McPeek's Connie and Michael Works For Breeders' Cup … Leparoux Will Ride Nine in Cup

Oct 30, 2009 Gary Yunt

CONNIE AND MICHAEL WORKS FIVE FURLONGS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP START – With jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard, Anthony Bonomo Jr.’s Connie and Michael tuned up for her engagement in next Friday’s Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (Grade I) at Oak Tree at Santa Anita by working five furlongs in 1:01 over a “fast” track at Churchill Downs.

'She went out for a breeze with a capital B,” Desormeaux said after the work that occurred after the track re-opened after the morning renovation break. “She was just cruising out there and she galloped out strong.”

A daughter of Roman Ruler, Connie and Michael did not make her racing debut until Oct. 17 when she romped by 7 ¾ lengths after exiting the 12 hole in a seven-furlong Keeneland sprint. Connie and Michael is scheduled to fly to Santa Anita on Saturday to join the rest of trainer Ken McPeek’s Breeders’ Cup cast.

Other McPeek runners for the World Championships include Magdalena Racing’s House of Grace for the Juvenile Fillies Turf, Peter Callahan’s Beautician for the Juvenile Fillies, Melnyk Racing Stables’ Bridgetown for the Juvenile Turf and Chasing Dreams Racing 2008’s Noble’s Promise for the Grey Goose Juvenile.

Connie and Michael is one of nine Breeders’ Cup runners that Desormeaux is confirmed on as of today.

“I am going to be busy, and that’s how I like it,” said Desormeaux, a three-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider. “I’ll ride here Thursday and catch a plane after the card and get out there around 11 that night.”

Other World Championships mounts for Desormeaux, who has won three Breeders’ Cup races, according to his agent Mike Sellito are: Summer Bird (Classic), Mushka (Ladies’ Classic), Dynaforce (Filly & Mare Turf), Mr. Sidney (Dirt Mile), Gangbuster (Marathon), Piscitelli (Juvenile), Whatsthescript-IRE (Mile) and Interactif (Juvenile Turf).

LEPAROUX CONFIRMED ON NINE BREEDERS’ CUP MOUNTS – Of the four Churchill Downs-based riders other than Kent Desormeaux headed to next week’s Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Julien Leparoux figures to be the busiest.

According to agent Steve Bass, Leparoux is confirmed to ride in nine of the 14 races over the two days of the Championships that begin Friday.

Topping the list is defending Filly & Mare Turf (GI) winner and Eclipse Award filly and mare turf champion Forever Together. Other Leparoux mounts are Churchill Downs-based Einstein-BRZ (Classic), Informed Decision (Filly & Mare Sprint), She Be Wild (Juvenile Fillies), Rainbow View (Ladies’ Classic), Aspire (Juvenile), Becky’s Kitten (Juvenile Turf), Lisa’s Kitten (Juvenile Fillies Turf) and Silver Timber (Turf Sprint).

Also heading out to Southern California to compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships are Calvin Borel, Robby Albarado and Shaun Bridgmohan, who have a combined six confirmed mounts as of today.

Borel has one mount, Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird in the Classic.

Albarado is confirmed on Tapitsfly in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Beautician in the Juvenile Fillies next Friday and on Court Vision on Saturday in the Mile.

Bridgmohan has two mounts for trainer Steve Asmussen: Jungle Tale in the Juvenile Fillies Turf and Kodiak Kowboy in the Sprint.

ACK ACK, CHILUKKI FIELDS TAKING SHAPE – Senior Vice President/Racing Donnie Richardson said that fields for next weekend’s two graded stakes, the Ack Ack (GIII) and the Chilukki (GII), both at a mile on the main track, are beginning to take shape.

The Ack Ack, scheduled to be run on Friday for 3-year-olds and up, closed with 30 nominations. Entries will be taken Tuesday and heading the list of probables for the $100,000-added Ack Ack is B. Wayne Hughes’ My Pal Charlie, trained by Al Stall Jr.

Winner of last year’s Super Derby (GII), My Pal Charlie is winless in eight starts in 2009. However, his best effort of the year came at Churchill Downs came on Derby day when he ran second in the Grade II Churchill Downs.

Also considered probable for the Ack Ack are Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth’s Tizdejavu, a two-time graded-stakes winner on the grass at Churchill Downs, and Robert Yagos’ Spotsgone.

The $150,000-added Chilukki for fillies and mares is expected to mark the return to the races of One Caroline for trainer Rusty Arnold.

Owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and the Louise Ireland Humphrey Revocable Trust 2008, One Caroline has not raced since finishing second to Miss Isella in the Grade II Louisville Distaff on May 1. It was One Caroline’s first loss after she opened her career with five consecutive victories. She was injured while preparing for the Fleur De Lis (GII) in June.

Also considered as “probable” to compete in the Chilukki, which will be run Saturday, Nov. 7, is Mark Stanley’s Swift Temper. Trained by Dale Romans, Swift Temper has won the Ruffian (GI), Delaware Handicap (GII) and the Sixty Sails (GIII) in 2009.

Other Chilukki probables include Westrock Stables’ Be Fair, Briland Farm’s Color Me Up and Michael Pressley, John Ferris, Mike Riley, Lee Robey and Barry Higgins’ Payton d’Oro. Listed as “possible” for the race are Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s Whirlie Bertie and World Thoroughbred Racing’s Don’ttalktome

Entries for the Chilukki will be taken Wednesday.

WORK TAB – Tom McCarthy’s General Quarters worked three furlongs in :37.80, his second three-eighths breeze since returning for surgery to remove a chip in his right front knee. Winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) and 10th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), General Quarters was sidelined after a ninth-place finish in the Preakness (GI). … Martin Racing Stable and Dan Morgan’s Dubai Majesty, winner of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County at Keeneland in her most recent start on Oct. 16 and the Winning Colors (GIII) at Churchill Downs this spring, worked a half-mile in :49.80 for trainer Bret Calhoun.

2010 CHURCHILL DOWNS WALL CALENDAR GIVEAWAY ON OPENING DAY – The first 5,000 fans in attendance on Sunday, Nov. 1 – opening day of the 2009 Fall Meet – will receive a free 2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, sponsored by Humana. The colorful calendar features major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.

Opening day of the anticipated 21-day stand doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow I” with 11 live races entirely devoted to rising 2-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (GI). The featured events are the open Iroquois and the fillies’ Pocahontas, a pair of Grade III, $100,000-added events run at one mile on the main track.

The day will also will feature the debut a new free Sunday morning public workout program from 8-10 a.m. entitled “Daybreak at the Downs” and a special 2-year-old handicapping seminar and breakfast in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.

Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and first post is 12:40 p.m. ET.

Churchill Downs 120th Fall Meet, featuring world-class horse racing, will continue for a four-week stand through Saturday, Nov. 28.

General admission is $3, but only $1 for senior citizens and members of the track’s free-to-join Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.

For more information or to reserve seats, call (502) 636-4400 or visit

SPECIAL 2-YEAR-OLD HANDICAPPING SEMINAR SET ON OPENING DAY FROM 9-11:30 A.M. – Churchill Downs will host its annual “Stars of Tomorrow” 2-Year-Old Handicapping Seminar on Sunday, Nov. 1 in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.

Churchill Downs racing analyst Jill Byrne will host this year’s seminar with jockey Jon Court, trainer Ian Wilkes and workout clocker John Nichols. The quartet will provide insight on how to improve handicapping skills for 2-year-old racing and in-depth analysis of the entire “Stars of Tomorrow I” racing program with a question and answer session.

One of the most attractive aspects of the seminar is a special trip to the saddling paddock for an up-close inspection of a 2-year-old and its confirmation, behavior and equipment.

The cost to attend is $25 and includes breakfast buffet, official program, past performances, and a reserved seat in Skye Terrace 5. There also will be a raffle for door prizes, including a VIP day at the races, two rounds of golf at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, signed framed photographs of past Kentucky Derby winners and a chance to watch a race from the Churchill Downs announcer’s booth with track commentator Mark Johnson.

Call (502) 636-4400 for reservations.

“WHO’S THE CHAMP?” HANDICAPPING TOURNAMENT RETURNS SUNDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Churchill Downs’ popular “Who’s the Champ” Handicapping Tournament will return for the 2009 Fall Meet with contests every Sunday and Wednesday through Nov. 22.

Horse racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer for twice-weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Sunday, Nov. 22 final. The top two finishers in the final will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship XI scheduled for Jan. 29-30 at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.

Prize money for each contest, which requires participants to place mythical $2 Win and Place wagers in Races 3-9, totals $4,000, including a $1,400 first prize.

The top 25 unique participants in each contest through Wednesday, Nov. 18 will be invited to the Nov. 22 final.

The participation fee for each contest is $30 and includes complimentary lunch. It’s discounted to $25 for Twin Spires Club members. Registration will take place in the Champions Club Lounge on the second floor of the clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on contest days. Additional contest seating will be available in the Churchill Downs Lounge when necessary.

NEW “DAYBREAK AT THE DOWNS” FREE EVERY SUNDAY FROM 8-10 A.M. – “Daybreak at the Downs” – patterned after Kentucky Derby week’s well-attended “Dawn at the Downs” – will make its debut on opening day, Sunday, Nov. 1, and take place every Sunday from 8-10 a.m. throughout the 2009 Fall Meet.
Churchill Downs’ racing analyst Jill Byrne will host the program with select special guests and she’ll describe the on-track action and provide insightful commentary as hundreds of horses prepare for their upcoming races in morning workouts.

Daybreak at the Downs” is free to attend each Sunday. Complimentary coffee, donuts and milk will be served to attendees.

Interested patrons should park in the Longfield Lot and enter through Gate 10. The “Daybreak at the Downs” will be presented in Sections 116-117 of the clubhouse. Visitors are welcome to stay for a day at the races free of charge.

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