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Asmussen,Borel, Moss Lead 'Human Races' As Churchill Downs Heads Into Final Days of Spring Meet
BOREL, ASMUSSEN MAINTAIN SOLID LEADS IN RACE FOR MEET HONORS – With four days to go in the 2010 Spring Meet, Calvin Borel is on track for his first leading rider title for a Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
Borel, who won an outright Fall Meet title in 1999 and shared Fall honors in 2006 and 2009, has a 44-35 advantage on Corey Lanerie. Borel is named on three mounts Thursday, nine on Friday night’s card and nine on Saturday while Lanerie is named on eight mounts Thursday and Friday and 10 on Saturday.
Asmussen, who swept the training titles at both meets in 2009, has a 22-16 edge on Dale Romans and Tom Amoss. Eyeing his fourth Spring Meet title and eighth overall, Asmussen has two horses entered Thursday, five on Friday and two on Saturday. Romans has three entrants Thursday, seven on Friday and three on Saturday. Amoss has two entrants Thursday and none Friday or Saturday.
Maggi Moss, hoping to secure her second leading owner title, has had eight winners during the meet and has a three-winner advantage over Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, Amerman Racing Stable and WinStar Farm. The 2007 Spring Meet leading owner has Dartangia in the sixth race and is the only member of this year’s group of top four owners to have a runner on Thursday.
BACK TO THE GRASS FOR VETERAN BRASS HAT – The return to dirt experiment is over for Fred Bradley’s Brass Hat after beating only one horse and trailing the victorious Shadowbdancing by more than 12 lengths in last Saturday’s Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GII) in Iowa.
“He is going to go back on the grass and we are looking at the closing day stake at Ellis Park,” trainer Buff Bradley said of the Cliff Guilliams Handicap at 1 1/16 miles. “I may give him a couple more weeks off and wait for that.”
The 9-year-old Brass Hat had not run on dirt since the 2008 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) and primarily had been in 1 1/2-mile turf races for the past two years.
“I was looking to cut him back in distance and I didn’t want to do what we did last year,” Bradley said of Grade I bids by Brass Hat in the United Nations and Sword Dancer at Monmouth Park and Saratoga, respectively.
Bradley knew early on that Brass Hat was in trouble at Prairie Meadows.
“It was a speed-favoring track and records were set both nights,” Bradley said in reference to Majesticperfection’s 1:07.24 six-furlong mark established Friday and then Concord Point’s 1:40.37 for 1 1/16 miles on Saturday. “I knew we were in trouble when the first race Saturday for $12,500 fillies went in 1:09 and 1 for six furlongs.”
Brass Hat has earned more than $2 million and Bradley does not envision that career coming to a close soon.
“There are some people saying we should retire him, but he is doing fine and we space his races out,” Bradley said.
DANZON CAN MAKE QUICK RETURN ON INVESTMENT IN LOCUST GROVE – The highest-priced claim of the meet can make a quick return on investment Saturday when Danzon runs for new owner Alfred Nuckols Jr. in the 29th running of the $100,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (GIII) at a mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
“They claimed her to breed next spring,” trainer Jim Baker said of the $80,000 purchase. “The plan is to run her until the end of the year and breed her next year.”
The 7-year-old Danzon appeared on Nuckols’ radar when she won on April 30 for the $80,000 tag. When she was entered back on June 4 under the same conditions, Baker got a call.
“They called me and asked if I would claim a horse for them,” Baker said and the claim was made as Danzon romped to another victory.
Alex Solis will ride Danzon on Saturday in what will be fifth stakes start over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
"She has got some back class to her and she has been doing good and is two-for-two this meet,” Baker said.
Danzon first ran here in 2007 at age four when she finishing third, beaten a length, against males in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI). She finished third later that meet in the Early Times Mint Julep (GIII) and came back the following spring to compete in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GIII) and the Early Times Mint Julep.
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Royal Academy, Danzon has compiled a record of 9-4-6 in 28 races for earnings of $484,823.
BARN TALK – Heading into the final four days of the meet, six riders have had their mounts earn in excess of $1 million. Leading the way is Calvin Borel, whose mounts have earned $3,012,009. Following in order are Robby Albarado ($1,338,365), Corey Lanerie ($1,075,995), Shaun Bridgmohan ($1,071,074), Miguel Mena ($1,049,410) and Garrett Gomez ($1,001,163). Two trainers have surpassed the $1 million mark: Todd Pletcher ($2,397,898) and Steve Asmussen ($1,082,445). …
Leading apprentice Freddie Lenclud, who is seventh in the standings with 27 victories, plans to ride at Saratoga. “I will ride some for Ian (Wilkes), some for Rick Dutrow and some for Rusty Arnold,” Lenclud said. “As long as I have (agent) Doc (Danner), I am not worried (about getting mounts).” Lenclud’s victory total is the highest for an apprentice at a Churchill Downs Spring Meet since Julien Leparoux and Randall Toups won 87 and 39 races, respectively, in 2006. …
Leparoux returns to the saddle this afternoon for the first time since being injured May 16. Leparoux, who suffered a compression fracture in his vertebrae after being unseated in the Black-Eyed Susan (GII) at Pimlico on May 14, is named on five mounts today and five on Friday. …
Francisco Torres, third in the rider standings with 31 victories, plans to ride this summer at Ellis Park and Hoosier Park with an occasional foray to Arlington Park.