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Funeral services are scheduled for Tuesday, March 17 for former Churchill Downs Racetrack (“CDRT”) General Manager and Churchill Downs Incorporated Senior Vice President Danny Parkerson.
A member of the team at the home of the Kentucky Derby for more than 40 years, Parkerson launched his career with Churchill Downs as a member of the greenhouse crew before ascending though the administrative ranks to eventually serve in the final decade of his career as general manager, senior vice president and as vice president of the Churchill Downs Management Company, a former subsidiary of Churchill Downs Incorporated.
Parkerson, 72, died Friday at Louisville’s Sts. Mary and Elizabeth Hospital following an illness. Funeral services are scheduled for noon (all times Eastern) on Tuesday, March 17 at Ratterman & Son Funeral Home, 7336 Southside Drive. Visitation is underway this afternoon and will continue through 8 p.m.
Parkerson participated in important Churchill Downs projects during his four decades with the company. He was named director of Operations in 1985, and played a key role in a five-year, $25 million renovation of the track during that time. He was named senior vice president in February 1991, and assumed the duties of general manager – a post once held by Churchill Downs legend Col. Matt Winn – in June of that year. During his years in that post Parkerson oversaw day-to-day operations of the track and supervision of its staff. He also headed a renovation of Churchill Downs Sports Spectrum, an off-track wagering facility and Thoroughbred training facility later known as Trackside.
His decades of service at Churchill Downs concluded with Parkerson’s retirement on Dec. 31, 2000.
Jockey Rosie Napravnik is expected to be out of the saddle for four-to-six weeks while she recovers from a shoulder injury suffered in a training mishap early Sunday morning at Churchill Downs.
Napravnik suffered what her husband, Joe Sharp, described as a “mild separation” of the clavicle at the joint in her left shoulder, according the rider’s business agent Kelly Summers Weitsma. No surgery will be required and Napravnik is expected to make a complete recovery from the injury during her time on the sidelines.
The injury occurred during a workout by the Bob Baffert-trained Socialbug, who suffered a fatal injury that sent Napravnik tumbling to the main track. Socialbug, who had finished second in the $111,000 Winning Colors (Grade III) on May 26, was euthanized following the accident.
Napravnik was transported to University of Louisville Hospital for treatment.
The 26-year-old Napravnik was injured just a few hours after she had piloted Winchell Thoroughbreds’ favored Tapiture to victory in the $109,400 Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds on Saturday evening’s “Downs After Dark” racing program at Churchill Downs.
The victory was her 31st of the Spring Meet, the second-highest total for a female rider during any racing meet at Churchill Downs. Napravnik now holds the two highest victory totals by a female rider in a single Churchill Downs race meet. She rode 45 winners in the Spring of 2013 to break a record held by retired jockey and current NBC Sports racing analyst Donna Barton Brothers, who had ridden 30 winners during the 1996 Spring Meet.
Corey Lanerie leads the current Spring Meet jockey standings with 42 wins heading into Sunday’s racing at the Louisville track. Napravnik was in the runner-up spot, nine wins ahead of third-place Julien Leparoux.
During Kentucky Derby Week Napravnik rode Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Untapable to victory in the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI). The Oaks triumph was the second in three years for Napravnik, who is the only woman to win the race in its 140-year history.
She also eclipsed another record held by Barton Brothers on May 25 when she rode five winners on a single Churchill Downs racing program. Barton Brothers rode four winners on June 28, 1996 to establish the previous record for female riders.
Napravnik’s five-win performance prompted Churchill Downs announcer to exclaim “Everything’s coming up Rosie!” when she scored her third triumph – and third in-a-row – during her record-setting day.
Five of her victories during the meet have come in stakes races. In addition to the Oaks and Matt Winn, she rode Midnight Lucky to victory in the $330,600 Humana Distaff (GI); Delaunay in the $112,900 Aristides (GIII) and Regally Ready in the $64,907 Opening Verse.
Winchell Thoroughbreds’ multiple graded stakes-winner Tapiture rebounded from a 15th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands to win Saturday night’s 17th running of the $109,400 Matt Winn (Grade III) at Churchill Downs by two lengths over Ulanbator.
The Matt Winn, which honors the famed Churchill Downs president and general manager (1902-49) that served as the driving force of the Downs and his beloved Kentucky Derby, was one of five graded stakes races run under the lights as part of the Louisville, Ky. racetrack’s special “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program.
Tapiture, ridden by Rosie Napravnik and trained by Steve Asmussen, clocked 1 1/16 miles on a fast track in 1:43.99.
The Admiral led the field of seven 3-year-olds through early fractions of :23.66 and :47.23 with Rise Up in close pursuit and Almost Famous and Tapiture settled just behind the leaders.
Approaching the final turn, Almost Famous made an inside move to grab the lead from The Admiral, who was fading, and crossed the six-furlong marker in 1:11.75. Tapiture rallied three-wide on the turn and caught Almost Famous at the head of the stretch and drew clear down the stretch under steady right-handed urging from Napravnik. Ulanbator, who raced near the back of the pack early on, rallied to catch Almost Famous late for the place.
Tapiture returned $4, $2.80 and $2.40 as the even-money favorite. Ulanbator, ridden by Julien Leparoux, paid $5.80 and $4.20. Almost Famous was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third under Calvin Borel and paid $3.
Rankhasprivleges, Rise Up, Conquest Titan and The Admiral completed the order of finish.
The victory was worth $66,472 and improved Tapiture’s earnings to $557,310 with a record of 9-3-2-2.
This was the third graded stakes win for Tapiture, a Tapit colt out of the Olympio mare Free Spin bred in Kentucky by his owner Ron Winchell. Previously, Tapiture won the Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at age 2 and the Southwest (GIII) at Oaklawn Park in this 3-year-old debut. He followed that effort with a second in the Rebel (GII) and a fourth in the Arkansas Derby (GI).
Napravnik won the Matt Winn for a second consecutive year. She won last year’s renewal aboard the Bob Baffert-trained Code West.
For Asmussen, it was his third Matt Winn triumph. He won it in 2001 with Compendium and in 2008 with Winchell’s Pyro.
MATT WINN QUOTES
ROSIE NAPRAVNIK, jockey of TAPITURE (winner) – “Great trip. We sat in a really comfortable position. There was plenty of speed in there for us to sit behind and he’s a very nice horse. I actually breezed him at Fair Grounds before he turned three and I’ve wanted to ride him ever since so it was great to finally get on him.”
STEVE ASMUSSEN, trainer of TAPITURE (second) – “I thought that the horse acted really good today. After the last couple of trips that he’s had, I think that was perfect for him to hopefully get his confidence back. There are still some lucrative 3-year-old races left out there so hopefully he can get in the mix. From a timing standpoint, he obviously responded to the six-week break off of the Kentucky Derby. So the West Virginia Derby in seven weeks might be ideal.”
IAN WILKES, trainer of ULANBATOR (runner-up) – “He ran very good. He’s improving. He stepped-up in class and I was very pleased to see him run as good and strong as he did. Congratulations to Steve (Asmussen) – he had the best horse today. But I’m getting closer.”
JULIAN LEPAROUX, jockey on ULANBATOR (runner-up) – “He ran good. That was a big race for him. He keeps coming and coming and getting better every race.”
CALVIN BOREL, jockey on ALMOST FAMOUS (third) – “I had a good trip. He took me there (to the lead) easy and I really wish he had finished second. I knew the winner was the horse to beat, but I wish he had run second. But I thought he run a good race.”
The Fourth Annual White Party fashions the Stephen Foster Handicap
into a night of casual elegance and entertainment
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, June 14, 2014) – The excitement of night racing returns to Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 14, at 6:00 pm, as the iconic racetrack hosts the Fourth Annual Downs After Dark White Party, the first of six Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka events scheduled for this summer and fall. The remaining five Downs After Dark events will take place on Friday evenings, June 20 and 27, September 5 and 19, and November 14.
Headlining an impressive Downs After Dark racing program is the 33rd running of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I), as well as three other notable stakes races, including the $175,000-added Fleur de Lis Handicap (GII), $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII), and the $100,000-added Regret (GIII). The gates will open at 4:00 pm and the first race is at 6:00 pm. The last race is scheduled for 11:10 pm, with the party festivities continuing on the Plaza until midnight.
Sponsored by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka, the Downs After Dark White Party is one of most popular social events of the year featuring live entertainment, culinary delights, specialty cocktails, and a club atmosphere in various white-themed venues throughout the racetrack. In addition to live racing, entertainment includes local DJs at locations throughout the track and performances by SVET the Violinist on the Plaza Stage. All guests are encouraged to dress for the occasion by wearing their best summer whites; with fashionable heels and hats for the ladies and summer jackets for the men always in style.
WHO: General public, racing fans
WHAT: Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka
Fourth Annual White Party
WHEN: Saturday, June 14, 4:00 pm Gate Open, 6:00 pm First Post
WHERE: Churchill Downs Racetrack
WHY: Experience live Thoroughbred racing under the lights.
COST: Starting at $10 general admission.
Reigning 3-year-old champion Will Take Charge looms as the starting high weight in Saturday’s 33rd running of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I) after being assigned a 123-pound impost for the race by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman.
Willis D. Horton and Three Chimneys Farm LLC’s 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song, who finished eighth in last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and defeated Game On Dude last November in the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI), was assigned one pound fewer than Dogwood Stable’s Palace Malice for the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. Palace Malice won Saturday’s Metropolitan Handicap (GI) at Belmont Park and will not compete in the Foster.
The D. Wayne Lukas-trained Will Take Charge will concede at least five pounds to his rivals in the Stephen Foster Handicap, which is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Classic Division race. The winner of the Foster will earn an automatic starting berth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) in November at Santa Anita, along with payment of entry fees and a travel stipend of $10,000 for the journey to the Arcadia, Cal. track.
Other expected contenders in the Foster (with assigned weight) include Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Departing (118), winner of the 2013 Super Derby (GII), West Virginia Derby (GII) and Illinois Derby (GIII); Randy Patterson’s Alysheba (GII) winner Moonshine Mullin (118); WinStar Farm LLC’s Revolutionary (118), third in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and winner of the recent Pimlico Special (GIII) for trainer Todd Pletcher; Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket (117), runner-up to Fort Larned in the 2013 Foster; Zayat Stables’ Pimlico Special runner-up Prayer for Relief (117); Darley Stable’s Long River (115), runner-up in the Excelsior (III) for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin; GoldMark Farm LLC and Whisper Hill Farm LLC’s Mylute (115), fifth in the 2013 Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness (GI) for trainer Tom Amoss.
Possible Stephen Foster starters include Bellarmine (115) and Carve (114).
Anita Cauley’s homebred local hero On Fire Baby is set to be the starting high weight in the 39th running of the $200,000-added Fleur De Lis presented by Etihad Airways (GII) for fillies and mares three and up, one of a trio stakes races that will share the “Downs After Dark” Saturday night spotlight with the Stephen Foster.
The winner of the $300,000-added La Troienne (GI) on Kentucky Oaks Day has been assigned 122 pounds as she seeks her fourth career stakes victory beneath the Twin Spires for veteran trainer Gary “Red Dog” Hartlage and jockey Joe Johnson.
On Fire Baby wrapped up her serious training for the Fleur De Lis on Saturday with a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.40 over a “fast’ surface at her home track.
Other expected contenders in the Fleur De Lis (with assigned weight) include Sixty Sails (GIII) and Locust Grove winner Flashy American (118), La Troienne runner-up Molly Morgan (116), La Canada (GII) third-place finisher Ondine (116) and 2013 Arlington Matron (GIII) runner-up Frivolous (114).
Revolutionary arrived at Churchill Downs Sunday on a flight from New York that also carried Belmont Stakes (GI) participants Medal Count, who finished third to the victorious Tonalist; Kentucky Derby runner-up Commanding Curve, who ran ninth; and General a Rod, who finished seventh.
Prayer for Relief completed his serious preparation for the Stephen Foster on Saturday with a “bullet” five-furlong breeze for trainer Dale Romans in 1:00 – the fastest of 32 moves at the distance. The son of Jump Start has won eight of 29 races and earned $1,682,413 in his racing career.
ALMOST FAMOUS WORKS; ‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’ FOR MATT WINN
Chuck and Maribeth Sandford’s Almost Famous, who defeated older horses by 7 ¾ lengths in an allowance race last time out, breezed a half-mile in :48.80 at Churchill Downs Sunday morning in preparation for Saturday’s $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII).
Trained by Pat Byrne, Almost Famous was breezed by regular jockey Calvin Borel, who will ride the 3-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song under the lights this Saturday.
When asked how the colt’s work went this morning, Byrne responded, “Just stretching his legs; we’re all set for Saturday evening and are looking forward to it.”
When asked what type of trip Almost Famous would need to win the Matt Winn, Byrne responded, “I think there’s probably going to be some speed in there but I’ve said all along that I don’t think this horse needs to have the early lead. Calvin knows this horse so well. He was on him for his breeze this morning and seemed happy with it. It’s all systems go.”
As of Sunday morning, the Churchill Downs racing office had five other colts listed as ‘probable’ for the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn include Donegal Racing’s Iroquois (GIII) winner Cleburne; Conquest Stables LLC’s Holy Bull (GII) runner-up Conquest Titan; Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) winner Tapiture; Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s The Admiral and Mary Ann Charlston’s Ulbanator.
GRAND OPENING OF THE ‘TERRACE LOUNGE’ THIS SATURDAY NIGHT
This Saturday, June 14, Churchill Downs will transform the new Grandstand Terrace into the “Terrace Lounge,” a 21-and-over lounge-style environment that features a live DJ, club/lounge style lighting and décor, premium food and cocktails and use of the grandstand terrace’s patio and stadium style seating.
Tickets to Downs After Dark in the lounge are $25 and can be reserved in advance with a limited total capacity. The Terrace Lounge will be available at all three Downs After Dark events this Spring, with the hopes of continuing it again in the future if successful.
For $99 per ticket, Churchill Downs is also offering Terrace Lounge VIP Cabana seating, which includes an open bar from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m., a premium buffet designed by Chef David Danielson and concierge wait service. These tickets reserve special plush seating for groups of any number within one of the four covered cabanas at the end of the Grandstand Terrace.
LAST HAPPY HOUR OF THE SPRING MEET THIS FRIDAY
June 13 marks the final edition of Friday Happy Hour at Churchill Downs, featuring live music and drink specials in the Plaza. Live music will be performed by Willow Creek and $2 Bud Lights and $3 Stella Artois will be available in the Plaza from 3-7 p.m. In addition to traditional grilled food items (burgers, hot dogs, brats) there will be a different specialty food item offered each week in the Plaza and guests also can register for box seats for the 2015 Kentucky Derby and Oaks.
While some of America’s most talented older horses prepare to compete in the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (Grade I) later in the day, a trio of stakes for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds will share the spotlight with the first race in Churchill Downs history for Arabian horses during the 12-race Stephen Foster Day Presented by Abu Dhabi racing program on Saturday, June 18.
The 30th running of the Stephen Foster Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles attracted a deep field of 11 horses heads by the Virginia H. Tarra Trust’s two-time Grade I stakes winner Giant Oak and Spendthrift Farm LLC’s Crown of Thorns. Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has installed Giant Oak, winner of Churchill Downs’ $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI), as the 7-2 morning line favorite for the Foster, which is scheduled to be the last of the day’s dozen races. Post time for the Saturday’s first race is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern).
But before the Foster is run, 3-year-olds take the spotlight in a trio of graded stakes races on dirt and turf that include:
- The $125,000-added Matt Winn Presented by Emirates Equestrian Federation (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the main track (scheduled as the 10th race with a post time of 5:25 p.m.),
- The $125,000-added Regret Presented by Etihad Airways (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies on turf at 1 1/8 miles (scheduled as the 11th race at 5:55 p.m.),
- The $100,000 Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf (schedule as the 9th race at 4:55 p.m).
Saturday’s sixth race will make history at the famed Louisville track as it will be the first Churchill Downs race to feature horses of the Arabian breed. The President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, a $50,000-added, Grade I race for purebred Arabian horses at the Kentucky Derby distance of a mile and a quarter.
The President of the UAE Cup Series was established 20 years ago to promote and celebrate the Arabian breed internationally. It was the first international racing series for Arabian horses and continues to be considered as the world’s premier racing series for the breed.
A field of eight Arabian horses ages 4 and up was entered Wednesday for Saturday’s race on the main track, and Churchill Downs jockeys will ride six of the entrants.
The Arabian star perhaps best known to local fans is Bill Waldron’s Grilla, who won an installment of The President of the UAE Cup Series last fall at Keeneland. The 5-year-old is coming off a victory in the Arabian Cup at Sam Houston on April 11 and will be ridden by William Hollick.
Sam Vasquez’ T M Fred Texas was runner-up to Grilla at Sam Houston, only his second loss in seven career starts, and will be ridden by Santos Chavez. Three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel will ride Guy Neivens’ Dixies Valentine, a winner of nine of 11 career races.
Churchill Downs jockeys with mounts include Spring Meet win leader Corey Lanerie, Brian Hernandez Jr., Aldo Cachano and apprentices Constantino Roman and Marcelino Pedroza Jr.
The field for The President of the UAE Cup, from the rail out (with jockey, weight) includes: T M Fred Texas (Chavez, 118), Dixies Valentine (Borel, 118), Another Color (Roman, 123), Ovour the Top (Lanerie, 118), Crownn Royal (Hernandez, 123), Vip (Cachano, 118), Wodkka (Pedroza, 123) and Grilla (Hollick, 123).
The brightest star competing in the day’s trio of stakes races for 3-year-old Thoroughbreds could be Glen Hill Farm’s Banned, who heads a field of eight in the 36th running of the $100,000-added Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi (GIII) at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Trained by Tom Proctor, Banned rolled to his third win in six races in an emphatic 4 ½-length victory in the $200,000-added American Turf (GII) on Kentucky Oaks Day. It was the first race of the year for the son of Kitten’s Joy who ran a solid fifth last fall to Pluck in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GII) and started his season with a close third-place finish in an allowance race at Keeneland.
Jose Lezcano will ride Banned in the Jefferson Cup has he faces rivals that include a surprise entrant in Millennium Farms’ Great Mills, the speedy winner of the Grindstone at Fair Grounds and the only other stakes winner in the field. The Steve Asmussen-trained son of War Front was defeated in the final jump by Air Support in the Transylvania (GIII) at Keeneland and finished fourth in the American Turf. He was ridden in both races by Julien Leparoux, who has the mount on Saturday.
The field for the Jefferson Cup from the hedge out (with jockey, weight) includes: Live In Joy (Manoel Cruz, 117), Redboard (Leandro Goncalves, 117), Dream Warrior (Lanerie, 117), Banned (Lezcano, 121), Swagger Jack (James Graham, 117), Perregaux (Robby Albarado, 117), Benergy (Javier Castellano, 117) and Great Mills (Leparoux, 117).
Zayat Stables LLC’s Illinois Derby (GIII) winner Joe Vann and Charles Cella’s Uncle Brent, winner of the Northern Spur at Oaklawn Park, head a field eight 3-year-olds entered to compete in the 14th running of the $125,000-added Matt Winn Presented by Emirates Equestrian Federation (GIII) at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.
The race was formerly known as the Northern Dancer, but was renamed to honor the legendary president and general manager of Churchill Downs who is credited with building both the Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs into their status as international sports icons. Col. Matt Winn arrived at Churchill Downs in 1902 when the track and its premier race were struggling, but the Derby had risen to become America’s greatest race and one of the world’s great sports events when he died in 1949.
The Todd Pletcher-trained Joe Vann romped to a 4 ¼-length victory in the Illinois Derby at Hawthorne, and followed that with a fourth-place run behind Alternation in the Peter Pan (GII) at Belmont Park. Javier Castellano will ride the son of Silver Deputy, who has won three of six races.
Uncle Brent turned in a poor ninth-place run in the Peter Pan, but has trained beautifully in preparation for the Matt Winn. The 3-year-old gelded son of Pioneering has won two of four races for trainer Lynn Whiting, who won the 1992 Kentucky Derby with Lil E. Tee. Manoel Cruz will ride.
The Matt Winn’s stakes veterans face a promising group of stakes newcomers that include Stonestreet Stable’s Wilburn and Z Thoroughbreds LLC’s Infrattini, the 1-2 finishers in a May 15 allowance race at Churchill Downs, and Peter J. Callahan’s Scotus, a troubled runner-up in an allowance race on June 5.
The Matt Winn field, from the rail out (with jockey, weight), includes: Alstom (Borel, 116), Infrattini (Lanerie, 116), Wilburn (Mike Smith, 116), Supreme Ruler (Jon Court, 116), Uncle Brent (Cruz, 120), Chalice (Leparoux, 116), Scotus (Alan Garcia, 116) and Joe Vann (Castellano, 120).
The 42nd running of the $125,000-added Regret Presented by Etihad Airways (GIII) provides the setting for a return turf by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ accomplished Kathmanblu, a multiple stakes winner on grass and dirt who failed to threaten Plum Pretty in the $1 million Kentucky Oaks (GI) on the main track at Churchill Downs last time out.
Julien Leparoux will ride the daughter Bluegrass Cat who is one of two Regret contenders trained by the sizzling Ken McPeek, who brings a streak of three consecutive Churchill Downs stakes victories into Stephen Foster Day. McPeek will also saddle Catesby Clay’s homebred Bizzy Caroline, a daughter of Afleet Alex who rides a pair of impressive allowance victories at Keeneland and Churchill Downs into the Regret. Manoel Cruz will ride Bizzy Caroline from the inside post.
A major threat to the McPeek pair is Zayat Stable’s Diva Ash, the rapidly improving winner of the $100,000-added Edgewood on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Kentucky Oaks Day. The Dale Romans-trained daughter of Tapit, a winner of two of three starts, will be ridden by Robby Albarado.
Another filly turning to the grass after a run in the Kentucky Oaks is Right Time Racing LLC’s Bouquet Booth, a solid fifth in the Oaks and winner on dirt of the Delta Princess (GIII) at Delta Downs and Fair Grounds’ Silverbulletday. The Steve Margolis-trained daughter of Flower Alley will make her turf debut in the Regret and Shaun Bridgmohan will be in the saddle.
Other Regret contenders among the eight fillies entered in the Regret include Michael Tabor’s Excited, an easy winner of the $50,000 Hilltop at Pimlico on the Preakness undercard for Pletcher, and Sovereign Stable’s Blushandbashful, third in the same race for trainer John Terranova II.
Trainer Tom Proctor will saddle Glen Hill Farm’s Holidaysatthefarm, who failed to fire when she finished fifth to Regret rivals Kathmanblu and Excited in the Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but fared much better in a runner-up finish to Dynamic Holiday in the Feb. 12 Florida Oaks at Tampa Bay Downs. Her most recent race was troubled eighth-place finish behind Dynamic Holiday in the Herecomesthebride (GIII) at Gulfstream Park on March 13.
Harris Thoroughbreds’ Gaya completes the Regret field. Trainer Tom Amoss’ daughter of Quest brings a three-race winning streak that includes a pair of turf wins at Fair Grounds and a recent victory on the grass at Indiana Downs.
The field for the Regret, from the hedge out (with jockey, weight), includes: Bizzy Caroline (Cruz, 116), Diva Ash (Albarado, 116), Bouquet Booth (Bridgmohan, 118), Holidaysatthefarm (Lezcano, 116), Kathmanblu (Leparoux, 122), Excited (Castellano, 116), Gaya (Graham, 118) and Blushandbashful (Freddie Lenclud, 116).
HIGHLY REGARDED BIND OUT OF MATT WINN WITH FRACTURE, PROBABLY OUT FOR YEAR – An injury suffered during a Monday workout has taken Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s highly regarded Bind out of consideration for Saturday’s $125,000-added Matt Winn Presented by Emirates Equestrian Federation (GIII) at Churchill Downs and has probably knocked him out of racing for the year.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said Bind suffered a condylar fracture in his right front leg during a four-furlong work over Keeneland’s synthetic Polytrack surface that was to have been his final major work prior to his stakes debut in the Matt Winn. Bind covered the distance in :49.60 under exercise rider Jerry O’Dwyer.
"He worked like a champ,” Stall said. “He worked like his normal self. He looked like a gazelle running down the lane, but he didn’t cool out properly and there it was.”
Stall said the injury would require surgery and Bind was transported later in the morning to the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital for the procedure. He said the prognosis for Bind’s fracture is “very good” at this point.
“It’s non-displaced, clean, there’s no trash,” Stall said. “It’s a kick in the teeth right off the bat on a Monday morning, but that’s just how it goes.”
Stall said that the best case scenario for Bind would probably see him return to competition late this year or early 2012 when his stable returns to New Orleans’ Fair Grounds. Even if the surgery is as successful as he anticipates, Stall said the colt would probably be out of training for 120 days.
Meanwhile, another major contender for the Matt Winn – George Bolton, Stonestreet Stables and Spendthrift Farm’s Dominus – is dealing with a foot issue, but remains “possible” for the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds.
The son of Smart Strike was nipped at the finish by Machen in a runner-up finish in The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on April 30 and trainer Steve Asmussen said he hopes the issue will clear up in time for the colt to be entered for the Matt Winn on Wednesday.
Another Matt Winn contender, Iron Horse Racing LLC’s Alstom, worked a sharp five furlongs on Monday in :47.40 for Hall of Fame trainer and four-time Kentucky Derby-winner D. Wayne Lukas.
The move over a fast track by the son of Silver Train was the fastest of 54 at the distance. Alstom finished third to Meistersinger in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Churchill Downs in his most recent outing.
Another Asmussen nominee for the Matt Winn – George Bolton and Stonestreet Stables’ Astrology – worked six furlongs at Churchill Downs on Monday. The third-place finisher in the Preakness (GI) and winner of Churchill Downs’ Iroqouis (GIII) breezed in company with 3-year-old stablemate Brock and covered the distance in 1:13.20.
The list of 3-year-olds considered for the Matt Winn (formerly the Northern Dancer) includes (with trainer): Alstom (Lukas); Dominus (Asmussen); Infrattini (Paul McGee); Joe Vann (Todd Pletcher); and Uncle Brent (Lynn Whiting).
APART SHARP IN KEENELAND WORK FOR STEPHEN FOSTER – While trainer Al Stall Jr.’s Monday was darkened by news of the season-ending injury to his promising 3-year-old Bind, a glimmer of light was provided by a sharp workout by Adele Dilschneider’s Apart in his final prep for a run in Saturday’s $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI).
The 4-year-old son of Flatter breezed four furlongs in :48.40 over the synthetic Polytrack course at Keeneland. The move under exercise rider Jerry O’Dwyer was the second fastest of eight at the distance.
“Apart is on target,” Stall said. “I think he’s an improving horse. That’s what he’s got going for him. He’s a Grade II, Grade III type of winner and we just feel like he’s going to get better with time. It’s nothing we’re doing. It’s just something Mother Nature will take care of, hopefully.”
Julien Leparoux is scheduled to ride Apart in the Stephen Foster, a 1 1/8-mile race won last year by stablemate Blame.
While Stall likes the way Apart is coming up to the race, he is a bit concerned about the prospect of a full starting gate for the race.
"This race is getting to be such a big field that the (post) draw will be important, so we’re going to have to sweat that out,” he said. “It’ll be about set-ups and trips and that kind of thing this weekend, I think.”
Apart is coming off a neck victory over Colizeo in the William Donald Schaefer Jr. Memorial (GIII) at Pimlico, a Preakness Day race that Blame won a year earlier and used successfully as a Foster prep. His career record stands at 5-3-1 in 12 races with career earnings of $640,018. His Churchill Downs record is 2-1-0 in five races, with the 2010 Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) accounting for one of those victories.
Meanwhile, Godolphin’s Regal Ransom, a narrow runner-up for First Dude in the recent Alysheba (GIII) at Churchill Downs, arrived at the Louisville track on Monday to complete his preparation for the Foster.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained son of Distorted Humor stepped off a van at the track around 10:30 a.m. (all times EDT) following a flight from New York to Louisville International Airport. He is stabled in Barn 41.
The winner of the 2009 runnings of the UAE Derby (GII) and Super Derby (GII) has made three career starts at Churchill Downs, with an eighth-place finish behind Mine That Bird in the 2009 Kentucky Derby and a ninth-place finish behind Stephen Foster contender Giant Oak in last fall’s $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on his on his resumé along with his near miss in the Alysheba.
Southern California-based Stephen Foster contenders Crown of Thorns and Gladding are scheduled to arrive in Louisville on Tuesday following a flight from the West Coast.
The Stephen Foster appears to have lost a starter in Donald Dizney’s First Dude, who had been scheduled to be on the same plane. Trainer Bob Baffert told Daily Racing Form he would keep the 4-year-old winner of the Alysheba in Southern California to run in the Hollywood Gold Cup (GI) on July 9.
Horses considered likely for the Stephen Foster (with trainer, weight) include: Apart (Stall, 118); Crown of Thorns (Richard Mandella, 121); Duke of Mischief (David Fawkes, 118); Equestrio (Nick Zito, 116); Flat Out (Scooter Dickey, 114); Gladding (John Sadler, 117); Giant Oak (Chris Block, 122); Mission Impazible (Todd Pletcher, 118); Pool Play (Mark Casse, 116) and Regal Ransom (bin Suroor, 117).
PERREGAUX WORKS FOR POSSIBLE JEFFERSON CUP BID – Courtlandt Farms’ Perregaux, a recent allowance winner on Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course, tuned up for a possible run the $100,000-added Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi (GIII) on Saturday’s Stephen Foster Day program.
The son of Distorted Humor breezed five furlongs in 1:01.60 over a fast main track for trainer Neil Howard, who is also considering a Jefferson Cup run by William S. Farish and Skara Glen Stable’s Close Ally, runner-up in the American Turf (GII) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
The Jefferson Cup, a race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf, is one of four graded stakes races for Thoroughbreds on the Stephen Foster Day program.
Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course is scheduled to be open for training on Tuesday, June 14. That will provide a final chance for contenders for the Jefferson Cup and the $125,000-added Regret Presented by Etihad Airways (GIII), a Foster Day race for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf, to train over the grass surface before Saturday’s races.
Three-year-olds under consideration for Saturday’s Jefferson Cup (with trainer) include: Banned (Tom Proctor), Chalice (Kellyn Gorder), Chinglish (Mark Hennig), Close Ally (Howard), Derby Kitten (Mike Maker), Dream Warrior (Eddie Kenneally), Perregaux (Howard); Redboard (Garry Simms); and Swagger Jack (Darrin Miller).
Likely starters for the Regret (with trainer) include: Bizzy Caroline (Ken McPeek), Blushandbashful (John Terranova II), Bouquet Booth (Steve Margolis), Diva Ash (Dale Romans), Excited (Todd Pletcher); Gaya (Tom Amoss), Holidaysatthefarm (Tom Proctor). Kathmanblu (McPeek). My Phi Temper (Ronny Werner) and Sassy’s Dream (McPeek).
BARN TALK – Preakness (GI) winner Shackleford and Kentucky Derby runner-up Nehro returned to Kentucky on Monday on board a flight from New York to Louisville.
Shackleford, who finished fourth in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Dale Romans, ran fifth in the Belmont after leading to the top of the stretch and has settled back into Romans’ barn at Churchill Downs.
Nehro finished fourth for trainer Steve Asmussen, but came out of the race with an ankle chip. Nehro is scheduled for surgery on Wednesday in Lexington, according to owner Ahmed Zayat.
The flight also carried Belmont also-rans Santiva (eighth in the Belmont and sixth in the Kentucky Derby) and Prime Cut (11th in the Belmont) back to their Churchill Downs barns. Santiva is trained by Eddie Kenneally, while Prime Cut is conditioned by Neil Howard.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Riley Tucker, winner of the 2010 Aristides (GIII), breezed four furlongs in :52.20 … Texas Mile (GIII) winner Thisskyhasnolimit breezed five furlongs in 1:03.
Thiskyhasnolimit, returning from six months on the sidelines because of injury, rallied in the stretch under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to wear down favored Cool Bullet to win the ninth running of the $108,000 Matt Winn Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs at Churchill Downs.
Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s son of Sky Mesa had not raced since Nov. 28, when he finished sixth as the favorite to eventual Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in the Grade II, $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Thiskyhasnolimit won by three-quarters of a length and paid $5.80, $3 and $2.40 as the second betting choice in a field of six horses. Cool Bullet, the favorite ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., was well clear of the rest of the field for the runner-up spot and paid $2.80 and $2.20. Privilaged, the pacesetter ridden by Jon Court, paid $2.80 to show.
Trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the Matt Winn for the third time in its nine runnings, Thiskyhasnolimit, covered the seven-furlong distance over a fast track in 1:22.29. The victory improved the winner’s career record to 3-1-1 in seven races and increased his career earnings to $204,439.
Thisskyhasnolimit broke sharply and momentarily grabbed the early lead before he surrendered the lead to Privilaged and settled into fourth under Bridgmohan. Privilaged held the advantage into the far turn, leading the field through fractions of :22.40 for the first quarter and :45 to the half-mile, when he drew off from longshot Southern Danger and Cool Bullet started to move on the leader. Cool Bullet moved three-wide to grab the lead in the stretch, but was quickly challenged to his outside by Thiskyhasnolimit , who surged past that rival with an eighth of a mile to run and slowly edged clear in the run to the finish.
Vow to Wager rallied from last to finish fourth, and was followed by Silver Craft and Southern Danger.
The race is named for Kentucky Derby and Churchill Downs legend Col. Matt Winn, who served as president and general manager of the historic track from 1902-49. Known by the media as “Mr. Derby,” Winn is credited with building the Kentucky Derby into America’s greatest race and one of the world’s great sports events.
MATT WINN QUOTES
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN (jockey, THISKYHASNOLIMIT, winner): “I had a wonderful trip. My horse ran good. He’s a real nice horse and he’s been training really well. I did expect that type of effort.”
SCOTT BLASI (assistant trainer, THISKYHASNOLIMIT, winner): “He has been training well and thought he would run well today. He is definitely moving in the right direction after the layoff from his last race. We will see how he cools out before deciding on a race for him, but we would like to keep him between seven-eighths to a mile.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ JR. (jockey, COOL BULLET, second): “We had a perfect trip. We had the two horses get hooked up in front of us and we sat outside behind them and got by both of them pretty easy. (In the stretch) we didn’t bump (with Thiskyhasnolimit); they just came together and didn’t even brush. Neither horse got off stride.”
STEVE MARGOLIS (trainer, COOL BULLET, second): “He (Cool Bullet) ran a good race, [Thiskyhasnolimit] had a little more today. Brian [Hernandez Jr.] rode a great race, no complaints. I’ll talk it over with the owners to see where he runs next, but we will take a look at the Jersey Shore at Monmouth Park.”
NOTES: Trainer Steve Asmussen collected his third Matt Winn victory. He also won the race in 2003 with Posse and in 2005 with Razor. . .Thiskyhasnolimit was clocked in a stakes record 1:22.29. It was only the second year the race has been run at the seven furlong distance and his time eclipsed Capt. Candyman Can’s 1:22.89 in 2009. . .Jockey Corey Lanerie won four races at Churchill Downs for the first time on Saturday: “It was great, it always feel good when you win, especially when you win four. This is my first time winning four at Churchill Downs. I’ve done it before in Texas several times.”
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will host the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2011 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6, 2011. The track’s 2010 Spring Meet continues through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at Tickets.ChurchillDowns.com or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at ChurchillDowns.com.
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BOREL HAPPY WITH SUPER SAVER, PREAKNESS POST – A winner of three of last four runnings of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), jockey Calvin Borel will bid Saturday for his second consecutive victory in the $1 million Preakness, the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, aboard WinStar Farm’s Derby winner Super Saver.
Borel is scheduled to ride in eight of Thursday’s nine races at Churchill Downs, then boards a flight to Baltimore and Pimlico Race Course, where hopes to help keep the Triple Crown hopes of owner/breeder WinStar and trainer Todd Pletcher alive. Super Saver was installed as the 5-2 favorite for the Preakness and the son of Maria’s Mon drew post eight in a field of 12 3-year-olds.
“I’m very happy,” Borel said Thursday at Churchill Downs. “I worked him the other morning and Todd was very pleased. “He galloped out good, switched leads perfect right at the eighth pole. You can’t ask for a better place.”
Last year, Borel abandoned longshot Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to ride Kentucky Oaks (GI)-winning filly Rachel Alexandra in the 1 3/16-mile second jewel of the Triple Crown. Stonestreet Stable and Harold McCormack’s future Horse of the Year and Borel held off the late-running Mine That Bird to take the 2009 Preakness. His 2007 Kentucky Derby winner, James Tafel’s Street Sense, was nipped at the Preakness finish by future two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.
Four of the horses that faced Super Saver at Churchill Downs – third-place Derby finisher Paddy O’Prado, beaten favorite Lookin At Lucky, Dublin and Jackson Bend – are back for another try at Borel’s Derby winner in the Preakness, with seven horses stepping into Triple Crown competition for the first time.
“We’ve got a couple of new shooters, but I don’t think they’ve got the class this horse has,” Borel said. “What I like about this colt is he’s peaking. He’s lightly-raced coming into here, but I think that’s a big plus. It might not be, but in my opinion I think it is.”
Borel and agent Jerry Hissam continue to limit media opportunities for the popular rider in the days leading up to the Preakness. Those limits are to allow Borel to maintain focus on Saturday’s goal: to win the Preakness and take dead aim three weeks later on the Belmont Stakes (GI) with a chance to become the first 3-year-old to sweep the elusive Triple Crown since Affirmed in 1978.
“We’re going to go out there and try our damndest to win it,” Borel said. “If we can get away with this one, we’ll worry about the next one. But we’re just going to worry about this one now.”
Borel will ride at Pimlico on Friday and Saturday in a light schedule that includes the mount on favored Tidal Pool for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan (GII) for 3-year-old fillies.
HOT MARGOLIS HAS HIGH HOPES FOR COOL BULLET – One of the hottest trainers thus far at Churchill Downs hopes that playing it cool will pay off in Saturday’s featured ninth running of the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes.
Steve Margolis started Thursday’s race with five victories – one win back of current leading trainer and two-time Eclipse Award-winner Steve Asmussen – and will look to improve that total Saturday when he saddles Robert and Lawana Low and Winmore LLC’s Cool Bullet in the seven-furlong Winn.
The gelded son of Preakness winner Red Bullet returns to competition six weeks after a 4 ½-length romp in the $50,000 Hansel at six furlongs on Polytrack at Turfway Park. The victory was the third in seven races for Cool Bullet, who had tried the Kentucky Derby trail over the winter, but returned to one-turn distances following an eighth-place finish to Conveyance in Oaklawn’s Southwest (GIII) at 1 1/16 miles.
“We thought the Hansel would be a good race to get him back on course, as opposed to the [one-mile The Cliff’s Edge] Derby Trial (GIII) and it worked out really well,” Margolis said. “He couldn’t be training any better. We’ve had four really nice moves over the track.”
Calvin Borel rode Cool Bullet in the Hansel, but will be at Pimlico on Saturday to ride Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver in the Preakness. Brian Hernandez Jr., who was aboard Cool Bullet in his first five starts, will be back in the saddle for the Matt Winn. Cool Bullet’s five foes include Iroquois (GIII) winner Thiskyhasnolimit, winner of last fall’s Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs and the beaten favorite in the $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) won by Super Saver, and the John Sadler-trained Privilaged, a good third to D’Funnybone in Gulfstream Park’s Swale (GII) at the Winn distance of seven furlongs last out.
That’s a lot of quality in a six-horse field, but Margolis likes the chances of Cool Bullet in the Winn, a race Margolis just missed winning a year ago when he saddled Richard, Elaine and Bert Klein’s Cash Refund to a runner-up finish behind Capt. Candyman Can.
“He’s a nice little gelding,” Margolis said of Cool Bullet. “He trains very good, he’s a very handy little horse and does everything right.”
Cash Refund, last year’s Winn runner-up, continues to train toward a run in the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII) at six furlongs.
Margolis is also looking at plans for the Kleins’ 3-year-old Stay Put, an allowance winner on Kentucky Derby Day that is being considered for a run in the Belmont Stakes (GI), the third jewel of the Triple Crown on June 5. He said the Broken Vow colt is nominated to the $125,000 Northern Dancer (GIII) on June 12 at Churchill Downs, but a bid by the Kleins for the 1 ½-mile Belmont is very possible.
The horse is improving,” Margolis said. “You only get so many chances to run in the Belmont. We’re just going to wait and see what happens out of the Preakness. We’ve got the Northern Dancer in our backyard, too, so we don’t really have to make any decisions now.”
VETERANS TOP LOUISVILLE HANDICAP NOMINATIONS - Former victors Brass Hat and Silverfoot top the 33 nominees for the 73rd edition of the $100,000-added Louisville Handicap (GIII) to be run Saturday, May 22 at 1 ½ miles over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Fred F. Bradley’s Brass Hat will be looking for his first victory since taking the 2009 Louisville Handicap for trainer William “Buff” Bradley. Brass Hat recorded a second place finish in his last start, the Elkhorn Stakes (GII) at Keeneland on April 23.
Chrysalis Stables LLC’s Silverfoot, at age 10, looks to regain his winning form as a previous winner of this race in 2005 and ‘06. One of two three-time winners of the Louisville, the salty veteran is just $52,000 shy of hitting the $1 million mark with $948,365 in earnings for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Other notable nominees include Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Bearpath, who two starts back took the Pan American (GIII) at Gulfstream Park, and Johanna L. Glen-Teven’s Musketier (GER), the winner of the Elkhorn Stakes.
PREAKNESS STAKES FESTIVITIES AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Advanced wagering on the Preakness Stakes will be offered all day Friday at Churchill Downs, plus the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness Double – similar to the Oaks/Derby Double – will connect Friday’s Grade II, $175,000 Black Eyed Susan and Saturday’s $1 million Preakness.
The pageantry of the Preakness Stakes will be featured prominently at Churchill Downs on Saturday with the simulcast of the second jewel of horse racing’s Triple Crown from Pimlico.
The first 5,000 fans attending Churchill Downs will receive a free Super Saver/Calvin Borel commemorative button in the paddock area while supplies last. Also, Black-Eyed Susan specialty drinks will be on tap at Churchill Downs at select locations, plus Dixieland and Big Band music will be performed in the paddock area and Millionaires Row 4 and 6.
Additionally, the Crab Derby returns as select customers will be in crab costumes competing in races throughout the day, with the final being held on the Matt Winn Turf Course immediately after Race 7.
Post time for the Preakness Stakes simulcast is 6:15 p.m. ET, which immediately follows the 11th and final live race at 5:58 p.m. ET.
SATURDAY’S SEVENTH RACE TO HONOR OLMSTEAD – For the second consecutive year, Churchill Downs will run the Chuck Olmstead Memorial on Preakness Stakes Day to honor the memory of the popular Louisville telvision newsman who passed away in March 2009 after an aneurysm ruptured in his brain.
The second annual Chuck Olmstead Memorial will be run as Race 7 on Saturday at approximately 3:57 p.m. ET.
Olmstead, who was a 34-year veteran at WHAS-11, was a longtime fan of Thoroughbred racing. Both he and his signature hat were broadcast fixtures in the Churchill Downs paddock on Kentucky Derby.
With tremendous encouragement from the community, Chuck’s widow, Candy Olmstead, has established a special fund in her husband’s memory through Norton Healthcare Foundation to support screenings and education provided by Norton Neuroscience Institute. These screenings will help detect aneurysms before they rupture, increase awareness of symptoms of ruptured brain aneurysms and, perhaps, save lives in the process.
More information can be found and pledges can be made online at ChuckOlmsteadFund.com.
TURN 3 TO PERFORM DURING FRIDAY HAPPY HOURS – This week’s “Dress to Impress” Friday Happy Hours from 4-7 p.m. in Churchill Downs’ paddock area will showcase live music by Turn 3, $2 Budweiser Select, $2 mojitos and $2 hot dogs. Also, one male and one female deemed “most stylish” will a $100 wagering voucher and $250 gift certificate to a local Louisville area boutique, respectively.
ASHER WILL BE SPECIAL ‘GET IN THE GAME WITH JILL BYRNE’ GUEST – Churchill Downs vice president of racing communications John Asher will be Saturday’s “Get in the Game with Jill Byrne” special guest. Byrne and Asher will provide insight and analysis of the Preakness Stakes plus select races at Pimlico Race Course and Churchill Downs. The half-hour program will begin at 11:45 a.m. in the paddock area and will be televised on television monitors throughout Churchill Downs.
WEEKLY HANDICAPPING CONTEST WILL OFFER PRIZE MONEY, TRIP TO HORSEPLAYER WORLD SERIES – This spring’s “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest at Churchill Downs will offer $4,000 in prize money each week and five prize packages to compete in the Horseplayer World Series in Las Vegas.
First prize each week will be $1,500 and a five-day, four-night trip to Las Vegas to compete in the Horseplayer World Series, which is scheduled for Feb. 16-19, 2011 at the Orleans Resort and Casino.
The popular handicapping contest will begin this Sunday and continue every Sunday through June 13.
The “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest is a game of skill that tests the player’s ability to handicap Thoroughbred racing. Each contestant will start the day with a $24 imaginary bankroll and may only wager exactly $2 to win and $2 to place on six designated races from Churchill Downs.
The contest costs $30 per entry ($25 for Twin Spires Club members) and is limited to 400 entries with a limit of three entries per person. Registration will be open Sundays between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Champions Club Lounge on the second floor of the clubhouse.
BARN TALK – Churchill Downs based jockeys Robby Albarado (four mounts), Calvin Borel (three mounts including Super Saver in the Preakness), Garrett Gomez (eight mounts, including Dublin in the Preakness) and Julien Leparoux (eight mounts, including Pleasant Prince in the Preakness) will be riding at Pimlico Race Course on Saturday.
WORK TAB (Main: FAST … Turf: FIRM, dogs up) – Louisville Stakes (GII) winner Atta Boy Roy zipped four furlongs under jockey Calvin Borel in :47.20, the fastest work of 26 at the distance … Three-time Louisville Handicap (GIII) winner Silverfoot breezed five furlongs on turf in 1:03.20 … Lost Aptitude breezed four furlongs on turf in :49.40 for trainer Dale Romans … You Go West Girl breezed three furlongs on turf in :37.60 for trainer Tom Proctor.
The stables that have been the hottest of the opening two of weeks of Churchill Downs’ 42-day Spring Meet clash head-on Saturday when 2009 Iroquois Stakes (Grade III) winner Thiskyhasnolimit and Hansel Stakes winner Cool Bullet meet in Saturday’s ninth running of the $100,000-added Matt Winn Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs.
Cathy and Bob Zollars and Mark Wagner’s Thiskyhasnolimit represents trainer Steve Asmussen, who swept the 2009 Spring and Fall Meet training titles at Churchill Downs and has collected six wins during the opening 10 days of racing to top the “leading trainer” standings. Owned by Robert and Lawanna Lowe and Winmore LLC, Cool Bullet will be saddled by Steve Margolis, who is just one back of Asmussen in search of his first training title beneath the venerable Twin Spires. Thiskyhasnolimit and Cool Bullet are the 2-1 and 5-2 top choices, respectively, in oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds in the Matt Winn, which attracted a field of six.
The Matt Winn, named in honor of the legendary Churchill Downs general manager and president who built both the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) and Churchill Downs into international sports icons during his 1902-1949 tenure, is scheduled as the 10th of 11 live races on a Saturday racing program that also includes the simulcast of the Preakness (GI), the second jewel of the Triple Crown. Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver heads a field of 12 in the 1 3/16-mile classic at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course. Post time for the day’s first race is 12:45 p.m. (all times Eastern).
Thiskyhasnolimit has not raced since Nov. 28, when the son of Sky Mesa finished sixth as the favorite to Super Saver in the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs. He has a record of 2-1-1 in six races – including a 2-1-0 slate in three Churchill Downs starts – with earnings of $138,149. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride.
Cool Bullet is coming off an impressive 4 ½-length victory in the $50,000 Hansel Stakes over the Polytrack surface at Turfway Park on March 27. Prior to that, the gelded son of 2000 Preakness winner Red Bullet had won the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds and finished a solid fourth to Ron the Greek in the $100,000 Lecomte at one mile and 40 yards at the New Orleans track. Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the saddle.
Others in the field include C R K Stable’s Privilaged, third to D’Funnybone in the Swale (GII) at Gulfstream Park and the 3-1 third choice for trainer John Sadler. Donegal Racing’s Vow to Wager, winner of the John Battaglia Memorial via disqualification, is the 7-2 fourth choice for trainer Dale Romans.
The field for Saturday’s Matt Winn, from the rail out (with jockey, weight and morning line odds), includes: Silver Craft (Freddie Lenclud, 117, 8-1); Privilaged (Jon Court, 117, 3-1), Cool Bullet (Hernandez, 119, 5-2), Vow to Wager (Miguel Mena, 119, 7-2), Southern Danger (Corey Nakatani, 117, 15-1), and Thiskyhasnolimit (Bridgmohan, 119, 2-1).