Churchill Downs

CDI, KHBPA, KTA Reach ADW Agreement at Churchill Downs

Officials of Churchill Downs Incorporated and representatives of the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association have come to an agreement that allows, under specified terms and conditions, Churchill Downs racetrack to offer its live racing signal for distribution to national advance-deposit wagering platforms, including  The agreement covers the 2009 spring meeting at Churchill Downs.

“We are pleased to have reached a mutually acceptable resolution with Kentucky horsemen on this issue,” said Steve Sexton, executive vice president of Churchill Downs Incorporated and president of Churchill Downs racetrack.  “The real winners today are our customers, who finally will be able to enjoy access to Churchill Downs races when live racing resumes in the spring.  We are deeply grateful to our customers for their understanding, loyalty and patience throughout these negotiations.”

“We are pleased to have reached a resolution for the spring 2009 meet at Churchill Downs,” said Rick Hiles, president of the KHBPA.  “We believe the agreement will bring great benefits to our horsemen and will promote Kentucky racing throughout the country.”

“We look forward to moving forward together in an effort to preserve and promote racing in Kentucky and at Churchill Downs,” said David Richardson, president of the KTA.  “This agreement is one step in that important process.”

Churchill Downs’ 52-day Spring Meet opens on Saturday, April 25, 2009.  Wagering will be available through beginning on opening day and continuing through the close of racing on July 5, 2009.  The signal will also be offered to certain other national online wagering companies.  Terms for distribution to those ADW companies have not been finalized.   

Churchill Downs Incorporated, headquartered in Louisville, Ky., owns and operates world-renowned horse racing venues throughout the United States. Churchill Downs’ four racetracks in Florida, Illinois, Kentucky and Louisiana host many of North America’s most prestigious races, including the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks, Arlington Million, Princess Rooney Handicap and Louisiana Derby. Churchill Downs racetracks have hosted seven Breeders’ Cup World Championships.  Churchill Downs also owns off-track betting facilities and has interests in various advance-deposit wagering, television production, telecommunications and racing services companies, including a 50-percent interest in the national cable and satellite network HorseRacing TV™, that support the Company’s network of simulcasting and racing operations. Churchill Downs trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CHDN and can be found on the Internet at
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Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations include: the effect of global economic conditions, including any disruptions in the credit markets; the effect (including possible increases in the cost of doing business) resulting from future war and terrorist activities or political uncertainties; the overall economic environment; the impact of increasing insurance costs; the impact of interest rate fluctuations; the effect of any change in our accounting policies or practices; the financial performance of our racing operations; the impact of gaming competition (including lotteries and riverboat, cruise ship and land-based casinos) and other sports and entertainment options in those markets in which we operate; the impact of live racing day competition with other Florida and Louisiana racetracks within those respective markets; costs associated with our efforts in support of alternative gaming initiatives; costs associated with customer relationship management initiatives; a substantial change in law or regulations affecting pari-mutuel and gaming activities; a substantial change in allocation of live racing days; changes in Illinois law that impact revenues of racing operations in Illinois; the presence of wagering facilities of Indiana racetracks near our operations; our continued ability to effectively compete for the country’s top horses and trainers necessary to field high-quality horse racing; our continued ability to grow our share of the interstate simulcast market and obtain the consents of horsemen’s groups to interstate simulcasting; our ability to execute our acquisition strategy and to complete or successfully operate planned expansion projects; our ability to successfully complete any divestiture transaction; our ability to execute on our permanent slot facility in Louisiana and permanent slot facility in Florida; market reaction to our expansion projects; the loss of our totalisator companies or their inability to provide us assurance of the reliability of their internal control processes through Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 audits or to keep their technology current; the need for various alternative gaming approvals in Louisiana; our accountability for environmental contamination; the loss of key personnel; the impact of natural disasters on our operations and our ability to adjust the casualty losses through our property and business interruption insurance coverage; any business disruption associated with a natural disaster and/or its aftermath; our ability to integrate businesses we acquire, including our ability to maintain revenues at historic levels and achieve anticipated cost savings; the impact of wagering laws, including changes in laws or enforcement of those laws by regulatory agencies; the outcome of pending or threatened litigation, including the outcome of any counter-suits or claims arising in connection with a pending lawsuit in federal court in the Western District of Kentucky styled Churchill Downs Incorporated, et al v. Thoroughbred Horsemen's Group, LLC, Case #08-CV-225-S; changes in our relationships with horsemen's groups and their memberships; our ability to reach agreement with horsemen's groups on future purse and other agreements (including, without limiting, agreements on the sharing of revenues from gaming and advance deposit wagering); the effect of claims of third parties to intellectual property rights; and the volatility of our stock price.

Leparoux, Maker, Ramseys Rework Record Book As Churchill Downs Concludes Fall Meet

Jockey Julien Leparoux, trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey concluded their assault on the Churchill Downs record book in scoring dazzling victories their respective categories as the 26-day Fall Meet at the historic home of the Kentucky Derby concluded on Saturday, Nov. 29.

            Leparoux earned his fourth title as "leading jockey" at the Louisville track with four victories on the meet's closing day that brought his record victory total for the autumn racing session to 63.  Maker collected his first "leading trainer" title at the Louisville track after saddling a record 31 Fall Meet winners that included two on the meet's final day.  The Ramseys earned a record 14th "leading owner" crown as horses owned by the Nicholasville, Ky. couple won 24 races.  It was their seventh Fall Meet crown, which pulled them into a tie with the late John Franks for most fall titles.

            The meet was characterized by large fields of competitive horses and ended with special moments for two of Thoroughbred racing's outstanding older horses.  Einstein completed a remarkable year at Churchill Downs when the Helen Pitts-trained son of 1985 Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Spend a Buck upset heavily favored Commentator in the 135th running of the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Yum Brands (GII) on Friday, Nov. 28.  Einstein completed a rare double as he became the first horse to notch victories in the Clark and the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), two of Churchill Downs' most prestigious races.  His spectacular year at the Louisville track also included a second-place finish behind reigning "Horse of the Year" Curlin in the $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) and was runner-up to Grade I winner Thorn Song in the $200,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII) on the Matt Winn Turf Course.

            Curlin, based at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen for much of his spectacular racing career, was the recipient of a special send-off on the meet's final day as the 4-year-old son of Smart Strike was paraded before the track's fans for a final time.  Curlin, who finished third to Street Sense in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, became the first North American horse to surpass $10 million in career earnings in a career that included wins in the 2007 Preakness (GI) and $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (GI) and the 2008 renewal of the $6 million Dubai World Cup.

            The runaway winners of the trio "human" races during the Fall Meet comprised a formidable team as Leparoux was the first-call rider for Maker, who trains approximately 60 horses for the Ramseys.  Of the Ramseys' 24 winners, all but two were trained by Maker.   

            The Fall Meet performance Leparoux, 25-year-old native of Senlis, France, continued his remarkable ascent through the ranks of the top jockeys in the United States.  Leparoux first appeared at Churchill Downs as an apprentice jockey during the 2004 Fall Meet and notched just one win from 10 starts.  He was atop the leading rider standings from the 2008 meet's opening day on Oct. 26 on the way to eclipsing legendary jockey Pat Day's record of 55 Fall Meet victories established in 1984 by the Hall of Fame jockey and all-time leading rider under the Twin Spires.

            Leparoux's biggest day of the meet came on Tuesday, Nov. 11 when he notched seven wins in nine starts - winning on each of his first seven mounts during the afternoon - to tie Day's record for wins in a single day at Churchill Downs.  Day won seven races from eight mounts on June 20, 1984. 

            Robby Albarado, winner of the track's Spring Meet riding crown, finished second to Leparoux with 41 wins.  Kentucky Derby-winning jockeys Calvin Borel and Kent Desormeaux tied for third with 21 victories.  Brandon Meier won five races to finish as the meet's leading apprentice jockey. 

Maker, a former assistant to Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, continued his breakout year with his dominant performance in the Fall Meet.  The 39-year-old son of the late trainer George Maker completed the Fall Meet with 31 wins, a total that demolished the previous record 20 victories established by Dale Romans during a 27-day Fall Meet of 2003.  Ken McPeek finished second with 18 wins, while Romans came in third with 15 victories.  Along with collecting his first "leading trainer" crown at Churchill Downs, Maker's year has included fall training titles at Keeneland and Turfway Park, and he earned the training crown at the Winter-Spring Meet at Turfway.

The Ramseys are now competing only against themselves when it comes to the record for "leading owner" titles under the Twin Spires.  But their final tally of 24 wins during the 26-day meet nearly doubled the previous Fall Meet record of 15 victories set by T. Alie Grissom during a 23-day session in 1965.  So thorough was the dominance by the red-and-white clad Ramsey horses that the stable threatened the record for wins in the track's much longer Spring Meet.  That record belongs to A.J. Foyt Jr., whose horses won 27 races during the track's 93-day Spring Meet in 1984. 

            Maggi Moss finished second in total victories during the meet with eight wins, and Zayat Stables, LLC earned six victories.

            The Fall Meet at Churchill Downs continued its tradition of offering large and competitive fields for races throughout its 26-day run.  A total of 2,557 horses competed in 268 races for an average of 9.5 starters per race. 

            Other outstanding equine performances during the 2008 Fall Meet included victories on closing day by John C. Oxley's Beethoven in the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and a romp by Dolphus Morrison's homebred Rachel Alexandra in the $150,000-added Golden Rod for 2-year-old fillies.  Rachel Alexandra rolled to a 4 ¾-length victory in a stakes record 1:43.08 for 1 1/16 miles.  Calvin Borel rode both closing day winners, along with Domino Stud's Miss Isella in the $150,000 Falls City Handicap (GII) on Thanksgiving Day.

            Other outstanding stakes performers during the meet included the regally bred Acoma, a daughter of Empire Maker who won the Mrs. Revere (GII) for 3-year-old fillies on turf; Nistle's Crunch, who rallied for an upset win in the Commonwealth Turf (GIII) for 3-year-olds; the Todd Pletcher-trained veteran Leah's Secret won the Chilukki (GII) for older fillies and mares; while record-setting trainer Steve Asmussen notched his only stakes win of the meet when the veteran Magna Graduate won the Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) on the meet's opening day.  Bill Mott, Churchill Downs' all-time leader in victories and stakes wins by a trainer, lifted his career stakes total to 75 when Indescribable won the Cardinal (GIII) for fillies and mares on turf.  The River City Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up on turf finished in a rare dead heat as Karelian and Demarcation finished on even terms after 1 1/8 miles.       

Pitts Beams Over Victory by Einstien in Clark Handicap; Delightful Kiss Delights Veteran Trainer Anderson


Pitts Ecstatic Over Einstein's Clark Performance - More than 12 hours after Einstein's tour de force victory in the $400,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade II), the smile had not left the face of trainer Helen Pitts.[asset|]

            "I am just so proud of him," Pitts said of Einstein's 1 ½-length victory over Delightful Kiss. "I have never had a horse that loves his job so much."

            Einstein, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day, tracked odds-on favorite Commentator until the top of the stretch when he powered by to give jockey Julien Leparoux his fifth winner of the day.

            The victory was the fourth of the year for Einstein to go with three seconds in an eight-race campaign. Pitts called it his best race of the year.

            "The Turf Classic on Derby Day here was phenomenal," Pitts said of that victory, "and his Stephen Foster (second to Curlin) was great. But yesterday was sensational, the top of the heap, the way he did it coming off the layoff."

            Einstein had not run since a troubled fifth in the Aug. 9 Arlington Million (GI) on the Arlington Park turf. The Clark victory closed out the year for Einstein.

            "He will leave in 10 days for Gulfstream Park," Pitts said. "Our next goal with him is the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (GI to be run Feb. 1)."

            Einstein is a two-time winner of the Gulfstream Park race.

            Is there any chance Einstein could return to the dirt?

            "Probably the only place I would run him on the dirt would be here," Pitts said of Einstein, who broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on the dirt on Nov. 6, 2005 and has a 2-1-0 record in three races over the local course. "He really loves the dirt here."               

SUNSHINE MILLIONS NEXT OBJECTIVE FOR DELIGHTFUL KISS - Hobeau Farm's Delightful Kiss, a hard-charging runner-up to Einstein in the Clark Handicap, was scheduled to leave Churchill Downs around noon on Saturday for a return to his home base at Calder Race Course in Miami.

            "He ran a big race yesterday; he was really running at the finish," trainer Pete Anderson said.

            The 1 1/8-mile Clark closed out a strong finish to 2008 for Delightful Kiss, who scored Grade III victories in the Turfway Park Fall Championship and the All American Stakes at Golden Gate before running fourth, beaten two lengths, in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Marathon at Oak Tree at Santa Anita.

            "My next goal for him will be the Sunshine Millions at the end of January (Jan. 24)," Anderson said. "I might run him on the grass prior to that."

            Anderson first brought Delightful Kiss to Churchill Downs in the spring of 2007 with hopes of getting in the Kentucky Derby. However, insufficient graded earnings kept Delightful Kiss out of the "Run for the Roses" won by Street Sense.

            Anderson was asked if he thought he would have had the same success with Delightful Kiss had he run in the Kentucky Derby.

            "It is hard to say because he won the Ohio Derby soon after that and he was very close to top form," Anderson said. "He had a quarter crack that we were fighting after the Arkansas Derby. I would have liked to have made the Kentucky Derby, because at my age (now 77), I don't think I am going to get many chances.

            "I am fortunate to have him, he is a true delight. He has added 10 years to my life and for that I don't mind him biting me and kicking me."

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED FOR LEPAROUX - Julien Leparoux started the 26-day Fall Meet on fire and never cooled to an ember.

He took the lead for keeps in the rider standings with a four-win day on Oct. 30, the third day of the meet, and never looked back.

Leparoux hit the 10-day mark with 23 victories and the early pace had him on a path to break Pat Day's 23-year-old Fall Meet record of 55 victories. The bulk of the wins came for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker.

"Hopefully, everyone will break a record," Leparoux said three weeks ago of the record pace the Ramseys and Maker were on.

In Friday's third race, Leparoux made it mission accomplished on all counts when his victory aboard the Ramseys-owned and Maker-trained Just Like William gave him 56 winners.

Leparoux added three more winners on his five-win Friday and entered Saturday's card with 59 victories. Leparoux also had also posted 40 second-place finishes and 25 thirds for an in-the-money percentage of 62. He was named on nine mounts on Saturday's final racing program of the Fall Meet.

Maker enters closing day with 29 winners, 28 of which have been ridden by Leparoux. Maker, who obliterated the previous Fall Meet record of 20 victories set by Dale Romans during the 27-day meet of 2003, has four horses entered today.

The Ramseys have 24 victories of which 22 have been ridden by Leparoux. With only two runners entered Saturday, there is one record that will elude the Ramseys' grasp: Most wins at a single meet.

During the 93-day Spring Meet in 1984, A.J. Foyt Jr. established that mark with 27 winners during the 93-day Spring Meet of 1984.  The previous Fall Meet record was 15 victories, set by T. Alie Grissom during the 23-day session in 1965.

WORK TAB (Track: FAST) - Magdalena Racing's Mrs. Revere (GII) runner-up My Baby Baby worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:01.60 for trainer Ken McPeek. Also working for McPeek were Koolmen Racing Stable's graded stakes-placed A to the Croft (1:02.60 for five-eighths, 10th best of 17) and Lansdon Robbins III's stylish 2-year-old debut winner Danger to Society (:48.40 for a half-mile, fourth best of 35).


Clark Hope Einstein Giving Pitts All the Right Signals; Brownie Points Could Be A Millionaire After Career Finale in Falls City

EINSTEIN GIVES ALL THE RIGHT CLARK ANSWERS TO PITT- The question trainer Helen Pitts was asking her stable star Einstein this month was whether the 6-year-old would be up for a run in Friday's $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade II).[asset|height=12|width=1]

            With a bullet five-eighths work Sunday, the answer was a definitive "yes."

            "He worked super Sunday and I thought that was good enough to get us there," Pitts said of Einstein, who has not raced since a troubled fifth-place finish in the Grade I Arlington Million on the grass at Arlington Park on Aug. 9. "He had done enough while he was off and he had a good bottom to him."

            Einstein, who will break from post position three in the Clark under meet-leading jockey Julien Leparoux, did not have his first work after his Million run until Nov. 2.

            "I didn't want to say yes (to the Clark) and get my hopes up," Pitts said. "He had an easy half, a good half, then an easy five-eighths and a good five-eighths. He couldn't have lost a whole lot."

            Einstein has done his best work on the turf, where he has recorded Grade I victories this year with scores in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and the Derby Day Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs.  The son of 1985 Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Spend A Buck was runner-up to 2007 Horse of the Year Curlin in Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) in his most recent run on the main track.

            "There was no pressure to run here and it is going to be awhile before he runs again," Pitts said. "He's got some good works in him, he's doing good and we're going to take a shot. I am comfortable with him. I know he will give his 110 percent like he always does."

BROWNIE POINTS LOOKS TO RETIRE AS A MILLIONAIRE - The cash machine in trainer Donnie Von Hemel's barn will be shutting down Thursday after embarking on one last search for a major deposit.

            Pin Oak Stable's Brownie Points will make her swan song in this afternoon's $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII).  A victory in the 94th renewal in that 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares would swell her career earnings past the $1 million mark.

            "These kind of horses are hard to find," Von Hemel said. "You like to have one or two of those in the barn to keep things going."

            Through four years of racing, Brownie Points has compiled a record of 9-8-4 in 26 races with earnings of $946,442 - with almost equal success on dirt and turf.

            "I was just glad that she ran on either one," Von Hemel said. "We picked our spots with her and there was never a soundness issue."

Brownie Points ran the worst race of her career in her debut on dirt, finishing 10th in a field of 12 in a five-furlong sprint at Remington Park.

"We knew she was talented, and a lot of them train well and then when they run they don't do much," Von Hemel said. "We were disappointed in her first race, but the next time she ran on the dirt she ran second at 70-1."

The Falls City will mark the second trip to Churchill Downs for Brownie Points in 2008. She was a fast-closing second in the Grade III Locust Grove on the turf in July.  Luis Quinonez rode here that day and will be aboard again on Thanksgiving Day.

"Luis has been important to her success," Von Hemel said. "He has stayed with her for three years."

WIGGINS LOOKING FOR EARLY BIRTHDAY TREAT ON SATURDAY - Trainer Hal Wiggins will turn 66 on Sunday, but he would not mind picking up a present or two a day earlier on the "Stars of Tomorrow II" card at Churchill Downs.

            Wiggins will saddle Dolphus Morrison's homebred Rachel Alexandra in the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. He will also run Morrison's Abbott Hall in the $56,000 Caressing at a mile on the turf.

            Rachel Alexandra enters the Golden Rod off a runner-up finish to Sara Louise in the Pocahontas (GIII) on Nov. 1. It was her second race back after a 3 ½-month layoff that followed a promising runner-up finish to Garden District in Grade III Debutante.

            "She had a chip removed from her left front ankle," Wiggins said of the layoff. "We were hoping she would come back around and she ran good at Keeneland going short. She came out of that race fine and also the Pocahontas."

            Abbott Hall returns to the turf after a fifth-place finish in the Pocahontas.

            "That was just to see how she would handle it," Wiggins said. "She ran on it well in her first start at Ellis finishing second and she didn't run that well in her previous start at Keeneland (fourth in the Jessamine)."

            Saturday will bring down the curtain on 2008 for both fillies.

            "Rachel Alexandra will go to Hot Springs and they have that little series at Oaklawn with the Honeybee and the Fantasy," Wiggins said. "I'd like to run her twice before hopefully the Kentucky Oaks. They also have the Silverbulletday and the Fair Grounds Oaks in New Orleans, so we have a lot of options and she ran good on the Polytrack at Keeneland, so we could look at the Ashland."

            Abbott Hall could get see a later start for her 3-year-old campaign.

            "She may get a break. Rachel Alexandra's already had her break," Wiggins said. "There is not much for her out there now."

            Whatever the decision for Morrison's talent fillies, Wiggins will make the call.

            "I have trained horses for him for 27 years," Wiggins said. "The last thing he tells me when we talk is ‘you're the coach.' "

BARN TALK - Julien Leparoux added one victory Wednesday to elevate his meet-leading total to 51. With three days remaining in the meet, Leparoux has Pat Day's 23-year-old fall record of 55 squarely in his sights. Leparoux is named on 11 mounts each Thursday and Friday and on nine on Saturday. ... Robby Albarado had his third four-win day of the meet on Wednesday to raise his meet total to 37. Albarado also won four races on Nov. 14 and Nov. 19. ... "Happy Birthday" wishes to trainer Greg Foley, who turns 51 today.  The second generation trainer - the son of veteran trainer Dravo Foley and brother to fellow trainer Vickie Foley - has four horses entered on the Thanksgiving Day card at Churchill Downs.

Delightful Kiss, Anderson Look For Better Luck At Churchill; Clark Hopeful Wayzata Bay Improves With Age

DELIGHTFUL KISS, ANDERSON SEEK BETTER LUCK AT CHURCHILL IN 134TH CLARK HANDICAP - The big gray was back at his old Kentucky home: Tom Proctor's side of Barn 22 on the Churchill Downs backstretch. But this was his first late fall appearance and for horse and trainer, and a new experience for both.[asset|height=12|width=100]

            "We're not used to this, either one of us," said Pete Anderson as a steady rain fell on a chilly November Tuesday as he held the shank on Hobeau Farm's Delightful Kiss. "But, I'll tell you one thing. The whole key is to keep your horses happy and he is one happy dude right now. He likes the mud."

            Delightful Kiss got some mud to play in Tuesday morning when he breezed a half-mile in :50 over a track labeled "sloppy" with Calvin Borel up.

"I got him galloping out three-quarters in 1:14," Anderson said. "Calvin handled the work perfectly."

            Friday's forecast, however, calls for partly sunny skies with a high near 43 - ideal conditions for the 134th running of the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade II).

            The Clark would mark the third Churchill Downs start for Delightful Kiss, who used Louisville as his base last spring before going on to victories in the Ohio Derby (GII) at Thistledown and Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows, and again this summer after he ran in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) won by reigning Horse of the Year Curlin.

            Anderson first brought Delightful Kiss here in April 2007 after a fourth-place finish to Curlin in the Arkansas Derby (GII). Delightful Kiss had finished a length out of second and the added graded-stakes money from the runner-up spot would have earned the son of Kissin Kris a spot in the Kentucky Derby 133 (GI) starting gate.

            Delightful Kiss was entered in Derby 133, but was excluded from the field of 20 because of insufficient graded stakes money.  Instead, Anderson saddled Delightful Kiss on the eve of the Derby in the Crown Royal American Turf (GIII), where he finished ninth, before the colt launched his run of Midwest Derbies.

            The only horse in Anderson's care finished seventh in this spring's Stephen Foster, beaten 12 lengths by Curlin in a race that lacked a rapid pace.  But speed is an ingredient that should be present for the Clark with the presence of Tracy Farmer's speedy dual Grade I winner Commentator.

            For the Clark, Delightful Kiss returns to traditional dirt after three consecutive starts on synthetic surfaces that included two Grade III stakes wins and a fourth-place finish in the inaugural Breeders' Cup Marathon over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface.

            "He is doing great and I don't think he could be any better," Anderson said. "He has just gotten better as the year went on and I know he doesn't mind the Polytrack. I know he really likes the Tapeta at Golden Gate."

            The return to the dirt is the only worry Anderson has coming into the Clark in which Delightful Kiss will carry 116 pounds and be ridden by Calvin Borel.

            "That's my only concern. I just don't know how well horses do when they go to dirt from synthetic," Anderson said.

WAYZATA BAY GETTING BETTER WITH AGE FOR HICKLIN - Wayzata Bay has occupied a spot in trainer Judi Hicklin's barn for four years, racing 36 times at eight tracks. On Friday in the Clark Handicap, Wayzata Bay will add Churchill Downs to his travel dossier.

            "We have traveled a lot of miles together," Hicklin said after she cooled out Wayzata Bay after his morning exercise. "On this trip, I'm the van driver and groom."

            The trips in 2008 have been profitable for Hicklin as Wayzata Bay, a 6-year-old son of Roar, has compiled a record of 3-3-1 in eight races with earnings of $341,950. The highlight of the year was a victory in the Grade II Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows at the Clark distance of 1 1/8 miles.

            "There are not many horses that get good at 6 and not many that get their first graded stakes win at 6," Hicklin said. "And there aren't a lot of owners that would wait that long."

            Wayzata Bay is owned by Isaac Phelps' World Thoroughbreds Racing Inc.

            Wayzata Bay enters the Clark off his worst performance of the year in the Fayette (GIII) at Keeneland on Oct. 25.  He was beaten more than 40 lengths in that 10th-place finish behind Ball Four.  But the poor effort over Polytrack was par for the synthetic track course for Wayzata Bay, who has never been better than fourth in six starts on Polytrack.

            "I don't think he would have been a $5,000 claimer on Polytrack," Hicklin said.

            Since the Fayette, Wayzata Bay has had one work at Hawthorne, but Hicklin thinks he is ready for a good effort under jockey Israel Ocampo, who has ridden the horse in his past six starts.

            "He has been doing two-minute licks at Hawthorne and he gets a lot out of his gallops," Hicklin said. "He will come with his run."

            Wayzata Bay will mark Hicklin's second starter at Churchill Downs. Let It Rock, who ran third in a Nov. 12 allowance race and is set to run back Friday on the Clark card, was her first.

            "It got to me walking over with him and seeing the Twin Spires," Hicklin said. "I was thinking ‘Wow, what's a girl from Iowa doing here?'"

McPEEK RIDES BONANZA OF 2-YEAR-OLDS - When Gessler Racing's Redreamit romped in her debut by 3 ¾ lengths on Sunday, she gave trainer Ken McPeek his meet-leading eighth 2-year-old winner of the meet.

            "We've got a great group of horses," McPeek said. "The stars are starting to align."

            That success has occurred before the appearance of Dream Empress, who is arguably the most talented youngster in McPeek's barn.  That talented filly will not run until Saturday's "Stars of Tomorrow II" card that offers 12 races filled with 2-year-olds.

            "I've got her and Striking Dancer for the Golden Rod," McPeek said.

            Dream Empress, owned by Livin the Dream Racing, won the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland before a runner-up effort to Stardom Bound in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI). Dream Empress had her third Churchill Downs work since the Breeders' Cup on Monday, going a half-mile in :50.80 over a sloppy track.

            McPeek is confident that his barn will reach double figures for juvenile winners by the time the curtain drops on the meet Saturday.

"I've got 14 I'm going to enter for Saturday alone," said McPeek, who won the training title in the 2002 Fall Meet.

As for Redreamit, who joined Silver Wing Stable's Free Country and Lansdon Robbins III's Danger to Society as a debut winner, she is headed to Florida with the Grade III Old Hat at six furlongs on Jan. 4 as her immediate target according to McPeek.

BARN TALK - Julien Leparoux, who entered Wednesday's card with 50 victories this meet and six away from breaking Pat Day's 23-year-old Fall Meet record, will be riding this winter at Gulfstream Park. "The bulk of our clients are going to Florida, but a lot are going to the Fair Grounds, too," Leparoux's agent Steve Bass said. "It was a hard decision, but it worked out better with his schedule. Fair Grounds is already running and Julien is going to take a couple of weeks off after the meet ends Saturday." ... Da' Tara, winner of this year's Belmont Stakes (GI), is entered in Friday's ninth race, a 1 1/16-mile allowance optional claiming event. Owned by Robert LaPenta and trained by Nick Zito, Da' Tara ran fifth in this spring's Derby Trial. Da' Tara has not run since finishing sixth in the Grade II Jerome Handicap at Belmont Park on Oct. 5. Da' Tara will face seven rivals in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.  He will be the first Belmont Stakes winner to run at Churchill Downs since 1999 winner Lemon Drop Kid finished fifth to Tiznow in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Classic (GI).  Victory Gallop, the 1998 Belmont Stakes winner, won the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs the following year.... The victory in the first race Sunday by Choctaw Racing Stable's Jump Enuf gave trainer Lynn Whiting his 297th win at Churchill Downs. Whiting, who saddled Lil E. Tee to win the 1992 Kentucky Derby, notched his first Churchill Downs victory in the Spring Meet of 1979. ... A happy 50th birthday today to trainer Rob O'Connor.

WORK TAB - There was only one recorded work Wednesday morning over a frozen track. ... The juveniles spiced up Tuesday's work tab over a sloppy track. Prepping for possible runs in Saturday's Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), were Winchell Thoroughbreds' Zion (half-mile in :50) and Zayat Stables' Star of David (:52.20), both for trainer Steve Asmussen. Working toward Saturday's Golden Rod (GII) were the 1-2 finishers in the Grade III Iroquois: Eldon Farm's Sara Louise (five furlongs in 1:03.40 for trainer Dale Romans) and Dolphus Morrison's Rachel Alexandra (a best-of-34 half-mile in :48 for trainer Hal Wiggins). Asmussen also worked Ron Winchell's War Echo, a half-sister to Pyro, a half-mile in :51 for the Golden Rod. ... Among the works Monday on a sloppy track was West Point Thoroughbreds' Jim Dandy (GII) winner Macho Again (1:02.60 for five furlongs) for trainer Dallas Stewart, Domino Stud of Lexington, Inc.'s Miss Isella (:50 for a half-mile) prepping for Thursday's Falls City (GII) for trainer Ian Wilkes and Dogwood Stable's Coal Baron (:48.40) prepping for a probable start in the Kentucky Jockey Club for trainer David Carroll

DERBY TICKET DRAWINGS CONTINUE - Over the final four days of the 2008 Fall Meet, Churchill Downs will continue its public daily drawings for guests to purchase two seats to the 135th Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 2. More than 400 names (100 each day) will be drawn between Wednesday and Saturday. Guests age 18 and up may enter each drawing by filling out an entry form at Guest Services stations located inside Gate 17 or outside of Gate 10 in the clubhouse before 1:35 p.m. ET. A new drawing will be held each day. Winners need not be present to win and payment for invoiced tickets will be due Jan. 30. The drawings began Saturday and, all told, 500 pairs of tickets, or 1,000 in total, will be made available. The seats available include a variety of clubhouse and grandstand seats, ranging from grandstand bleacher seats to clubhouse boxes. The ticket prices per seat range from $88 to $207 ($176 to $414 per pair).

CURLIN TO BE PARADED ON CLOSING DAY - Curlin, North America's reigning Horse of the Year and the continent's richest racehorse of all time with earnings of $10,501,800, will be paraded one final time at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The brilliant winner of seven Grade I events including Churchill Downs' $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap in June, is scheduled to be paraded on the main track between the fifth and sixth races. A special salute in the paddock and/or winner's circle will follow. The fifth race is scheduled for 1:28 p.m. (all times Eastern), and the first of 12 races will be at 11:30 a.m.

THIS WEEK'S GUEST ANNOUNCER: MARK JOHNSON - England's Mark Johnson will describe the closing week's racing action (Wednesday, Nov. 26 through Saturday, Nov. 29) as Churchill Downs concludes its search to replace the late Luke Kruytbosch as the next "Voice of the Kentucky Derby". There was a different track announcer each week during the five-week Fall Meet. Calder's Bobby Neuman, Louisiana Downs' Travis Stone, Golden Gate's Michael Wrona and Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park's Larry Collmus already made their guest appearances. Churchill Downs officials are seeking input from customers and encouraging comment via email at

SPECIAL CLOSING WEEK POST TIMES - Churchill Downs will run its usual 10-race program at 12:40 p.m. ET on Wednesday (admission gates open at 11 a.m. ET), but the final three days of the meet will have special start times. Twelve-race holiday cards on Thursday (Thanksgiving Day), Friday (Clark Handicap Day) and Saturday (Closing Day/Stars of Tomorrow II) will begin early at 11:30 a.m. ET and grandstand admission gates will open at 10 a.m. ET.

SPECIAL Z-5 (SUPER HI-5) SCHEDULE FOR CLOSING WEEK - The Z-5 (Super Hi-5), which requires bettors to correctly select the top five finishers in a race in exact order, will have a new schedule for the final three days of Churchill Downs' 2008 Fall Meet. From Thursday to Saturday, the payout-pumping wager that zigzags between Churchill and its sister racetrack Calder Race Course will involve Race 5 at Churchill Downs (1:27 p.m.), Race 10 at Calder (4:35 p.m.) and Race 12 at Churchill Downs (4:53 p.m.). If no one picks all five winners, the pool would carryover to the next available Z-5 (Super Hi-5) race - the first interstate jackpot of its kind in horse racing. The pool for the final race at Churchill Downs on Saturday must be paid.

ADDITIONAL PICK 4s ON FINAL THREE DAYS - Churchill Downs will offer additional Pick 4s on Thursday, Friday and Saturday's special 12-race programs. Pick 4s, which require bettors to pick the winners of four consecutive races, will link Races 1-4, 5-8 and 9-12 over the final three days of the meet.

JUNIOR JOCKEY CLUB WEEKEND ACTIVITIES - Christmas crafts, a Friday puppet show and a special tour of the paddock on Saturday highlight the closing week activities at Churchill Downs' Junior Jockey Club located near the Guest Services Booth inside Gate. 10. Coloring books, crayons, individual games and reading material are available as well, and Churchill Downs' mascot Churchill Charlie will be on hand both Friday and Saturday for photographs between 1-1:30 p.m. Also, Santa Claus will make a special appearance at Gate 17 on both days at approximately 2 p.m.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY SPECIALS AT THE DOWNS - Packages to enjoy a Thanksgiving feast at Churchill Downs are nearly sold out, but specials on Friday and Saturday's closing day card can still be had. For $50, customers can dine and watch the races from a reserved seat in the Triple Crown room, the largest and most opulent of the Jockey Club Suites facilities. Entrees on the menu include a giant Reuben sandwich, cheeseburger station, chicken tenders, chicken wings, hot dogs and bratwurst. Plus, a Bloody Mar bar will be open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch and an official program is included in the admission price. To reserve a spot, call (502) 636-4400.

STARK'S THE CHAMP - Todd Stark of Hazard, Ky. and Rudy Hardin Jr. of Louisville finished one-two in Sunday's "Who's the Champ?" Handicapping Contest for the 2008 Fall Meet at Churchill Downs. The two banked $1,400 and $800, respectively, and will represent Churchill Downs at the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship X in Las Vegas on Jan. 23-24. A total of 134 contestants earned berths to compete in Churchill Downs' qualifier last Sunday (only 125 actually participated). Participants were required to place mythical $2 Win and Place wagers on two different horses in Races 3-8. Stark finished first with a $57.20 final bankroll. Hardin was second with $48.00.

Churchill Downs Derby Trial, Distaff Turf Mile Granted '09 Upgrades By Grade Stakes Committee

Two Kentucky Derby Week stakes races at Churchill Downs were granted higher graded status for their 2009 renewals as the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders’ Association issued its listing of U.S. Graded Stakes for 2009 on Tuesday.[asset|height=12|width=1]

The Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares ages three and up, was elevated from Grade III to Grade II status – one of 11 races at U.S. tracks that were raised to the Grade II level.  The Derby Trial, which had lost its status as a Grade III event in 2005, was restored to that level for its 2009 running.  The race was one of 10 contests elevated from Ungraded status in 2008.  Now run one week before the Kentucky Derby on the opening day of Churchill Downs’ Spring Meet, the Derby Trial is regarded as the final significant prep race for the “Run for the Roses."

Now a fixture of the Kentucky Derby Day racing card, the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile dates to 1983 and was initially run as a race for 3-year-olds on dirt.  Its conditions were adjusted several times until 1989, when the race was run for the first time under its current conditions as a one-mile event turf event for older fillies and mares.

The Derby Trial was run for the first time in 1924 and its first winner, Black Gold, also won the Kentucky Derby.  The race was held for 57 years on the Tuesday before the Kentucky Derby and was a key final prep for several winners of America’s greatest race.  Other horses that won both races include Triple Crown winner Citation (1948), Dark Star (1953), Tim Tam (1958) and Hill Gail (1952).  Horses that failed to win the Derby Trial but returned to win the Kentucky Derby include Triple Crown winner Whirlaway (2nd in the 1941 Trial), Iron Liege (5th in 1957), Assault (4th in 1946), Ponder (2nd in 1949), Middleground (2nd in 1950), and Determine (2nd in 1954).

With the upgrades of the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile and the Derby Trial, Churchill Downs will offer 37 graded stakes races on its 2009 stakes schedule.  That includes five Grade I events, 10 Grade II races and 22 Grade III contests.

The Grade I events on the Churchill Downs stakes schedule in 2009 will include the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the Kentucky Oaks, Stephen Foster Handicap, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and Humana Distaff.

In assigning grades for U.S. stakes races 2009, the American Graded Stakes Committee reviewed 746 unrestricted races with purses of at least $75,000 and grades were issued to 488 of those events.  The 2009 graded stakes total reflects an increase of seven from 2008. 

Churchill Downs Derby Trial, Distaff Turf Mile Granted '09 Upgrades By Grade Stakes Committee

Two Kentucky Derby Week stakes races at Churchill Downs were granted higher graded status for their 2009 renewals as the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders' Association issued its listing of U.S. Graded Stakes for 2009 on Tuesday.

            The Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile, a one-mile turf race for fillies and mares ages three and up, was elevated from Grade III to Grade II status - one of 11 races at U.S. tracks that were raised to the Grade II level.  The Derby Trial, which had lost its status as a Grade III event in 2005, was restored to that level for its 2009 running.  The race was one of 10 contests elevated from Ungraded status in 2008.  Now run one week before the Kentucky Derby on the opening day of Churchill Downs' Spring Meet, the Derby Trial is regarded as the final significant prep race for the "Run for the Roses."[asset|height=12|width=1]

            Now a fixture of the Kentucky Derby Day racing card, the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile dates to 1983 and was initially run as a race for 3-year-olds on dirt.  Its conditions were adjusted several times until 1989, when the race was run for the first time under its current conditions as a one-mile event turf event for older fillies and mares. 

            The Derby Trial was run for the first time in 1924 and its first winner, Black Gold, also won the Kentucky Derby.  The race was held for 57 years on the Tuesday before the Kentucky Derby and was a key final prep for several winners of America's greatest race.  Other horses that won both races include Triple Crown winner Citation (1948), Dark Star (1953), Tim Tam (1958) and Hill Gail (1952).  Horses that failed to win the Derby Trial but returned to win the Kentucky Derby include Triple Crown winner Whirlaway (2nd in the 1941 Trial), Iron Liege (5th in 1957), Assault (4th in 1946), Ponder (2nd in 1949), Middleground (2nd in 1950), and Determine (2nd in 1954).

            With the upgrades of the Churchill Downs Distaff Turf Mile and the Derby Trial, Churchill Downs will offer 37 graded stakes races on its 2009 stakes schedule.  That includes five Grade I events, 10 Grade II races and 22 Grade III contests.

            The Grade I events on the Churchill Downs stakes schedule in 2009 will include the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, the Kentucky Oaks, Stephen Foster Handicap, Woodford Reserve Turf Classic and Humana Distaff.

            In assigning grades for U.S. stakes races 2009, the American Graded Stakes Committee reviewed 746 unrestricted races with purses of at least $75,000 and grades were issued to 488 of those events.  The 2009 graded stakes total reflects an increase of seven from 2008. 

Nearly 600 Families Served with Thanksgiving Food Boxes by The Lord's Kitchen at Churchill Downs

Nearly 600 needy families in Louisville received food that will be served on their Thanksgiving dinner tables as The Lord's Kitchen distributed frozen turkeys and boxes of food during its annual Thanksgiving Family Food Box Giveaway on Tuesday at Churchill Downs. [asset|height=12|width=1][asset|height=12|width=1]

            Hundreds of people were lined up at the Gate 1 entrance to the famed home of the Kentucky Derby when the doors opened at noon (EST) for the holiday food giveaway, which was conducted by The Lord's Kitchen in the track's Paddock Pavilion for the second consecutive year.

            The Lord's Kitchen, which is located just a few blocks from the historic racetrack at 2732 South 5th Street, is in its 20th year of serving the needs of needy families and residents in the neighborhood.  Rev. Larry Coleman, the director of The Lord's Kitchen, estimated that more than 570 families were provided at Tuesday's event with food boxes that contained canned goods and non-perishable items sufficient to feed a family of four.

            The distribution included 450 turkeys - 100 of which had been donated by Churchill Downs.  Members of the staffs at Churchill Downs and Churchill Downs Incorporated donated food items for the event and volunteered to help in the distribution of the food boxes in the Paddock Pavilion.

            "It's been a great day in our community," said Rev. Coleman.  "Churchill Downs is one of our closest corporate neighbors, and it's just been a great day to be able to touch families at Thanksgiving time.  We gave out turkeys and all the fixings to go with that.  We serve 365 days a year at The Lord's Kitchen - every day we're serving families."

            Coleman has been with The Lord's Kitchen since its first day of operation on Christmas Day 1988.  He said the need for the Thanksgiving Family Food Box Giveaway and for the daily services offered by his organization has grown sharply in recent weeks as the turmoil in the American economy has worsened.

            "The need has really increased - we're seeing even middle class individuals come," Coleman said.  "Individuals normally walk to our facility, but now some are driving up in pretty nice automobiles.  You see a lot of people who've lost their jobs.  We're serving a lot of different groups of people now."

            "We were very happy to help out last year when Rev. Coleman called and said The Lord's Kitchen needed more space to accommodate the growing number of people served in its Thanksgiving food giveaway," said Dana Johnson, director of community relations for Churchill Downs.  "Our employees quickly embraced this event and have donated their time and energy - along with needed food items - to help make this event a success.  We applaud the work that Rev. Coleman and the staff and volunteers of The Lord's Kitchen for the important work they perform in our neighborhood every day and Churchill Downs is proud to be a partner with the organization in that work."

            Coleman said that, while The Lord's Kitchen serves meals to needy families every day, more volunteers are would be needed to help in the serving of meals at the South 5th Street facility on both Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.  As many as 350 meals are expected to be served on each of those days.  Those interested in volunteering or donating food to The Lord's Kitchen should call (502) 964-3304 ext. 1250. 

Perseverance Pays Off For Veteran Troilo; Asmussen Looks For Strong Finish in Final Stakes

PERSEVERANCE REWARDED FOR JOCKEY TROILO - Veteran rider Bill Troilo had no idea that Saturday would end up as a memorable afternoon packed with "firsts" for him at Churchill Downs.[asset|height=12|width=100]

            "I was just riding out my engagements and I think I found out about the sixth race that I had picked up the mount," Troilo said of obtaining the ride on Karelian in the $100,000-added River City Handicap (Grade III). "It turned out to be a great day."

Troilo got the head for Green Lantern Stable's 6-year-old gelding up on the wire to earn a dead-heat victory with Demarcation in the River City. It was Troilo's 258th career victory at Churchill Downs, but more important his first career graded-stakes win and first stakes win under the Twin Spires.

"It was a great feeling," Troilo said of the milestone win. "You just never know what the next day will bring."

A 47-year-old native of Philadelphia, Troilo began his riding career in 1982 and has ridden 2,455 winners in his career. The victory aboard Karelian was even more special for Troilo because it came for trainer Rusty Arnold, who he began working with before his started his career.

"I was 21 at the time and the exercise rider for Wavering Monarch. He ran third in the Blue Grass behind Linkage and Gato Del Sol," Troilo said. "He fell with me in New York one morning right before I started riding."

Jack Bohannan, Arnold's assistant at Churchill Downs, reported Karelian was doing well Sunday morning.

"This horse has overcome a lot of injuries," said Bohannan, who did not think Karelian had won. "We were watching it in the grandstand on the second floor and I thought he got beat."

Bohannan said Karelian would head to Florida for the winter. Demarcation, on the other hand, is headed to the Fair Grounds according to trainer Paul McGee.

"He is doing good this morning and he will go to New Orleans," McGee said. "They have a lot of opportunities on the grass down there."

McGee thought Demarcation had won outright.

"In grass races here, the outside horse generally has the edge in a photo and I thought he had won it," McGee said. "Then they showed the replay in slow motion on the big screen in the infield and then I wasn't so sure. I'll take the dead heat."

McGee also brought a check in the Bet On Sunshine overnight handicap when Success Success rallied for third behind Native Ruler.

"He ran pretty huge," McGee said of Success Success, who also will go to the Fair Grounds. "He comes with that late run all the time. He is a hard-trying little horse."      

ASMUSSEN CAN BUILD ON RECORD ON CLOSING WEEKEND - With a record-tying 555 North American victories in hand, trainer Steve Asmussen had 11 chances at five venues Sunday to break the mark he established in 2004.           

            Asmussen has two horses entered at Churchill Downs on Sunday: Hawaii Calls in the fourth and Mister Fusaichi in the seventh. On Wednesday, Asmussen will be represented by one starter: Coach Gravy in the sixth.

            Asmussen will be represented in the four graded stakes to be run at Churchill Downs over the Thanksgiving weekend and he is optimistic about the roster he will send out.

"I think that we are in very good shape," Asmussen said. "We've got Magna Graduate for the Clark, we've got Copper State running (in the Falls City) and the two-year-olds, we've got War Echo (for the Golden Rod) and Star of David and Zion (for the Kentucky Jockey Club). So, I like our chances."

            Asmussen won the 2005 Kentucky Jockey Club with Private Vow. He will be seeking his first victory in the Falls City, Clark and Golden Rod.

ROSAS RELISHED THE RIDE ON CURLIN - For 22 months, Carlos Rosas has been on the ride of his life. During that span, Rosas has been the regular exercise rider for Curlin.

            The morning rides will come to an end soon as Curlin heads off to Lane's End Farm to begin a stallion career in 2009.

            "It has been a great feeling to be on him every morning," said Rosas, who first got on Curlin when he came into trainer Steve Asmussen's barn in February 2007.

            Rosas, who has been with Asmussen for six years, served as Curlin's morning pilot through the 2007 campaign that culminated in Horse of the Year honors after winning the Breeders' Cup Classic (GI) at Monmouth Park and this year that was highlighted by a victory in the Dubai World Cup (GI) and the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).

            So, Carlos, after all the travels with Curlin, what will you remember most many years down the road to tell the grandkids about?

            "It would be probably be Dubai," Rosas said with a widening smile. "I got there once and he took me there."    

BARN TALK - Training hours will end at 8 a.m. this Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of the early 11:30 a.m. post times. There will be no training on the turf on Thursday. ... Dennis "Peaches" Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun, said that Marilyn and James Helzer's Euroears was none the worse for wear after a fifth-place finish in Saturday's Bet On Sunshine overnight handicap. "He is doing OK this morning," Geier said after Euroears suffered the first defeat in his seven-race career. "He will be going to the Fair Grounds." ...  With five racing days to go in the meet, jockey Julien Leparoux needs to ride nine winners to break Pat Day's 23-year-old Fall record. Leparoux rode three winners Saturday to lift his total to 47 through 21 racing days. Day accumulated his 55 winners over a 30-day meet. 


WORK TAB - Midnight Cry Stable's Einstein, nominated to Friday's Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII), worked a bullet five furlongs in 1:00.80 with trainer Helen Pitts up. "He went well," Pitts said as she gave a big thumb's up on the work shortly after the track opened. ... Frank Calabrese's Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sugar Mom worked five furlongs in 1:04.20 after the renovation break for trainer Wayne Catalano. ... Overbrook Farm's Big Surf, a Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) nominee, worked a half-mile in :51.40 for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Kentucky Derby Veteran Dominican Returns to Dirt For Clark; Sheppard's Just As Well Arrives for River City

DOMINICAN EYES FIRST CHURCHILL SCORE IN 134TH CLARK HANDICAP - The last time Dominican ran on the main track at Churchill Downs, he finished a well-beaten 11th behind the victorious Street Sense in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I).

The Darrin Miller trainee, after a six-race 2008 campaign split between all-weather tracks and the turf, will return to the natural dirt next Friday in the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII).

"We have taken our time with him this year," Miller said of Dominican, who is owned by Silverton Hill Farm. "He bled severely last year in the West Virginia Derby and what I have done this year is have him come out of his races in good order and continue to progress."

Dominican has compiled a 1-2-3 record in six races this year and enters the Clark off a runner-up finish in the Oct. 25 Fayette (GIII) at Keeneland.

"I was real happy with his Fayette," Miller said. "The Clark will be his last race of the year. We will turn him out at the farm and then bring him back in the spring at Keeneland."

Dominican scored his biggest victory in the 2007 Toyota Blue Grass (GI) that propelled him into the Kentucky Derby. Finishing fifth behind Street Sense in the Derby was Silverton Hill's Sedgefield, who is heading to India to begin a stallion career in 2009 at Jai Govind Stud in Jaipur.

"His last race was in the spring at Keeneland," Miller said of Sedgefield, full brother to 2007 champion grass horse English Channel. "I had heard he was going to India, but I don't know all the logistics of it. He should be leaving pretty soon."

In addition to the Clark, Miller may have one other starter in the closing weekend stakes: Silverton Hill's Corlett. Idle since winning the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies on Aug. 2, Corlett is nominated to the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) to be run Nov. 29 on the "Stars of Tomorrow II" card featuring all 2-year-olds.

"How she does this weekend will determine which way we go," Miller said of Corlett, who came out of her Mountaineer win with a chip in an ankle. "Everything has to go right. We feel that she is a good enough filly that we can take our time with."

Corlett broke her maiden here in the spring and then ran a troubled fourth in the Grade III Debutante before winning at Mountaineer.

SNOW NO OBSTACLE TO JUST AS WELL GETTING TO LOUISVILLE - With coffee and doughnuts in tow, Barry Wiseman fumbled with the keys to the track room at the Stakes Barn at Churchill Downs on a brisk Friday morning.

"We drove through snow to get here from Pennsylvania," said Wiseman, who serves as an assistant trainer and exercise rider for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

His cargo on the trip to Louisville was Augustin Stable's Just as Well, who will shoot for his first stakes victory in Saturday's $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs. Just as Well will break from post position six under E.T. Baird and carry 113 pounds, nine fewer than defending race winner Thorn Song.

The trip to Louisville marked a quick turnaround for Wiseman.

"I was here last week and we just got beat a head in the Cardinal with Long Approach," Wiseman said. "I think this one is going to run well, too."

Just as Well enters the River City off an allowance win at Keeneland. The 5-year-old horse is a son of A.P. Indy out of the Nureyev mare No Matter What.

"The dam is the mother of the best two-year-old filly in England this year," Wiseman said, referring to the undefeated Group I winner Rainbow View who was sired by Dynaformer.

While Just as Well was at Keeneland, he was in the same barn with Forever Together, whom Wiseman galloped before she was sent to California and a victory in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

"She is back home training every day at the farm with Informed Decision (winner of the Grade II Raven Run last month at Keeneland)," Wiseman said. "They paraded her at the Pennsylvania Hunt Cup a week after the Breeders' Cup when she got back. They walked her over on the road with cars going by and it didn't bother her a bit."

GARCIA DELIVERS SOLID NUMBERS IN FIRST CHURCHILL DOWNS FORAY - Although snow flurries were swirling in the brisk autumn air, if jockey Julio Garcia had any qualms about riding in the fall at Churchill Downs for the first time, he wasn't letting on.

            "I really like riding here," said Garcia, who has spent most of his career riding in Southern California and Florida. "The people here are great."

            After the Del Mar meet closed in early September, Garcia came east mainly to ride horses for trainer Wesley Ward. He found the winner's circle at Kentucky Downs, annexed two wins at Keeneland that included the closing-day Fayette (GIII) aboard Ball Four, and has added 11 victories at Churchill Downs.

            Garcia is winning at a 17 percent clip (11 for 63), which is third best among jockeys with 10 or more victories at the meet.

            The 11 victories put him in a tie for seventh with Kent Desormeaux at the meet, which closes Nov. 29 and sends Garcia to warmer climes.

            "I am going to California first and then coming back to Florida in the spring," said the 48-year-old Garcia, a native of Santurce, Puerto Rico.

            Garcia, who rode his first U.S. winner in 1984 at Santa Anita, had his best year in 1990 when he won 147 races. His victory aboard Grey Line Express in Thursday's first race was career win No. 1,201.

BARN TALK - Trainer Steve Asmussen's far-flung operation picked up three victories Thursday to raise his 2008 total to 551, four short of the record Asmussen established in 2004. Asmussen, who turned 43 on Tuesday, had no horses entered at Churchill Downs on Friday. However, the trainer had 18 runners entered at other six North American venue, which means Asmussen may have the record in hand by the time he sends out Captain Cherokee in Saturday's 10th race at Churchill Downs. ... Dogwood Stable's Blackberry Road, runner-up in last year's Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), returns to the races off a six-month layoff  in Sunday's eighth race. "He's been in our barn about six weeks," said trainer Dallas Stewart of Blackberry Road, who was previously trained by David Carroll. "He is doing well and looking forward to getting him started back." ...  Trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey continued to build on their record-setting Fall Meet on Thursday. Maker, now owner of the all-time record for victories at a Fall Meet, added three victories Thursday to increase his total to 24 with seven days left in the meet. The Ramseys, with two victories Thursday, now have 19 for the meet, four more than the previous record. Julien Leparoux continued on pace to break Pat Day's 23-year-old mark of 55 victories at a Fall Meet. With three victories Thursday, Leparoux has 43 for the meet and needs to average two wins a day through the close of the meet Nov. 29 to break the record. In Day's record meet, a total of 271 races were run over the 30-day meet. This year's meet will have 270 races.

WORK TAB - Elisabeth Alexander's Magna Graduate, working toward a possible run in next Friday's Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII), worked six furlongs in 1:14 over a fast track for trainer Steve Asmussen. ... Glencrest Farm's Devil House, a probable starter in Thursday's Falls City Handicap (GII), worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Rusty Arnold. ... Magdalena Racing's My Baby Baby, runner-up in the Mrs. Revere (GII) in her most recent start, worked a half-mile in :49.20 for trainer Ken McPeek.

TWO CANNED GOODS FOR FREE ADMISSION - Churchill Downs will offer free general admission through Sunday, Nov. 23 to all patrons who donate two non-perishable canned goods at Gates 10 and 17 in conjunction with the Kentucky Harvest Thanksgiving Food Drive, sponsored by Forcht Bank.

The canned goods can be delivered to Churchill Downs on those dates or any Louisville area Forcht Bank through Nov. 22 in exchange for the complimentary admission pass.

All donations will benefit Kentucky Harvest.

KENT DESORMEAUX GLASS GIVEAWAY ON SATURDAY - The week's promotional calendar is highlighted by the last of three collectable hurricane glass giveaways that salute popular Cajun jockeys who ride at Churchill Downs. A Kent Desormeaux glass, sponsored by Kentucky Derby Party, will be given away to the first 5,000 paid and pre-paid admissions (includes patrons who bring two canned goods for admission in conjunction with the Kentucky Harvest Thanksgiving Food Drive) on Saturday, Nov. 22.

            Fans who receive the glass can come back to Churchill Downs on Sunday, Nov. 23 for an autograph session with Desormeaux on the second floor of the clubhouse.

            A glass depicting Calvin Borel, sponsored by Thorntons, was given away Nov. 8. A Robby Albarado glass, presented by GE, was given away Nov. 15.

JOCKEY TALK ON SATURDAY - Every Saturday during the Fall Meet, members of Churchill Downs jockey colony will be on hand for a meet and greet with the fans in the paddock area between 11:30 a.m. and noon. This Saturday's jockeys for "Jockey Talk" will be announced Friday.

JUNIOR JOCKEY CLUB WEEKEND ACTIVITIES - Crafts to create a Thanksgiving Banner of Blessings and special tours of the paddock highlight this weekend's activities at Churchill Downs' Junior Jockey Club located near the Guest Services Booth inside Gate. 10. Coloring books, crayons, individual games and reading material are available as well, and Churchill Downs' mascot Churchill Charlie will be on hand both Saturday and Sunday for photographs between 1-1:30 p.m.

SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE DOWNS - Sunday Brunch at Churchill Downs returns this Sunday. For $41.50 ($25 for children 12 and under), customers can dine and watch the Nov. 23 races from a reserved seat Millionaires' Row Six, the luxurious 9,000 square-foot room with a four-tier balcony that overlooks the finish line. The brunch, accompanied by live jazz music, is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a wide selection of food, including stuffed French toast, eggs, maple smoked bacon, homemade biscuits and gravy, carved roast turkey, fresh salads and plenty of sides. Appetizers and a bountiful desert tray will be available until 5 p.m. Brunch and an official program is included in the admission price. To reserve a spot, call (502) 636-4400.