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Dullahan Works Toward Belmont; On Fire Baby Sizzles in Bullet Work

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/19/2012 #
  • Dullahan walked off the Churchill Downs track after his work Saturday. Credit: Reed Palmer

  • On Fire Baby sizzled in her Saturday work at Churchill Downs. Credit: Reed Palmer

  • Trainer Paul McGee is one victory away from the 300-win milestone at CD. Credit: Reed Palmer

  • Jockey Jesus Castanon was injured Friday and will not ride this weekend. Credit: Reed Palmer

Donegal Racing’s Dullahan, winner of the Toyota Blue Grass (Grade I) and most recently third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), continued his preparations for the third jewel of the Triple Crown with a five-furlong breeze in 1:00.20 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning for trainer Dale Romans.

Working on his own after the renovation break under Faustino Aguilar, Dullahan recorded fractions of :12, :23.80, :35.80, :47.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:13.80 and seven furlongs in 1:29.80. His five-furlong time of 1:00.20 was the second fastest of 26 at the distance.

Assistant trainer Baldemar Bahena oversaw the workout for Romans, who is in Baltimore to saddle Cozzetti for the 137th Preakness (GI).  

“He came out of the Derby very well and today’s work was good,” Bahena said. “He will work again here next Saturday and then we will ship him to Belmont. He’ll have his final workout for the race up there.”

A chestnut son of Even the Score, Dullahan is a half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird, who ran second to eventual Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Preakness and third in the Belmont (GI) behind Summer Bird and Dunkirk.

ON FIRE BABY HAS SIZZLING WORK AFTER EVENTFUL MORNING Anita Cauley’s On Fire Baby, winner of the Honeybee (GIII) at Oaklawn Park and most recently fifth in the $1 million-guaranteed Kentucky Oaks (GI), turned heads Saturday during her first work since the big race on the first Friday in May.

The winner of last fall’s Pocahontas (GII) and Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs covered five furlongs in :59.60 for trainer Gary Hartlage. The move under jockey Joe Johnson was easily the fastest of 26 at the distance.

But before her work, On Fire Baby endured a memorable morning that started when the gray daughter of Smoke Glacken came onto the Churchill Downs main track shortly after the morning renovation break.

“I’m looking for (trainer) Eddie Kenneally’s pony,” Cauley said as On Fire Baby stood near the three-quarter pole under Johnson. “She doesn’t like it (the pony) at all.”

Shortly after making her observation, Cauley watched Kenneally and his pony walk toward On Fire Baby and the connections held their collective breath. Thankfully, Kenneally and the pony walked right by the 3-year-old filly without her getting too excited.

“She must be used to him now,” Cauley said. “She definitely kept her eyes on him though.”

A few minutes later, On Fire Baby was ready to begin her breeze, but had to wait when a loose horse on the racetrack interrupted the training session.

Once the horse was caught, On Fire Baby was able to try her work again and, this time encountered no obstacles.                

“I think I might need a mimosa now,” Cauley joked after her filly’s effort. “But she worked really well.”

No decision has been made as to where On Fire Baby will make her next start.

“We’ll talk it over and probably make a decision in the next couple of days,” Cauley said.

CASTANON INJURED IN FRIDAY FALL; OFF WEEKEND MOUNTS – Jockey Jesus Castanon will miss all of his scheduled mounts at Churchill Downs on Saturday and Sunday after suffering a broken left hand in a fall a the start of Friday’s 10th race.

Castanon was unseated when his mount, Ashbrook Farm’s favored Southern Parkway, stumbled leaving the starting gate in the 1 1/16-mile race on the Matt Winn Turf Course.  Agent Dennis Cooper confirmed Saturday morning that 39-year-old native of Mexico City would be taken off all of his scheduled weekend mounts.

“He’s going to a specialist later today,” Cooper said. “We’ll know more about how much time he’ll miss then. He won’t ride this weekend, but I don’t know about next week yet. The main hope right now is that he’ll be fine to ride in the Met Mile.”

The Met Mile (GI) will be run at Belmont Park on Memorial Day, May 28, and Castanon is scheduled to ride Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s Shackleford, who won the Preakness (GI) under Castanon last year. In his most recent start, Shackleford won the Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard.

Castanon has ridden 252 winners beneath the Twin Spires, including three through the first 12 days of the Spring Meet.               

FRIDAY NOT THE FIRST BITING INCIDENT FOR CHILLED – In Friday’s featured ninth race at Churchill Downs, trainer Paul McGee was denied his 300th win beneath the Twin Spires when Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards disqualified Deerfield Farm Racing and Carl Pascarella’s Chilled to second for trying to savage Zimmer near the finish line.

Stewards determined that Zimmer was cost the victory by being “intimidated” by Chilled. It was a call that McGee did not agree with.

“I think it was a bad call,” McGee said. “If I had a bigger horse and he ‘intimidated’ a smaller horse, then would they take me down for that too?”

McGee noted Saturday morning it was not the first biting incident for the 4-year-old son of Yes It’s True.

“He was promoted to first on Breeders’ Cup (Friday) because (jockey) John Velazquez (aboard Congo, who was disqualified and placed second) hit him (Chilled) with his whip,” McGee said. “The reason Velazquez hit him was because Chilled was trying to bite him.”

While McGee said “biters” are not unheard of, he has never had one in the barn in his 26 years as a trainer.

“I know a few trainers that have had horses that did it,” McGee said. “I’ve never trained one. After the race, I told the owners I wasn’t really sure what to do about it.

“I guess all we can do is tell people to stay away,” McGee joked.

McGee, a 49-year-old native of Louisville, will get another chance to achieve his milestone victory in Saturday’s eighth race with Amerman Racing Stables LLC’s Recurrent.

BARN TALK – The Churchill Downs racing program on Sunday, May 20 will be accompanied by Family Fun Day activities Presented by Kroger. Family Fun Days promise a very special day for the entire family and take place from 1-4 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion on Sundays throughout the meet. More information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com. …

Nominations for the ninth running of the $100,000-added Winning Colors (GIII) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on the main track at Churchill Downs, the 24th running of the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs on the main track and the 36th running of the $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) close Saturday, May 19. …

Spots are still available for the J. L. “Buck” Wheat Memorial Golf Scramble to benefit Horsemen’s Education on Monday, June 4 at Glenmary Country Club. For more information, call (502) 992-5903 or go to www.derbymuseum.org/backsidelc.

WORKTAB – At the nearby Trackside Training Center, 2-year-old champion Hansen breezed four furlongs in :51 for trainer Mike Maker. The gray son of Tapit finished ninth in the Kentucky Derby (GI) for owners Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing. Hansen is being pointed to the Woody Stephens (GII) on the Belmont Stakes Day undercard on June 9. …

Klaravich Stables Inc. and William Lawrence’s Animal Spirits, winner of the Bourbon (GIII) at Keeneland as a 2-year-old, breezed four furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Saturday morning in :48.20 for trainer Al Stall Jr. The work was the fourth fastest of 49 at the distance. ...

Carolyn Wilson’s Arena Elvira breezed four furlongs Saturday in :49.20 for trainer Bill Mott. The 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper won the Falls City Handicap (GII) at Churchill Downs last November. …

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