The Estate of Clarence Scharbauer Jr.’s Fiftyshadesofgold, winner of the Eight Belles (Grade III) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, breezed a half mile in :49.60 Friday morning in her final workout before shipping to Belmont Park for the $750,000 Acorn (Grade I) on June 7.
“She came out of the last race well,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “She’s been training very well since then. This was her third breeze since the race and everything’s been right on schedule. She flies to New York on Thursday and we’ve been very happy with her.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith will be back aboard the 3-year-old daughter of My Golden Song in the Acorn. Smith has been on board for her last two efforts, the Eight Belles victory and a second-place finish behind Untapable in the Fair Grounds Oaks (GII). Overall, she’s won four of six starts.
When asked what type of trip she needed to win the race, Calhoun said, “I don’t really know who’s going to show up there. It’s going to be a very tough race, but I’ll leave that in Mike’s hands. She’s very versatile – she’s got speed if you want to use it, but also has the ability to sit off of it if we need to. One-turn mile races are usually run pretty fast with a lot of pace and I think she is very adaptable. I think the mile is actually a little better race for her than the seven eighths was.”
Additionally, Calhoun said that Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII) winner Marchman would be on the plane to Belmont where he will start in the $300,000 Jaipur Invitational (GIII), which also is on the June 7 Belmont Stakes undercard.
AMOSS LOOKING FOR DELAUNAY TO STEP UP IN ARISTIDES
Maggi Moss’ Delaunay, fifth last out in the Churchill Downs (GII) on May 3, has been made the 2-1 favorite for Saturday’s $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) under the Twin Spires.
Trained by Tom Amoss, the 7-year-old gelding won six consecutive stakes from Sept. 2012 through May 2013, including the 2013 edition of the Churchill Downs, but has won only one of his last five since.
“The Churchill Downs was a little bit of a disappointment, because he really didn’t run what I considered to be one of his better races,” Amoss said. “Going into the Aristides, I’ve been paying close attention to how he’s been doing and he continues to train well. Just as importantly, I like the turn back from seven furlongs to six furlongs, so those are two big positives for our horse.”
“I think in fairness, we need to recognize that he needs to step up, he needs to be the horse he was last year and really to this point that hasn’t happened. So Saturday’s race is going to tell us a lot about where we are with him. He’s a year older and hopefully he hasn’t lost a step. That’s not to say that we’re not confident about Saturday’s race because we are. We think he’s going to run well.”
Jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride Delaunay on Saturday, who has drawn post position six in the field of nine.
The featured Aristides is the ninth race on Saturday’s Churchill Downs card with an approximate post time of 4:49 p.m. ET.
LOPRESTI ON PAIR OF OPENING VERSE CONTENDERS: ‘I LIKE THEM BOTH’
Trainer Charlie LoPresti has a pair of entries in Saturday’s $65,000-added Opening Verse in Gainesway Stable’s Villandry and Eutrophia Farm’s Set the Sail. Villandry drew post position one with odds of 7-2 on the morning line, and Set the Sail breaks to his immediate outside in post two with odds of 4-1.
Villandry enters the race off a half-length victory in a May 8 allowance optional claiming race at Churchill going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
“He’s doing really well,” LoPresti said. “He’s been bouncing around and seemed really happy and there really wasn’t much up there for him as far as allowance races. We thought about maybe toying with the $200,000 Firecracker (GII) on June 28, but we figured maybe we’ll give him a crack at stakes company here first, hoping this will be a little bit easier.”
Set the Sail made his first start of 2014 in an allowance optional claimer also at Churchill where he finished fourth. The winner of that race was the Steve Asmussen-trained Regally Ready, who is the 8-5 Opening Verse morning line favorite.
“He needed that race at Churchill,” LoPresti said. “The horse that’s the favorite beat us the last time but my horse had been off all winter; that was his first race back. He’s been training lights out and I’m not sure how to separate these two, I like them both.”
Jockey Julien Leparoux gets the mount on Villandry and Corey Lanerie will ride Set the Sail.
“Being down on the inside is not ideal,” LoPresti said. “I’ll let those guys take it from there. I think Villandry wants to run from off the pace and Set the Sail wants to be close. I don’t know necessarily if Set the Sail wants to be right on the lead, so hopefully a couple of the speed horses will go and we can sit right off of them and we’ll be ready to close ground at the end.”
The Opening Verse is the 10th and final race on Saturday’s card with an approximate post time of 5:20 p.m.
SUMMER N’SPIRES FESTIVAL THIS SATURDAY
Churchill Downs will host its first Summer N’Spires Festival on Saturday featuring live music performances, five local food trucks, two Anheuser-Busch craft beer trucks and a “Basics of Betting” seminar hosted by Jennie Rees of the Courier-Journal and Churchill Downs experts Jill Byrne, John Asher and Gary Palmisano.
The live music in the Plaza from 12-6 p.m. will be performed by Thumper and the Plaid Rabbits, a classic rock cover band, and Mike Short and Outlaw Revival, a country-rock cover band.
The list of local food trucks in the Plaza features Grind, Holy Mole, Lil Cheezers, Busta Grill and the Louisville Desert Truck.
The “Basics of Betting” seminar will be held in the Parlay from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and is free for the first 245 guests that register online at http://courier-journal.com/cjjennieevents.
THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Friday, May 30 – Happy Hour
Saturday, May 31 – Summer N’Spires
Sunday, June 1