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Churchill Downs Race Day Notes for Saturday, June 1

Churchill Downs Communications | 06/01/2013 #
  • Successful Dan won the 2012 Alysheba in track-record time. Credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer

  • Groupie Doll won the Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs in 2012. Credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer Photography

  • Assistant trainer Norman Casse (left) and his father, Mark. Credit: Churchill Downs / Reed Palmer

LOPRESTI CALLS AUDIBLE FOR SUCCESSFUL DAN WORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, June 1, 2013) – Trainer Charlie LoPresti and Successful Dan were on their way to Churchill Downs Saturday morning when LoPresti got word of showers and thunderstorms headed toward Louisville. Not wanting to work on a sloppy track, LoPresti turned the van around and worked Successful Dan six furlongs in 1:11.60 over Keeneland’s Polytrack. 

“It was about 4:30 in the morning and we were almost to Versailles,” LoPresti said. “I heard storms were coming and so we turned around and headed back. I think we made the right call.”

Successful Dan, winner of the Ben Ali (Grade III) at Keeneland in his lone start of the year, is being pointed toward the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 15.

“He worked really well and (Keeneland clockers) got him the last quarter in 22 and change,” LoPresti said. “He’s spot on. He’ll have one more work and then he’ll run.”

LoPresti added that he is unsure whether Successful Dan will have his final tune up for the Stephen Foster Handicap at Keeneland or Churchill Downs.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do now that I’ve got him this close,” LoPresti said. “I may work him here (at Keeneland) one more time and then bring him over to Churchill three or four days before the race and gallop him over the track. I’m still undecided.”

Successful Dan, the older half-brother of defending Horse of the Year Wise Dan, will take on a competitive group of older horses in the Stephen Foster, including Breeders Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned and Alysheba (GII) winner Take Charge Indy.

“If (Successful Dan) runs his race, he’s going to be tough to beat,” LoPresti said.

GROUPIE DOLL TAKES ANOTHER STEP TOWARD RETURN

Groupie Doll, Champion Female Sprinter of 2012, took another step toward her 2013 debut and began galloping at Churchill Downs this weekend after a month of jogging beneath the Twin Spires.

Groupie Doll was on the track Saturday shortly after it opened for training at 6 a.m. and jogged a mile and galloped a mile under Jada Schlenk. She had the same routine Friday.

“She’s doing very well,” said trainer Buff Bradley, who also is a co-owner and co-breeder of Groupie Doll. “She’ll gallop the whole month before she starts breezing again.”

After finishing a nose behind Stay Thirsty in the Cigar Mile, Groupie Doll was given a month off at Bradley’s Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort, Ky. and then was shipped to Gulfstream Park.

“Her blood work was off when she got to Gulfstream, so we gave her another couple of weeks,” Bradley said. “Then when we took her to the track, she just wasn’t going right. She was kinda funky. Not lame, but just not right.”

Bradley sent Groupie Doll back to his farm in early February and she returned to Churchill Downs on the Monday after the Kentucky Derby.

“She came back bigger and she looks more filled out,” Bradley said. “Now that I see her here, I can see how bad she was at Gulfstream. I can see it more now than I could then because she’s happier and playing. She wanted the winter off.”

Bradley still hasn’t picked a definite spot for Groupie Doll’s return, but has one race in mind.

“The Presque Isle (Downs Masters) is an option and one we are seriously thinking about since we won it last year,” Bradley said. “Things could change though and we might go a little earlier.”

The Presque Isle Downs Masters (GII) will be run on Sept. 9.

CASSE BREEZES TRIO POINTED TOWARD STEPHEN FOSTER HANDICAP NIGHT

It was a busy Saturday morning at trainer Mark Casse’s barn at Churchill Downs as three horses prepping for Stephen Foster Handicap Night on June 15 breezed around the Louisville oval prior to the renovation break while the track was rated “good.”

Funny Proposition was one of the first horses on the track and breezed four furlongs in :50.20 under Shaun Bridgmohan. A dominant allowance winner at Churchill Downs on May 17, Funny Proposition is being pointed toward the $175,000-added Fleur de Lis (GII) and likely will face defending champ Royal Delta.

“We wanted to go slow because she just ran a career-best race,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said. “She went a nice and easy half-mile, which is not easy to do with her because she’s very head strong. We took her to the pole with the pony and got her to slow down nice and then she finished strong.

“We knew there was a likelihood Royal Delta was going to run and obviously we have a lot of respect for her. We’ll take our chances. (Royal Delta) is coming off a little bit of a layoff and our horse is undefeated on the main track at Churchill. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.”

Uncaptured, 2012 Horse of the Year in Canada, breezed next and went five furlongs in 1:01.40 while working in company with Dynamical. Guided by Miguel Mena, Uncaptured galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven-eighths in 1:28. Winner of the Iroquois (GIII) and Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) as a juvenile, Uncaptured is being pointed toward the $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII).

“He worked really well,” Casse said. “Typically, we like to have a strong work two weeks out to see where we’re at with a horse and he worked as well as I’ve seen him work. It was an exciting work to watch.”

Last of the trio to breeze was Pool Play, who will seek his second victory in the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI). Working under Mena, Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80.

“He worked really well, but more importantly he galloped out very strong,” Casse said. “Everything is on track with him.”

DOWN THE STRETCH

Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead heat for the win with Alpha in last year’s Travers (GI), breezed five furlongs at Churchill Downs on Saturday in 1:01.20 when the track was labeled “sloppy.” Golden Ticket, who most recently won an allowance at Churchill Downs on May 2, is being pointed toward the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 15. …

Taptowne, runner-up to Agent Di Nozzo in Friday’s featured allowance race, will be pointed toward the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII) on June 29. “He came out of the race fine,” trainer Tim Glyshaw said. “He’s a nice horse and we’re happy he’s continued to run well. The Cornhusker was the plan before and we’re still going that way.” No plans have been made for Agent Di Nozzo, according to trainer Steve Margolis. …

Trainer Tom Amoss said Eight Belles (GIII) winner So Many Ways is “probable” for the Iowa Oaks (GIII) at Prairie Meadows on June 29 and Churchill Downs (GII) winner Delaunay is “definite” for the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 28. …

Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan’s victory aboard Rafaelini in Friday’s ninth race at Churchill Downs was his 467th beneath the Twin Spires and he passed Patrick Johnson for 11th on the all-time list. 

STAKES NOMINATIONS CLOSING

Nominations for the five graded stakes races on Saturday, June 15 close Saturday: the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles; $175,000 Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles; $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles; $100,000-added Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf; and $50,000-added President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (GI) for Arabian 4-year-olds and up at 1 ¼ miles. Stephen Foster Handicap night is the first of three Downs After Dark events at the Spring Meet. The first of 11 races will be 6 p.m. EDT. Handicap weights for the Stephen Foster and Fleur de Lis will be announced Saturday, June 8.

STEPHEN FOSTER HANDICAP: “WIN AND YOU’RE IN” BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC

The winner of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 15 is entitled to an automatic entry into the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. The nominated winner will have pre-entry and entry fees waived for the 1 ¼-mile Classic and will receive a travel stipend of $10,000 if traveling from a location in North America or $20,000 if traveling internationally.

THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Saturday, June 1

  • 11 races from 12:45-6 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
  • Feature (Race 5 at 2:51 p.m.): $100,000-added Aristides (GIII), 3 & up, 6 F
  • Co-Feature (Race 10 at 5:30 p.m.): $65,000-added Opening Verse, 3 & up, 1 1/16 M (T)

Sunday, June 2

  • 10 races from 12:45-5:29 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
  • Feature (Race 9 at 4:59 p.m.): $52,000 alw, 3yo, 1 M
  • Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on The Plaza Balcony from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Games, crafts, entertainment & Churchill Charlie appearance. Special activity will be plant-potting with Churchill Downs’ Director of Horticulture Matt Bizzell (three sessions at 1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. & 2 p.m.).Guests will be shown how to properly plant a Hyacinth Bean Vine seed and can decorate their clay pots.

FAMILY FUN DAY ON SUNDAY

Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Day Presented by Kroger on the Plaza Balcony every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the 38-day Spring Meet. Kiddos age 12 and younger are invited to enjoy games, crafts and visits from Churchill Downs’ popular mascot Churchill Charlie. This week’s special activity includes a visit by Churchill Downs’ Director of Horticulture Matt Bizzell, who will show guests how to properly plant a Hyacinth Bean Vine seed. There will be three plant-potting sessions (1 p.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.) and kids can decorate clay pots, too. The first of 10 races on Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Churchill Downs’ Junior Jockey Club, located inside the Gate 10 entrance, also entertains children age 12 and under on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed when Downs After Dark occurs on June 15, June 22 and June 29). The “Kids Zone” is dedicated to providing fun for the youngsters at Churchill Downs, but all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

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