Turf)

Thurs., Nov. 24

$175,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII)

3 YO & up F & M

1 1/8 M

Fri. Nov. 25

$500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by

           Norton Healthcare (GI)

3 YO & up

1 1/8 M

Sat. Nov. 26

Stars of Tomorrow II




$150,000-added Golden Rod (GII)

2 YO F

1 1/16 M


$150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII)

2 YO

1 1/16 M

F – Fillies … F & M – Fillies and Mares … M – Miles … F - Furlongs

Casse Plots Breeders' Cup Classic Path for Foster Winner Pool Play

STEP ONE OF MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, CASSE AIMS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC WITH FOSTER WINNER POOL PLAY – Mark Casse’s decision to run William Farish Jr.’s Pool Play in Saturday’s 30th running of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I) was not a wild stab or a whim, as racing fans across the country discovered when the 6-year-old son of Silver Deputy stormed through the stretch to edge Mission Impazible by a neck at 36-1 odds.

A three-time winner of the Sovereign Award that annually honors Canada’s top trainer, Casse sent Pool Play to the Foster with a specific mission: to determine if the distance-loving horse, after 27 races on synthetic and turf courses, would fare on a dirt course.  If he ran as well over the Churchill Downs dirt as Casse hoped, step two would be a bid for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at the Louisville track on Nov. 5.

Pool Play handled Saturday’s initial test with aplomb when he posted the third-largest upset in the three-decade history of the Stephen Foster.  On Sunday, Casse was working up a plan to get him to the next step.

“It’s nice when things work, when you have a plan and it works,” Casse said on the morning after his most important win at Churchill Downs.  “I understood him being that big a price.  Here’s a horse running against some of the best older horses and they all had proven form on the dirt.  Well, here we had a horse who had never ran on it, so could understand.”

Along with watching Pool Play blossom from an unknown factor to Breeders’ Cup Classic contender in the Foster, the Stephen Fsoter upset was special to Casse for personal reasons.  The Indianapolis native spent his early years as a trainer beneath the historic Twin Spires, and has a 1988 Spring Meet training title so show for it.

"It was a real proud moment for a lot of reasons,” Casse said. “One is when you do something that’s a little unorthodox, that’s always nice.  And Churchill is where I started.  Churchill is special and always has been.  To win a race like that at Churchill Downs means a lot.”

Casse believed that the Breeders’ Cup Classic’s 1 ¼-mile distance fits Pool Play perfectly, but the horse’s dirt prowess was a question mark.  If Pool Play would handle any dirt course, Casse felt it would be the one-mile main track at Churchill Downs. Casse believes the course is extraordinarily kind to horses that run well on turf and synthetic courses.  While Pool Play’s home base at Toronto’s Woodbine is a synthetic Polytrack surface, Casse sees difference in Woodbine’s manufactured footing and Mother Nature’s dirt at Churchill.

“I was out there (on the Churchill dirt) this morning watching horses train and you can see they get into the ground only about two inches, at most,” Casse said.  “If you walk across Churchill Downs and you walk across Woodbine’s racetrack, that’s how much they penetrate the surface.  It’s almost identical.”

It’s Casse’s opinion that the clay that is an important part of the make-up of Churchill Downs’ sandy loam surface is the key ingredient that makes the Louisville surface is comfortable to horses that do their best running on synthetic or turf courses, or possess pedigrees that point toward those surfaces.

Whatever the case, Casse’s plan worked well for Pool Play in the Stephen Foster.  Now he’s looking to formulate a plant over the coming weeks that will get his veteran back to Churchill Downs and ready to offer his best effort against an expected international field the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We’ve been planning to go to Saratoga with a string, so what I think I’ll do is take him to Saratoga and see how he trains over the dirt,” Casse said.  “Just because you like the dirt at Churchill Downs doesn’t mean you’re going to like it at Saratoga.  We’ll train him there and if he trains all right we’ll think about the Whitney (GI on Aug. 6 at Saratoga).  Our number one goal will be the Breeders’ Cup.  How we get there is kind of secondary, really.  So everything we do from now on will be that kind of plan.  I wouldn’t even be shocked if he ran on the grass again.”

The $327,127 winner’s share of the Stephen Foster purse boosted Pool Play’s career earnings to $909,556 with a record of 6-6-5 from 28 starts.  His only other graded stakes win came in the 2009 Durham Cup (GIII) on Polytrack at Woodbine. In his previous start, Pool Play finished second on turf in the Grade II Elkhorn at Keeneland, where he was beaten by 1 ¼ lengths by Musketier-GER.

So Pool Play’s victory is clearly the high point of the career of his racing career to date, but all that could change on Nov. 5 when, if all has gone well, Casse’s horse gets a chance to shine again on the Churchill Downs dirt in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“What I’m trying to do is get there with a happy horse in the fall,” Casse said.  “He showed what we needed him to show yesterday, and that is that he belongs.  I’ve said all the along the mile and a quarter will be right up his alley.  So he may go to Toronto and run on the grass, he may run in the Whitney – I’m not sure yet.  Obviously you always like to win, but our number one goal is to be the best he can be on Breeders’ Cup Day.”

STEPHEN FOSTER DAY UNDERCARD WINNERS EXIT RACES IN GOOD ORDER – Stephen Foster Day Presented by Abu Dhabi was highlighted by the Grade I Stephen Foster, but also featured four other exciting graded stakes races, including the first Arabian horserace in the history of Churchill Downs. The winners of the three undercard stakes for Thoroughbreds all came out of their respective races in good order and their connections are looking forward to the rest of their 2011 campaigns.

Glen Hill Farm’s Banned captured the Grade III Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi to complete the American Turf – Jefferson Cup double and improve his record to 4-0-1 from seven starts with earnings of $299,076. “He came out of the race good and we’re ready to rock and roll,” trainer Tom Proctor said. “We’re going to the Virginia Derby (Grade II at Colonial Downs on July 16).”

The two other graded stakes races for Thoroughbreds were won by horses from the Ken McPeek barn; giving the 48-year-old trainer wins in five consecutive graded stakes races he has entered at Churchill Downs. Peter Callahan’s Scotus notched McPeek’s first graded stakes winner of the afternoon in the Grade III Matt Winn Presented by Emirates Equestrian Federation. A 3-year-old son of Successful Appeal made a successful stakes debut in the Matt Winn and improved his record to 2-1-2 from five starts with earnings of $121,054.

“He (Scotus) is doing fine,” assistant trainer Philip Bauer said. “He ate all his feed and walked well this morning. We aren’t sure where we will go with him from here. There are a lot of different options and, at this time, no decision has been made.”

The other graded stakes winner for McPeek came with Catesby Clay’s Bizzy Caroline in the Grade III Regret Presented by Etihad Airways. The victory, which gave Bizzy Caroline, a 3-year-old daughter of Afleet Alex, her third win in a row and first stakes triumph, improved her record to 3-0-1 from six starts with earnings of $148,497.

“No decision has been made for Bizzy Caroline either,” Bauer said. “She came out of the race well. She shipped back to Keeneland with Sassy’s Dream and she’ll be trained there for her next start.”

Livin the Dream Racing 2009, LLC’s Sassy’s Dream, a 3-year-old daughter of Flower Alley, won the fourth race Saturday for McPeek under Alan Garcia.

MCPEEK’S CHURCHILL STAKES STREAK CONTINUES, BUT DONE FOR SPRING – While Stephen Foster Day Presented by Abu Dhabi was notable for the upset by 36-1 shot Pool Play in the day’s main event; the win by T M Fred Texas in the first race for Arabians in the 137-year history of Churchill Downs and another dazzling run by Glen Hill Farm’s rising 3-year-old turf star Banned, the big day cannot be discussed seriously without the mention of the continuation of trainer Ken McPeek’s remarkable stakes streak.

The Lexington native secured two stakes wins to extend his streak of graded stakes wins at the historic track to five.  Numbers four and five in the streak were wins by Peter J. Callahan’s Scotus in the Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds and Catesby W. Clay’s Bizzy Caroline in the Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies on turf.

Previous winners in the streak were Noble’s Promise in the Aristides (GIII) for older horses at six furlongs, Salty Strike in the Dogwood (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at a mile, and My Baby Baby in last week’s Early Times Mint Julep (GIII) for older fillies and mares on turf.

“I’m proud of it, but we’re not going to dwell on it,” McPeek by telephone from Lexington when asked about the streak on Sunday.  “We’re going to keep going.”

McPeek clearly appreciates the unusual string of good fortune in stakes competition and is quick to credit his team for its work in getting those horses into the winner’s circle in those races.   But McPeek also believes it was past time for his stable to enjoy a good run.

"The truth is that we were very due,” McPeek said.  “Over the last year or year and a half, we had a rash of seconds and thirds in so many nice races – Breeders’ Cup races and Derby preps.  It just seemed like every time we were second, third, second, third.  We were hitting, numbers wise, in our normal percentages in-the-money, but we weren’t winning.  We were just due, and they came in a flourish.”

After his latest win by Bizzy Caroline, McPeek’s Churchill Downs stakes run appears to have ended until the Oct. 30-Nov. 27 Fall Meet.  He has no candidates for the three races that close out the Spring Meet stakes schedule: the $100,000 Bashford Manor (GIII) for 2-year-olds, the $100,000 Debutante (GIII) for 2-year-old fillies and the $175,000 Firecracker (GII) for older horses at a mile on turf.

As special as a string of five consecutive stakes wins with horses hailing from five different divisions of competition is, McPeek takes and extra measure of satisfaction in the fact that all of those winners are pure products of his operation.

“What I’m most proud of is that we developed them all from scratch,” McPeek said. “They all started in our system as yearlings – every one of them.  That’s what I do.”

BARN TALK – Jockey Robby Albarado, who has 922 career wins at Churchill Downs, is just three victories away from tying Hall of Famer Don Brumfield for third all-time in wins beneath the Twin Spires. Albarado has six mounts Sunday (Races 4-7, 9-10). …

With two wins on Saturday’s Stephen Foster Day Presented by Abu Dhabi card and 11 wins in the last week, jockey Julien Leparoux, who has won seven riding titles beneath the Twin Spires, is quickly closing the gap between him and leading rider Corey Lanerie. Leparoux will enter Sunday’s 10-race program with 34 victories, three behind Lanerie. …

Nominations for the final two graded stakes races of the 39-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs closed Saturday. The nominations for the Grade III, $100,000-added Bashford Manor to be run July 2 and the Grade II, $175,000-added Firecracker Handicap to be run July 4 will be announced Sunday. …

Sunday’s 10-race program will feature a Pick 6 carryover of $19,254 and a Super High 5 carryover of $13,407. The Pick 6 will begin with Race 5 at 2:51 p.m. EDT and the Super High 5 will take place on Race 10 at 5:25 p.m. …

WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockeys over the last five racing days (June 11-18) are Julien Leparoux (11-for-22) and Manny Cruz (9-for-34). Ken McPeek (4-for-9) and Tom Amoss (3-for-8) are the hottest trainers over the same period. No owner has won more than one race during the past week.

WORKTAB – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin worked five furlongs in 1:00.20 on a fast main track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in preparation for his return to competition in the $76,600-added Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes on Friday’s “Downs After Dark” program.   Dublin, a 4-year-old son of Afleet Alex who won Saratoga’s Hopeful (GI) at two, has not raced since a fifth-place finish in the 2010 Preakness (GI).

Dublin drew the rail in a strong field of eight for the seven furlong race that also attracted Forego (GI) winner and defending Kelly’s Landing winner Here Comes Ben; Captain Cherokee, the runner-up in the Portero Grande (GII), San Carlos (GII) and Palos Verde GII) at Santa Anita; and Cool Bullet, runner-up to Churchill Downs (GII) winner Aikenite in Keeneland’s Commonwealth (GII).

WEATHER – Sunday: partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 86. Monday: partly sunny and hot with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 95. Tuesday: mostly sunny and hot with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 95. Wednesday: mostly cloudy with a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 88. Thursday: partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 84. Friday: partly sunny, 83. Saturday: mostly sunny, 85.    

Pool Play (36-1) Shocks In Auspicious Dirt Debut in Stephen Foster

William S Farish Jr’s Pool Play, the longest shot in the field of 11 older horses at 36-1, rallied from the back of the pack to beat Mission Impazible by a neck to win Saturday’s 30th running of the Grade I, $561,300 Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi at Churchill Downs.

Much like Animal Kingdom who won Kentucky Derby 137 after racing exclusively on turf and synthetic racing surfaces, Pool Play excelled in his dirt debut, which came in the 6-year-old’s 28th career start. He clocked 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.52 over a surface that was upgraded to “fast” after overnight rain caused the track to be rated “sloppy” for most of the 12-race card.

Pool Play paid $75.20, which was third highest winning payoff in the 30th running of the race. Seek Gold ($185.40) was the largest in 2006, followed by Colonial Colony ($127.20) in ’04.

Locally-based jockey Miguel Mena, who notched the second Grade I win of his career, rode the winner for Canadian-based trainer Mark Casse, who has a string of horses at Churchill Downs with his son and assistant Norman. It was Casse’s fourth Churchill Downs stakes win and first since winning the 1988 WHAS-11 with One That Got Away – the same year he won the Spring Meet title with 29 victories.

Regal Ransom, the mild 9-2 favorite, broke alertly in the competitive cast and led the field through the first three quarters of a mile through fractions of :23.96, :48.74 and 1:13.37 with Worldly, Mission Impazible and Crown of Thorns in close pursuit. Pool Play was unhurried into stride and settled near the tail of field, only to be ahead of Giant Oak, the 9-2 second choice and 122-pound starting high weight. Pool Play commenced his rally with three furlongs to run as Mission Impazible grabbed the lead from a weakening Regal Ransom and went head-and-head with Duke of Mischief at the top of stretch. Pool Play circled nine-wide into the stretch, hit his best stride with a powerful late kick and just got up to nail Mission Impazible in the final strides.

"I was a little concerned early in the race because I felt like the fractions were a little soft,” Casse said. “I was also afraid that Miguel was going to have to go really wide, but he did a great job and only had to swing him out on the final turn. It was a great ride by him and the horse ran great.”

Pool Play, a Canadian-bred son of Silver Deputy who carried 116 pounds, rewarded his backers handsomely with mutuels of $75.20, $29.40 and $14.60. Mission Impazible, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $8.40 and $5 with Apart under Julien Leparoux another 1 ¼ lengths back in third returning $4.40.

Duke of Mischief was another half-length back in fourth and was followed in order by Giant Oak, Flat Out, Crown of Thorns, Worldly, Equestrio, El Caballo and Regal Ransom.

The $327,127 winner’s share of the Stephen Foster purse boosted Pool Play’s career earnings to $909,556 with a record of 6-6-5 from 28 starts. This was the third stakes win of the dark bay horse’s career, which began on July 5, 2008. His only other graded stakes win came in the Grade III Durham Cup at Woodbine in 2009. In his previous start, Pool Play finished second in the Grade II Elkhorn at Keeneland, 1 ¼ lengths behind Musketier-GER.

The Stephen Foster Handicap was one of five stakes races on a 12-race program sponsored by Abu Dhabi. Trainer Ken McPeek won the $138,500 Matt Winn Presented by Emirates Equestrian Federation (Grade III) with Scotus and the $138,135 Regret Presented by Ethiad Airways (GIII) with Bizzy Caroline. The 48-year-old conditioner has won the last five Churchill Downs graded stakes races that he’s entered. This month, he also won the Dogwood with Salty Strike, Aristides with Noble’s Promise and the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap with My Baby Baby – all Grade III events.

Also, Banned became the fifth horse in track history to complete the American Turf-Jefferson Cup double with a two-length triumph in the Grade III, $106,215 Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi. The stakes parade began with T M Fred Texas becoming the first winner of an Arabian race at the world-famous home of the Kentucky Derby with a 9 ¼-length score in the Grade I, $52,500 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup.

Racing continues Sunday with a 10-race Father’s Day program that includes a Pick 6 carryover of $19,254 and a Super High 5 carryover of $13,407. The Pick 6 begins with Race 5 (post time 2:51 p.m. EDT) and the Super High 5 will take place during Race 10 (5:25 p.m.). First post is at 12:45 p.m.


Mark Casse, trainer of Pool Play (winner): “I was a little concerned early in the race because I felt like the fractions were a little soft. I was also afraid that Miguel (Mena) was going to have to go really wide, but he did a great job and only had to swing him out on the final turn. It was a great ride by him and the horse ran great.”

On first race over dirt surface: “It all started when he was training at Palm Meadows over the dirt surface there and Norman (Casse) would call me and say, ‘Dad, this horse loves the dirt!’ We didn’t get to run him on the dirt down there (Gulfstream Park), but then we brought him here and started thinking about it again. He was working really well and I called (owner) Bill (Farish Jr.) and told him that we could go the grass route, but it’d be nice to see if he can run over the dirt because there is a little race they’ll run here in the fall for $5 million (Breeders’ Cup Classic).”

Where to go from here: “I’ll talk it over with Bill and we’ll discuss our options. I am not sure that he will like every dirt surface so we’ll have to talk it over. He is actually over at Royal Ascot right now and it’s a shame he isn’t here. I called him right after the race to tell him we won and he said, ‘You’re kidding!’”

Miguel Mena, jockey of Pool Play (winner): “The fractions were pretty soft so I didn’t want to get him too far back. I tried to save some ground with him and not go too wide. He was handling the track perfectly the whole time and turning for home I wheeled him out and he just exploded.

“This is probably the biggest win of my career. It is my second Grade I win (note: he previously won 2010 Grade I Test at Saratoga aboard Champagne d’Oro), but this time is more special because it’s at my home track, Churchill Downs. Louisville is my home and I’m very happy to win such a big race here.

“I am going to ride at Saratoga this summer and hopefully a win like this will help my business up there and get me some good horses.”

Todd Pletcher, trainer of Mission Impazible (runner-up): “It was a tough loss but a big effort.”

He had run poorly as the favorite in his previous start here in the Alysheba. Did you find any excuse for that effort and what convinced you to come back and try again in the Stephen Foster? “The horse has always trained pretty well at Churchill and we were kind of perplexed by his race. On that day the track was maybe a little dry and cuppy and he didn’t seem to love it, but he’s been training well and we’re looking for that Grade I with him, so we thought we’d give it another shot. We thought it would help if we got some rain leading into the race, then it was upgraded to fast (before the race). But it had some moisture in it, which I think helped him.”

Did you think you had it, or did you see Pool Play coming on the outside? “I knew it was going to be close. I thought we had a big shot and it was going to be close and that he would see that horse in time to kind of rally again. He got a good trip from the outside post and definitely ran his race.”

Where does Mission Impazible go now in this wide-open division? “I think we’ll probably take a look at the Whitney (at Saratoga) next and see how he comes out of it. We’ll take a look at that and go from there.”

Javier Castellano, jockey of Mission Impazible (runner-up): “He ran huge. It was a big race and a great performance. I’m so happy with the way he did it today. Unfortunately we lost the race by a bob, but I give all the credit to my horse. He’s a very nice horse and the way he traveled today made me so happy. He enjoyed when he got to the lead – he was just galloping. And when I asked him he took off. I thought I had it. I saw the horse (Pool Play) way outside, my horse never saw the other horse when he went by. I think he (Pool Play) surprised him. He’s a great horse and I think he belongs with this group. I think we can have a lot of fun with him.”

Al Stall Jr., trainer of Apart (third): “He’s shown us time and time again that he’s spotty, and that’s exactly what happened. Julien (Leparoux) said down the backside he wouldn’t trade places with anybody and it was great – he was as confident as he could be. Then Duke of Mischief came zooming on his outside and Julien said he just waited a little bit. He said maybe if he’d gone on and made him do it, he would have gone on. It looked like he was going to run in the middle of the pack, and he got beat a length, or a length and a quarter – whatever it was. He’s just done that to us. That’s why we always think maybe, maybe he’s going to turn the corner on us. There’s definitely something else there. There’s no question. He’s not cheating – he’s really just not there yet. Like I said, I’m thinking he’s ‘Deadsville’ and next thing he’s coming right back at ‘em.”

Julien Leparoux, jockey of Apart (third): “He ran great. It was the first time I had ridden him, so I didn’t know him that much. I thought I had so much horse, I could not wait to go. But when I asked him the other one (Duke of Mischief) came around me and kind of took my spot, and by the time he got going it was too late. I think if I would have asked him a little earlier he would have won it. I know him now, so next time he’ll be tough.”

David Fawkes, trainer of Duke of Mischief (fourth): “He ran his butt off all the way to the wire, he just finally got outrun a little bit. I’ve got no complaints. I really can’t complain. I’d love to win, but I got outrun.”

Joe Bravo, jockey of Duke of Mischief (fourth): “He ran great and he got everybody excited.”

Chris Block, trainer of Giant Oak (fifth): “He just flattened out. I don’t know. I’ll have to scope him and see if there’s an excuse.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, jockey of Giant Oak (fifth): “He was on the bridle early on.  The winner was behind me and I thought he was in comfortable position, but I got spun a little wide around the second turn – but he was running.  In the last part he kind of leveled out.  He didn’t quite follow through with the run that he’s always given me.  I had a good set-up for him, because obviously the winner came from behind me.”

2011 Breeders' Cup World Championships Event Logo Introduced

The Breeders' Cup and Churchill Downs today introduced the official event logo for the 28th running of the Breeders' Cup World Championships, to be held on November 4-5. The 2011 World Championships, consisting of 14 races and $26 million in purses over the two days, will be run at the historic home of the Kentucky Derby for a record eighth time.

Tickets for this year’s event are scheduled to go on sale to the general public in early June.  Fans may register today at for a special pre-sale ticket opportunity in late May. Additional information on this year’s Championships is also available at the event website

Last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs set all time marks for both attendance and wagering. A total of 114,353 fans came to Churchill over the two days and a record $173,339,131 was wagered worldwide. The event was climaxed by one of the greatest finishes in horse racing history as the 4-year-old Blame held off the remarkable 6-year-old mare Zenyatta by a head in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

The 2011 event logo incorporates the Breeders' Cup elegant purple with the Thoroughbred mark in the center of the design. The graphic is combined with the Twin Spires at Churchill Downs shaded in silver on opposite sides of the logo. The center circle is enveloped by a silver outer ring. The words “World Championships” are placed in an arc over the top of the logo and “Louisville, Kentucky” under the circle. The words “November 4th and 5th” are inscribed on an alternate version.

About Breeders’ Cup

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships.  The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. Total purses for this year’s two-day event at Churchill Downs, Nov. 4-5, are $26 million. The 2010 Breeders’ Cup delivered nearly $140 million in winning wagers to fans at betting locations around the globe. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup Web site, You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter and on YouTube.



Emotional Farewell to Popular Kentucky Derby Winner Mine That Bird Caps Churchill Downs' 2010 Fall Meet

The curtain dropped on the Churchill Downs Fall Meet on Sunday, Nov. 28 with a farewell salute to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who is heading home to New Mexico after retiring from his career on the track.  Fittingly, the meet’s last race was run in the glow of the historic track’s new permanent lights after a 21-day meet highlighted by the return of the Breeders’ Cup and its unforgettable under-the-lights Classic showdown between Blame and Zenyatta, a host of spectacular performances by equine and human athletes and the introduction of “Downs After Dark” night racing for the first time during a Fall Meet at the legendary home of the Kentucky Derby.

Co-owners Dr. Leonard Blach and Mark Allen were joined by trainer Chip Woolley and exercise rider Charlie Figueroa, who traveled from New Mexico for a ceremony in the regular winner’s circle following Sunday’s seventh race in which fans provided warm applause and affection for Mine That Bird, the tiny gelding who shocked the sports world when he won Derby 135 under jockey Calvin Borel at odds of 50-1 – the second-biggest upset in the history of America’s greatest race.  Churchill Downs presented Mine That Bird with a special blanket bearing the official event logo of his Kentucky Derby, and track President Kevin Flanery presented the Derby winner a basket filled with apples, peppermints and equine treats and toys for his van ride back to New Mexico and a post-racetrack life in retirement at Allen’s Double Eagle Ranch.

The visit by the Breeders’ Cup World Championships was the record seventh to Churchill Downs, but its first as a two-day affair on Nov. 5 and 6.  The result, in keeping with Breeders’ Cup tradition at Churchill Downs, resulted in record figures for both attendance and wagering for the Championships.  The attendance over the two days was 114,353 – an increase of 18.5% over the previous year’s attendance at Santa Anita.  The Championship Friday program, which included the first Breeders’ Cup races run under lights, attracted a crowd of 41,614 – an increase of nearly 11 percent over 2009.  Saturday’s 11-race card attracted 72,739 fans.  Two-day common-pool wagering on the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs totaled $163,619,784, an increase of 13% over the $144,599,205 wagered in 2009.

Along with the race for the ages in the Classic in which Blame edged  previously unbeaten Zenyatta, the Breeders’ Cup also featured brilliant performance by French superstar Goldikova (IRE), who won her third consecutive running of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI), and a dominant victory in the Juvenile (GI) by Uncle Mo, who became the likely favorite for Kentucky Derby 137 with that win, and unbeaten Awesome Feather, who became an early contender for the 2011 Kentucky Oaks (GI) with her emphatic victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).

But the heroics in the Breeders’ Cup had to share the Fall Meet spotlight with a memorable running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Friday, Nov. 26 in which Morton Fink’s favored Successful Dan finished first by a head, but was disqualified to third as stewards awarded the win to the Virginia Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak.  The roughly run 136th renewal of the Clark, a race that is as old as the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, resulted in three-day suspensions for jockeys Julien Leparoux, who rode Successful Dan, and Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard Demarcation, who was disqualified from fourth to 11th because of another incident in the race.  Third-place finisher Redding Colliery was elevated to the runner-up spot.

Other dazzling equine performances included dominant performances by 2-year-old fillies. John C. Oxley’s unbeaten Dancinginherdreams, trained by Kentucky Derby and Oaks winner John Ward Jr., overcame traffic problems to win the $150,000-added Pocahontas (GII) by 5 ¼ lengths on the meet’s opening day on Oct. 31, and the Ken McPeek-trained Kathmanblu, a troubled third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII), won the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) by a resounding 8 ½ lengths.  Her margin of victory was the largest since Silverbulletday capped a season that earned her an Eclipse Award as 2-year-old filly champion with a 10-length Golden Rod romp in 1998.

Tom Walters’ Santiva emerged as an early contender for the 2011 Kentucky Derby with a gritty victory in the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club as the Eddie Kenneally trainee turned back challenges from Iroquois (GIII) winner Astrology and Major Gain.  The Kentucky Jockey Club was co-featured with the Golden Rod on the “Stars of Tomorrow II” racing program on Saturday, Nov. 27. That day also featured an impressive victory by WinStar Farm’s Brethren, a half-brother WinStar’s 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, in a one-mile allowance race.  Super Saver used a victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club on the “Stars of Tomorrow II” session a year earlier as a springboard to his success at Churchill Downs in this spring’s “Run for the Roses.”

The Fall Meet’s human races saw familiar faces atop the standings as the meet wound to a close on Sunday.

Julien Leparoux won his fourth consecutive Fall Meet riding title, completing the 21-day season with 28 victories. It marked the seventh leading rider title for Leparoux, who now has 450 victories at Churchill Downs, 12th best all time.

Marcelino Pedroza Jr., a 17-year-old native of Panama City, Panama, was the meet’s leading apprentice with nine victories.

Steve Asmussen won his fourth consecutive leading trainer title. Asmussen, fifth all time in victories at Churchill Downs with 394, saddled 16 winners during the meet. It was Asmussen’s fifth Fall Meet title and ninth overall.

Ken and Sarah Ramsey notched their fourth consecutive Fall Meet leading owner title by sending out six winners. The Ramseys, who topped the 300-victory mark all time during the meet, have won 17 leading owner titles (nine Fall, eight Spring) with 16 of them being outright crowns.

Chicago-based trainer Chris Block enjoyed a notable achievement during the meet as he won three stakes races – including a sweep of the Thanksgiving Weekend Clark Handicap with Giant Oak and Falls City Handicap with the 3-year-old filly Dundalk Dust – and each winner was bred in Illinois.  Block also saddled Askbut I Won’ttell to win the Cardinal Handicap (GIII).

Racing throughout the 21-day session was marked by strong competitive fields, with overflow entries for many of the always popular Fall Meet races for 2-year-olds.  Average field size for the meet’s races stood at 9.91 horses-per-race, which was flat when compared with the average from the 2009 Fall Meet.

Night racing at Churchill Downs, a resounding success during the Spring Meet in each of the past two years, made its debut on a chilly Friday evening on Nov. 19 before 15,583 fans – many of whom were clad in outfits in keeping with the evening’s “Mad About Plaid” theme.  Continuing the pattern displayed by sessions of racing under the lights in the spring, attendance at the first Fall Meet “Downs After Dark” racing session reflected a 191 percent increase compared to the 5,363 fans who had been on hand for an afternoon program on the same day a year earlier.

"Our fans had many reasons to smile during our brief 21-day Fall Meet, thanks to memorable performances on the track and memorable moments during the return of Breeders’ Cup, our first look at ‘Downs After Dark’ night racing in the fall and longstanding traditions like our Thanksgiving Day celebration,” said Flanery.  “We were generally pleased with our racing product and solid field sizes during this compact 21-day meet, but we remain very concerned about the prospects for Churchill Downs and Kentucky racing in 2011 and beyond.  We’re facing growing pressure from race purses fed by slot machine revenues at tracks in neighboring states, especially Indiana.  Pennsylvania’s success with slots-fed purses continues to lure Kentucky horses and horsemen, and the anticipated introduction of slot revenues to purses at New York tracks sometime in 2011 looms as a major competitive threat.  So, while we’re pleased that horsemen found attractive races at Churchill Downs during this Fall Meet and that our purses could be increased briefly because of solid business levels, our concerns for the future of our track and Kentucky racing are in no way diminished because of those successes.  The coming year could be one of the most challenging ever for Churchill Downs and Kentucky racing.”

Racing returns to Churchill Downs on Saturday, April 30, 2011, the opening day of the Spring Meet and the week leading up to the 137th of the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.  The April 30 session, highlighted by the $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) – the final prep race for the Kentucky Derby – will be the first conducted under the lights as a “Downs After Dark” event.

A Week With Zenyatta Provides Lingering Memories for Veteran Trainer Penrod

ZENYATTA EXPERIENCE LEAVES LASTING IMPRESSION ON PENROD – Trainer Steve Penrod has been stabled at Churchill Downs for more than 20 years, most of the time in Barn 41.

He has seen a lot of top horses walk that shedrow, but nothing prepared him for last week when he shared his barn with Zenyatta.

“There have been a lot of horses here that people knew about like A.P. Indy, Fusaichi Pegasus and Sunday Silence, but I have never seen anything like that and I doubt we will ever see it again,” Penrod said. “It was just the right combination of the horse and the connections.”

Zenyatta arrived at Churchill Downs last Tuesday and returned to California on Sunday night after her runner-up finish to Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Blame in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). Wherever she went, traffic came to a halt.

“I had no idea it would be like that until the first day she got here with the police escort and 200 to 300 people just waiting to see her,” Penrod said.

On Sunday, trainer John Shirreffs brought Zenyatta out for extended periods of time to graze near the fence that runs along Longfield Avenue so that people, both inside the track and those on Longfield, could see the mare.

“People were asking John if they could get their picture taken with Zenyatta,” Penrod said. “He told me that if he could have cut a hole in the fence, he would have let everybody in. She would do anything. The Mosses (owners Jerry and Ann Moss) were signing autographs and posters and so was John. It was incredible. People were coming out in taxis to see her.”

Another trainer who was stunned at the Sunday gathering was Tony Reinstedler.

“I came back to the barn about 4:30 to help Drew (Coontz) get his filly (Askbut I Won’ttell) ready for the Cardinal (Handicap), and I saw cars parked all along Longfield,” said Reinstedler, who was an assistant to Shug McGaughey when 1988 Juvenile champion and beaten 1989 Kentucky Derby favorite Easy Goer was in the barn. “Easy Goer was fan friendly, but I never saw anything like this.”

THERIOT SAVORS BREEDERS’ CUP RIDING DOUBLE – Jockey Jamie Theriot still was beaming Wednesday morning, four days removed from completing a Breeders’ Cup riding double over the weekend.

Have you come down yet?

“Nope, not yet,” said the 31-year-old Louisiana native, who earned his first Breeders’ Cup victory on Friday with Dubai Majesty’s 2 ¼-length victory in the Filly & Mare Sprint (GI) and came back the next day to win the Turf Sprint on Chamberlain Bridge by 1 ½ lengths.

"I have been fortunate enough to ride in these types of races and do well,” said Theriot, one of three riders to earn their initial Breeders’ Cup victories over the two-day Championships at Churchill Downs. “You work 363 days a year for days like that and then it is back to Ground Zero. There are a lot of people involved and it is great to be able to compete in the event.”

What made the victories even sweeter was that both horses were trained by Bret Calhoun.

“I have been riding for Bret for eight or nine years,” Theriot said. “To see people from Louisville do well was very gratifying.”

HOMEISTER ENJOYS FAST START TO EXTENDED CHURCHILL STAY – One rider who has gotten a fast start out of the gate at the meet is Rosemary Homeister Jr., who has notched four victories from just 13 mounts, including a riding double on Sunday.

The 38-year-old Florida native is riding at Churchill Downs on a full-time basis for the first time in her career that has been spent mostly at Florida and Mid-Atlantic region tracks.

“My agent Steve Elzey has my book at Tampa and he suggested I come to Kentucky after Delaware Park ended and ride the mini-meet before going to Florida,” Homeister said. “It’s a good opportunity and I’ve had a good start.”

Homeister’s first trip to Churchill Downs came in 2003 when she rode in the Kentucky Derby on Supah Blitz, who finished 13th behind Funny Cide after breaking from the No. 1 post position.

“I was on the one horse the other day and it felt like I was back at the Derby being the first one on the track,” Homeister said. “Churchill Downs is such a prestigious track. When I come back next spring for the Derby, I will feel like I have this track down pat.”

Also coming to Churchill Downs from Delaware Park is Irwin Rosendo, who also is represented by Elzey.

The Delaware Park meet ended Saturday and Rosendo will see his first local action Thursday when he is named on three mounts.

A 31-year-old native of Venezuela, Rosendo finished fourth in the rider standings at Delaware Park with 81 victories and previously has ridden at Tampa as well as at tracks in Ohio.

BARN TALK – The portable fencing around Barn 45 that served as one of the quarantine barns during the Breeders’ Cup is scheduled to begin coming down Wednesday according to track superintendent Butch Lehr. However, the fencing around Barn 42 will remain up.

“We are going to use it again next year, so we will just leave it up,” Lehr said. “There are gates, so horses can still to back there to graze and the horsemen like it because it will keep people back from their horses.”

Distinctive Dixie Rolls Late Under Albarado to Take Grade II Chilukki; Aegean Takes Dream Supreme

The Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust’s Distinctive Dixie, coming off a four-month layoff, cruised to a 1 ½-length victory over Third Dawn to win the 25th running of the $171,900 Chilukki (GII) for fillies and mares on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by Robby Albarado, who won the Chilukki for a record-equaling fourth time, Distinctive Dixie stalked the pace set by Double Espresso through fractions of :23.21 and :46.47 down the backstretch straightway.

Leaving the far turn, Albarado swung Distinctive Dixie three wide and collared new leader Third Dawn at the head of the stretch and drew off for the victory. Distinctive Dixie covered the mile on a fast main track in 1:36.67.

Trained by Wally Dollase, Distinctive Dixie is a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus out of the Dixieland Band mare A Lady From Dixie. The victory was worth $100,183 and increased Distinctive Dixie’s bankroll to $383,154 with a career record of 5-6-3 in 18 starts.  She has a record of 3-1-0 in six races at Churchill Downs.

Distinctive Dixie returned $16.40, $7.20 and $4.60. Third Dawn, ridden by Calvin Borel, returned $9.80 and $4.80 in finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of favored Always a Princess, who paid $3 to show under Martin Garcia. Completing the field in order were Bronx City Girl, Double Espresso, First Passage, Emmy Darling, Direct Line, Devil by Design, Be Fair and Taste’s Sis.

In the race preceding the Chilukki, Steven Michael Bell’s Aegean won the $88,300 Dream Supreme overnight stake for 3-year-old fillies by three-quarters of a length over Rapport.

    Trained by Wesley Ward and ridden by Joel Rosario, Aegean ran her record to 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs having taken the Kentucky Juvenile (GIII) in April 2009 against males.

    Aegean covered the six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:09.56. The victory was worth $52,558 and increased the winner’s career earnings to $217,283 with four victories in 11 starts.

Aegean returned $16.60, $7 and $4.60. Rapport, ridden by Martin Garcia, returned $5.20 and $3.60 with Happy Week rallying for third a neck back of Rapport under John Velazquez and paying $4 to show.

    Racing resumes Sunday at 12:40 p.m. (all times Eastern) with an 11-race program highlighted by the 37th running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Post time for the Cardinal is 5:15 p.m.


WALLACE DOLLASE (Trainer, Distinctive Dixie, winner) –  “We have known for a long time she is so special. She likes this track and trained good over this track before the race. We felt like she was going to run a big race and she did. We are very pleased and very excited about this race. Robby (Albarado) rode a solid race and did a great job. It took us a little bit to get over a couple minor issues and she proved today she is in top form. She is a beautiful filly. It is a big thrill to win this race and we are excited to win on Breeders’ Cup day.”

Robby Albarado (jockey, Distinctive Dixie, winner): “I had a great trip. For a second there I got scared going into the turn, I got squeezed back and had to shuffle to the outside and once she got there so content and she came home nice. This is great. I love Churchill Downs and it’s nice to do well here.”

Gomez Plans to Ride In Friday's Breeders' Cup Races Despite Thursday Spill

Jockey Garrett Gomez was shaken up in a spill Thursday afternoon at Churchill Downs when he was thrown from his mount, Indy Bouquet, in the sixth race, a one-mile event for maiden fillies and mares on the grass.

Gomez, who is named to ride in eight of the 14 Breeders’ Cup World Championship races at Churchill Downs this Friday and Saturday, including Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Blame in the $5 million Classic on Saturday, was conscious after the mishap and transported to Norton Audubon Hospital for observation.

Ron Anderson, Gomez’s agent, said the rider complained of discomfort in his right shoulder.

“They took an x-ray and the results came back negative,” Anderson said. “We are in the process of heading home now. Garrett is fine and in good spirits and he will ride Friday.

“Garrett said the filly warmed up good and everything looked fine. She just took a bad step. He said it had nothing to do with the course. It was just an unfortunate accident.”

Indy Bouquet, a 3-year-old filly who had two previous starts for WinStar Farm, sustained a compound fracture of the left front cannon bone and was euthanized.

Baffert Bids for Saturday Pre-Breeders' Cup Sweep with Always A Princess in Chilukki and Rapport in Dream Supreme

Arnold Zetcher’s Always a Princess, wire-to-wire winner of the Indiana Oaks (GII) in her most recent start, headlines a competitive field of 12 fillies and mares entered for the 25th running of the $150,000-added Chilukki (GII), the highlight of the undercard of Breeders’ Cup World Championships competition on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The Chilukki, run at one mile on the main track, will go as the third race on Saturday’s 11-race program that begins at 12:05 p.m. (all times Eastern). Post time for the Chilukki is 1:15 p.m. and serves as the lead-in to eight Breeders’ Cup World Championship races.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Always a Princess is one of five graded stakes winner in the field for the Chilukki, which was won last year by Malibu Prayer. Malibu Prayer was nominated to the Chilukki, but will be occupied on Friday with an engagement in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI).

Always A Princess is unbeaten in two starts as a 3-year-old after showing much promise at two with a runner-up finish in the Oak Leaf (GI) over the synthetic Pro-Ride course at Oak Tree at Santa Anita and a fifth-place run behind She Be Wild in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) over the same track.  She returned to competition with an allowance victory over older rivals at Del Mar in early September and then shipped to Hoosier Park to score her first stakes victory in the Indiana Oaks.

Martin Garcia, who was aboard for the Indiana Oaks win, has the call Saturday on Always a Princess, a solid 5-2 favorite in Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.  The daughter of Leroidesanimaux will break from post position three and carry top weight of 119 pounds.

Other major players in the Chilukki include the Doug O’Neill-trained California invader Emmy Darling, fifth to Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) favorite Zenyatta in the Ladies Secret (GI) at Oak Tree at Hollywood Park.  Rafael Bejarano will ride the daughter of Graeme Hall, who is the 5-1 second choice in the race.

Ike and Dawn Thrash’s Third Dawn also travelled from California for the Chilukki for trainer John Sadler.  The 4-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa makes just her third start of the year and has not run since a good third-place finish in the Milady Handicap (GII) at Hollywood Park in May.  Calvin Borel will ride Third Dawn, who is the 6-1 third choice in Saturday’s race.

The field for the Chilukki, from the rail out, is as follows: First Passage (Garrett Gomez, 118 pounds), Bronx City Girl (Julien Leparoux, 115), Always a Princess (Garcia, 119), Direct Line (Tony Farina, 118), Emmy Darling (Bejarano, 118), Taste’s Sis (Larry Sterling Jr., 118), Be Fair (Rajiv Maragh, 118), Distinctive Dixie (Robby Albarado, 118), Third Dawn (Borel, 118), Devil by Design (Kent Desormeaux, 118), Double Espresso (Leandro Goncalves, 118) and Alpha Kitten (Joel Rosario, 118).

One race prior to the Chilukki will be the $85,000-added Dream Supreme, an overnight stakes event for 3-year-old fillies going six furlongs on the main track. Post time for the Dream Supreme is the 12:35 p.m.

Heading the field of 11 is the Thoroughbred Legends Racing Stable’s Rapport, wire-to-wire winner of the six-furlong Victory Ride (GIII) at Saratoga in August.   The daughter of Songandaprayer is coming off a disappointing sixth-place run behind Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint contender My Jen in the Gallant Bloom (GI) at Belmont Park.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Rapport is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the Dream Supreme.  She will break from the rail under Martin Garcia and carry top weight of 122 pounds.

Aclose second choice in the Dream Supreme at 3-1 is Gem Inc.’s Nicole H, a 10 ½-length winner in a six-furlong allowance race at Belmont Park in her most recent start.  Ramon Dominguez will ride the daughter of Mr. Greeley, who is trained by Michael Hushion.

Other contenders include Wertheimer and Frere’s Happy Week (6-1), a daughter of Distorted Humor trained by Todd Pletcher, and Westrock Stable’s Tidal Pool (10-1), the third-place finisher to Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic favorite Blind Luck in the Kentucky Oaks (GI).  John Velazquez will ride Happy Week, while Mike Smith has the call on Tidal Pool.

The field for the Dream Supreme, from the rail out, is as follows: Rapport (Garcia, 122 pounds), Nicole H (Dominguez, 116), Helen Belen (Robby Albarado, 116), Storming Suzy (Freddie Lenclud, 116), Wildcat Heiress (Corey Lanerie, 116), Aegean (Joel Rosario, 116), Tidal Pool (Smith, 116), Lou’s Angel (John McKee, 116), Happy Week (John Velazquez, 116), Fuzzy Britches (Calvin Borel, 116) and Magnificent Mia (Javier Castellano, 116).