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With five sensational graded stakes races cumulatively worth more than $1.2 million and a bevy of entertainment before and during the races, Saturday’s popular Reunion Day program at Churchill Downs promises to be action packed on and off the racetrack.
Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s Sunday Sunrise rallied five wide in the deep stretch and drew off to defeat even-money favorite Au Moon by 2 ½ lengths to win Thursday’s $49,790 allowance feature for 3-year-olds and up at Churchill Downs.
BARN NOTES (6.11.09) - Mine That Bird Returns To Track/Warrior's Reward's Time?/Return To Dirt Key For Arson Squad
MINE THAT BIRD BACK-TRACKS OVER CHURCHILL DOWNS MUD – Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird returned to the racetrack for the first time since finishing third in last Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Grade I) by leisurely back-tracking once around early Thursday morning under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.
Domino Stud of Lexington’s Miss Isella will go for her third consecutive Grade II stakes victory at Churchill Downs on Saturday when she totes high weight of 122 pounds in the 35th running of the $200,000-added Fleur De Lis Handicap (Grade II).
Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (BRZ) will carry high weight of 124 pounds and concede from 2-11 pounds to seven rivals Saturday as he attempts to become the first horse to win three consecutive Grade I races on three surfaces in the 28th running of the $600,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird returned to Churchill Downs on Monday morning after his third-place finish in Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Grade I).
Preakness Stakes (Grade I) and Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Rachel Alexandra turned in solid six-furlong workout Monday at Churchill Downs as the team behind the 3-year-daughter of Medaglia d’Oro considers her next start.
James Spence’s El Caballo re-rallied in deep stretch to narrowly defeat Wise River by a nose in Sunday’s featured $59,040 Conserve Purse at Churchill Downs.
El Caballo, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of El Corredor, covered the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:35.55 under jockey Robby Albarado.
EINSTEIN WORKS HALF-MILE IN FINAL FOSTER TUNEUP – With trainer Helen Pitts aboard, Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (BRZ) worked a half-mile in :50.20 over a fast track early Sunday morning at Churchill Downs in preparation for Saturday’s $600,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I). The move was the 34th fastest of 63 at the distance.
Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma held off a furious late charge from Pure Clan to win the 33rd
running of the $109,000 Early Times Mint Julep (Grade III) on Saturday at Churchill Downs by a diminishing neck.
BARN NOTES (6.06.09) - Einstein Assigned 124 For Foster, Miss Isella High Weight for Fleur De Lis/Court Thrives in Kentucky
EINSTEIN ASSIGNED 124 POUNDS FOR FOSTER; MISS ISELLA TOPS FLEUR DE LIS WEIGHTS – Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein (BRZ) was assigned top weight of 124 pounds by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman for next Saturday’s 28th running of the $600,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) for 3-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
Tim Standafer and Rick Tipton’s Simply Seattle rallied in deep stretch to win Friday’s featured $51,245 CFW Mane Event Purse at Churchill Downs by three-quarters of a length over Kiawah’s Magic.
BARN NOTES (6.5.09) - Bird in Belmont? Some Local Opinions/Tizaqueena Faces Another Test in Mint Julep/Margolis' 'Seconditis'
WILL MINE THAT BIRD FLY HIGH IN THE BELMONT? OPINIONS VARY – The question of the day Friday morning on the Churchill Downs backstretch centered on Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Grade I) and Mine That Bird’s quest for two-thirds of the Triple Crown.
Early arrivals to Churchill Downs on Saturday will receive a free button to commemorate Mine That Bird’s victory in Kentucky Derby 135 (while supplies last) as the 3-year-old gelding attempts to land two-thirds of horse racing’s Triple Crown in the 141st running of the Belmont Stakes.
Wayne Lyster III, Brent Rice and Helen Laughery’s Blue Lion swept past pacesetter Cross Village in the upper stretch and drew off by 3 ½ lengths to win Thursday’s featured $50,200 Whitey Pryor Classic at Churchill Downs.
BARN NOTES (6.4.09) - Albarado Takes Aim on 5,000 Win Milestone/Einstein Tops Foster 'Cap Noms/General Quarters Out Until Fall
WITH 4,000 VICTORIES, ALBARADO AIMS FOR NEXT MILESTONE – With one milestone behind him, jockey Robby Albarado took time out the other morning to reflect on some of the magic moments en route to 4,000 career victories, mark he achieved at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
Lewis Lakin’s Pure Clan, a model of consistency on both turf and dirt throughout her career, headlines a stellar cast entered for Saturday’s 33rd running of the $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep (Grade III) to be run at 1 1/16th miles over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
Cash Prizes, Trip to Vegas in Who's the Champ? Handicapping Tournament Every Thursday and Sunday in June
Horse racing fans will vie for lucrative cash prizes and coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship XI when the popular Who’s the Champ? Handicapping Tournament returns to Churchill Downs every Thursday and Sunday in June.
BARN NOTES (6.1.09) - Mine That Bird Has Final Belmont Prep/Rachel Alexandra Works/Acoma Preps For Mint Julep
MINE THAT BIRD WORKS HALF-MILE IN :50 FOR BELMONT – Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird put in his final major preparation for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Grade I) by working a half-mile in :50 under jockey Calvin Borel on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs will conduct the first of three historic “Downs After Dark” night racing sessions on Friday, June 19, as the home of the Kentucky Derby turns up the lights for the first time in its 135-year history.