MARGOLIS EXPECTS STRONG EFFORT FROM MIZ IDA ON SATURDAY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, June 6, 2013) – Miz Ida finished second as the even-money favorite in an allowance/optional claiming race on the Matt Winn Turf Course on May 12, her first start of 2013, and now will look to bounce back to top form in Saturday’s $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
“She ran a good race off the layoff and hopefully she’ll move forward,” trainer Steve Margolis said. “I love the way she’s been training and she couldn’t be doing any better. We’re looking forward to the race.”
Miz Ida’s runner-up effort on May 12 was her first start since finishing fifth in the Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs in November. Prior to the Mrs. Revere, she won a division of the Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland for Bert, Elaine and Richard Klein.
“We worked her six times, but she was going a distance off a layoff,” Margolis said. “She got to work on the turf here, so it wasn’t like she wasn’t ready, but there’s nothing like a race.”
A solid field of six is entered in the Early Times Mint Julep, including Grade I winner Daisy Devine.
“We know Daisy Devine is tough and Colonial Flag is a very good horse,” Margolis said. “Daisy Devine is the horse to beat. She’s a proven Grade I and Grade II winner.”
The Early Times Mint Julep Handicap is scheduled as Race 9 on Saturday’s 11-race program with a post time of 4:59 p.m. EDT.
NECK ’N NECK BACK IN TRAINING
Multiple graded stakes winner Neck ’n Neck, who sustained a sesamoid injury in his left front leg while being prepared for the Clark Handicap (GI) in November, returned to trainer Ian Wilkes barn at Churchill Downs earlier this week and resumed light training Wednesday.
“It’s good to have him back,” Wilkes said. “He’s still a clown like always. Everything looks good so far. No problems.”
Prior to being injured, Neck ’n Neck scored back-to-back wins in the Indiana Derby (GII) and Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for owner and breeder A. Stevens Miles Jr. Earlier in 2012, Neck ’n Neck won the Matt Winn (GIII) at Churchill Downs by 7 ¼ lengths.
“You just don’t know at the time (if they’ll be back),” Wilkes said. “You have to wait and see how the surgery goes and see what the damage is to the suspensory branch. When we saw there was minimal damage to the suspensory branch, we were optimistic.”
Wilkes said no plans have been made for a possible return spot for Neck ’n Neck.
“We’ve got him in light training now; he’s just jogging,” Wilkes said. “Nothing is planned yet. It’s going to be a long, slow process back.”
In other activity at the Wilkes barn Thursday morning, Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned, a hopeful for the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI), breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on the fast main track.
Working under regular rider Brian Hernandez Jr., Fort Larned recorded fractions of :13, :25.80 and :37.80 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:01.80.
GOOD DEED, SWEET CASSIOPEIA HIGHLIGHT FRIDAY FEATURE
The 11-race twilight racing program at Churchill Downs on Friday will be highlighted by the fourth race, a $60,000 allowance for fillies and mares at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course that features multiple stakes winners Good Deed and Sweet Cassiopeia.
Bert, Elaine and Richard Klein’s homebred Good Deed enters the race off a 4 ¼-length victory in the Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs on May 11.
“It worked out well that they had a race for her,” trainer Steve Margolis said. “We had a backup plan to run at Presque Isle, but wanted to stay here.”
The Unbridled Sidney was the first start on turf for Good Deed, who is a half-sister to Country Day, runner-up in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII), and Due Date, a multiple stakes winner sprinting on the turf.
“I think we’re going to try to keep her at five or five-and-a-half (furlongs) on the turf,” Margolis said. “She’s a fast horse.”
Sweet Cassiopeia finished sixth in the Very One at Pimlico on May 17 as the 2-1 favorite after scoring five straight victories.
“The turf (at Pimlico) was a little rough and I don’t think she handled it too well, but she’s doing fine since,” trainer Bill Connelly said. “I’m looking forward to running her.”
A two-time stakes winner, Sweet Cassiopeia also is entered in the Satin and Lace at Presque Isle on Sunday. She finished second to It’s Me Mom in the race last year.
“I’m planning on runner her at Churchill,” Connelly said.
Post time for Race 4 at Churchill Downs on Friday is 4:18 p.m. EDT.
BELMONT ADVANCE WAGERING; BROOKLYN-BELMONT DOUBLE
Handicappers wanting to get a head start on the Belmont Stakes can do so Friday at Churchill Downs as the Louisville racetrack offers advanced wagering on the third leg of the Triple Crown all day Friday. Also, a unique wager offered on Friday by the New York Racing Association is the Brooklyn/Belmont Double that links two 1 ½-mile marathon events: Friday’s Grade II, $200,000 Brooklyn Handicap for older horses (Belmont Park Race 10 at 5:45 p.m. ET) and Saturday’s Belmont.
Saturday’s Belmont Park wagering menu is enticing. There are five graded stakes races, including a trio of Grade I events (the Belmont; the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap; and $500,000 Longines Just a Game), and there’ll be a $1 million guaranteed Pick 6 pool on Races 6-11 and a $1 million guaranteed all-stakes Pick 4 pool on Races 8-11. Both wagers will end with the 145th running of the $1 million Belmont Stakes, which goes as race 11 at approximately 6:36 p.m.
Churchill Downs will host an NBC Belmont Stakes viewing party in the Plaza starting at 5 p.m. Also, the race will be prominently shown on television monitors throughout the facility, including the infield and paddock JumboTrons. (Note: “Last Call” for alcohol on the first floor of the facility will be post time for the Belmont Stakes).
The simulcast will follow the last of the last of 11 races at Churchill Downs (the last race is scheduled for 6 p.m.). Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. with the first of 11 races scheduled for 12:45 p.m. The simulcast of Belmont Park’s 13-race card will begin at 11:35 a.m.
BELMONT BREEZE ON SALE SATURDAY
The “Belmont Breeze” specialty drink in a Belmont Stakes collectable glass will be sold by Levy Restaurants at select locations throughout the facility. The Belmont Breeze is the official drink of the Belmont Stakes and will feature 1 ½ ounces of Woodford Reserve bourbon, 2 ounces of Lemonade and 1 ounce of Pomegranate liquor. Before it’s served, the drink is shaken with ice, strained into a rocks glass with ice and garnished with a squeeze of a lemon wedge.
BELMONT: DID YOU KNOW?
Kentucky Derby winner Orb will bid to become the first to complete the Derby-Belmont double since Thunder Gulch in 1995. Meanwhile, Oxbow will attempt to become the first to put together a Preakness-Belmont double since Afleet Alex in 2005.
21st YMCA SAFE PLACE SERVICE TURF CLASSIC BETWEEN RACES 7-8 ON FRIDAY AT 6 P.M.
The 21st annual YMCA Safe Place Services Turf Classic, a seven-furlong race on the Matt Winn Turf Course featuring approximately 20 Louisville firefighters and corporate representatives each sponsored by a local corporation, will be staged Friday between Races 7-8 at approximately 6 p.m.. YMCA Safe Place Services provides a variety of caring programs and round-the-clock assistance for teens and families in crisis. More than 500 guests are expected in Churchill Downs’ Triple Crown Room and additional proceeds will be raised through live and silent auctions.
CITY’S BEST HAPPY HOUR! EVERY FRIDAY
Churchill Downs will host the City’s Best Happy Hour! in The Plaza every Friday from 4-7 p.m. throughout the 38-day Spring Meet. Drink specials include $2 Budweiser/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois and $4 14 Hands Blackberry Sangria. There also will be a variety of food trucks from the Louisville Food Truck Association (Booty’s Diner, Reds Comfort Food and the Louisville Dessert Truck are scheduled to appear) and live music on the Plaza Stage by the Rachel Timberlake Band.
FAMILY FUN DAY ON SUNDAY; CHURCHILL CHARLIE BIRTHDAY BASH!
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.
This week it’s a special birthday celebration for Churchill Downs’ popular mascot Churchill Charlie with special appearances from his area mascot friends.
“The Churchill Charlie Birthday Bash Dash Presented by Kroger” – a race on the Matt Winn Turf Course for the mascots – will be run between races (time TBD). Also, there will be games, crafts and entertainment for kiddos age 12 and younger.
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.
SECRETS OF LOUISVILLE CHEFS TO TAPE EPISODE IN THE PLAZA ON SUNDAY AT 2 P.M.
“SECRETS of Louisville Chefs,” the popular local culinary television program that airs on ION-21 and WAVE-3, will tape a special episode at Churchill Downs on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Plaza in conjunction with Family Fun Day Presented by Kroger.
Hosts Tim Laird and Kevin Harned will kick off grilling season with Churchill Downs’ chef Dave Danielson scheduled to reveal grilling secrets that you can use at home. Meanwhile, Laird will show off the latest grilling gadgets.
The episode will air on the weekend of July 4.
RESERVED SEATS GOING FAST FOR RETURN OF ‘DOWNS AFTER DARK’ SATURDAY, JUNE 15
The return of “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” is right around the corner and reserved seats are going fast.
Downs After Dark will be staged on the final three Saturdays this month: June 15 (The White Party), June 22 (Boots, Brew and BBQ) and June 29 (Star-Spangled Night).
Indoor dining packages for the delectable Chef’s Table on Millionaires Row or Skye Terrace are $59.90 per person. Meanwhile, outdoor reserved box seats on the 3rd Floor of the Clubhouse are $20 per person. Those prices include admission, a reserved seat and racing program.
The Downs After Dark general admission, or cover charge, is $10. Holders of shareholders passes or horsemen licenses and children age 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted to the track unless they are accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
Reserved seating can be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets or the on-track box office located at the Gate 1 entrance off Central Avenue (open Wednesday-Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ‘Downs After Dark’ Saturdays).
DOWN THE STRETCH
Trainer David Carroll said Federico Tesio winner Abstraction will make his next start in the $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII) on June 15 at Churchill Downs. …
Churchill Downs (GII) winner Delaunay breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning. Trainer Tom Amoss said Delaunay is being pointed toward the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on June 28. …
Trainer Charlie LoPresti said Successful Dan likely will have his final work in preparation for the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI) on Saturday at Keeneland. “I’ll breeze him at Keeneland, probably on Saturday, and then I might bring him over to Churchill a couple of days before the race to gallop him over the track and paddock school him.” …
In preparation for the Fleur de Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (GII), Wine Princess, a 4-year-old daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper out of 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.80 at Churchill Downs on Thursday morning. Her splits were :13.60, :25.80 and :37.80, and she galloped out six furlongs in 1:15.40. “We know we’re going to have to go against Royal Delta and On Fire Baby, but she’s coming into it the right way,” trainer Steve Margolis said.
THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Thursday, June 6
Friday, June 7
Saturday, June 8
Sunday, June 9