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Spring Meet 2009: The Season of 'The Bird,' 'Rachel' and Big Crowds for the Twin Spires Under Lights

The 135th Spring Meet at Churchill Downs came to a close Sunday afternoon with the lasting images of a longshot winner of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), the coronation of racing royalty in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) and a dazzling start for racing under the stars with the debut of “Downs After Dark” night racing beneath the Twin Spires.

Closeout Takes Closing-Day Locust Grove Handicap

Glen Hill Farm’s Closeout coasted to a three-length victory over Gloria Goodbody to win the 28th running of the $114,900 Locust Grove Handicap (Grade III) to close out the 45-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.

BARN NOTES (7.5.09) - Theriot To Work 'Bird on Monday / Mr. Sidney Makes Most of Brief Visit / Win Is All in Family For Bowman

THERIOT TO WORK MINE THAT BIRD ON MONDAY MORNING – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird is scheduled to work a half-mile after the renovation break on Monday morning with jockey Jamie Theriot in the saddle.    Trainer Chip Woolley secured the services of Hall of Famer Mike Smith to ride Mine That Bird in the Aug.

Mr Sidney Sparkles in 19th Firecracker Handicap

Circle E Racing’s Mr Sidney pulled away from Inca King in the final sixteenth of a mile to win the 19th running of the $167,700 Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) by 1 ½ lengths on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Mike Smith to Ride Mine That Bird in West Virginia, Travers

Trainer Chip Woolley announced Saturday afternoon that Mike Smith would ride Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (Grade II) on Aug. 1 and the $1 million Shadwell Travers (Grade I) on Aug. 29.

Barn Notes (7.04.09) - Rider Decision Looms for Mine That Bird / Bashford Manor Stars Well / Stardom Bound at Churchill Downs

DECISION ON MINE THAT BIRD RIDER LIKELY SUNDAY – Trainer Chip Woolley said Saturday morning that a rider would “likely be named” Sunday for Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird’s schedule run in the West Virginia Derby (GII) on Aug. 1 at Mountaineer.

Backtalk Wins 108th Bashford Manor

Gold Mark Farm’s Backtalk charged past Flatter Than Me inside the sixteenth pole to win the 108th running of the $110,500 Bashford Manor Stakes (GIII) for 2-year-olds by a length at Churchill Downs on Friday.

BARN NOTES (7.3.09) - Big Thumbs Up for 'Downs After Dark' ... Tensas Yucatan Looks For Success Beyond Louisiana

A BIG THUMBS UP FOR NIGHT RACING AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – More than a few folks were moving a bit slower than usual on the Churchill Downs backstretch Friday morning after the third “Downs After Dark” night racing program attracted a crowd of 33,481.

Blame Wins Moon Over Prospect Purse Before 33.481 'Downs After Dark' Patrons

Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Blame found running room at the eighth pole and drew off to win Thursday’s featured $50,397 Moon Over Prospect Purse for 3-year-olds and up by 1 ¼ lengths over Blackberry Road before a “Downs After Dark” crowd of 33,481 at Churchill Downs.

Tizaqueena Tops Field of Eight For Churchill Downs' Closing Day Locust Grove Handicap

Darley Stable’s Tizaqueena, winner of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (Grade II) on Kentucky Derby Day, will carry top weight of 118 pounds as she faces seven older fillies and mares in Sunday’s 28th running of the $100,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (Grade III).