Churchill Downs

Catalano Bids to Improve on Best Churchill Downs Year, Sends Trio Into Saturday's Cardinal 'Cap

Veteran trainer Wayne Catalano, already enjoying his best year at Churchill Downs, will attempt to build on his 2014 accomplishments when he sends multiple stakes winner I’m Already Sexy and two stablemates into an overflow field of 16 fillies and mares entered for Saturday’s 41st running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (Grade III) on the Matt Winn Turf Course.

The Cardinal, the final stakes race scheduled on the Churchill Downs turf course in 2014, attracted entries of 16 fillies and mares ages 3 and up looking to put an exclamation point on their racing season. A total of 14 horses will be allowed to compete in the 1 1/8-mile race, the maximum number of horses permitted for any contest on the grass course.

The Cardinal Handicap is scheduled to be the ninth of 11 races on the next-to-last Saturday racing program of Churchill Downs’ 26-date Fall Meet. Post time for the first of Saturday’s races is 12:40 p.m. (all times EST) and the Cardinal is scheduled to be run at 4:36 p.m.

I’m Already Sexy, a 4-year-old daughter of Ready’s Image owned by Hit the Board Stables, has run six times in 2014 and collected stakes victories in the Modesty (Grade III) at Chicago’s Arlington Park and the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf at the all-grass racing venue in Franklin, Ky. She has one victory in four career starts at Churchill Downs and has a pair of outings over the course this year. She ran sixth to Coffee Clique in her 2014 debut in the $300,000 Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile (GII) on Kentucky Derby (GI) Day and was a narrowly-beaten second to Honey Hues in the $100,000-added Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII).

Catalano’s filly has displayed early speed throughout her career and will need another alert start after she drew the inside post for Saturday’s race. Jockey Calvin Borel will ride I’m Already Sexy, who will carry high weight of 119 pounds in the Cardinal and will concede two-to-seven pounds to her rivals.

A victory by I’m Already Sexy in the Cardinal would provide Catalano with his third Churchill Downs stakes victory of 2014, following triumphs in the Regret (GIII) (via disqualification) by Aurelia’s Belle and West Coast Belle in the Rags to Riches overnight stakes. Catalano’s breakthrough season also has included his first leading trainer title at Churchill Downs. He saddled seven winners during the 12-day September Meet to share that honor with 15-time leading trainer Steve Asmussen.

I’m Already Sexy traveled to Santa Anita for her most recent outing in the $200,000 Goldikova (GII) on Breeders’ Cup weekend. She finished fourth to Filimbi, but was disqualified and placed fifth after interfering with a rival in the homestretch. Her career record stands at 7-1-0 in 17 races and she has earned $509,998 heading into Saturday’s race.

The other members of Catalano’s Cardinal trio are Team Valor International’s Angegreen (ITY), who is winless in 10 starts in the United States but finished a fast-closing third last time out to White Rose in a division of the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon at 1 5/16 miles, and Coffeepot StablesImposing Grace, winner of the 2013 Arlington Matron (GIII) on the Chicago track’s synthetic Polytrack course. Channing Hill will ride Angegreen (ITY), who will carry 114 pounds from post four, while Imposing Grace will also carry 114 as she breaks from post seven under Rafael Mojica Jr.

An intriguing invader for the Cardinal is Sycamore Racing LLC’s Nellie Cashman, a 4-year-old daughter of Mineshaft who returns to Churchill Downs for the first time since a sixth-place run behind Emotional Kitten in last fall’s Mrs. Revere (GII). I’m Already Sexy finished ninth in that race.

Trained by Francis “Trey” Abbott III, Nellie Cashman scored a comfortable victory in a Laurel Park turf allowance on Sept. 26 to snap a six-racing losing streak that began last fall with a runner-up finish to Overheard in Keeneland’s Valley View (GIII). Nellie Cashman’s 3-year-old campaign included a victory in the Virginia Oaks (GIII) and she finished first in Saratoga’s Lake Placid (GII), but was disqualified from that win and placed third.

The Pennsylvania-bred filly, who trains at Maryland’s Fair Hill Training Center, will break from post eight under regular rider Forest Boyce. Nellie Cashman was assigned the second high weight of 117 pounds for the Cardinal.

Another Cardinal contender could be Amerman Racing StablesRoyal Fury, runner-up the Canadian Stakes (GII) on the Woodbine grass for trainer Brian Lynch, who won last week’s $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) at Churchill Downs with Heart to Heart.

She has only one win in eight races this year, but has run strongly in the second half of 2014 with performances that include a runner-up finish to multiple graded stakes winner La Tia in the Ontario Matron (GIII) and a runner-up finish in the Trillium Stakes over Woodbine’s Polytrack course. In her most recent outing, she displayed early speed before she encountered traffic problems and finished seventh of eight behind Just the Judge in Woodbine’s E.P. Taylor (GI) on turf.

Julien Leparoux, who has ridden the winner of the last three graded stakes at Churchill Downs, will ride Royal Fury from the outside gate in the field of 14 and will carry 116 pounds.

Other possible contenders include Courtlandt FarmsStrike Charmer, a David Carroll-trained daughter of Smart Strike who finished second to I’m Already Sexy in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf; John C. Oxley’s Ontario-bred Northern Passion, a Mark Casse-trained daughter of First Samurai who won the Sweet Briar Too Stakes over Woodbine’s Polytrack course in July; Pappascat, a Garry Simms-trained daughter of Scat Daddy with a pair of wins over the Matt Winn Turf Course; and the Vicki Oliver-trained Frivolous, who was third to Spinster (GI) winner and Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) runner Don’t Tell Sophia on dirt in the Locust Grove for owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr. Oliver also trains Humphrey’s Honey Lake, who is one of two also-eligible horses entered in the race.

The field for the Cardinal, from the hedge out (with jockey, weight): I’m Already Sexy (Borel, 119), Keening (Joe Rocco Jr., 105), Frivolous (Brian Hernandez Jr., 114), Bitty Kitty (Robby Albarado, 116), Angegreen (ITY) (Hill, 114), Pappascat (Ricardo Santana Jr., 116), Imposing Grace (Mojica, 114), Nellie Cashman (Boyce, 117), Street of Gold (Jesus Castanon, 114), Antonia Autumn (Rafael Hernandez, 114), Rosee is Cozee (Didiel Osorio, 114), Strike Charmer (Chris Landeros, 115), Northern Passion (Jon Court, 117) and Royal Fury (Leparoux, 116). Also eligible for the race are Annabird (Santana, 113) and Honey Lake (Court, 113).  Either or both of those horses could run if there are pre-race scratches.

Churchill Downs Racetrack Surface Remains Frozen; 10-Race Card for Thursday, Nov. 20 Cancelled

Unable to thaw its main track following a blast of winter weather earlier this week, Churchill Downs Racetrack has announced that it will cancel live racing for a second consecutive day on Thursday, Nov. 20.

This is the first time that a frozen racetrack has forced back-to-back cancellations at Churchill Downs since Nov. 23-24, 1970, and it’s only the seventh winter weather-related cancellation in the track’s 140-year history.

Despite tireless efforts by the 26-person track maintenance team at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, training and the 10-race program scheduled for Thursday has been cancelled because the one-mile dirt racetrack remains frozen.

The track maintenance team, led by Senior Director of Track Surfaces David Lehr and Assistant Track Superintendent Jamie Richardson, continued their around-the-clock maintenance of the surface Wednesday to no avail. Temperatures climbed into the 40s on Wednesday but sunshine was minimal and southwest winds gusted as high as 30 miles per hour, which deterred their efforts to thaw the main track through constant harrowing and grading.

“We had hoped to make significant progress on the track today but the strong winds were no help and by late afternoon the track had refrozen,” said Kevin Flanery, president of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “A suitable cushion is imperative and we haven’t been able to get there because Mother Nature isn’t cooperating. The ground temperature is significantly cooler than the air temp, and even with all of our team’s effort we can’t get the cushion to dry out evenly to provide a suitable racing surface for our athletes. The health and safety of our horses and jockeys remains paramount.”

The National Weather Service forecast for Louisville called for overnight temperatures to fall to a low of 23 with a 20-percent chance of snow showers between 9 p.m. and midnight, which meant there was little chance of significant improvement until well into the day on Thursday. Thursday called for mostly sunny skies with a high near 33 and a west wind of 7 to 11 miles per hour.

Horses have been unable to train on the dirt surface at Churchill Downs since Tuesday thanks to an early winter blast of three inches of snow on Monday morning and frigid temperatures for more than a week. Ten-race programs were scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday at 12:40 p.m. EST.

The average temperature in Louisville this time of the year is typically in the upper 50s.

Churchill Downs intends to stage a 10-race card Friday at 12:40 p.m. EST. Friday’s high is forecasted for 38 with mostly sunny skies. The temperature should climb to a more seasonal 52 on Saturday when an 11-race card, highlighted by the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (Grade III), is scheduled. Closing day of the 26-day Fall Meet is Sunday, Nov. 30, which means only eight scheduled racing dates remain.

Cancellations of Churchill Downs racing programs due to weather conditions are rare. Wednesday’s cancellation was the first for the Fall Meet since a wintry mix caused a frozen track on Nov. 13, 1986. Thursday’s cancellation is the 20th documented weather-related cancellation at the racetrack.

While there is no live racing at Churchill Downs on Thursday, simulcast wagering on other tracks around North America will be available at Trackside at Churchill Downs. Admission will be free Thursday and admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m.

Churchill Downs will contact groups and individual patrons who had purchased seating for Thursday’s racing program to reschedule their visit.

Follow this link to a look at documented weather-related cancellations of live racing programs at Churchill Downs.

Retired Napravnik Emotional, Thankful During Celebration of Her Career

Saturday marked an emotional afternoon beneath the Twin Spires, as Churchill Downs and the City of Louisville celebrated the extraordinary career of Rosie Napravnik, the first female rider to capture the Kentucky Oaks (twice), the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Napravnik, who captured her first Kentucky Oaks on Believe You Can in 2012, publicly announced her pregnancy and retirement following her victory on Untapable in the Oct. 31 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (Grade I).

“Thank you to Churchill Downs and thank you to everybody for being here to make this day so special,” Napravnik said. “I feel so honored because Churchill has definitely been the site of some of the most memorable moments in my career. I rode my first Breeders’ Cup mount here in 2010 (Forever Together in Filly & Mare Turf) and first Kentucky Derby in 2011 on Pants on Fire. My first Kentucky Oaks win on Believe You Can in 2010 was absolutely one of the most memorable moments of my career. Finishing fifth in the Derby on Mylute, I felt close enough to almost taste it. And Untapable will definitely go down as my favorite horse of all time.”

Napravnik was honored following Saturday’s sixth race, which was named in her honor as “The Run for the Rosie.” She was given a special video presentation by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, who officially declared Saturday “Rosie Napravnik Day” in the city of Louisville.

Napravnik also received the honor of “Kentucky Colonel” and was presented with a plaque by the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Finally, the rider was honored by an additional video presentation that highlighted the most memorable moments of her prestigious career at Churchill Downs.

“I want to thank the guys that are down here, most of the jockeys, for helping me become a better rider in a great colony,” a teary-eyed Napravnik said. “Thanks to the owners and trainers that have supported me throughout: Jack Wolf being one of them, Mr. Ken Ramsey, Winchell Farm, Mr. Ron Winchell and Brereton Jones are just a few to mention of some of my favorite horses here at Churchill and all over the country.”

Napravnik said she plans to always remain close to the Thoroughbred industry and since her retirement has been assisting husband/trainer Joe Sharp at Churchill Downs.

“I don’t feel like I’m leaving,” Napravnik said. “I’ll be around and I’ve been at the races a lot in the last two weeks; I’ll just be in a different outfit. I’ll always be close to this industry and the horses. Again I just want to thank the fans for all their support and everybody here at Churchill Downs, thank you.”

SATURDAY STAKES STARS EXIT RACES IN GOOD ORDER

Both Sparkling Review, winner of Saturday’s $237,800 Mrs. Revere (Grade II) and Heart to Heart, who took the $115,300 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) reportedly exited their respective stakes victories in good order according to their conditioners.

Edward Seltzer and Beverly Anderson’s Sparkling Review, trained by Ben Colebrook, was nominated to both the Nov. 29 Hollywood Turf Cup (GI) and Nov. 30 Matriarch (GI) at Del Mar, but the trainer said Sunday morning that both races were “longshots” for the filly at this point.

“She came out of it great,” Colebrook said. “She ate up this morning and was clean-legged so everything is good.

“I think it would be a longshot to go out to California at this point. I’ll still talk about it with the owners, but most likely we will call it a year with her and hope to have her back next year. With her pedigree, I would think she definitely should continue to improve in 2015.”

Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart is expected to make another start in 2014, pointing to the Dec. 26 Mathis Brothers Mile (GII) at Santa Anita, a one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds formally known as the Sir Beaufort Stakes.

“He came out great,” Lynch said. “He seemed like a very happy horse this morning. The stakes race on Santa Anita’s opening day is where we’re looking at going with him next. It’s the last of the 3-year-old stakes and is basically an ideal distance for him – a two-turn mile on the turf – and I think he will really like that turf course out there.”

Lynch hinted on two possible goals for Heart to Heart as a 4-year-old in 2014: one possibly being the Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) at Keeneland and the other being the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) run on Kentucky Derby Day beneath the Twin Spires.

“We’ll give him a little break after that,” Lynch said. “If he continues to improve, we’ll look to run him again as a 4-year-old at Keeneland and then we hope to have him back there at Churchill on Kentucky Derby Day.”

The Commonwealth Turf marked the fifth win in 12 starts for Heart to Heart, who has banked $329,807. Sparkling Review carries a record of four wins from five starts and $303,642 in earnings after Saturday’s Mrs. Revere victory.

WEIGHTS RELEASED FOR SATURDAY’S GRADE III CARDINAL HANDICAP

Weights for Saturday’s $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) have been released and two-time graded stakes winner Overheard is the 123-pound high weight for the 41st edition of the 1 1/8-mile turf event, the final turf stakes offered by Churchill Downs in 2014.

Pin Oak Stable’s Overheard boasts a record of 14-5-5-4 with earnings of $491,340, but her trainer Malcolm Pierce told Churchill Downs on Saturday that the filly was unlikely to start in the Cardinal.

The 121-pound starting high weight could be the Armando De la cerda-trained La Tia, who prevailed by a neck on Oct. 12 to take Belmont Park’s $200,000 Athenia (GIII). Her 2014 resume also includes victories in the $150,000 Arlington Matron (GIII) and $144,053 Ontario Matron (GIII). Overall, the 5-year-old mare has banked $803,326 from a 22-9-1-5 record.

On Saturday, La Tia breezed five furlongs at Hawthorne Race Course in :58.60, the fastest time of 23 workers at the distance.

Trainer Graham Motion has a likely Cardinal Handicap starter in Julie’s Love-GB (116 pounds), who finished third in her last outing, Woodbine’s $184,886 Maple Leaf (GIII) on Nov. 1. The 6-year-old mare has $430,139 in earnings from a record of 28-5-8-6.

Other likely starters according to Churchill Downs’ stakes coordinator Dan Bork: Northern Passion (117), Royal Fury (116), Antonia Autumn (114) and Honey Lake (113).

INTERNATIONAL STAR, LUCKY PLAYER HEAD LIST OF 50 NOMS FOR GRADE II KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB ON NOV. 29

Graded stakes winners Imperia, International Star and Lucky Player headline a list of 50 promising 2-year-olds nominated to the $200,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) on Saturday, Nov. 29. The 88th renewal of the 1 1/16-mile dirt race for juveniles awards the top four finishers with 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

International Star is one of three Mike Maker-trained nominees along with A. Rod Again and Cold Spice. International Star captured Woodbine’s Grey (GIII) on Oct. 5 where he earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. He followed that performance with a ninth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI). International Star has earned $190,028 from a 5-2-2-0 record.

Lucky Player captured 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in winning the $115,500 Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen. Most recently, he finished eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI).

Other Kentucky Jockey Club nominees include the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Imperia, a $139-600-earner who took Belmont Park’s Pilgrim (GIII) on Sept. 28 before finishing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI); The Truth or Else for trainer Kenny McPeek, who has recorded back-to-back third place efforts in the Champagne (GI) at Belmont and Aqueduct’s Nashua (GII) and earned $136,950; and the Bob Baffert-trained Lord Nelson, who captured the $101,000 Speakeasy at Santa Anita by an impressive 6 ¾ lengths.

Additionally, Conquest Stables LLC’s Conquest Tsunami, an earner of $280,023 who most recently took the $60,101 Street Sense at Churchill Downs and Zayat Stables LLC’s Mr. Z, a multiple graded stakes-placed earner of $259,726 were nominated to the Kentucky Jockey Club, but are pointing to the Delta Downs Jackpot (GIII) according to their trainers.

ANGELA RENEE, CONDO COMMANDO TOP CAST OF 31 GOLDEN ROD NOMS

Siena Farm LLC’s Grade I-winner Angela Renee and Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables and The Elkstone Group’s Grade I-winner Condo Commando highlight a cast of 31 2-year-old fillies nominated to the 71st running of the $200,000-added Golden Rod (GII) on Saturday, Nov. 29. As a complimentary race to the co-featured Kentucky Jockey Club, the Golden Rod for juvenile fillies awards the top four finishers with 10-4-2-1 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Angela Renee has earned $300,000 with a record of 2-1-1 from five starts, including a victory in the Sept. 27 Chandelier (GI) at Santa Anita which granted her 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. She followed her Chandelier victory with a 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).

Condo Commando, trained by Rudy Rodriguez, has earned $268,600 in a pair of wins coming from three starts. She won the Aug. 31 Spinaway (GI) at Saratoga by 13 ¼ lengths, before finishing fourth in her most recent start, Belmont’s Frizette (GI) on Oct. 4.

Another notable nominee is Dale Romans-trained Cristina’s Journey, who earned 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks by taking the Sept. 6 Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs. She finished 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in her last effort and has earned $153,159 in two wins from three starts.

Other Golden Rod nominees include the undefeated West Coast Belle for trainer Wayne Catalano, who won the $62,768 Rags to Riches by 6 ¾ lengths on Oct. 26 beneath the Twin Spires and the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Take Charge Brandi, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Santa Anita. Lukas said that Take Charge Brandi would forego the Golden Rod for a start in the Delta Downs Princess (GIII) on Nov. 22.

ON THE WORKTAB – Sunday at Churchill Downs was a busy day for workouts by stakes hopefuls, highlighted by Molly Morgan who covered a half-mile in :49.80. Molly Morgan is nominated to the Nov. 27 Falls City (GII). Other Falls City nominees Tempers Flair (4F in :49.20) and Flashy American (5F in 1:00.60) also worked Sunday… Clark Handicap (GI) nominees Pick of the Litter (4F in :49.20), Prayer for Relief (5F in 1:02.40), Knights Nation (4F in :49.20), Looking Cool (4F in :49.40) and Call Me George (4F in 1:02.40) also took to the track Sunday morning… Cardinal Handicap (GIII) nominee Angegreen-ITY breezed five furlongs in 1:04.80… 2013 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands runner-up Golden Soul covered a half-mile in :49.60… Seven Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) nominees also recorded workouts: Danny Boy (4F in :48.20), Far Right (4F in :49), Eagle (5F in 1:01), Keen Ice (5F in 1:02.60), Thirtysevenliveson (5F in 1:02), Tough Customer (7F in 1:32.00) and War Point (7F in 1:31)… The Golden Rod (GII) nominees that worked at Churchill Downs Sunday were Cristina’s Journey (4F in :49), Emmajestic (4F in :51.40), Keen Pauline (4F in :50), Super Saks (5F in 1:00.40) and Taylor S (5F in 1:00).

Sparkling Review Dazzles With Late Charge to Win Grade II Mrs. Revere

Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer’s Sparkling Review displayed a brilliant late kick inside the final three-sixteenths of the mile to win Saturday’s 24th running of the $237,800 Mrs. Revere (GII) for 3-year-old fillies by a widening 2 ¾ lengths over Lady Lara-IRE. Longshot pacesetter Kiss Moon was another neck back in third.

Sparkling Review, trained by Ben Colebrook, ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:42.33 to defeat 13 3-year-old fillies with overwhelming authority in the late stages. She was ridden by Julien Leparoux, who earlier won the $115,300 Commonwealth Turf (GIII) aboard Heart to Heart.

The victory, Sparkling Review’s fourth in a row, was reminiscent of her 2 ¾-length win in last month’s $150,000 Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland in which she unleashed a strong, eye-catching rally in the middle of the course.

Kiss Moon led the full field of 14 sophomore fillies through a comfortable clip of :23.61, :47.63 and 1:12.05 with Sparking Review unhurried in mid-pack about four to five lengths off the leader. Sparkling Review fanned wide on the far turn to range into contention but Kiss Moon, sent off at 29-1, began to widen her margin and opened up a three-length lead at the head of the stretch. When Leparoux dropped his hands, Sparkling Review rolled by the leader and won going away. Lady Lara-IRE, conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, also rallied late to nail Kiss Moon by a neck for the show.

Sparkling Review banked $134,167 for the win and paid her backers with $10.60, $5 and $4.80 as the 4-1 third betting choice.

Lady Lara-IRE, the 5-2 second choice ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, returned $4.40 and $3.40. Kiss Moon, piloted by the Fall Meet’s leading rider Corey Lanerie, paid $11.40.

Personal Diary, Sandiva-IRE, Walk Close, 2-1 favorite Testa Rossi-FR, Speed Seeker, Miss Frost, A Little Bit Sassy, Spring Included, Munirah, Distorted Beauty and Courageous Julie completed the order of finish. V V Goodnight, Secret Someone, Photo Call-IRE and Black Elegance-IRE were scratched from the also-eligible list.

Sparkling Review, a Lemon Drop Kid filly out of the Pleasant Tap mare Pleasant Review bred in Kentucky by Seltzer, is perfect since she moved to the turf four races ago following a fifth-place run over dirt in her career bow at Churchill Downs in June. Overall, she has won four of five starts and $303,642.

“She’s got such an unbelievable turn of foot,” Colebrook said. “It’s pretty crazy when you think about the fact that she was just a maiden in August.”

Colebrook said that Sparkling Review is eligible for a pair of Grade I, $300,000 turf stakes at Del Mar – the Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Nov. 29 and the Matriarch for fillies and mares at one mile on Nov. 30 – but he wouldn’t firm future plans until he saw how she came out of the race and discussing it with his owners. Either way, the filly will go back to the owner’s farm and will get a break over the winter.

Sparkling Review’s time of 1:42.33 was the second-fastest Mrs. Revere only behind the 1:41.73 by Mary’s Follies in 2007.

The race – which offered the final opportunity for North American 3-year-old fillies to compete on turf against members of their age group – is named in honor of Mrs. Revere, an accomplished Churchill Downs fan favorite in the mid-1980s. Mrs. Revere won 12 races in 28 starts, finished second seven times and earned $429,545 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Her six wins in a dozen starts at Churchill Downs included stakes triumphs in the Regret, Dogwood and Edgewood in 1984 and the Kentucky Cardinal in 1985. She was owned by Drs. David Richardson and Hiram Polk, who have provided the winner’s trophy for the Mrs. Revere in each year of its existence.

MRS. REVERE QUOTES

BEN COLEBROOK, jockey of Heart to Heart (winner) – “I don’t know if she got the best trip but she got a pretty good one. Julien (Leparoux) and I talked about it before the race how we didn’t think she would be quite as far back as she had been in other races. But Julien was able to work that out; he saved ground around the first turn and kind of waited and he said she only really ran for a quarter of a mile. She’s got such an unbelievable turn of foot; it’s pretty crazy when you think about the fact that she was just a maiden in August.”

On next start: “I nominated her to the Matriarch and to the Hollywood Derby, because we said going in that if she won impressively that we would talk about it, and now that she has, we’ll definitely talk about it. But I’m not sure what we’ll do from here to be honest.”

On winter plans: “I’m most likely going to Sam Houston for the winter and we’ll ship around to some other tracks. The filly will go back to the owner’s farm and she will either get a break after this race or after the next one depending on what we decide.”

JULIEN LEPAROUX, jockey of Sparkling Review (winner) – “She’s a very nice filly. She always has given me a very nice kick at the end and she’s done everything very easily in her last two wins now. I didn’t even have to whip her today; I just asked her a little bit and felt like she had plenty left in the tank. I don’t know where she’ll go next but I am definitely excited about riding her again.”

KENNY MCCARTHY, assistant to trainer BILL MOTT, trainer of Lady Lara-IRE (runner-up) – “With the slow break, he (jockey Shaun Bridgmohan) had no choice but to sit back there. It looked like over on the second turn that everybody stepped on the brakes a little bit and she was forced to tap the brakes herself and then come wide. But she gave it a run. She was second best today to a nice filly.”

SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey on Lady Lara-IRE (runner-up) – “She’s a very honest filly. I thought she gave me everything she had. She broke a step slow and I had to go wide on the far turn, but she’s a very honest filly.”

DAVID VANCE, trainer of Kiss Moon (third)Q: She looked like she might be gone at the three-sixteenths pole … “That’s where we tried to win our race. We thought that our best shot was to kind of steal away from them and everybody would be kind of waiting for you. She still had run in her, but we couldn’t hold off that filly that won the race. I don’t want to face her too many times. She’s a super filly.”

Q: You said before the race you hoped to at least get a piece of this one, and Kiss Moon did just that … “I ended up getting third money in a Grade II. I wish she could have won the race, but I’m happy that she got third. We’ll got home and get her five or six months of rest and she’ll back Derby Day in that stake here (Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile). That’ll probably be her first start next year.”

COREY LANERIE, jockey on Kiss Moon (third) – “She set the pace the whole way and gave me everything she had. At the eighth-pole I really thought I had got away with it, but they just came and got her.”

JON COURT, jockey on Personal Diary (fourth) – “She got kind of sawed-off a couple of times and I ended up being shuffled back a little further than I wanted. We weren’t expecting her to be close, but we’d like to have been in mid-pack and make one run, which is her style. She had to make a late close from quite far behind. With a little racing luck, she’d have been right there.”

JOSE LEZCANO, jockey on Testa Rossi-FR (seventh as the favorite) – “She had a pretty good trip. I think the turf was a little hard for her. She gave me a good run. She had been away for a long time and I think she’ll move forward off this race.”

Streaking Heart to Heart Shows the Way in Grade III Commonwealth Turf

Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart led every step of the way in Saturday’s 11th running of the $115,300 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs and beat Other Cheek by 3 ¾ lengths to collect his third consecutive stakes victory.

The pocket-sized son of English Channel, ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Brian Lynch, ran 1 1/16 miles over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in a stakes record 1:41.54 to defeat 11 rivals in the year’s final graded stakes race on turf for 3-year-olds in the region. The previous Commonwealth Turf best was Get Stormy’s 1:41.67 in 2009.

Breaking from post positive five, Heart to Heart led field through fractions of :23.60, :47.53 and 1:11.53 with Other Cheek tracking about a length back. Leparoux, who had a snug hold of the reins through the early stages, dropped his hands at the head of the stretch and Heart to Heart accelerated, widened his advantage and drew away for the comfortable win.

"I think one of this horse’s biggest assets is how well he runs the turns,” Lynch said. “He really ran around the first turn smoothly, relaxed down the backside and accelerated into that last turn really well. I think his acceleration in the turns allows him to get an advantage on the other horses and by they straightened up down the lane he was full of confidence. … He certainly loves the two-turns and loves Churchill Downs.”

Heart to Heart, sent to post as the even-money favorite in the field of 12, paid $4, $3.20 and $2.60. Other Cheek, ridden by Florent Geroux, returned $12 and $8.40. Bashart, who rated just behind the pacesetters on the outside with Luis Saez up, was another three-quarters of length back of the runner-up in third and paid $5.

Highball, Hesinfront, Afortable, Wallyanna, Captain Dixie, Woodfield Springs, Shiva Ryan, De Facto and Archway to Heaven completed the order of finish. Stormy Pacific was scratched.

Heart to Heart has thrived for Hamilton and Lynch since August. Before the Commonwealth Turf, the Canadian-bred colt wired foes by three lengths at Saratoga in the $100,000 Better Talk Now on Aug. 20 and won Churchill Downs’ $110,000 Jefferson Cup (GIII) by four on Sept. 27.

The $66,482 winner’s share of the Commonwealth Turf purse pushed Heart to Heart’s bankroll to $329,807. Overall, he’s won five of 12 starts with one second and a pair of thirds in 12 starts.

Heart to Heart, by English Channel out of the Silver Deputy mare Ask the Question, was bred in Ontario, Canada by Red Hawk Ranch.

Lynch said the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (GII) for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf at Santa Anita on Dec. 26 is the likely next race for Heart to Heart. After that, he’ll spend the winter at Gulfstream Park and could target the Grade I Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day.

For Lynch, it was his second victory on the day at Churchill Downs. He saddled 3-year-old filly Can’t Use Nellie ($22.20) to an upset win in the second race, a claiming event over seven furlongs.

BC Classic Winner Bayern, Constitution Head Nominees for 140th Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare

Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I) winner Bayern and Florida Derby winner (GI) Constitution headline a cast of 20 horses nominated to the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Nov. 28. Named for Churchill Downs founder Col. M. Lewis Clark, the 1 1/8-mile dirt contest will be renewed for the 140th time as the featured event on “Black Friday” of the Fall Meet’s closing weekend.

Bayern prevailed in a controversial renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Classic but is an unlikely Clark starter, according to Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. Instead, he is pointing Rebel (GII) winner Hoppertunity to the Clark.

After taking Oaklawn’s Rebel and finishing second behind eventual Kentucky Derby-winner California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby (GI), Hoppertunity was a highly-regarded contender for the Derby but was scratched from the race after a left-front foot issue was detected. Hoppertunity resumed training in September and made his return in an allowance optional claiming event on Oct. 29 at Santa Anita where he finished second beaten a half-length. Hopperunity has earned $622,720 from a 2-2-0 record through six starts.

Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC and WinStar Farm LLC’s Constitution, like Hoppertunity, was another talented Kentucky Derby hopeful, until a hairline fracture was discovered in his front right cannon bone, eliminating him from Derby consideration. The Todd Pletcher trainee returned to racing Oct. 12 at Belmont Park where he finished fourth in an allowance optional claiming event, beaten by 1 ½ lengths. Through four starts, Constitution carries a record of 3-0-0 with earnings of $653,600.

Other Clark nominees include the Steve Asmussen-trained Tapiture, who was a game second, 1 ¼ lengths back of the impressive Goldencents in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI); Dale Romans trained duo of Oct. 25 Fayette (GII) winner Pick of the Litter and multiple graded stakes-winning millionaire Prayer for Relief, who finished 12th in the Classic; the Al Stall Jr.-trained Departing, the multiple Grade II winner and earner of more than $1.5 million who finished second to Pick of the Litter in the Fayette; the Chad Brown-trained duo of Suburban Handicap (GII) winner and Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) runner-up Zivo and Easter Gift, who was third in last year’s Clark; and Cary Street, who impressively won the Las Vegas Marathon (GII) on the Breeders’ Cup undercard for trainer Brendan Walsh.

DON’T TELL SOPHIA, MOLLY MORGAN TOP LIST OF 23 FALLS CITY NOMS

Phil Sims and Jerry Namy’s Don’t Tell Sophia and Bill Cubbedge’s Molly Morgan highlight a cast of 23 fillies and mares nominated to the 99th running of the $200,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) to be contested on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 27.

Don’t Tell Sophia, who has banked $1,339,295 with a record of 23-11-5-3, captured an upset victory in the Oct. 5 Spinster (GI) at Keeneland and followed that with a runner-up performance in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) where she finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Untapable. The 6-year-old mare by Congaree has provided quite the return on investment for her owners, who purchased her for $1,000 at the 2009 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. She finished second in last year’s Falls City behind Wine Princess.

The Dale Romans-trained Molly Morgan was an impressive 2 ¼-length winner in the $200,000 Chilukki (GII) beneath the Twin Spires on Nov. 1. Prior to that, she finished third behind Don’t Tell Sophia and Ria Antonia in the Spinster at Keeneland and ran second to Don’t Tell Sophia in the Sept. 6 Locust Grove at Churchill Downs. She carries a record of 7-4-6 through 26 starts and has earned $662,407.

Other notable Falls City nominees include Bob Baffert-trained Jojo Warrior, a multiple graded stakes winner of $371,981 who finished third in her last start at Parx in the Cotillion (GI) on Sept. 20; Tiz Windy, winner of the Oct. 4 Indiana Oaks (GII) in her last start for trainer Carl Nafzger; and Canadian-bred Strut the Course, trained by Barbara Minshall, who has won her last three starts by a combined 13 ¾ lengths at Woodbine, including her most recent score in the Maple Leaf (GIII) on Nov. 1.

COX REFLECTS ON LANDMARK YEAR

After capturing a pair of Friday night victories with Angie’s Prim Lady in Race 3 and Runs with Bulls in Race 4, Brad Cox tied trainers Mike Maker and Mark Casse for third place with six wins in the Churchill Downs trainer’s standings. Cox saddled his first graded winner when Carve took the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII) on June 28 and his trainees have amassed $2,216,478 in earnings, a personal best for Cox.

“This has been my biggest year as a trainer by far,” Cox said. “We’ve had a lot more diversity in our clientele this year, which has given us a wider variety of horses. It ranges from a horse like Carve, who was my first graded stakes winner this year, on down to the $5,000 claimers. It’s a little bit of everything which gives us strength in numbers.”

While the Louisville-native Cox has been extremely pleased with the success of his horses in 2014, the conditioner did not mention a local training title to be high on his list of priorities this year.

“I really don’t have it in my plans to try and win a training title,” Cox said. “The main reason being that I only have around 40-45 horses, so when some of these trainers here are carrying between 100 and 120, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to worry about it. If it happens, obviously it would be a great achievement, but if we finished second or third I’d still be very content with it. We finished fourth in the spring here and I thought that was awesome.

“That’s not to say we won’t still be active this meet. There are a lot of horses that ran earlier this meet that I hope to make another start with, and we plan to continue being competitive. But I’m not going to enter any horses with the sole intent of winning a training title.”

Both of Cox’s winners from Friday night were claimed, with Angie’s Prim Lady moving to the barn of trainer Tom Amoss and Runs with Bulls moving into the care of trainer Albert Dodge.

“We were okay with losing them,” Cox said. “We obviously knew that there was a shot of that happening and we were ready to accept it and thought both were very fair deals. We won both races and collected the claiming prices, so we’ll move on and hope to find some more good ones.”

EVENTS THIS WEEK: Sunday marks the return of the Who’s the Champ? Betting Challenge” in the ITW area on the second floor of the Grandstand. The entry fee is $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members). Registration is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Churchill Downs Lounge. $2 Win/Place mythical wagers on Races 3-8. First prize: Fully paid spot in the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas (includes a four-night stay in the Orleans Casino plus a $250 travel voucher). Second prize: $500 cash voucher. Third prize: $250 cash voucher. … Churchill Downs is offering free general admission to active or retired members of the United States armed services on Saturday and Sunday this week.

ON THE WORKTAB – Saturday’s Churchill Downs worktab featured a five-furlong breeze in 1:01.80 for Clark Handicap nominee Abraham for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Also breezing five furlongs was West Coast Belle, who went in 1:02.20 for trainer Wayne Catalano. The recent winner of the Rags to Riches is nominated to the Nov. 29 Golden Rod (GII) on closing weekend.

 

Lady Lara Looks to Remain Perfect in U.S. With Bid for Mrs. Revere

After taking her U.S. debut in the $200,000 Pebbles at Belmont Park, Swettenham Stud’s Lady Lara-IRE will try to keep her stateside unbeaten streak alive in Saturday’s $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old filly by Excellent Art-GB won a handicap race on Sept. 19 at Newbury in England and was shipped to the U.S. shortly thereafter to the barn of Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott.

Mott has teamed up with Australian-based Swettenham Stud on several occasions, campaigning graded stakes winners such as Sand Springs, Angara-GB, Changing Skies-IRE and Dress Rehearsal-IRE.

“We’ve had success together in the past,” Mott said. “They’ll send us over a good filly every now and again that they think might fit in America.”

In the Oct. 13 Pebbles, Lady Lara started the race in ninth place of the 11-horse field and was seventh after six furlongs before moving up to second in the stretch and crossing the wire a half-length in front of Distorted Beauty, another rival entered in Saturday’s Mrs. Revere.

“I was impressed with the way she finished,” Mott said. “She got shuffled a little bit and was pretty far behind but finished very well. She definitely made a huge run to get up and win. Based on that, she looks like a pretty legitimate filly.”

Mott said that she came out of the Pebbles in good order and that he plans to give her some rest after the Mrs. Revere.

“We shipped her down to Churchill shortly thereafter so she could train down there and get ready for this race,” Mott said. “She seems to be doing really well. Sometimes running them back even twice after shipping that far is risky. So with it being pretty much the end of the season anyway, she’ll get a break after this race.”

Jockey Junior Alvarado has the call on Lady Lara, who will break from post position 11 as the 9-2 co-second choice on the morning line in the full field of 14 3-year-old fillies for the Mrs. Revere. Post time for the co-featured ninth of 10 races is 4:36 p.m. ET.

CAPTAIN DIXIE SEEKS UPSET WIN IN COMMONWEALTH TURF

Fresh off an Oct. 25 allowance victory at Keeneland, Randal Family Trust’s Captain Dixie will seek an upset win in Saturday’s $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) beneath the Twin Spires.

Trained by Kellyn Gorder, Captain Dixie finished second beaten four lengths behind Heart to Heart in the Sept. 14 Jefferson Cup (GIII) at Churchill. Captain Dixie was made the 8-1 co-third choice along with Hesinfront, while Heart to Heart received morning-line odds of 8-5 as the favorite for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf event.

Following the runner-up Jefferson Cup performance, Gorder sought an allowance race at Keeneland as a prep event for the Commonwealth Turf but drew on the also-eligible list for that allowance contest, leaving the conditioner frustrated.

“At Keeneland I didn’t even think he was going to get in the field for that last race,” Gorder said. “We were stuck on the also-eligible list and I was pretty upset. We had waited for that race to use it as a prep for the Commonwealth Turf, so I was a little frustrated, but luckily we drew in and were able to win that one.”

After a pair of scratches, the 3-year-old son of Henrythenavigator drew into the field and won the one-mile turf allowance breaking from the 11-post in the 12-horse field. He is in a similar scenario Saturday as he will break from post position 10 out of a 13-horse field.

“I’m hoping he has a similar trip that he did last time,” Gorder said. “He drew the 11-hole for his last race and he’s in the 10-hole here. This field obviously is a lot tougher than the last race but I don’t mind being a little bit outside; hopefully it will keep us out of trouble in the early stages.”

Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. rode Captain Dixie in his last two outings but opted to ride in Maryland stakes engagements on Saturday. Gorder gave the mount to Shaun Bridgmohan, who had the opportunity to get a feel for Captain Dixie on Tuesday, breezing the colt a half-mile in :50.60 on the turf.

“I lost Ricardo,” Gorder said. “He’s going to be riding up at Laurel on Saturday but Shaun is a very suitable replacement. Shaun got a feel for him earlier this week and breezed him an easy half on the turf. I feel good about the spot we’re in. He seems to have improved from his last start and gained a little confidence so hopefully he can run a big one on Saturday.”

With a record of 2-2-1 from seven starts and earnings of $127,553, Captain Dixie will seek his first stakes victory in Saturday’s Commonwealth Turf, the co-featured seventh of 10 races with an approximate post time of 3:37 p.m. ET.

MATZ HAS AN OUTSIDE SHOT AT SATURDAY STAKES DOUBLE

Trainer Michael Matz is seeking a Saturday stakes double beneath the Twin Spires with Ramona S Bass LLC’s A Little Bit Sassy in the $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) and Rosedown Racing’s Bashart in the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII). Both drew the far outside post in their respective fields.

A Little Bit Sassy will break from post 14 and has been given morning line odds of 10-1 for the Mrs. Revere, and Bashart has been made the 6-1 second choice in the Commonwealth Turf, breaking from the 13-hole. Jockey Luis Saez has the call on both Matz entries.

After taking the Edgewood at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day, A Little Bit Sassy crossed the wire first in the June 14 Regret (GIII) but was disqualified from first and placed fourth after veering out and impeding a pair of rivals in the stretch.

Most recently the daughter of More Than Ready finished fifth in Belmont’s Sands Point (GII) on Sept. 13 and ninth in her last outing, the Oct. 17 Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland.

“She’s certainly not in an ideal post position,” Matz said. “Her last two starts were on soft turf so I’m hoping it’s a little more firm out there on Saturday. She’s been doing well and hopefully she handles the surface better. It’s a tough field but if she can overcome that post position I think we will be in good shape.”

Bashart was moved into the Matz barn prior to a fourth-place effort in the Sept. 1 Saranac (GIII) at Saratoga and followed that with a runner-up performance in his last outing, Delaware Park’s Kent (GIII) on Sept. 20. Matz anticipates a stalking trip for the 3-year-old son of War Front.

“I hope the stretch is long enough to get in a nice position to stay right off the pace,” Matz said. “He seems to be in good form. Again, it’s obviously not a great post draw but I hope he will have enough speed to stay right off the pace and have a nice trip.”

RECENTLY-RETIRED ROSIE NAPRAVNIK TO BE HONORED SATURDAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Recently retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, who made history at Churchill Downs by becoming the first and only female rider in the 140-year history of the track to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), will be honored for her career accomplishments in a special ceremony scheduled on Saturday.

Napravnik will be honored in the track’s every day winner’s circle after Saturday’s sixth race, which has been dubbed “The Run for Rosie” in her honor. Post time for the race is scheduled for 3:08 p.m. ET.

The 26-year-old native of Mendham, N.J. made history at Churchill Downs when she piloted Believe You Can to win the 2012 Kentucky Oaks, becoming the first woman to ride a winner of America’s premiere race for 3-year-old fillies. She won the race again this year, piloting Untapable to a commanding victory in its 140th running.

On Oct. 31, Napravnik won the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Santa Anita with Untapable, then moments later stunned the racing world by announcing that she was pregnant with her first child and would retire from riding after Breeders’ Cup competition on Nov. 1. She is married to Churchill Downs-based trainer Joe Sharp, who opened a public stable earlier this year, and Napravnik said she would be working to help build her husband’s stable until the baby’s arrival neared.

Saturday’s Churchill Downs celebration of Napravnik’s meteoric rise and the impact of her career will include a special 4-K Big Board video presentation of some of her most notable triumphs. Other special recognition for Napravnik and presentation of gifts from the track and others are also scheduled.

INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT FOR FRIDAY’S DOWNS AFTER DARK: SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester returns to Churchill Downs on Friday night with the special theme being “Shaken, Not Stirred.” – a nod to James Bond films.

Martinis, silhouette dancers, movie villains, live music and more await in an ambiance that exudes class and understated cool at Downs After Dark: Shaken, Not Stirred.

Gentlemen are encouraged to don tuxedos with bow ties or tailored suits for an understated cool. For the ladies, a cocktail or evening dress will help steal the spotlight from your international man of mystery.

Click this link for a PDF copy of Churchill Downs' Nov. 14 Race Day Notes, an edition that includes additional data and statistical information.

Sparkling Review Hopes to Extend Win Streak in Saturday's Grade II Mrs. Revere

Fresh off an impressive 2 ¾-length victory in the Oct. 17 Valley View (Grade III) at Keeneland, Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer’s Sparkling Review will put her three-race winning streak on the line in Saturday’s $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Ben Colebrook, Sparkling Review’s only loss came over muddy dirt in her maiden debut at 6 ½ furlongs when she finished fifth. Since then she has stretched out going at least the distance of a mile on turf and earned $169,475 from three wins in four starts.

“I was very impressed with her performance in the Valley View,” Colebrook said. “I was surprised with her too, not so much that she won, but surprised in the ease in which she did it against a field that tough.

“She came out of that last race great. I think she’s still an improving filly; she’s lightly raced and I think she’ll run another big one on Saturday. It’s definitely a tough spot and we’re going to improve still from her performance last time, but I think she has a lot left in the tank.”

Jockey Julien Leparoux had his first mount on Sparkling Review in the Valley View victory and will be back aboard the filly for the Mrs. Revere, breaking from post position four.

“I think we drew a good post is position,” Colebrook said. “Now that Julien has ridden her once and breezed her a couple times on the grass, I feel like he knows her better and will be able to work out a pretty good trip from that four-hole. There’s a little bit of speed to the inside and a little bit of speed to the outside, so hopefully he can work out a stalking trip from there.”

Colebrook said that while the 3-year-old daughter of Lemon Drop Kid overcame many obstacles in winning her last three races, Sparkling Review probably will need a little bit of racing luck Saturday.

“She’s never really had a lot of racing luck,” Colebrook said. “She got kind of a rough trip at Kentucky Downs and still was able to overcome it and she had a bad draw in her last race at Keeneland and still overcame that. Julien wasn’t really wide around the first turn in the Keeneland race, but she had to go way-wide around the second turn. So she hasn’t had a whole lot of racing luck yet but I think we are going to need some on Saturday against this type of field.”

The co-featured Mrs. Revere will go as the ninth of 10 races Saturday at Churchill Downs, with an approximate post time of 4:36 p.m. ET.

HIGHBALL SEEKING FIRST GRADED STAKES WIN IN COMMONWEALTH TURF

Gary and Mary West’s Highball, well rested after scoring a Kentucky Downs allowance victory on Sept. 10, will bid for his first graded stakes victory in the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs on Saturday for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Catalano said the connections had a chance to run Highball again in between his allowance score and the Commonwealth Turf, but they ultimately decided they wanted him fresh for Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf event.

“We had an opportunity to run him in a two-other-than, but it was a little closer to this stake than I would have liked,” Catalano said. “Seeing as it will probably be the last 3-year-old stake of the year for us, we decided to wait it out and go with a fresh horse.”

Through five starts, Highball is 2-0-1 with earnings of $127,250. His past running style has been to start toward the back of the pack and rally late, but Catalano said he thinks the son of Lemon Drop Kid will be a little closer to the pacesetters on Saturday.

“There’s some speed in the race, which I think works in our favor,” Catalano said. “He’ll be a little closer to the front at a racetrack like Churchill. Even though he won that last one, I don’t think he cared for the racetrack at Kentucky Downs that much. That European-style track is a little different, I guess. I think he’ll be a little closer to the pace Saturday than he has been and we’ve been happy with his training, so we’re looking forward to it.”

Highball will have jockey Channing Hill in the saddle Saturday for the Commonwealth Turf, which goes as the seventh of 10 races with an approximate post time of 3:37 p.m. ET.

LUKAS SEEKING TURF STAKES DOUBLE WITH PAIR OF SATURDAY RUNNERS

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas will seek a turf stakes double with Zayat Stables LLC’s Courageous Julie entered in the $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) and Calumet Farm’s De Facto in the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) at Churchill Downs this Saturday.

Courageous Julie is coming off back-to-back allowance victories on the dirt, most recently at the distance of seven furlongs on Oct. 24 at Keeneland. While Lukas admitted that the daughter of Pioneerof the Nile has shown a preference to dirt, the conditioner said he wanted to give her another race this year and that she had earned another chance to face stakes fillies.

“I wish this race wasn’t on the turf; I think she’s a little better on the dirt but again she’s doing pretty well and we thought we’d try her one more time this year,” Lukas said. “The turf is getting pretty dry so maybe it will be a little more like a dirt course on Saturday. We’ll see. She ran so well in her last two that we wanted to give her another chance versus stakes company.”

Courageous Julie has competed in four stakes events this year, with her best efforts coming as fifth-place finishes in the $150,000 Edgewood at Churchill Downs and the Grade III Fantasy at Oaklawn Park.

With regards to De Facto, Lukas said that he also deserved an opportunity to contend in a stakes event and noted that horses generally start to show significant change at this time of year.

“He needs to step up but this time of year is when horses really start to change a lot,” Lukas said. “We’re going to give him an opportunity; we’re not planning to blow anybody away or anything but we thought he deserved this opportunity.”

Lukas also recognized the Commonwealth Turf as a significant step forward for the son of Dynaformer, but said the race would be a good measuring stick either way.

“We’ll get a better feel for where he is after this race,” Lukas said. “We understand that this is a big-time step forward for him, but with this being the end of the grass season so to speak, we thought we’d give him a shot.

“But he’s been working great in his training and everything we just need to get a better performance out of him.”

De Facto will break from post position four in the Commonwealth Turf with jockey Jon Court aboard and Courageous Julie will be ridden by Joe Johnson, breaking from post 10.

INDOOR ENTERTAINMENT FOR FRIDAY’S DOWNS AFTER DARK: SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED

Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester returns to Churchill Downs on Friday night with the special theme being “Shaken, Not Stirred.” – a nod to James Bond films.

Martinis, silhouette dancers, movie villains, live music and more await in an ambiance that exudes class and understated cool at Downs After Dark: Shaken, Not Stirred.

Gentlemen are encouraged to don tuxedos with bow ties or tailored suits for an understated cool. For the ladies, a cocktail or evening dress will help steal the spotlight from your international man of mystery.

With cool temperatures expected, it’s important to note that all guests will have free access to “The Classic Lounge” – an interior pop-up spy-themed cocktail lounge located on the second floor of the Clubhouse that will feature live musical performances by Homegrown (3 p.m.), Allison Bray of NBC’s The Voice (6:30 p.m.) and Endless Summer Band (7 p.m.). Contests include Oddjob Hat Throwing (5:05 p.m.), Nerf Gun Sharpshooting (6 p.m.) and Best Dressed (8:10 p.m.). Also, the official artwork for Kentucky Derby 141 will be revealed at 6:30 p.m. followed by a print signing with artist Kimberly Santini in the Churchill Downs Store from 7-8 p.m.

Indoor seating is still available at ChurchillDowns.com/tickets, including the 21-and-over VIP Skye Terrace, which will be located in the spacious Skye Terrace 4.

Gates open Friday at 3 p.m. and the first race is 4:30 p.m. The 10th and final race is scheduled for 9:08 p.m. but the party in “The Classic Lounge” and VIP Skye Terrace will continue until 10:30 p.m.

MILESTONE WATCHRobby Albarado, who was awarded his 1,000th Churchill Downs winner when Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards uploaded a ruling Saturday on their web site (http://khrc.ky.gov/Rulings/14-0081.pdf), is still waiting to celebrate that significant milestone with a winning ride. He had seven scheduled mounts on Thursday. The only other jockeys to win 1,000 races at Churchill Downs are Pat Day (2,482) and Calvin Borel (1,170).

RECENTLY-RETIRED ROSIE NAPRAVNIK TO BE HONORED SATURDAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS

Recently retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, who made history at Churchill Downs by becoming the first and only female rider in the 140-year history of the track to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), will be honored for her career accomplishments in a special ceremony scheduled on Saturday.

Napravnik will be honored in the track’s every day winner’s circle after Saturday’s sixth race, which has been dubbed “The Run for Rosie” in her honor. Post time for the race is scheduled for 3:08 p.m. ET.

The 26-year-old native of Mendham, N.J. made history at Churchill Downs when she piloted Believe You Can to win the 2012 Kentucky Oaks, becoming the first woman to ride a winner of America’s premiere race for 3-year-old fillies. She won the race again this year, piloting Untapable to a commanding victory in its 140th running.

On Oct. 31, Napravnik won the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Santa Anita with Untapable, then moments later stunned the racing world by announcing that she was pregnant with her first child and would retire from riding after Breeders’ Cup competition on Nov. 1. She is married to Churchill Downs-based trainer Joe Sharp, who opened a public stable earlier this year, and Napravnik said she would be working to help build her husband’s stable until the baby’s arrival neared.

Saturday’s Churchill Downs celebration of Napravnik’s meteoric rise and the impact of her career will include a special 4-K Big Board video presentation of some of her most notable triumphs. Other special recognition for Napravnik and presentation of gifts from the track and others are also scheduled.

MORE EVENTS THIS WEEK: Because of cold temperatures, Saturday’s drink specials for Pigskins and Ponies ($2 Bud/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois and $1 Pepsi products and bottled water) will be available indoors in the Lower Club near the paddock. The featured college football games, shown on select TV monitors and the Plaza video board, will be Ohio State at Minnesota (12 p.m.) and Kentucky at Tennessee (4 p.m.). Churchill Downs will offer free admission to college students every Saturday with a current student I.D. … Sunday marks the return of the Who’s the Champ? Betting Challenge” in the ITW area on the second floor of the Grandstand. The entry fee is $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members). Registration is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Churchill Downs Lounge. $2 Win/Place mythical wagers on Races 3-8. First prize: Fully paid spot in the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas (includes a four-night stay in the Orleans Casino plus a $250 travel voucher). Second prize: $500 cash voucher. Third prize: $250 cash voucher. … Churchill Downs is offering free general admission to active or retired members of the United States armed services on Saturday and Sunday this week.

ON THE WORKTAB – Multiple graded stakes-winner Departing recorded a bullet workout, traveling a half-mile in :48, the fastest time of 49 other workers at the distance. His trainer Al Stall Jr. said the 4-year-old gelding by War Front is possible for the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Friday, Nov. 28. … Multiple graded stakes winner I’m Already Sexy breezed five furlongs on the turf in 1:00.60 beneath the Twin Spires on Thursday. … Tiz Windy, winner of the Grade II Indiana Oaks in her last start, worked five furlongs in 1:03.80 for Hall of Fame trainer Carl Nafzger.

History-Making, Two-Time Kentucky Oaks Winner Rosie Napravnik To Be Honored by Churchill Downs on Saturday

Recently retired jockey Rosie Napravnik, who made history at Churchill Downs by becoming the first and only female rider in the 140-year history of the track to win the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), will be honored for her career accomplishments in a special ceremony scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 15.

Napravnik will be honored in the ceremony in the track’s every day winner’s circle after the day’s sixth race, which has been dubbed “The Run for Rosie” in her honor. Post time for the sixth race is scheduled for 3:08 p.m. (all times EST) and first race post time for Saturday’s 10-race program is set for 12:40 p.m.

The 26-year-old native of Mendham, N.J. made history at Churchill Downs when she piloted Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Believe You Can to win the 2012 running of the Kentucky Oaks, becoming the first woman to ride a winner of America’s premiere race for 3-year-old fillies. She won the race again this year, piloting Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Untapable to a commanding victory in its 140th running. 

Between her Oaks victories, Napravnik rode Mylute to a fifth-place finish behind Orb in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) – the best finish by a female jockey in the history of America’s greatest race. She is the only woman to ride in all three legs of the Triple Crown: the Derby, Pimlico’s Preakness (GI) and the Belmont Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park.

On Oct. 31, Napravnik won the $2 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) at Santa Anita with Untapable, then moments later stunned the racing world by announcing that she was pregnant with her first child and would retire from riding after Breeders’ Cup competition on Nov. 1. She is married to Churchill Downs-based trainer Joe Sharp, who opened a public stable earlier this year, and Napravnik said she would be working to help build her husband’s stable until the baby’s arrival neared.

Saturday’s Churchill Downs celebration of Napravnik’s meteoric rise and the impact of her career will include a special 4-K Big Board video presentation of some of her most notable triumphs. Other special recognition for Napravnik and presentation of gifts from the track and others are also scheduled.

Along with her historic success in the Kentucky Oaks, Napravnik is the all-time leader in stakes victories and career earnings by female jockeys at Churchill Downs, and ranks third at the track in career wins by women. Her 95 career victories at Churchill Downs include 13 stakes wins, which eclipsed a record previously held by the retired Donna Barton Brothers. Her mounts at the Louisville track earned $5,706,600, which shattered the record of $4,618,765 in earnings by horses ridden by Barton Brothers between1993-98. Only the retired Patricia “P.J.” Cooksey, the track’s leading female winner with 214 victories, and Barton Brothers (134), rank ahead of Napravnik in total victories by women at the track.

Napranvik had another record day at Churchill Downs on May 25 when she guided five horses into the winner’s circle. The five-win day was a record-setter for female jockeys and ranks third on the track’s all-time list of single-day victories.

Napravnik’s victory aboard Untapable in the 2014 Distaff was her second in a Breeders’ Cup event. She enjoyed her first success in that event with a victory aboard eventual 2-year-old champion Shanghai Bobby in the 2012 Juvenile. In doing so, she joined Hall of Famer Julie Krone, the all-time win leader among female jockeys in North America, as the only women to earn victories in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships.

In 2010, Napravnik became the first woman to ride winners of more than $10 million, surpassing Krone’s record for earnings in a single year.

Despite her retirement, Napravnik continues to rank sixth among North American jockeys in earnings this year with $13,531,663. She rode 189 winners from 853 mounts during the year, which reflect a win rate of 22 percent.

Grade I Winner Personal Diary Tops Overflow Field of 18 3-Year-Old Turf Fillies for Grade II Mrs. Revere

The growing popularity of Churchill Downs’ $200,000-added Mrs. Revere Stakes (Grade II) was never more evident than the moment on Wednesday that an overflow field of 18 3-year-old fillies headed by Grade I winner Personal Diary was entered to compete in the 24th running of the 1 1/16-mile turf race scheduled as the co-featured event on Saturday at the home of the Kentucky Derby.

G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm Racing’s homebred Personal Diary, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Oaks, is the only Grade I winner in the field and could end up as the betting favorite in the Mrs. Revere. But it’s unlikely that she would be a clear-cut choice in a talented group of 3-year-old turf fillies that includes Testa Rossi-FR, a two-time stakes winner and runner-up to Chriselliam in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI); Sparkling Review, winner of Keeneland’s recent Valley View (GIII); two-time turf stakes winner Kiss Moon; A Little Bit Sassy, winner of Churchill Downs’ Edgewood Stakes;  and British import Lady Lara-IRE, a winner in her only stateside race.

A maximum field of 14 will be allowed to run in the Mrs. Revere, which is co-featured on a 10-race Saturday program with the 11th running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) for 3-year-olds at the same distance on turf. The Mrs. Revere is the ninth race with a scheduled post time of 4:36 p.m. (all time EST). Post time for the first of the day is 12:40 p.m.

The race – which offers the final opportunity for North American 3-year-old fillies to compete on turf against members of their age group – is named in honor of Mrs. Revere, an accomplished Churchill Downs fan favorite in the mid-1980s. Mrs. Revere won 12 races in 28 starts, finished second seven times and earned $429,545 for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Her six wins in a dozen starts at Churchill Downs included stakes triumphs in the Regret, Dogwood and Edgewood in 1984 and the Kentucky Cardinal in 1985. She was owned by Drs. David Richardson and Hiram Polk, who have provided the winner’s trophy for the Mrs. Revere in each year of its existence.

Personal Diary came into her own over the summer for trainer Vicki Oliver when she displayed significant improvement when she crossed the finish line a close third, beaten a half-length at odds of 12-1, in Churchill Downs’ Grade III Regret on turf. The track’s stewards elevated Oliver’s chestnut daughter of City Zip to second when apparent winner A Little Bit Sassy was disqualified and placed fourth and runner-up Aurelia’s Belle was elevated to the top spot.

Oliver shipped Personal Diary west to Del Mar, where she was nipped by Kool Kat in an allowance race that was moved from turf to dirt and then scored an emphatic victory over Stellaris and My Conquestadory at odds of 9-1 in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks.  Personal Diary ran third to the impressive Crown Queen in her only subsequent start in Keeneland’s Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (GI) over soft turf on Oct. 11.

Personal Diary’s Del Mar Oaks win was just her second in 11 career races, but she carries a record of 2-3-3 in nine races on turf. She will break from post five and will be ridden by Jon Court. She carries high weight of 123 pounds and concedes five pounds to each of her Mrs. Revere rivals.

Thomas Coleman and James Covell’s French-bred Testa Rossi enters the Mrs. Revere with stakes triumphs in her U.S. debut in the 2013 Miss Grillo (GIII) at Belmont Park and a romp in the Florida Oaks (GIII) as bookends to her strong run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. But the New York-based filly has not run for trainer Chad Brown since a fourth-place run behind dead-heat winners Rosalind and Room Service in the April 5 Ashland (GI) over Keeneland’s former synthetic Polytrack course.

“She suffered a minor injury after the Ashland,” Brown said. “But she came back from it in good order and has been training well since. We’ve had the Mrs. Revere circled since about August. We just looked at it as a good spot to bring her back." J

ockey Jose Lezcano will ride the daughter of Dr Fong, who breaks from post one on the hedge.

The field of 18 fillies in the Mrs. Revere features five entrants from Keeneland’s $150,000-added Valley View (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies on turf on Oct. 17 and six from Belmont Park’s $200,000 Pebbles on Oct. 13.

Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer’s Sparkling Review unleashed a strong rally in the middle of the course to score an emphatic 2 ¾-length victory in over a “good” course under jockey Julien Leparoux in the Valley View. The Ben Colebrook-trained Lemon Drop Kid filly is perfect since she moved to the turf three races ago following a fifth-place run over dirt in racing debut at Churchill Downs in June. Leparoux returns to the saddle aboard Sparkling Review, who drew post four for the Mrs. Revere.

Other Valley View runners entered in the Mrs. Revere include runner-up Spring Included, Miss Frost (eighth), A Little Bit Sassy (ninth) and V V Goodnight (an also-eligible who finished fifth).

The Steve Hobby-trained Spring Included’s runner-up finish in the Valley View followed a 29-1 victory in her grass debut in a Kentucky Downs allowance race in mid-September. Jesus Castanon will ride from post nine.

Dogwood Stable’s Miss Frost notched back-to-back wins on turf in the Riskaverse and Tenski at Saratoga, but the daughter of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin disappointed in the Valley View. Now trained by Neil Howard, she will be ridden by Robby Albarado in her effort to bounce back in the Mrs. Revere.

Ramona S. Bass’s A Little Bit Sassy finished first in both of her previous races at Churchill Downs, but lost the second of those wins in her disqualification in the Regret. She defeated Istanford, who would later defeat males in the Arlington Classic (GIII), in her victory in the Edgewood. She will attempt to return to form for trainer Michael Matz and snap a four-race losing streak when she breaks from post 14 under Luis Saez.

Swettenham Stud’s Lady Lara-IRE scored her second consecutive victory when she rallied from ninth to win the one-mile Pebbles by a half-length over Mrs. Revere rivals Distorted Beauty and Walk Close in the Pebbles. The Irish-bred daughter of Excellent Art is trained by Bill Mott, the all-time leader in wins and stakes victories at Churchill Downs, and jockey Junior Alvarado will ride from post 1.

Others from the Pebbles include Red Boiling Springs (GIII) winner Munirah, who finished 10th, fourth-place finisher Sandiva-IRE and eighth-place runner Secret Someone.

Churchill Downs-based Kiss Moon could also be a Mrs. Revere contender. Carl Pollard’s daughter of Malibu Moon finished third via disqualification in the Regret, and has won Indiana Grand’s Ta Wee and a division of Arlington Park’s Hatoof in her last three races for trainer Dave Vance. Corey Lanerie, the leading rider of the Fall Meet, has the mount from post seven.

The field for the Mrs. Revere from the hedge out (with jockey, weight): Testa Rossi-FR (Lezcano, 118), Munirah (Miguel Mena 118), Distorted Beauty (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Sparkling Review (Leparoux, 118), Personal Diary (Court, 123), Speed Seeker (Francisco Torres, 118), Kiss Moon (Lanerie, 118), Miss Frost (Albarado, 118), Spring Included (Castanon, 118), Courageous Julie (Joe Johnson, 118), Lady Lara-IRE (Alvarado, 118), Sandiva-IRE (Florent Gerousx, 118), Walk Close (Irad Ortiz Jr., 118), A Little Bit Sassy (Saez, 118), V V Goodnight (Channing Hill, 118), Secret Someone (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118), Photo Call-IRE (Mena, 118) and Black Elegance-IRE (Leparoux, 118).