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Tizdejavu Scores Dazzling Front-Running Victory In Firecracker; Derby '09 Winner Mine That Bird Runs Eighth
Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu took the lead out of the gate and was never headed to win the 20th running of the $205,625 Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) by 1 ½ lengths over Public Speaker on Sunday to close out the 42-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs and ruin the return of 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird who finished eighth in his turf debut.
BOREL GETS FIRST SPRING MEET RIDING TITLE – Jockey Calvin Borel popped the gate on opening day by winning five races and never looked back in winning his first Spring Meet riding title at Churchill Downs.
Stonestreet Stable’s Kantharos overcame a stumble at the break to cruise to a 9 ½-length victory over Lou Brissie to win the 109th running of the $108,200 Bashford Manor Presented by Fasig-Tipton (Grade III) on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
Alfred Nuckols Jr.’s Danzon got up in the final stride to edge 48-1 longshot Happiness Is by a nose as part of a six-horse photo finish to win the 29th running of the $116,200 Locust Grove Handicap (Grade III) for fillies and mares racing one mile on the turf on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
CONNECTIONS OF ESPOIR CITY MAKE BREEDERS’ CUP SCOUTING TRIP – There is no time limit on advance planning, and so it was on Saturday morning, four months before the Breeders’ Cup World Championships return to Churchill Downs, that the trainer and jockey of Japanese star Espoir City (JPN) did a little scouting at the home of the Kentucky Derby.
Summer Wind Farm’s Kiddari wore down Vertical Vision in the final eighth of a mile to win the $66,500-added Roxelana overnight stakes for fillies and mares by 1 ¾ lengths before a “Downs After Dark” crowd of 32,481 on Friday night at Churchill Downs.
MELANCON TO CLOSE OUT LONG CAREER SUNDAY – Larry Melancon began riding quarter horses when he was nine years old and got his jockey’s license to ride Thoroughbreds at age 16 in 1971.
On Sunday, five weeks shy of his 55th birthday, Melancon will saddle up one last time riding War Clan for longtime client Bill Mott.
Churchill Downs will kick-start an action-packed Fourth of July holiday weekend in style as the legendary home of the Kentucky Derby winds down its 42-day spring meet with the final “Downs After Dark Presented by Budweiser Select” on Friday at 6 p.m. (all times Eastern).
BOREL, ASMUSSEN MAINTAIN SOLID LEADS IN RACE FOR MEET HONORS – With four days to go in the 2010 Spring Meet, Calvin Borel is on track for his first leading rider title for a Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird, winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), will race for the first time in 2010 and make his career debut on the grass in Sunday’s 20th running of the $175,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII) Presented by Thorntons.
Churchill Downs will greet representatives of Operation Homefront and area military families served by that organization during the final “Downs After Dark” night racing session of the track’s Spring Meet on Friday, July 2.
A rematch of top grass performers Acoma and Keertana, who finished a head apart in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) on June 5, looms in Saturday's 29th running of the $100,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (GIII) at a mile on Chuchill Downs' Matt Winn Turf Course, the co-featured event on the next-to-last day of racing in the historic track's 42-day Spring Meet.
Dogwood Stable’s Lou Brissie will attempt to become the fifth horse complete a Kentucky Juvenile-Bashford Manor double Saturday when he faces five 2-year-old rivals in the 109th running of the $100,000-added Bashford Manor (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
Mine That Bird Near Return After Sharp Five Furlongs; Rachel Alexandra Has Easy Move, Now Prepares to Move
MINE THAT BIRD ZIPS IN WORKOUT, COULD RACE THIS WEEKEND – Mine That Bird, upset winner of the 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), turned in a sharp five-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs in preparation for a possible return to racing at the historic track this weekend.
Just Louise Well After Gritty Debutante Victory; Rachel Alexandra, Mine That Bird Set for Monday Works at Churchill Downs
DEBUTANTE WINNER JUST LOUISE FINE AFTER VICTORY – Eldon Farm Equine’s Just Louise was reported to be doing well Sunday morning, the day after her neck victory over Tristanme in the Debutante Stakes (GII)."She is doing good,” said Baldemar Bahena, assistant to trainer Dale Romans.
Eldon Farm Equine’s Just Louise put away 3-5 favorite Salty Strike in deep stretch and then held off a late surge from Tristanme to win the 110th running of the $108,800 Debutante Stakes (GIII) for 2-year-old fillies by a neck on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.
HOWARD HOPES LOU BRISSIE FOLLOWS IN SUMMER SQUALL’S HOOFPRINTS – Trainer Neil Howard has traveled this road before, and he hopes the journey with Dogwood Stable’s Lou Brissie is every bit as good as the trip he had with Summer Squall from 1989-91.
Here Comes Ben, Solis Rally in Final Yards to Wear Down Hamazing Destiny in "Downs After Dark's" Kelly's Landing
Marianne and Brandon Chase’s Here Comes Ben wore down Hamazing Destiny in deep stretch to win the $65,386 Kelly’s Landing for sprinters by a neck before a “Downs After Dark” crowd of 26,330 on Friday night.
KUNTZWEILER REVELS IN RETURN TO RACES – It was a walk she had not made in more than 4 ½ years … heading into the paddock to ride at Churchill Downs.
"I was nervous. It felt like the first time,” Greta Kuntzweiler said of her emotions before climbing aboard 70-1 shot Clear Conscience in Thursday’s fifth race.
HOLTHUS TURNS 76 TODAY; BEST PRESENT COMES NEXT WEEK – Bob Holthus has been a trainer for more than 75 percent of his life and today he turns 76, some 58 years after he got his trainer’s license in 1952.
Did he have an idea starting out he would still be training horses all these many years later?
“No,” Holthus said quickly and with a laugh.