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Aegon Turf Sprint Recap
Carl Moore Management and Martin Racing Stable’s Mr. Nightlinger posted a front-running one-length victory Friday afternoon in the 14th running of the $126,000 Aegon Turf Sprint (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Jamie Theriot, Mr. Nightlinger broke on top in the field of eight, repelled a challenge at the head of the stretch from Indian Ashton and cruised home to score his second Grade III victory in a month.
The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Indian Charlie out of the Time for a Change mare Timely Quarrel had won the Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland on April 13 in similar front-running fashion.
Mr. Nightlinger covered the five furlongs over “firm” turf in :56.18 to post his sixth victory in 15 career starts and improve his bankroll to $320,012. It was his first race at Churchill Downs. The winner is trained by Bret Calhoun.
Mr. Nightlinger returned mutuels of $5.60, $3.40 and $2.60 to his backers in the Kentucky Oaks Day crowd. Salute the Count, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, returned $4.40 and $3.40, while Atticus Kristy rallied for third under Edgar Prado to finish a length back in third paid $4.20 to show. Indian Ashton, who hopped at the start to spot the field several lengths, faded to fourth, another three-quarters of a length back.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 134th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2008. The track’s 2008 Spring Meet runs from April 26 through July 6. Churchill Downs has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record six times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.churchilldowns.com.
POST-RACE QUOTES: THE AEGON TURF SPRINT
Dennis “Peaches” Geier (assistant to winning trainer Bret Calhoun, who is at Lone Star Park) – “He’s (Mr. Nightlinger) done it all. I don’t know what to say. The turf might be his calling.
“Last year, when we ran him on turf (for the first time in March 2007 at Fair Grounds), the other boy that rode him, Ramsey Zimmerman, had suggested it. He (Mr. Nightlinger) didn’t win that day, but Ramsey really thought he’d really like the turf. We’d been waiting to get him back on it. We tried him (on turf) over there (in the Grade III Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland on April 13), not thinking he’d win but he really responded. We ran him back a little quicker than we wanted to do (in the Aegon Turf Sprint).”
Jamie Theriot (winning jockey, Mr. Nightlinger) – “It’s really becoming his style to let him fall out of there. He just places himself and that’s where he wants to be. It looks like we have found a niche with him now – he’s 2-for-2 going short on the turf.”
Kent Desormeaux (jockey, Salute the Count, 2nd) – “That winner ran a hole in the wind. Even at the eighth pole I thought I had him, but he just kept on motoring. Too tough.”
Edgar Prado (jockey, Atticus Kristy, 3rd) – “I had a good run. I kept him down inside and saved all the ground. He gave me a good try. Good trip; good try.”
Julio Garcia (jockey, Indian Ashton, 4th) – “He was standing in there (starting gate) perfect and when they went, he just dropped down and we lost all those lengths. He just dropped down and we missed the break.”