Michael Langford’s graded stakes winner Carve posted a half-mile workout in :48.60 Saturday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the $125,000-added Homecoming Classic on Saturday, Sept. 27.
The runner-up to Bradester in the Sept. 6 Ack Ack Handicap (Grade III) is trained by Brad Cox, who was delighted with the colt’s workout.
“It was an awesome work; I was very pleased,” Cox said.
Cox seemed to think the Homecoming Classic would benefit the 4-year-old son of First Samurai, because of the two-turn distance of 1 1/8 miles versus the one-mile distance of the Ack Ack.
“Two turns will help him,” Cox said. “I think going two turns is a little bit better than one for him. He won here in the spring in a one-turn mile in an allowance, but all his other wins have been around two turns.”
Cox said he’d wait and see who would show up in the race before they developed a set strategy, but indicated that Carve ideally would be close to the lead.
“We’ll wait and see the post positions and see who all is running,” Cox said. “I’d say he’ll be close. I don’t know if he’ll be right on the lead but at least stalking up there close. He sure is doing well though.”
Given the two-turn comment, Cox said if Carve were to win next Saturday, he would be more likely to point him to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) versus the 1 ¼-mile Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).
“I don’t think he wants to go much further than 1 1/8 miles,” Cox said. “So if he runs a big one and we decide to go to the Breeders’ Cup, we’d probably point him to the Dirt Mile over the Classic.”
LANERIE EDGES AHEAD OF SANTANA IN JOCKEY STANDINGS AFTER A PAIR OF FRIDAY NIGHT WINS
Jockey Corey Lanerie captured his ninth and 10th victories of the Churchill Downs September Meet on Friday night when he won on Como Se Llama in the fifth and One More Night in Race 10.
Lanerie has won the last three riding titles at Churchill Downs. He took the inaugural September meet honors in 2013 by winning 19 races, followed by 36 wins and a riding title at the 2013 Fall Meet. Most recently, he won 57 races at this year’s Spring Meet, which was 26 more than Julien Leparoux and Rosie Napravnik in second.
To no surprise, Lanerie said taking his Ack Ack Handicap victory on Bradester was the most significant mount of the meet so far.
“Bradester was definitely the most memorable win of the meet for me thus far,” Lanerie said. “He ran really big that day in taking the Ack Ack.”
Trainer Eddie Kenneally has Bradester pointed to the $500,000 Kelso Handicap (GII) at Belmont Park on Sept. 27.
“He’s going to run in New York next Saturday,” Lanerie said. “I’m going up there to ride him.”
Lanerie also admitted riding Bradester in New York may hurt his chances of winning a fourth consecutive Churchill Downs riding title.
“I think it may hurt my chances a little bit not being here next Saturday,” Lanerie said. “But at the end of the day, the goal is to make money. Obviously I’d like to be the leading rider if I can, but if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world.”
Lanerie, who calls Louisville his home, has been satisfied with the two September race meets under the Twin Spires.
“I love the September meet,” Lanerie said. “It works great for me because I’m home, whereas if it wasn’t here I’d be doing a lot more traveling or maybe just not riding as much.”
Lanerie is booked on seven mounts Saturday and six on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
ODDS AND ENDS
After winning Friday’s fifth race with Como Se Llama and the sixth race with My Boy Chisum, trainer Chris Richard moved into a three-way tie with Steve Asmussen and Wayne Catalano for leading trainer of the September Meet. Asmussen saddled Amarish, winner of the ninth race Friday night and Catalano saddled Wayward Kitten to win the third race… Owner Maggi Moss captured her fifth victory on the meet with Como Se Llama in Sunday’s fourth race, giving her the outright lead in the owners’ standings with five more days of racing remaining in September. She has won with five of seven starters on the meet.