Churchill Downs Barn Notes: Cox Keeping Options Open for Commonwealth Turf Champ Mr. Misunderstood

Nov 12, 2017 Churchill Downs Communications

Staton Flurry’s Mr. Misunderstood, who remained unbeaten on the turf following an impressive 1 ½-length score in Saturday’s $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) at Churchill Downs, could resurface at Fair Grounds this winter, according to trainer Brad Cox.

“He’s had such a great campaign this year,” Cox said. “One option we may use is the (Dec. 30) Woodchopper Stakes (at Fair Grounds) but I’m leaning towards giving him some time off. We’ll keep our options open, obviously, but he deserves a little bit of time off.”

The Commonwealth Turf was Mr. Misunderstood and Flurry’s first graded stakes triumph. Previously, the 3-year-old gelded son of Archarcharch won the $60,000 Prelude and $200,000 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs before winning the $100,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed) at Churchill Downs in September.

“This is the reason why we stay up long nights,” Flurry said. “This is why relationships suffer. This is what we dream about. This horse is why we do what we do.”

Mr. Misunderstood joined Inca King (2007) and Heart to Heart (2014) as the only 3-year-olds to sweep Churchill Downs’ Jefferson Cup and Commonwealth Turf in the same year.

The victory was worth $60,140 and increased Mr. Misunderstood’s earnings to $364,694 with a record of 7-1-0 in 11 starts.

SANTANA BEGINS CHASE OF PERRENIAL-LEADING RIDER LANERIE – Following a three-win Saturday at Churchill Downs, jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. is starting to close the gap on top-rider Corey Lanerie in the Fall Meet jockey standings, trailing 19 wins to 10 through the 11 days of the 21-day meet.

“I just have to stay hungry,” Santana said. “I keep working hard to chase Corey and it would be unbelievable if we could get there one day.”

Santana, who turns 24 on Nov. 19, teamed with trainer Steve Asmussen for two of his three victories Saturday: Supernumerary (Race 2) and Tapsolute (Race 9). The Panama native also picked up a victory in Race 5 aboard Granian for trainer Randy Morse.

Lanerie, who will celebrate his 43rd birthday on Monday, has been the leading rider at Churchill Downs for 14 of the last 16 meets, including the last five Fall Meets. Santana and Lanerie shared the 2014 September Meet title with 13 victories.

Prior to Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet, Santana won his first Keeneland riding title with 20 victories through 83 starters.

“I was so blessed to win the Keeneland title,” Santana said. “We worked really hard and kept striving for the top. I’m ready to continue working hard this winter to meet my goals after the Churchill meet. I finally decided I’m going to Aqueduct this winter with (agent) Ruben (Munoz). It will be a good change and I’m looking forward to it.”

Santana is currently ranked No. 16 nationally out of 1,512 jockeys with $8,002,525 in purse earnings in 2017, according to Equibase.

NEXT WEEKEND’S STAKES PROBABLESDom Felipe’s Argentinian-import Dona Bruja (ARG) is expected to headline next Saturday’s $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (Grade III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course, according to Assistant Racing Secretary and Stakes Coordinator Dan Bork.

The Cardinal Handicap probable entrants include (with trainer and assigned weight): Dona Bruja (Arg) (trainer Ignacio Correas, 122 pounds); Linda (Ian Wilkes, 118) and Fair Point (Shug McGaughey, 116).

Also scheduled on the 11-race program is the $80,000-added Bet On Sunshine Overnight Stakes for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs. Probable entrants include The Truth or Else (Kenny McPeek); Warrior’s Club (D. Wayne Lukas); and Wilbo (Chris Hartman).

Entries for Saturday’s card will be drawn Wednesday.

FREE ONLINE BRISNET PAST PERFORMANCES FOR CHURCHILL DOWNS; NEW BRISNET BETTING GUIDE DEBUTS ON-TRACK – Throughout Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet, is offering horseplayers complimentary past performances for each day’s races at the Louisville, Ky. racetrack. To download the free Churchill Downs past performances online, guests can visit:

Additionally, has introduced an excellent new product for on-track guests at Churchill Downs. The Betting Guide features informative Premium Plus Past Performances for four-to-eight different racetracks around the country in a bound book with high-quality paper. The book will retail for only $5, which means the new product will be significantly cheaper for Churchill Downs’ guests compared to previously-offered past performance products. It also will have better quality and more targeted content for horseplayers.

The new Betting Guide is available at program stands and other distribution locations throughout Churchill Downs.

TWIN SPIRES GLOW PURPLE FOR LOUISVILLE CITY FC – The iconic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs will be cast in a purple glow on Sunday and Monday night in support of Louisville City FC, who will face the Swope Park Rangers at Slugger Field on Monday at 9 p.m. in the finals of the USL Cup Championship. Last weekend, the LouCity soccer club defeated the New York Red Bulls II to clinch their first trip to the USL Cup Finals.

ROMANS VS. MOTTDale Romans, a 51-year-old native of South Louisville, began Sunday just one win away from surpassing Hall of Famer Bill Mott as the all-time leading trainer in races won at Churchill Downs – a record that 64-year-old Mott has held for 31 years. Mott and Romans are tied with 702 wins at Churchill Downs.

Romans Entries: Dance Rhythms (Sunday, Race 5); and Storm Runner (Sunday, Race 6).

Mott Entries: Honey Don’t (Sunday, Race 6); and English Dancer (Sunday, Race 9).

MILESTONE WATCH – Along with the heated-battle between Dale Romans and Bill Mott for the all-time leading trainer honors at Churchill Downs, trainer Greg Foley (399) is one win away from 400 career victories beneath the historic Twin Spires while trainer Ian Wilkes is targeting 200 career victories at Churchill Downs (195 wins). Foley has entrants in Races 7-9 on Sunday.

DOWN THE STRETCH – Churchill Downs’ popular “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest will return Sunday. Interested participants can enter for $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members) for a chance to win the $1,000 cash voucher first prize by placing mythical $2 win and place bets on Races 3-8. Second place receives a $500 voucher and third place is worth a $200 voucher. Registration will take place Sunday between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the Clubhouse second floor at the top of the Gate 17 escalators. … Racing at Churchill Downs continues Wednesday with a 1 p.m. EST first post for the final Senior Day of the Fall Meet. Churchill Downs is offering a special $24 package for seniors age 60 and up on Millionaires Row 4 that includes admission, a racing program, a reserved seat and lunch. Call (502) 636-4400 for reservations and more information or visit … The 11th annual Benefit for the Backside Day at the Races benefitting the Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs will be held Friday. Formerly known as “Ladies Day at the Races,” the event, sponsored by CaloSpa Rejuvenation Center, will take place at noon in Millionaires Row 6 and includes lunch, one-of-a-kind auction items and raffles. Tickets are $100 per person. Proceeds will benefit the Backside Learning Center, which provides educational and social services to Churchill Downs’ equine workers and their families. For more information, please visit … Churchill Downs will welcome outstanding Metro Louisville area high school students who are members of the 2017 Churchill Downs Governor’s Scholars initiative with a reception at the track on Friday. The students will be joined by their parents, family members and officials of their respective schools to celebrate their participation in the track’s Governor’s Scholars Program, an initiative launched in 2001 that funds the participation in the overall Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program by students from Jefferson County and portions of surrounding counties who have overcome personal adversity and challenges to become high achievers in their personal lives and academic pursuits. One student is chosen from each of Jefferson County’s legislative districts, some of which extend into surrounding counties, to benefit from the Churchill Downs Governor’s Scholars Program. … Reserved seating for Thanksgiving Day is going fast. Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs has been a Louisville tradition since 1969. More than 7,000 turkey dinners with all the trimmings – the largest number anywhere in the region – will be served on Thursday, Nov. 23, and fans will enjoy 12 races beginning early at 11:30 a.m. Dining packages start at $70 ($27 for children age 2-12) which includes admission, a racing program, reserved seat and a scrumptious Thanksgiving feast. … The first pools of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be offered Nov. 23-26. The traditional pool with 23 individual wagering interests and an “all others” option will return, and so will the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager, which debuted in 2015 and requires bettors to wager on the winning sire for next year’s Kentucky Derby winner. The other Future Wager dates will be Feb. 9-11 (Pool 2), March 9-11 (Pool 3) and April 6-8 (Pool 4). The lone Kentucky Oaks Future Wager will coincide with Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager on March 9-11. … The 50/50 charitable gaming raffle is back for the Fall Meet. Proceeds from the raffle will go towards charitable organizations that benefit from the Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that helps support the critical work of nonprofits in our industry, make a difference in important public health programs and provide meaningful opportunities in art and education. Visit to purchase tickets and for more information.

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