KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB WINNER SANTIVA FLORIDA-BOUND MONDAY – Things were quiet at the Eddie Kenneally barn on Sunday morning and assistant Brendan Walsh reported all was well with Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Santiva.
“He is doing well this morning and he will leave for Florida tomorrow,” Walsh said of the son of Giant’s Causeway, who is owned by Tom Walters. “That was a nice way to end the meet.”
Santiva broke his maiden with Saturday’s victory and in his first start for Kenneally.
“We got him in about mid-October after he had run in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland,” Walsh said. “He’s a nice colt.”
Also heading to Florida on Monday will be Linda Shanhan’s Missyoulikecrazy, who finished second for Kenneally in the Golden Rod (GII).
“She ran a nice race,” Walsh said of the Missyoulikecrazy, who had run third in the opening-day Pocahontas (GIII) and prior to the Breeders’ Cup had served as a workmate for Filly & Mare Sprint runner My Jen. “They are both nice fillies and we have a lot to look forward to next year.”
Also heading to South Florida this week will be third-place Kentucky Jockey Club finisher Major Gain, who came out of the race in good order according to Lisa Sloan, assistant to trainer Wayne Catalano. Gary and Mary West’s son of More Than Ready made his dirt track debut Saturday.
KATHMANBLU EXITS GOLDEN ROD ROMP IN GOOD ORDER – Apparently the 8 ½-length romp in Saturday’s Golden Rod Stakes (GII) did not take much out of the victorious Kathmanblu.
“She got back to the barn and dove right in to her feed tub,” said Philip Bauer, Churchill Downs assistant to trainer Ken McPeek. “She is doing great this morning and will head to Florida on Wednesday.
The margin of victory was the largest since Silverbulletday, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) and 2-year-old filly champion, won the 1998 Golden Rod by 10 lengths.
Owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables, Kathmanblu was making her second start on dirt after compiling a record of 2-1-1 in four starts on the grass that included a victory in the Jessamine at Keeneland and a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII).
“The first time she ran, it was at 4 ½ furlongs and that was too short for her,” Bauer said. “The only reason Kenny put her on the grass was to get two turns for her.”
Bauer does not envision a return to the grass any time soon for Kathmanblu.
“It is nice to have the versatility,” Bauer said. “This way you can prep for bigger things on either surface."
Kathmanblu is one of three McPeek-trained 2-year-olds that competed in Breeders’ Cup races three weeks ago at Churchill Downs. Rogue Romance ran third in the Juvenile (GI) and the Harlan’s Ruby finished eighth in the Juvenile Fillies (GI).
They are both turned out and getting some time off,” Bauer said. “They will probably rejoin the barn in Florida in mid-December.”
LOPRESTI LOOKS FORWARD WITH SUCCESSFUL DAN AFTER CLARK ‘CAP DISAPPOINTMENT – The hours following Friday’s $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) were a swirl of emotions for trainer Charles Lopresti, who was overjoyed when it appeared that his Successful Dan had scored his first Grade I victory, but his happiness turned to dismay when the stewards demoted the 4-year-old colt to third for interference with a rival.
But Successful Dan was fine on the day after the rough and tumble 136th running of the Clark, a mile and an eighth race for older horses that – like the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the Kentucky Oaks (GI), dates to Churchill Downs’ very first race meet in May of 1875.
“He came out good,” Lopresti said when he returned to Churchill Downs Saturday afternoon. “He doesn’t know that he got beat. He thinks he won – I mean, he did win.”
The stewards awarded the Virginia Tarra Trust’s Giant Oak the top spot in the Clark and dropped Morton Fink’s stable star to third for interfering with Redding Colliery, the original third-place finisher, for interference when the horses collided in upper stretch. Redding Colliery was elevated to the runner-up spot after Successful Dan and jockey Julien Leparoux veered to their right in traffic and slammed into that rival. Just to their inside, Demarcation and Dubious Miss, both trained by Paul McGee, became entangled and Dubious Miss faded after that mishap to finish last in the field of 11. But the stewards disqualified Demcarcation from his original fourth-place finish and dropped him all the way to last because of that incident.
Leparoux and fellow rider Kent Desormeaux, who was aboard Demarcation, received three-day suspensions from the stewards on Saturday for their roles in the Clark’s chaotic stretch run.
In the emotional moments after the race, Lopresti had branded the stewards’ decision to disqualify Successful Dan from what would have been the biggest victory of his budding star’s career as a “bad call.” But after a few hours of consideration, a little sleep and several looks at video replays of the race, Lopresti confessed to a change of heart regarding the stewards’ Clark call.
“He (Successful Dan) did come out on that horse (Redding Colliery) – there’s no doubt that he bumped him,” Lopresti said. “I don’t think that horse was going to win the race. I don’t think it was going to change the outcome of the race.”
While he better understood the stewards’ decision, Lopresti was remained puzzled as to why the stewards did not take a closer look at some contact deeper in the stretch run between his horse and Giant Oak.
“The horse they put up for first was all over us down the lane, then they didn’t take him down,” he said. “Why did we go to third? That’s what I don’t understand.”
Most important to Lopresti was the performance of Successful Dan, who was coming off a win in the Fayette (GII) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland and turned in a winning performance in the Clark, although the official results will show that he finished third. Last year, a Clark victory by Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Blame stamped him as horse to watch and the colt followed that victory with stellar 2010 campaign that reached its climax in a narrow victory over previously unbeaten Zenyatta in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs.
Lopresti believes the Clark run by the 4-year-old son of Successful Appeal has positioned his star for big things in 2011, a year in which the Breeders’ Cup will return to Churchill Downs.
“He was tons the best,” Lopresti said of the colt’s Clark performance. “He could have been in one of the Breeders’ Cup races. He really could, and he would have been competitive in one of those races. I don’t know which one of ‘em, but he would have been competitive.
“I know we’ve got a really good horse. I think we’ll just give him the winter off and be ready for the spring races. We might go to Florida with him. We’ll see how he comes out.”
Successful Dan is not the only reason for Lopresti’s optimism. On Thanksgiving Day he watched Fink’s 3-year-old Wise Dan, winner of Keeneland’s Phoenix (GIII), rebound from a sixth-place finish behind Big Drama in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) to win a one-mile allowance race over a sloppy Churchill Downs track.
“I think he’ll go further – that’s been my deal (with Wise Dan) all along,” Lopresti said. “I put him in the Breeders’ Cup because he won the Phoenix. We took a shot at the Phoenix because he was training so good over that track and I knew he was going to be fresh, and he won that race. But my ideal thinking was to run in that and then stretch him out. But we got tossed into the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and he didn’t run that bad – he only got beat two lengths, a neck and a nose for all of it.”
And then there’s Brandon and Marianne Chase’s Here Comes Ben, who provided Lopresti with his first career Grade I win in Saratoga’s Forego. He finished 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) after a rugged start that left the son of Street Cry with some cuts, but no significant injury. Lopresti expects that Here Comes Ben will remain in his shedrow for a 2011 campaign as a 5-year-old.
In fact, all of Lopresti’s horses were doing considerably better on Saturday than their trainer. Lopresti walked with a noticeable limp, the result of a injury suffered in the paddock as he wheeled to head to the track after watching Successful Dan’s Clark run on the large tote board video screen.
“I came out of there and something popped, I guess it was a ligament or something,” Lopresti said. “But I’m OK.”
BARN TALK – Julien Leparoux increased his meet-leading victory total to 26 with a victory Saturday in the Golden Rod on Kathmanblu and will take a three-win advantage into today’s final day of the 21-day Fall Meet. Robby Albarado was blanked Saturday, but Shaun Bridgmohan had his second consecutive three-win day to move into a tie for second with 23 victories. Leparoux has nine mounts today, Albarado eight and Bridgmohan six. Leparoux has won or shared the leading rider title for the past three Fall Meets and also won three Spring Meet titles. Bridgmohan shared the 2006 Fall Meet title with Calvin Borel for his only riding crown here. Albarado, who won the 2008 Spring Meet title, never has won a Fall Meet title. …
The victory by Tapizar in Saturday’s final race gave trainer Steve Asmussen his 14th winner of the meet and secured leading trainer honors at the meet. The title is the ninth overall for Asmussen – five in the fall and four in the spring. …
WinStar Farm’s Brethren, the half-brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner Super Saver, ran his record to two-for-two on Saturday with a 1 ¾-length victory in the 10th race going a mile. Horacio De Paz, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said the colt came out of the race fine and would head to South Florida on Tuesday with the rest of the Pletcher horses at Churchill Downs. Brethren had one work here prior to his Saturday’s win and his regular morning partner was exercise rider Kevin Willey, who served in the same capacity this spring with Super Saver.