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Breeders' Cup Stars 'Possible' for McPeek's Assault on Fall Meet Stakes Races
Trainer Kenny McPeek is planning an assault on the remaining stakes races in the Churchill Downs Fall Meet that could include his top performers from last week’s Breeders’ Cup Championships at Santa Anita.
Rosalind, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), and Golden Ticket, runner-up in the Dirt Mile (GI), are listed as “possible” starters in stakes races run during the three-day Thanksgiving weekend that wraps up the 25-day meet. But if McPeek opts to send those horses to races in other locales, his stable will be well-represented during the final three weeks of the meet.
Rosalind and Golden Ticket are getting a few days on McPeek’s Magdalena Farm before they return to the track to train for races that will likely be their final starts of 2013.
Landaluce Educe Stables’ Rosalind has a record of 1-1-2 in four starts following her fast-closing third-place run behind Ria Antonia and She’s A Tiger, who finished in the reverse order before the latter was disqualified and placed second. The daughter of Broken Vow rallied from last in the field of 10 3-year-old fillies to lose by just over a half-length.
She won at first asking in an Aug. 2 maiden race at Ellis Park, then finished third to Untapable in Churchill Downs’ Pocahontas (GII) and runner-up to My Conquestadory in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland.
McPeek said Rosalind could run in the $175,000-added Golden Rod (GII) on the “Stars of Tomorrow II” card on Nov. 30, but said the $500,000 Hollywood Starlet (GI) on Dec. 7 remains an option.
Nominations have already closed for the latter, but McPeek could make Rosalind a supplemental entry for $10,000 at the time of entry. That path worked last year when he won the race with Magdelena Racing’s Pure Fun.
“We still think that the juvenile filly (championship) might be wide open,” McPeek said. “We think that if enough good ones hook up in the Starlet, there’s a chance that the winner of that race could be the champion.”
She’s A Tiger is among the 194 2-year-old fillies nominated to run in the 1 1/16-mile Starlet.
Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, runner-up to Goldencents in the Dirt Mile, could be headed for a rematch with that rival in Aqueduct’s $500,000-added Cigar Mile (GI) on Nov. 30.
“It’s not definite, but that’s where we’re leaning,” McPeek said. “We think he’s really good at a mile and if all goes smoothly, we’ll head that way.”
McPeek said the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Nov. 29 is also a possible spot for the next outing for Golden Ticket, who dead-heated with Alpha to win the 2012 Travers (GI) and was runner-up to 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned in this year’s Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs.
"We would like another Grade I for him,” McPeek said. “But we’re not ruling out the race here. We’ll nominate him.”
Regardless of final decisions regarding Rosalind and Golden Ticket, McPeek’s team will be busy in Churchill Downs’ remaining stakes events of 2013, beginning with planned runs by Haras Old Friends’ Regret (GIII) and Virginia Oaks (GII) runner-up Praia in next Saturday’s $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII), a co-feature on the only “Downs After Dark” night racing program of the fall. McPeek plans to run a pair that night in the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) in Magdalena Racing and Diamond M Stable’s Virginia Derby (GII) winner War Dancer and Magic City’s Frac Daddy, who ran 16th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) but has turf allowance wins at Saratoga and Keeneland since the first Saturday in May.
Preston Stable LLC’s Flashy American, winner of Churchill Downs’ Locust Grove and fourth to eventual Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) winner Beholder in her most recent start in the Zenyatta (GI) at Santa Anita, is set to run in the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap on Thanksgiving Day.
Along with a possible run by Rosalind, McPeek is pointing Bal Mar Equine’s Street Sense filly Streethomealabama to the Golden Rod. She recently scored her first win in six career starts in an Oct. 23 maiden race over synthetic Polytrack at Keeneland.
Arctic Slope, owned by John Ed Anthony’s Shortleaf Stable and third to We Miss Artie in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) over Polytrack at Keeneland after breaking his maiden at Churchill Downs in September, is tentatively set for the $175,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) on the Nov. 30 “Stars of Tomorrow II” program. The status of the son of Van Nistelrooy for the KJC could depend on his performance this weekend in a strong 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming race. That race is scheduled as Race 7 on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
MIZ IDA’S CARDINAL BID WILL BE SENTIMENTAL FOR KLEINS, MARGOLIS – For those close to Cardinal Handicap (GIII) contender Miz Ida, it will be an emotional moment when she strides into the starting gate under Shaun Bridgmohan on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
The most recent victory by Miz Ida in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) marked the last trip to Churchill Downs and the final visit to the winner’s circle for the late Elaine Klein, one of the grand women of Kentucky racing and the matriarch of the Louisville-based Klein family stable with her son, Richard, and husband Bert, her partner of 60 years.
The filly already held a special position in the stable because Elaine Klein had named Miz Ida after Ida Schulz, one of her closest friends and a survivor of the Holocaust.
Elaine Klein lost an extended battle with cancer in late July at the age of 80, and it’s a sure bet that Mrs. Klein’s joy in the Mint Julep winner’s circle will be on the minds of those who knew and loved her when Miz Ida takes on nine accomplished rivals in Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile test on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
"This horse is special, and I believe the woman she’s named after, Ida Schulz, is having some health issues, too,” said trainer Steve Margolis. “A win by Miz Ida would be a great pick-me-up for her and everyone around the horse. The filly’s been such a great horse for us so far and she always gives it her all. We’re very much looking forward to tomorrow’s race.”
Miz Ida has not won in three races since the June 13 Mint Julep, but she has run well. She was a close second to Cardinal rival Somali Lemonade in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap (GIII) at Parx in early July and fourth on a yielding Keeneland turf course to Better Lucky in the Grade I First Lady last time out. Between those outings she finished sixth in Saratoga’s Ballston Spa (GII), a race won by eventual Breedes’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI) contender Laughing.
Bridgmohan, who has been aboard Miz Ida in a dozen consecutive races, will return to the saddle in the Cardinal. Margolis’ filly brings a record of 15-7-2-0 and earnings of $453,985 into the race and will break from post five.
Miz Ida was rated as the Cardinal’s 7-2 co-second choice with the Michael Matz-trained Somali Lemonde in oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds. Calumet Farm’s Starstruck, winner of Monmouth Park’s Matchmaker (GIII) for trainer Larry Jones, is the pre-race favorite at 3-1 in a competitive race that also features Solid Appeal (4-1), winner of the Dance Smartly (GII) and Nassau (GII) for trainer Reade Baker at Woodbine, and Phipps Stable’s Abaco (5-1), runner-up to Pianist in the Athenia (GIII) at Belmont Park for trainer Shug McGaughey.
“She’s doing excellent,” Margolis said of Miz Ida. “Shaun loves the way she’s coming into the race. I think a mile-and-an-eighth is good for us. We’ve got some speed in the race and hopefully we get a good trip. I think it’s a real good spot to finish out the year for us.”
BARN TALK – Jockey Rosie Napravnik elected to take another day to recover from body soreness and took off a pair of mounts on Friday. She was scheduled to ride in the day’s first and second races. Napravnik, who is set ride the Shug McGaughey-trained Abaco in Saturday’s $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII), has been plagued by soreness following a pair of mishaps that included being unseated from a mount at the start of an Oct. 27 race at Churchill Downs and a traffic accident late last week. .… Trainer Kenny McPeek scratched Haras Regina LLC’s Olympic Thunder (BRZ) from Friday’s ninth race in favor of a run in the $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) on Saturday, Nov. 23. The 5-year-old Olympic Thunder finished a close second to Temeraine in the Kentucky Cup Turf (GIII) at Kentucky Downs before a loss to Najjar in Keeneland’s Sycamore, where he finished fifth of six. … He’s clearly biased, but if McPeek had a vote for “Broodmare of the Year” the veteran trainer would cast his ballot for Take Charge Lady, who spent her racing career in his shedrow and produced 2013 stars Will Take Charge, the 3-year-old runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) and winner of the Travers (GI) and Pennsylvania Derby (GII), and 4-year-old Take Charge Indy, a romping winner of the 2013 Alysheba (GIII) at Churchill Downs and winner of the 2012 Florida Derby (GI) and runner-up to Preakness (GI) winner Shackleford in the 2012 Clark Handicap (GI). The daughter of Dehere won the Alcibiades (GII) and was second in the Golden Rod (GII) at two before a stellar 3-year-old campaign in 2002 highlighted by a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Oaks (GI), a runner-up finish in the Falls City (GII), and a win in the Dogwood (GIII) at Churchill Downs; wins in Keeneland’s Ashland (GI) and Spinster (GI); wins in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) and Silverbulletday (GIII) at Fair Grounds. “She was special from the first day we were around her,” said McPeek, who trained Take Charge Lady for Select Stable. “It doesn’t surprise me at all. If you’d ever been around her or handled her, she exuded class.” Take Charge Lady finished her racing career with a record of 22-11-7-0 and earnings of $2,480,377. … Some of his greatest performances came over the main track at Churchill Downs, and Perfect Drift seemed right at home when he returned to the surface to launch a new career as a lead pony in Thursday’s first race. The 14-year-old gelding accompanied Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Gold Megillah to the post under the guidance of Monie Goetz and the post-time favorite went on to win the race. The career highlights of Stonecrest Farm’s son of Dynaformer, an earner of $4.7 million during his racing days, occurred beneath the Twin Spires when he won the 2003 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) under Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day, handing eventual Horse of the Year Mineshaft one of two losses during his nine-race championship season, and finished third to War Emblem in the 2002 Kentucky Derby. He narrowly missed another Foster victory when he was nailed at the finish by 91-1 shot Seek Gold in its 2006 running and competed in five renewals of the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, with a third-place run behind Saint Liam in 2005 being his best performance in that race. Perfect Drift retired with a record of 50-11-14-7 in eight racing seasons. He took up duties as the Thoroughbred-in-residence at the Kentucky Derby Museum after his retirement in 2009, but ended that run late last year. … Becky Winemiller’s Wine Princess, runner-up to Don’t Tell Sophia in last Saturday’s Chilukki (GII), is considered likely for a Thanksgiving Day run in the Falls City Handicap (GII), according to trainer Steve Margolis. Wine Princess is the product of a rare mating of Horses of the Year as she is by 2004 champion Ghostzapper out of Azeri, the popular mare who earned the gold Eclipse trophy in 2002. She was solid privately to Hill ‘n Dale Farm earlier this year and is scheduled to join the farm’s broodmare band in 2014. Wine Princess won the Monmouth Oaks (GIII) in 2012, but her best performances could have come in her last two outings: a third-place run behind Emollient in Keeneland’s Spinster (GI) and her run in the Chilukki.