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With a commanding lead entering the final day of the 2014 Churchill Downs Spring Meet, jockey Corey Lanerie has clinched his fifth Churchill Downs riding title with 55 wins entering Sunday’s closing day card.
Favored Silver Max returned from nearly seven months on the sidelines with style as he led from the start to collect the 10th stakes triumph of his career in a 1 ½-length victory under jockey Robby Albarado in Saturday’s 25th running of the $224,800 Firecracker (GII) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf at Churchill Downs.
Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Cinco Charlie set a pressured pace and shook off a challenge by Silverhill in deep stretch to edge clear for a 1 ¾-length victory in Saturday’s 113th running of the $108,100 Bashford Manor (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Saturday could to be a huge day for the barn of trainer Steve Asmussen, who is seeking a graded stakes double with Vinery Stables LLC’s Regally Ready in the $200,000-added Firecracker (GII) and a pair of 2-year-olds entered in the $100,000-added Bashford Manor (GIII) in William and Corrine Heiligbrodt’s Cinco Charlie and Jerry Durant’s Lucky Player.
Trainer Charlie LoPresti will bid for his third win in four years in Saturday’s $200,000-added Firecracker (Grade II) – not with two-time horse of the year and defending champion Wise Dan, but with Gainesway Stable’s Villandry, who is seeking his first stakes win.
Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Cinco Charlie, a tantalizing prospect that trail-blazed his way to a swift 2 ¾-length victory in his career debut, headlines a field of six juveniles entered Saturday at Churchill Downs for the 113th running of the $100,000-added Bashford Manor (Grade III), the year’s first open graded stakes race for 2-year-olds.
Louisville-born trainer Dale Romans will play a strong hand on Saturday when he sends out the accomplished duo of millionaire Silver Max and 2012 winner Guys Reward in a bid to win the 24th running of the $200,000-added Firecracker (Grade II) for 3-year-olds and up on Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course.
While some of us might still be working to recover from the memorable celebrations of the 140th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the calendar has rolled on Churchill Downs Racetrack’s 38-day Spring Meet and the track moves into its last four racing days on Thursday, June 26.
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Untapable, an emphatic 4 ½-length winner of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) in her most recent start, worked four furlongs on Monday at Churchill Downs in a final prep for her scheduled return to competition in Saturday’s Grade I Mother Goose at New York’s Belmont Park.
After taking the Debutante on Saturday with Robert G. Luttrell’s Promise Me Silver, trainer Bret Calhoun has a 2-year-old gelding shipping to Churchill Downs on Tuesday for next Saturday’s $100,000-added Bashford Manor (Grade III) in Silverhill.