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Cardinal Winner Indescribable Passes Test on 'Yielding' Turf; Clark Handicap Candidate Einstein Breezes In Slop
INDESCRIBABLE PASSES YIELDING TURF TEST IN CARDINAL - Kenny McCarthy, assistant to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, reported that Courtlandt Farms' Indescribable came out of her stirring victory in Saturday's Grade III Cardinal Handicap in good order and would be headed to Florida at the end of the month.
The head victory over George Strawbridge's Long Approach came in Indescribable's first race over a turf course that was less than firm.
"The only question we had was whether she would handle the yielding ground," McCarthy said. "We were kind of hoping it would come off (the turf) because she would be strong on the dirt."
But McCarthy's worries were quickly dissipated.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time in the first sixteenth of a mile you can tell if they are comfortable with it," McCarthy said. "The first time by she was into the bit and I could tell she was OK with it."
The victory, which was the second in two days for the barn, raised Mott's record victory total at Churchill Downs to 594. The 600-win plateau is within reach with 10 racing programs remaining in the Fall Meet that concludes Nov. 29.
"I might retire at 600," McCarthy said with a laugh.
EINSTEIN STEPS OUT ON SLOPPY TRACK - Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) winner Einstein worked five furlongs in 1:03.80 over a sloppy track after Sunday's renovation break with trainer Helen Pitts up.
"It was a little slower than I liked, but maybe I was being cautious because of the track," Pitts said. "He worked good. I know he is feeling good."
Pitts had said last week that she would let Einstein "tell me" if he would make his return to the races in the Nov. 28 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII).
What was Einstein saying on a raw Sunday morning?
"We still have two weeks (until the Clark)," Pitts said. "I will know more next week after he works again. He'll work Sunday, but I will keep an eye on the weather and he may work Saturday."
Owned by Midnight Cry Stable, Einstein has not run since finishing fifth in the Arlington Million (GI) on Aug. 9.
EIGHT HORSES PROBABLE FOR SATURDAY'S RIVER CITY - The weights are out and as of Sunday, a field of eight three-year olds and up was shaping up for Saturday's 32nd running of the River City Handicap (GIII) at 1 1/8 miles on turf.
According to Dan Bork of the Churchill Downs Racing Office, 2007 River City winner Thorn Song (122) is probable for the race as his stablemate Yate's Black Cat (119) for trainer Dale Romans. Zayat Stables owns Thorn Song and Jerry Crawford, Adam Wachtel, Nils Brous and David Robinette own Yate's Black Cat.
Other probables, with weight assignments, are Amerman Racing Stables' Demarcation (117), Oxbow Racing's Steve's Double (117), Don Benge's Wise River (116), Scarlet Stable's Canela (115), Stronach Stable's Jungle Fighter (115) and Nick Mamatas and John Kerber's Gentleman Chester (113).
BARN TALK - Zabeel Racing International's Game Face made a successful return to the races Saturday with a head victory in the eighth race. "That was a nice victory yesterday," said Michael Dilger, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "I'm not sure what is next for her." Winner of the Grade II Old Hat at Gulfstream in January and the La Troienne (GIII) at Churchill Downs in May, Game Face had not run since finishing third in the Grade I Acorn on June 7. Dilger also said that Overbrook Farm's Big Surf, a maiden winner last Wednesday, may run closing day in either an allowance race at a mile or the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at 1 1/16 miles. Big Surf is the third foal out of Surfside, winner of the 2000 Clark Handicap and champion 3-year-old filly of that year.
WORK TAB - Dolphus Morrison's Rachel Alexandra, runner-up in the Nov. 1 Pocahontas (GIII), worked five furlongs over a "sloppy" track in 1:05 for trainer Hal Wiggins in preparation for a possible run in the closing-day Golden Rod (GII). ... Silverton Hill Farm's Dominican, winner of the 2007 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI), worked a half-mile in :51.40 for trainer Darrin Miller.