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ROMANS BIDS FOR CLOSING WEEKEND STAKES SWEEP TO CAP SPRING MEET – Trainer Dale Romans has enjoyed a strong Spring Meet at Churchill Downs and he has the opportunity to end the meet in style by sweeping the three stakes races carded for this weekend.
Chuck and Maribeth Sandford LLC’s Positively, a recent maiden winner at Churchill Downs, drilled a bullet three furlongs beneath the Twin Spires in :35.20 Sunday morning for trainer Pat Byrne in his last major training move prior to Saturday’s $100,000-added Bashford Manor (Grade III).
Donegal Racing’s Dullahan appeared on the Churchill Downs work tab on Saturday for the first time since his seventh-place finish in the $1 million Belmont (Grade I) and trainer Dale Romans said the son of Even the Score would run next in Monmouth Park’s $1 million Haskell Invitational (GI) on July 29.
Not many horses record their first win in a graded-stakes race, but trainer Lon Wiggins believes Shesakitty could do just that in Saturday’s $100,000-added Debutante (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Trainer Garry Simms won last year’s running of the Debutante (GIII) at Churchill Downs with Flashy Lassie and he will attempt to repeat in the first graded stakes event in North America for 2-year-old fillies with Barry King and Dorothy Self’s Blueeyesintherein, the 5-2 morning-line favorite.
Groupie Doll has resumed training at Churchill Downs following a brief vacation at trainer Buff Bradley’s Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort after her record-breaking performance in the Humana Distaff (Grade I) beneath the Twin Spires on Kentucky Derby Day.
Dede McGehee’s St. John’s River has run well in her two notable starts at Churchill Downs, and trainer Andy Leggio Jr. expects another top effort over the Louisville track from the 4-year-old bay daughter of Include in Saturday night’s 37th running of the $150,000-added Fleur de Lis (Grade II).
Wise Dan, the winner of last fall’s Clark Handicap (Grade I) at Churchill Downs who recently broke a track record at Keeneland in his 10 ½-length romp in the Ben Ali (GIII), was reported to be full of himself Thursday morning and trainer Charlie Lopresti said his star is ready for Saturday’s $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).
Catesby Clay’s Rogue Romance could be one of the longest shots on the board for the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) on Saturday evening at Churchill Downs, but trainer Ken McPeek hopes for a top effort from his 4-year-old colt when he faces a group of some of the best older horses in training.
NATES MINESHAFT CONFIRMED FOR SATURDAY’S STEPHEN FOSTER – Trainer Austin Smith has confirmed Tuesday that Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft, a 7 ¼-length winner of both the Lone Star Park Handicap (Grade III) in his most recent start and the New Orleans Handicap (GII) earlier at Fair Grounds, will compete in Saturday night’s 31