RACECAR RHAPSODY SOLD, SCRATCHED FROM WEDNESDAY RACE – Racecar Rhapsody, a 3-year-old son of Tale of the Cat who ran fourth to Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Big Brown in the Preakness (GI), was scratched from Wednesday’s seventh race at Churchill Downs after the colt was purchased by new owners.
Trainer Ken McPeek would not disclose the name of the new owner or any details on the deal, but said Racecar Rhapsody “looks to be going to Dubai.”
Racecar Rhapsody was the even-money morning line favorite in the seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance race for 3-year-olds. The colt has a career record of 1-1-1 in seven races and earnings of $208,391, but his last three races resulted in solid fourth place finishes in top 3-year-old competition. He finished fourth to Adriano in the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (GII) at Turfway Park in his 2008 debut, and then lost to Behindattthebar in the $325,000 Coolmore Lexington (GII) at Keeneland and Big Brown in the middle jewel of the Triple Crown at Pimlico.
The colt – who was previously owned by former Turfway Park owner Jerry Carroll, Stan Kaplan, Ronald Plattner and Mark Guilfoyle – had finished third to Anak Nakal last fall in the $250,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs and finished fourth behind dead-heat winners Turf War and Z Humor in the $1 million Delta Jackpot (GIII) at Delta Downs.
“This was a good deal for Jerry and his partners,” McPeek said by telephone from Lexington. “We hate not to run him, but all this came together after he had been entered in this race.”
McPeek ranked second in the “leading trainer standings” heading into Wednesday’s racing at Churchill Downs. With three weeks of racing remaining in the 52 day session, McPeek had saddled 24 winners from 61 starters and trailed leader Tom Amoss by two victories.
ASMUSSEN NOMINATES SIX TO DEBUTANTE – Trainer Steve Asmussen has saddled the winner of the Grade III Debutante the past three years, and he has nominated six 2-year-old fillies for the 108th running of the $100,000-added stake to be run this year on June 28.
Prominent among the Asmussen nominees is Gainesway Thoroughbreds, Ltd.’s Ocean Colors, the next-to-last foal of 1988 Kentucky Derby winner Winning Colors. Ocean Colors broke her maiden in her debut by 5 ¼ lengths on June 13 at Churchill Downs.
Asmussen’s past two Debutante winners, Rated Fiesty and Richwoman, have been owned wholly or in part by the Heiligbrodt Racing Stable, which is represented on the nominee list by Songtress, a first-out winner at Churchill Downs on May 22.
D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled a record six Debutante winners, has two nominees: Devil Eleven Stable’s Cameron Crazies, who broke her maiden at Churchill Downs on May 29, and Donald Dizney’s Runaway Heart, an 8 1/4-length maiden winner at Calder on May 31 in her second start.
Todd Pletcher, who has won the past four Eclipse Awards as the nation’s leading trainer, is represented by three nominees. Topping the trio is Twin Creeks Racing Stable, LLC’s Garden District, who ran second against the boys in the Grade III Kentucky Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 1.
BRASS HAT TO GET SHORT BREAK – Trainer Buff Bradley said that his father’s Brass Hat came out of his fifth-place finish behind Curlin in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) in good shape, but said some time off is in order for the 7-year-old son of Prized.
“I am going to give him at least three weeks off, maybe six,” Bradley said. “I haven’t decided where to run next, but I’d like to go back to the Massachusetts Handicap (on Sept. 20) and I’d like to find a race for him before the Mass Cap.”
Brass Hat won the 2007 Mass Cap, but has lost his subsequent seven starts. He has brought home a check in all of those races except for the Fayette over Keeneland’s Polytrack surface last fall and he earned $28,500 in the Foster to boost his career earnings to $1,790,314.
“I am not down on him,” Bradley said. “His two turf races (before the Foster) were pretty good. I think he has still got it. Maybe he is not as good as he was at 5, but I think he is still capable of competing at that level.”
Bradley was not surprised at the tour de force displayed by Curlin in winning the Foster.
“The way he had been training, and (runner-up) Einstein, too,” Bradley said. “I watched them every day and I knew they were going to run well.”
DOGWOOD WINNER ACOMA WORKS TOWARD NEXT START – Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma, who won the Grade III Dogwood on May 31 in her stakes debut, worked a half-mile Monday morning in :48, the third fastest of 50 at the distance over a “fast” track.
“I am not sure where she will run next,” trainer David Carroll. “It will be either the Mother Goose (on June 28) or the Coaching Club American Oaks (on July 19) and then on to the Alabama (on Aug. 16). She would not run in both.”
The Mother Goose is a mile and an eighth and the Coaching Club American Oaks is a mile and a quarter, as is the Alabama.
“I would think the longer the better for her,” Carroll said of the daughter of Empire Maker, who won the Dogwood going a mile around one turn. “Both of the races at Belmont are one turn.”
MOSS MOVES INTO TIE FOR LEADING OWNER – The victory by Morghyn in Sunday’s 10th race represented the 12th of the meet for Maggi Moss, moving her into a tie with Ken and Sarah Ramsey for the title of leading owner of the Spring Meet.
The 12 wins for Moss have come from just 22 starters. The Ramseys have had 41 starters through the first 37 days of the 52-day meet that ends July 6.
Morghyn’s victory was the second of the day for trainer Tom Amoss.
The victory also capped a banner day for jockey Jamie Theriot, who recorded the fourth four-win day of the Spring Meet. Leading rider Robby Albarado, who has 50 victories, rode four winners on May 24 and June 8, while Julien Leparoux, third in the standings with 40 victories, had a four-win day on April 29. Miguel Mena, second to Albarado with 45 victories, had the best single day of the meet when he rode five winners on May 8.
NOMINATIONS DUE THIS SATURDAY FOR CLOSING WEEK STAKES – Saturday, June 21 is the deadline for nominations for the final three stakes of the 52-day Spring Meet: The Firecracker (GII), the Bashford Manor (GIII) and the Locust Grove Handicap (GIII).
The $200,000 Firecracker is a mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course for 3-year-olds and up on July 4. The Bashford Manor carries a $150,000 purse for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the main track on July 5 with the $150,000 Locust Grove scheduled for closing day July 6 at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
Information is available by calling Churchill Downs Racing at (502) 636-4470 or nominations may be made via fax at (502) 636-4479.
BARN TALK – Robby Albarado and Julien Leparoux will be out of town Saturday riding in the $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup (GIII) at Colonial Downs for Churchill Downs-based trainers. Albarado has the mount on Alien Farm’s Nistle’s Crunch, trained by Ken McPeek. Leparoux will ride Uptown Racing’s Boss Lafitte for trainer Tom Amoss in the mile and three-sixteenths race. Boss Lafitte, winner of the USA Stakes at Lone Star in his most recent start in addition to taking the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland, worked a half-mile Tuesday morning at Churchill Downs in :48.20 over a “fast” track, the second fastest of 37 at the distance. … Calvin Borel, fourth in the rider standings with 34 victories, is scheduled to return to the saddle Friday after a swollen ligament in his knee forced him to take off all mounts Saturday and Sunday, agent Jerry Hissam said. Borel is named on four mounts Friday. … Trainer Jinks Fires is considering running Patricia Blass’ Prom Shoes in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup Handicap (GII) in Iowa on June 28. … Trainer Mike Tomlinson said that 2007 Falls Handicap (GII) winner Kettleoneup is in foal to Bernardini. “She chipped an ankle in the Louisville Handicap (on May 2) and she was retired,” Tomlinson said. Kettleoneup is owned by Tom Crouch.
WORK TAB – On Monday with the track fast, Zayat Stables’ Z Fortune, 10th in the Kentucky Derby, worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Steve Asmussen. … Overbrook Farm’s Clearly Foxy, scratched out of Saturday’s Grade III Regret, worked five furlongs in :59.60 for trainer Mark Casse which was the second fastest of 32 at the distance. … Bruce Lunsford’s graded stakes-winning Tessa Blue worked five furlongs for trainer Frank Brothers in 1:01.60. … Lloyd Madison Farms, IV’s Valentine Fever, a two-time stakes winner at Turfway Park this winter, worked a half-mile over a “fast” track in :48.40 on Wednesday for trainer Greg Foley. The work was the sixth fastest of 35 at the distance.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Sunday, June 15
Jockeys Starts 1-2-3
Robby Albarado 190 50-25-25
Miguel Mena 248 45-33-31
Julien Leparoux 234 40-44-43
Calvin Borel 225 34-33-34
Shaun Bridgmohan 164 33-27-22
Jamie Theriot 185 32-31-20
Jesus Castanon 192 21-17-21
Corey Lanerie 152 12-21-17
Brian Hernandez Jr. 137 12-20-15
Elvis Trujillo 75 10-10-18
Larry Sterling Jr. 75 9-9-9
Tom Amoss 59 26-8-10
Ken McPeek 61 24-11-5
Steve Asmussen 89 19-14-13
Dale Romans 103 11-22-18
Mike Maker 42 11-9-4
Ian Wilkes 38 11-8-5
Eddie Kenneally 47 9-9-8
Cody Autrey 48 8-9-9
Nick Zito 20 8-5-1
Greg Foley 54 7-9-8
Steve Margolis 36 7-6-8
Paul McGee 35 7-6-2
Wesley Ward 27 7-5-5
Robert O’Connor II 18 7-2-4
Bret Calhoun 17 7-1-2
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 41 12-7-8
Maggi Moss 22 12-3-3
Zayat Stables, LLC 41 7-8-9
Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein 30 6-7-4
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable 14 5-1-0
Padua Stables 7 4-1-0
Eliah and Lisa Kahn 4 4-0-0