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Three-time graded stakes winner Capt Candyman Can looms as the betting favorite in Saturday’s 8th running of the $100,000-added Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs, but that proven veteran could face a major challenge from unbeaten newcomer Cash Refund.
Jockey Julien Leparoux won the 1,000th race of his brief career on Wednesday when he guided My Little Connor ($6.20) to a 1 ¾-length victory for trainer Dave Vance in the third race at Churchill Downs.
BARN NOTES (5.13.09) - 'Rachel', 'Pioneer' Depart for Baltimore/'Candyman' Ready for Matt Winn/Silverfoot nears return
PREAKNESS CONTENDERS RACHEL ALEXANDRA, PIONEEROF THE NILE DEPART CHURCHILL DOWNS FOR BALTIMORE – The exodus of Churchill Downs-based contenders for Saturday’s 134th running of the $1 million Preakness (Grade I) was completed on Wednesday when major contenders Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile stepped onto separate vans around 12:30 p.m.
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD HEADS TO PIMLICO – A few minutes after 9 o’clock Tuesday morning, Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird rolled out of the Churchill Downs barn area headed for Baltimore and the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown.
Due to a reduced number of entries and a decline in purse money earned from all wagering sources during its ongoing 2009 Spring Meet, Churchill Downs Racetrack (“Churchill”) will request permission from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (“KHRC”) to eliminate seven race days from its 2009 Spring Meet, which had been scheduled for 52 racing days between Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, July 5.
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD WORKS SURPRISE FOUR FURLONGS WITH BOREL IN SADDLE – Trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. waited until after the renovation break to send Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird to the track Monday morning at Churchill Downs.
Lawrence Carroll’s Bold Start took command on the far turn and then held off a late charge by Vicarian to take Sunday’s $58,080 feature race at Churchill Downs by two lengths.
KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER RACHEL ALEXANDRA WORKS FOR NEW BARN – Possible Preakness candidate Rachel Alexandra, a record-smashing 20 ¼-length winner of the Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) tuned up for a possible bid for Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (GI) with an easy four-furlong work on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
Mark Stanley’s Trusty Temper made a successful return to the races Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, scoring a wire-to-wire, four-length victory in the featured 505 Dayton Girls Dash for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
The “$64,000 question” for trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley is who will ride Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird in next Saturday’s Preakness (GI) at Pimlico.
“Calvin Borel will be on the (entry) card,” Woolley said Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. “I do have a backup, but I am not ready to release it.”
In the interest of human and equine safety, Churchill Downs called off its final five races late Friday afternoon following a heavy wave of showers and thunderstorms. It was just the third cancellation of its kind in the last 19 years at the historic Louisville racetrack.
Jockey Calvin Borel has reached an agreement with the new owners of Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Rachel Alexandra to ride the 3-year-old filly through the “current racing season.”
Silverton Hill’s Oculuna outgamed Northern Belle through a stretch-long duel to win Thursday’s $51,785 featured allowance at Churchill Downs by a nose.
BARN NOTES (May 7, 2009) - Rachel Alexandra Gallops for New Connections/Mine That Bird Gallops/Leparoux Grabs Riding Lead
RACHEL ALEXANDRA MOVES TO NEW BARN – Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick’s new purchase Rachel Alexandra began her new life in the care of trainer Steve Asmussen on Thursday morning by galloping once around a sloppy Churchill Downs main track under exercise rider Dominic Terry.
Elizabeth Alexander’s Tap Dancing held off a late bid from Silver Mountain by a length to win the featured $43,760 Hobert Summers Memorial over a “sloppy” track at Churchill Downs in a field reduced to four on Wednesday afternoon.
BARN NOTES (May 6, 2009) - Mine That Bird Gallops Two Miles/Terrain Preakness-Bound/Oaks Winner Rachel Alexandra Back On Track
MINE THAT BIRD GALLOPS TWICE AROUND – Longshot Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird galloped twice around the Churchill Downs through a light drizzle Wednesday morning with exercise rider Charlie Figueroa up.
Fans who are still recovering from the 135th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands and the surprise victory by 50-1 shot Mine That Bird will have added motivation to return to the track when the Spring Meet resumes on Wednesday as huge carryover pools will be available in both the Pick 6 and Super HI-5 wagers.
MINE THAT BIRD ‘LOPES’ ONCE AROUND – Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird back-tracked to the paddock tunnel and then ‘loped’ once around a “fast” Churchill Downs main track Tuesday morning before the renovation break.
Mine That Bird Back to Track and Preakness Bound/General Quarters Possible for Preakness/Einstein Eyes Foster 'Cap
KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD RETURNS TO CHURCHILL DOWNS TRACK – “I have never been to Baltimore, but it looks like I won’t be able to say that in a few days,” Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. said Monday morning at Churchill Downs after his Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird jogged a mile on a sloppy race track.
Kentucky Derby fans who visited Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum on the day after the 135th “Run for the Roses” got a surprise gift from the team behind Mine That Bird, the 50-1 longshot that won America’s greatest race on Saturday.