SCHARBAUER’S FIFTYSHADESOFGOLD FACES OPEN-COMPANY IN DEBUTANTE
Fiftyshadesofgold, a 10-length winner against Texas-breds in her debut at Lone Star Park, will face open-company for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000-added Debutante and could give the Scharbauer family their first stakes win beneath the Twin Spires since Alysheba’s memorable victory over Seeking the Gold in the 1988 Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I).
“She went into the race highly touted and we went in pretty optimistic,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “We’ve really thought highly of this filly for quite some time. Obviously, it’s a class test, for sure, but we’ve had a lot of 2-year-olds over the years and we’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’ve got. I think she’s up to it.”
Fiftyshadesofgold was shipped to Churchill Downs shortly after her victory and has since worked twice over the Louisville track.
“As soon as she ran down there, we shipped her here,” Calhoun said. “We’ve had this race on our mind for a long time.”
The Debutante drew a field of 11 and Fiftyshadesofgold will break from post 10.
“I think it’s a good spot,” Calhoun said. “I love having options from out there and it’s always nice to draw the outside with a young, inexperienced horse.”
The Debutante will go as Race 7 at 9:05 p.m. (all times Eastern). The $65,000-added Roxelana for fillies and mares at six furlongs highlights the undercard and is scheduled as Race 10 at 10:42 p.m.
BOOTS, BREW & BBQ, Y’ALL
Kick up your boots, y’all, and get ready for a Southern-style country celebration as the wildly-popular Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka returns to Churchill Downs on Saturday night at 6 p.m. (all times Eastern).
This week’s theme – decided by an online fan vote – is “Boots, Brew and BBQ.” Guests are encouraged to “dress to impress” in western wear, with contests in the Plaza for best-dressed female, male, couple and group with prizes to the winners.
Churchill Downs will be decked out for Louisville’s biggest summer shindig with plenty of western accessories – red and white checks, hay bales, whiskey barrels, burlap, bandanas and rustic signage.
The spacious 30,000-square-foot Plaza adjacent to the saddling paddock will be the heartbeat of the party. There’ll be a pig roast, 1,000-pound Mechanical Bull (6-10 p.m.) and plenty of festive tunes – an SUP DJ from 4-7:30 p.m. and the popular Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Show from 8-11:30 p.m. There also will be music by Dane Clark on the Clubhouse’s fifth floor balcony, Dillan Johnson at the Gate 10 entrance and the Benjamin Davis Group at Gate 17.
Churchill Downs’ jockeys plan to have plenty of fun with the mechanical bull between races. Throughout the night, the riders will be competing against one another, and the rider who stays on the longest will receive a $500 donation to the charity of their choice.
Admission gates will open Saturday at 4 p.m. and the first of 11 live races will begin at 6 p.m. The final live race will be 11:10 p.m. and the on-track party will continue in the Plaza area until 11:30 p.m. The last call for alcohol will be post time for the final race of night.
Other ancillary entertainment includes the popular text-to-win sweepstakes “Bet or No Bet,” sponsored by Thorntons. Four lucky on-track patrons will face a tough decision on Races 6-9: to place a $1,000 win bet on a horse in the upcoming race or take a $100 Thorntons’ gift card.
Patrons will have the option to taste non-traditional racetrack offerings such as roasted suckling pig with all the fixins – served on a mini onion roll with a side of Cole slaw and choices of Carolina Mustard, Memphis Mustard and Bourbon Peach Barbeque Sauce. Also, the folks from Brown-Forman will be on hand to serve El Jimador tequila.
Shane Co. will be on site inside the Gate 17 entrance near the Churchill Downs Store to giveaway “blinky” cups, and RAM Trucks will be on display in various locations around the venue. Also, the Churchill Downs team will be giving away red, white and blue necklaces decorated with cowboy boots and hats to select patrons in The Plaza.
Saturday’s marquee entertainment event has been paired with stellar stakes racing action. The 113th running of the $100,000-added Debutante, a six-furlong race for promising 2-year-old fillies, is the featured seventh race at 9:05 p.m. Meanwhile, older fillies and mares will sprint three-quarters of a mile in the $65,000-added Roxelana, which goes as Race 10 at 10:42 p.m.
This is the second of three consecutive Saturday night Downs After Dark racing programs at Churchill Downs. Last week’s “White Party” lured 23,509 fans and a night racing record $8,390,139 in total wagers. The June 29 theme is “Star-Spangled Night,” a pre-Fourth of July holiday celebration with lots of red, white and blue.
According to the National Weather Service, Saturday’s forecast calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 91. The low will be around 72.
Cover charge (general admission) to all Downs After Dark events is $10. Holders of shareholders passes or horsemen licenses and children age 12 and under (when accompanied by an adult) will be admitted free of charge. No one under the age of 18 will be admitted to the track unless they are accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
There is limited reserved seating still available. Indoor dining packages in the Millionaires Row 6 are $59.90 per person and include a scrumptious buffet dinner, reserved seat and official program. Outdoor third-floor box seats are on sale for $20 and include general admission, a box seat in the third-floor clubhouse and an official program.
Reserved seating can be purchased for Saturday night’s event at the on-track box office located at the Gate 1 entrance off Central Ave. (open 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on ‘Downs After Dark’ Saturdays).
Those attending Downs After Dark are encouraged to arrive early to secure on-site parking and avoid traffic delays. All on-property parking lots will open at 3 p.m. and space is available on a first-come, first-served basis (free in the Longfield Avenue lot). Typically, all lots are filled to capacity early in the racing program. Churchill Downs will offer free parking and shuttle service from Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium starting at 5 p.m. There will be free round-trip shuttle service throughout the evening. All Churchill Downs employees will be directed to park in the track’s infield (enter through Longfield tunnel).
Churchill Downs has secured the services of Louisville Metro Police Department officers and traffic guards to monitor area traffic on Central Avenue and other nearby streets to advance ingress and egress. LMPD will control traffic signals, turn lanes and pedestrian traffic and partial road closures are possible if it becomes necessary because of heavy traffic.
As usual, Churchill Downs will be open early for simulcast wagering on the second floor of the clubhouse Saturday. General admission will be its regular price of $3 from 11:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Gate 17.
The Saturday simulcast menu includes Calder (12:50 p.m.), Monmouth Park (12:55 p.m.), Woodbine (1 p.m.), Belmont Park (1:05 p.m.), Delaware (1:15 p.m.), Arlington (2 p.m.), Louisiana Downs (2:25 p.m.), Lone Star Park (2:35 p.m.), Betfair Hollywood Park (4 p.m.), Penn National (6 p.m.), Evangeline Downs (6:40 p.m.), Mountaineer (7 p.m.), Charles Town (7:15 p.m.) and Prairie Meadows (7:30 p.m.).
RICARDO SANTANA JR. FINDING SUCCESS IN FIRST CHURCHILL DOWNS MEET
Ricardo Santana Jr., a 19-year-old native of Panama, has experienced a good deal of success in his first meet at Churchill Downs and finds himself in fourth-place in the jockey standings through day 31 of the 38-day Spring Meet.
Santana, who came to the United States in 2009 and first rode at Delaware Park, has won aboard 19 of his 111 mounts at the Spring Meet after leading all riders with 70 wins at Oaklawn Park over the winter.
“I do the same thing at every track I go to: I work hard,” Santana said. “I work hard and God blesses me with wins.”
Santana has won aboard 93 of his 412 mounts this year (a 22.5% win-clip) and has 290 career victories.
“I ask all of the jockeys here to help me,” Santana said. “I’m only 19 and I need to learn more. They all help me.”
Jockeys aren’t the only ones helping the young rider as he also receives guidance from several trainers, including Ron Moquett.
“I think he’s an excellent prospect as a rider and he’s as strong of a finisher as I’ve seen,” Moquett said. “He doesn’t give up on a race. He isn’t going to give up on a 20-1 shot and just gallop home. He’ll always try hard. I feel as comfortable with him on a horse as I’ve ever felt with anybody.”
Moquett first used Santana at Delaware Park in 2009.
“He came by as a bug boy and wanted to be named on a horse,” Moquett said. “I told him the only way I’d name him on one was if he came by the barn to help. He showed up every day. After three weeks, I let him gallop one and when I saw him on the back of a horse I said, ‘Wow’”
Santana trails Shaun Bridgmohan (44), Rosie Napravnik (37) and Corey Lanerie (34) in the standings. He has scheduled mounts in Races 2-5 and 10 on the 11-race Friday card at Churchill Downs.
DOWN THE STRETCH
Trainer Steve Margolis has set the next-race plans for Wine Princess, Miz Ida and Agent Di Nozzo.
Wine Princess, most recently last of five in the Fleur de Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (GII), is being pointed to the Molly Pitcher (GII) at Monmouth Park on July 28.
Miz Ida, 1 ¼-length winner of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII), is tentatively being pointed to the Dr. James Penny Memorial Handicap (GIII) at Parx on July 2.
Agent Di Nozzo, winner of an allowance/optional-claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 31, is headed to the Golden Bear at Indiana Downs on July 20.
Margolis also said Friday that Good Deed, a two-time winner on the Matt Winn Turf Course at the Spring Meet, was found to have some inflammation in her front ankles shortly after her most recent win on June 7. “It’s nothing major and she won’t need surgery or anything,” Margolis said. “We’re going to give her 60 days off and point to something in the fall.”
Corey Lanerie’s three-win day Thursday improved his career total at Churchill Downs to 453 and moved him past Mike McDowell for 13th all time. …
School Spirit’s 15 ¼-length win in Thursday’s ninth race is the most decisive victory of the Spring Meet. A 4-year-old gelding by Pulpit, School Spirit is owned by Gary and Mary West and is trained by Wayne Catalano. …
Santo Sanjur, a seven-pound apprentice from Panama, scored his first North American victory Thursday when he guided 24-1 shot Pastor Puckett to a 5 ¼-length win in Race 6 at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs (GII) winner Delaunay breezed a half-mile on Friday in :47.80, the fastest of 49 at the distance. Trainer Tom Amoss said Delaunay will carry his six-race win streak into the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 28. …
Also working for Amoss on Friday were Mylute and So Many Ways. Mylute, most recently third in the Preakness (GI), breezed four furlongs in :50.60 and So Many Ways, winner of the Eight Belles Presented by Xerox (GIII), breezed a half-mile in :48.
Amoss said So Many Ways will run next in the Iowa Oaks (GIII) at Prairie Meadows on July 29 and no plans have been made for Mylute. …
Tiz Miz Sue, winner of the Ogden Phipps Handicap (GI) in her last start, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 for trainer Steve Hobby.
FAMILY FUN DAY ON SUNDAY
Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Day Presented by Kroger on the Plaza Balcony every Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. throughout the 38-day Spring Meet. Kiddos age 12 and younger are invited to enjoy games, crafts and visits from Churchill Downs’ popular mascot Churchill Charlie. This week’s special activities include “Cookies & Canvas,” story time and a tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum Gardens to visit 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird and Winston the miniature pony. The first of 10 races on Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Churchill Downs’ Junior Jockey Club, located inside the Gate 10 entrance, also entertains children age 12 and under on Saturdays from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. (closed when Downs After Dark occurs on June 15, June 22 and June 29). The “Kids Zone” is dedicated to providing fun for the youngsters at Churchill Downs, but all children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.
BLACKIE HUFFMAN EDUCATIONAL FUND POKER TOURNAMENT ON JUNE 26
A Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament to benefit the Blackie Huffman Educational Fund will be held in the Triple Crown Ballroom at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, June 26.
Registration for the tournament, sponsored by the Kentucky Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (KHBPA), Kentucky Thoroughbred Association (KTA) and Churchill Downs Racing Committee, begins at 5 p.m. and the game starts at 6 p.m. The buy-in is $100 and space is limited to the first 200 players. Prize amounts will be based on the number of players.
For more information or to register early, contact the KHBPA at (502) 363-1077 or the Churchill Downs’ Horsemen’s Lounge at (502) 636-4830.
THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Friday, June 21
- 11 races from 2:45-7:54 p.m. (Gates 1:30 p.m.)
- Feature (Race 10 at 7:24 p.m.): $52,000 alw opt clm, 3yo f, 6 ½ F
- City’s Best Happy Hour! Drink specials ($2 Budweiser/Bud Light; $3 Stella Artois; $4 14 Hands Blackberry Sangria), food trucks & live music (Dane Clark) in The Plaza from 4-7 p.m.
Saturday, June 22
- 11 races from 6-11:10 p.m. (Gates: 4 p.m.)
- Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka
- Theme (Fan Vote): Boots, Brew and BBQ. Guests are encouraged to “dress to impress” for a country, Southern-style celebration. There’ll be a contest for best dressed female, male, couple and group.
- Feature (Race 7 at 9:05 p.m.): $100,000-added Debutante, 2yo f, 6 F
- Co-Feature (Race 10 at 10:42 p.m.): $65,000-added Roxelana, f & m, 6 F
- Entertainment on The Plaza Stage includes the SUP DJ from (4-7:30 p.m.) and the Howl at the Moon Dueling Piano Show from (8-11:30 p.m.). There also will be music by Dane Clark on the Clubhouse’s fifth floor balcony, Dillan Johnson at the Gate 10 entrance and the Benjamin Davis Group at Gate 17.
- 1,000-pound Mechanical Bull in the Plaza (6-10 p.m.).
- Between Races 6-9, the popular text-to-win sweepstakes promotion “Bet or No Bet,” sponsored by Thorntons, will return in which four lucky on-track patrons will face a tough decision: to place a $1,000 win bet on a horse in the upcoming race or take a $100 Thornton’s gift card.
- Acclaimed Thoroughbred racing cartoonist Pierre Bellocq, better known to generations of horse racing fans as “PEB,” will update his colorful, masterpiece murals that depict every jockey and trainer that have won the Kentucky Derby. PEB will add the images of Orb’s trainer Shug McGaughey III and jockey Joel Rosario. He is scheduled to paint the images between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. (This event was originally scheduled for June 15).
Sunday, June 23
- 10 races from 12:45-5:29 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Feature (Race 9 at 4:59 p.m.): $52,000 alw, 3 & up, 1 M (T)
- Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on The Plaza Balcony from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Games, crafts, entertainment & Churchill Charlie appearance. Special activity is Kentucky Derby Museum Day, which includes a tour of the museum gardens to meet 2009 Kentucky Derby-winner Mine That Bird and Winston the miniature pony.