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Storm Survivor Cool Bullet Could Give Margolis First CD Stakes Win

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/24/2011 #
  • Cool Bullet, winner of Turfway's 2010 Hansel, made it through the tornado and runs in Friday's Kelly's Landing. (Pat Lang)

  • Trainer Steve Margolis viewed the damage to Barn 23, where his Kelly's Landing hope Cool Bullet rode out Wednesday's tornado.

  • Bret Calhoun will saddle unbeaten Shocktime in Saturday's Debutante. (Reed Palmer)

  • Unbeaten Shocktime has rolled to a pair of easy wins against Texas-bred company at Lone Star Park. (Reed Palmer)

  • Julien Leparoux won 12 races last week as he bids for a nith Churchill Downs riding title. (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

MARGOLIS SEEKS FIRST CD STAKES WIN WITH COOL BULLET ON FRIDAY - To say the previous couple of days have been eventful for trainer Steve Margolis would be putting things lightly. The 47-year-old trainer returned to the Churchill Downs backstretch on Wednesday night to find his Barn 23 nearly unrecognizable after a tornado tore its way through the stable area and spent most of Thursday relocating approximately 20 displaced horses that previously called that barn home.

One of those horses, Cool Bullet, was one of the last horses to escape from his tornado-damaged barn on Wednesday night, but Margolis hopes that he will be the first to cross the line in Friday night’s feature race at the historic Louisville track: the $76,660-added Kelly’s Landing stakes for 3-year-olds and upward at seven furlongs on the main track.

“He was one of the last horses that we got out of the barn (on Wednesday),” Margolis said. “He doesn’t have a scratch on him. If he would have had a nick on him or I felt like he had a traumatic experience then I would have passed on running him tonight (Friday), but he’s totally fine.”

Cool Bullet, a 4-year-old gelded son of Red Bullet, bids for his first win of 2011 in the Kelly’s Landing.

“His numbers may show that he’s a little better on synthetic tracks, but he did win the Rumson (at Monmouth) on the dirt and he’s run well here going seven-eighths (when finishing second in the 2010 Matt Winn),” Margolis said. “Hopefully he’ll run good.”

While the Florida-bred Cool Bullet will look for his fourth career stakes victory, his trainer is seeking his first stakes victory beneath the Twin Spires. Margolis, who has 105 career wins at Churchill Downs, is winless in 40 starts in stakes races at the Louisville track.

“We’ve run a lot of big races and have had a lot of seconds and thirds and hopefully we can finally get a win,” Margolis said. “We have Manny Cruz riding for us and he’s been riding good, so that will help.”

Robert and Lawana Low and Winmore LLC’s Cool Bullet will face a tough field in the Kelly’s Landing that includes such accomplished sprinters as Captain Cherokee and Here Comes Ben. Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Captain Cherokee has run second in three Grade II sprints this year and Marianne and Brandon Chase’s Here Comes Ben is the defending Kelly’s Landing champion and winner of the Grade I Forego at Saratoga last September. 

TEXAS-INVADER SHOCKTIME FACES TOUGH TEST IN DEBUTANTE – Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s unbeaten Shocktime has left little doubt that she was much the best in the first two starts of her career as the 2-year-old daughter of Langfuhr has won those races by a combined 21 ¾ lengths.

On Saturday the Texas-bred Shocktime will step up to face tougher company in the 111th running of the Grade III, $100,000-added Debutante at Churchill Downs."She’s never done anything wrong in her life,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “I don’t know what she’s beat, but she’s done it impressively.”

The Debutante will be Shocktime’s first race in open company after previously racing at Lone Star Park against Texas-breds. The homebred filly that shipped in from Texas on Tuesday won the $93,000 Texas Thoroughbred Association Sales Futurity on June 11 in her most recent start.

“We thought she was a nice filly from the beginning and the only reason she went there (Lone Star) was because she was eligible for the Texas-bred stakes,” Calhoun said. “We knew she wasn’t going to stay there.”

While Shocktime’s five furlong time of :58.61 in the TTA Sales Futurity was faster than the winning time turned in by stablemate Lil Cherokee one race earlier in the Futurity’s division for colts and geldings, Calhoun is confident the filly could have run even faster.

“I was watching TV last night and one guy said he was going to pick her, but decided not to because she ran the last eighth in 13 and change. He must not have been paying attention though because he (jockey Clifton Berry) was basically pulling her up the last sixteenth of a mile and she still won by 12.”

Shocktime will face a competitive field of eight in the Debutante, which includes Gold Mark Farm LLC’s Culotte and Stoneway Farm’s Queen Teuta, who ran 1-2 in the first race of their respective careers on May 13 at Churchill Downs.

“It’s a lot to ask her to step up and come back in two weeks, but we feel like she can handle it and that she fits in here well,” Calhoun said.

The six-furlong Debutante is the nation’s first graded stakes event for 2-year-old fillies and the featured 10th race on the next-to-last Saturday program of the Churchill Downs Spring Meet. The field for the Debutante from the rail out with jockey and weight includes Five Star Momma (Corey Lanerie, 118), Queen Teuta (Calvin Borel, 118), Tippy Toes (Julien Leparoux, 116), My Due Process (Robby Albarado, 116), Flashy Lassie (Kent Desormeaux, 116), Shocktime (Miguel Mena, 120), Culotte (Leandro Goncalves, 118) and Defy Gravity (Wesley Ho, 118).

LEPAROUX TIES LANERIE FOR MEET LEAD WITH EIGHT RACING DAYS REMAINING – Corey Lanerie was tied atop the jockey standings with Shaun Bridgmohan through 15 days of the 38-day Spring Meet, but surged to a ten-win advantage at the completion of day 25.

At that point, Lanerie was eleven wins clear of Julien Leparoux in third, but recent days have been Leparoux’s time to surge.  The French-born star collected 12 wins last week and has now tied Lanerie for the meet lead with eight racing days remaining.

Leparoux, who has won with 14 of his last 29 mounts over the past five racing days at the Louisville track, had an easy explanation for his recent hot-streak.

“I’m drinking Red Bull and it’s giving me wings,” he said. “Seriously though, it has been an awesome week. I’ve read in a couple of places about how many I’ve won, but I’m not thinking about that too much.”

While Leparoux is tied for the most victories this meet, he is currently fourth in number of mounts with 149.  That total is 34 fewer than Lanerie.

“I’ve been away riding at other places a few days during the meet and it’s nice to still be at the top even though I’ve had less mounts than some of the others,” Leparoux said.

The 27-year-old native of Senlis, France is seeking his eighth riding title at Churchill Downs, while Lanerie is bidding his first beneath the Twin Spires.

“If I can’t win it then it would be nice for Corey (Lanerie) to win, but winning the riding title is always the goal,” Leparoux said. “I’m definitely trying to win it again.”

Lanerie and Leparoux will enter Friday’s 11-race Downs After Dark program with 37 wins each and both will be quite busy over the next three racing days. Lanerie has 26 mounts at Churchill Downs this weekend and Leparoux is scheduled to ride 25 horses.

MEET LEADERS AT A GLANCE – Through 30 days of the 38-day Spring Meet, jockeys Corey Lanerie and Julien Leparoux, trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. are the leaders in their respective categories at Churchill Downs. Below is a look at the leaders entering Friday night’s action:

Top Jockeys

1. Corey Lanerie (37-for-183, 20% win-percentage, $1,156,597 in earnings)

1. Julien Leparoux (37-for-149, 25%, $1,293,658)

3. Shaun Bridgmohan (26-for-152, 17%, $886,599)

4. Calvin Borel (22-for-162, 14%, $793,434)

5. Manoel Cruz (20-for-121, 17%, $789,364

Top Trainers

1. Steve Asmussen (14-for-88, 16%, $1,082,595)

2. Tom Amoss (13-for-35, 37%, $351,282)

2. Ken McPeek (13-for-50, 26%, $737,975)

4. Eddie Kenneally (10-for-39, 26%, $288,148)

5. Dale Romans (9-for-75, 12%, $795,659)

Top Owners

1. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (6-for-32, 19%, $133,582)

2. Donald Adam’s Courtlandt Farms (4-for-22, 18%, $279,804)

2. Robert Baker and William Mack (4-for-16, 25%, $78,649)

2. Martin Cherry (4-for-8, 50%, $67,953)

2. Tom Ludt’s Vinery Stables LLC (4-for-10, 40%, $140,368)

2. Merrill Scherer, Dan Lynch and Ken Sentel (4-for-19, 21%, $100,843)

BARN TALK – Jockey Robby Albarado, who has 923 career wins at Churchill Downs, is just two victories away from tying Don Brumfield for third all-time in wins beneath the Twin Spires. Albarado has 10 mounts Friday night (Races 2-11). …

Peachtree Stable’s Plum Pretty, winner of the 137th running of the Grade I Kentucky Oaks in her most recent start, is entered to make her return in Saturday’s Grade II Hollywood Oaks for trainer Bob Baffert. A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Plum Pretty has a record of 3-0-2 from five starts with earnings of $761,200. …

Churchill Downs will not make up Thursday’s lost day of racing, but additional races will be added to the programs next week, which is the final week of the spring meet. …

WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockey over the last five racing days (June 12-19) is Julien Leparoux (14-for-29). Ken McPeek (5-for-9) is the hottest trainer over the same period. Martin Cherry (2-for-2) is the hottest owner.

WORKTAB – Maggi MossLittle Polka Dot, who won the Unbridled Sidney at Churchill Downs on May 14 in her most recent start, worked four furlongs in :49.20 on a fast main track Friday morning for trainer Tom Amoss. 

W.S. Farish and Skara Glen StablesClose Ally, who was second behind Glen Hill Farm’s Banned in the Grade II American Turf Presented by Ram prior to a runner-up performance in the Lone Star Derby in his most recent start, worked five furlongs on the main track in 1:01.40 for trainer Neil Howard.

Carl Pollard’s multiple stakes winner Kiss Mine worked five furlongs in 1:00.40 for trainer David Vance. A 5-year-old daughter of Mineshaft, Kiss Mine won the $75,000 Decoration Day Handicap at Mountaineer Racetrack in her most recent start on May 30.

Double Eagle Ranch and Sue Buena’s Raise the Bridle, second in the 2010 Borderland Derby in his most recent start, worked five furlongs in 1:01 for trainer Henry Dominguez on Friday morning.

WEATHER – Friday: partly sunny, 81. Saturday: mostly sunny, 84. Sunday: mostly cloudy with a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 84. Monday: partly sunny with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 92. Tuesday: mostly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 92. Wednesday: mostly sunny with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 89. Thursday: mostly sunny, 90.