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Champion Wait a While Bound for Saratoga's Grade I Diana
Arindel Farm's Wait a While, who has not run since winning the San Gorgonio Handicap (GII) on Jan. 14 at Santa Anita, is headed to Saratoga for the July 26 Diana Handicap (GI) at a mile and an eighth on the turf according to Mike McCarthy, assistant trainer to Todd Pletcher.
The champion 3-year-old filly of 2006, Wait a While developed a callous on her left front tibia in March while training at Santa Anita. She came to Churchill Downs in the spring with McCarthy when Pletcher shipped his winter California contingent east.
The 5-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon reappeared on the work tab for the first time since the injury on June 15, when she breezed three furlongs in :37.20 on the main track. She has followed that move with :49.80 main track works on June 22 and June 29.
"We are going to be shipping horses back and forth (to Saratoga)," McCarthy said. "I imagine we would ship her up right before she runs. She will work here and then ship."
Wait a While finished third to longshot Lemons Forever in the 2006 Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) at Churchill Downs, but stakes on turf in the American Oaks (GI) and Yellow Ribbon (GI) and Davona Dale (GII) on dirt earned Pletcher's filly the Eclipse Award as the champion 3-year-old filly.
She has a career record of 10-3-4 in 20 races with earnings of $1,819,917.
'VACATION' ALMOST OVER FOR VETERAN BRASS HAT - Fred Bradley's millionaire gelding Brass Hat is slated to return to the track "in a couple of weeks" according to trainer William "Buff" Bradley.
Brass Hat has been at the family farm in Frankfort, Ky., for a break after finishing fifth in the $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).
"He will have had about three weeks at the farm," Buff Bradley said. "He has been doing great, spending a lot of time outdoors. It hasn't been too hot like it usually is this time of year."
Bradley said the next major objective for Brass Hat is the Sept. 20 Massachusetts Handicap at Suffolk Downs with a prep race at Mountaineer in August to serve as Brass Hat's return to the races.
The 7-year-old Prized gelding has a career record of 8-5-1 in 26 races with earnings of $1,790,314.
The horse that finished just head of Brass Hat in the Stephen Foster, W.S. Farish, Edward Hudson Jr. and James Elkins III's Grasshopper is headed to Saratoga according to trainer Neil Howard.
"He's doing fine," Howard said of the Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) winner who has been back on the work tab since the Stephen Foster. "I am looking at an overnight handicap on Aug. 9 for him."
Grasshopper won the Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) at Fair Grounds earlier this year and has a career record of 4-51 in 12 races with earnings of $685,352.
RAMSEYS MAKE RUN AT HISTORY - With their 13th owners title safely secured at Churchill Downs, Ken and Sarah Ramsey are basically running against themselves in the historic track's record book.
The Ramseys have 19 winners through the first 49 days of the 52-day Spring Meet that closes on Sunday. The record for victories at a Spring Meet of 57 days or fewer is 21, established by the Ramseys in 2006.
Along with the Ramseys' reshaping of the Churchill Downs record book, the Artemus, Ky., natives earned the Eclipse Award that honored America's top breeder in 2004. That was the season their 3-year-old homebred Kitten's Joy earned an Eclipse Award as the nation's champion turf runner. They own Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., where they stand Kitten's Joy and Catienus, the sire of the Grade I winner Precious Kitten.
The all-time single season record for wins by an owner in the Churchill Downs Spring Meet is 27, set by A.J. Foyt Jr. in 1984. The year before, Cal Partee won the owners title with 25 victories, but both of those meets were extended sessions that covered 93 days.
The Ramseys have no horses entered on Friday's card, but have four each on the Saturday and Sunday programs that will wrap up the Spring Meet.
BARN TALK - Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas' first two-win day of the Spring Meet on Thursday raised his career victory total to 4,498. Lukas has one horse scheduled to run Friday, but not at Churchill Downs. That would be Silver Edition in the Grade III Jersey Shore Stakes at Monmouth Park. Lukas has three horses entered at Churchill Downs on Saturday in his bid to hit the 4,500 mark. The win total by the four-time Kentucky Derby winner ranks as sixth best all time. ... Calvin Borel's victory aboard Edmund Gann's You and I Forever in Thursday's 10th race raised his career win total to 4,494. Borel is named on eight mounts Friday in his bid to become the 34th North American rider with 4,500 victories. ... The race for leading trainer remained unchanged Thursday with Tom Amoss retaining a two-victory advantage over Steve Asmussen (31-29) with Ken McPeek third with 26 wins. Amoss has five horses entered on Friday; Asmussen and McPeek have two each. Asmussen lost what would have been his 299th Churchill Downs victory when That's a Good Thing was disqualified for interference in the stretch of the fourth race. ... Miguel Mena gained a little more ground on Robby Albarado in the race for leading rider by picking up two wins on Thursday's card to one for Albarado. Albarado holds a 67-63 edge on Mena entering Friday's card in which Albarado has nine mounts and Mena 10. ... Jockey Kent Desormeaux picked up career victory No. 4,995 on Thursday at Belmont Park. The three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider has five mounts at Churchill Downs on Friday, including a ride aboard Zayat Stable's Thorn Song in the $200,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII). A total of 22 North American jockeys have reached the 5,000-win plateau.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Thursday, July 3
Jockeys (Starts 1-2-3)
1. Robby Albarado (262 67-41-35)
2. Miguel Mena (337 63-48-45)
3. Julien Leparoux (298 54-55-49)
4. Jamie Theriot (268 48-36-36)
5. Calvin Borel (277 45-41-38)
6. Shaun Bridgmohan (210 42-39-27)
7. Jesus Castanon (251 27-25-30)
8. Corey Lanerie (216 19-30-28)
9. Brian Hernandez Jr. (188 16-29-20)
10. John McKee (145 12-21-20)
1. Tom Amoss (78 31-15-12)
2. Steve Asmussen (132 29-24-19)
3. Ken McPeek (77 26-13-8)
4. Mike Maker (66 20-13-9)
5. Dale Romans (139 16-27-24)
6. Ian Wilkes (51 15-12-7)
7. Eddie Kenneally (62 12-10-10)
8. Cody Autrey (56 10-9-11)
-. Greg Foley (64 10-9-8)
-. Paul J. McGee (50 10-8-6)
-. D. Wayne Lukas 60 10-2-5)
Two (2) trainers tied at nine (9) wins
1. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (67 19-10-13)
2. Maggi Moss (29 12-7-4)
3. Zayat Stables, LLC (51 8-12-11)
4. Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein (36 7-7-7)
5. Heflin & Driver Racing (29 5-5-6)
-. Jay Em Ess Stable (22 5-4-2)
-. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable (17 5-1-0)
Six (6) owners tied at four (4) wins