D’cajun Cat, impressive debut winner by 5 ¼ lengths on June 1, and Hollywood Talent, a 3 ½-length winner in his lone start on April 19, top a field of seven 2-year-olds entered for Saturday night’s 112th running of the $100,000-added Bashford Manor (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
The Bashford Manor is one of three stakes events on the “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program. Post time for the first race is 6 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the Bashford Manor will go as Race 7 at 9:05 p.m.
Southern Equine Stable LLC and Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s D’cajun Cat, a $300,000 purchase as a 2-year-old in training in March, did not disappoint as the 9-5 favorite in his lone start and scored an easy victory in the slop at Churchill Downs under Rosie Napravnik, who will be back aboard Saturday.
A bay son of D’wildcat, D’cajun Cat is one of two colts in the Bashford Manor trained by Steve Asmussen, who also will send out Gun Roar.
Mike McCarty’s Gun Roar won at first asking by a neck in the slop at Churchill Downs on May 10. Corey Lanerie has the call on Saturday.
Hollywood Talent is owned and bred by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, winners of a record 27 races during the Spring Meet. A dark bay or brown son of Talent Search, Hollywood Talent drew off on the Keeneland Polytrack in his career debut for trainer Wesley Ward. He will be guided Saturday by Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez.
“Hollywood Talent worked with Wesley Ward’s (No Nay Never), who won the Norfolk (GII) over at Royal Ascot,” Ken Ramsey said. “I was going to send the horse over there and intended to send him, but after (Hollywood Talent’s sire) Talent Search got off to such a good start, I decided it would be smarter to win the Bashford Manor with him and then take him to Saratoga and let him win the Sanford (on July 21).”
The lone juvenile with stakes experience in the field is Tim O’Donohue’s Debt Ceiling. A dark bay or brown son of Discreet Cat, Debt Ceiling has a perfect two-for-two record after breaking his maiden by 4 ½ lengths at Laurel in March and then scoring a 2 ½-length win in the Rollicking at Pimlico on May 18. Trained by John Robb, Debt Ceiling will be ridden by Eric Camacho.
Another top contender in the Bashford Manor is PTK LLC’s My Corinthian, who was supplemented for $3,000 at the time of entry. A 7 ½-length winner in his lone start for trainer Dane Kobiskie, My Corinthian will be ridden Saturday by Luis Garcia.
The field for the Bashford Manor, from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Gun Roar (Lanerie, Asmussen), My Corinthian (Garcia, Kobiskie), Hollywood Talent (Velazquez, Ward), Debt Ceiling (Camacho, Robb), Runkle (Joe Rocco Jr., Kellyn Gorder), D’cajun Cat (Napravnik, Asmussen) and Sandbar (Shaun Bridgmohan, Neil Howard).
The race is named for the former Louisville Thoroughbred breeding and racing farm that dominated the American race scene in the early 1900s. George J. Long, a wealthy foundry owner, purchased Bashford Manor Farm in 1887 and developed his Thoroughbred breeding operation that provided him with two Kentucky Derby wins as an owner, 1892 and 1906, and three as a breeder, 1892, 1899 and 1906. In addition, Bashford Manor also won the Kentucky Oaks in 1894 and 1915.
The other two featured events on the Downs After Dark racing card are the $150,000-added Firecracker Handicap (GII) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course – headlined by reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan – and the $65,000-added Kelly’s Landing for 3-year-olds and up at seven furlongs. The Firecracker will go as Race 9 at 10:11 p.m. and the Kelly’s Landing is scheduled as Race 3 at 6:56 p.m.
The theme for Saturday night’s event is “Star-Spangled Night” and fans are encouraged to “dress to impress” for a pre-Fourth of July holiday celebration with lots of red, white and blue. Gates open at 4 p.m. and general admission is $10.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will conduct the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 3, 2014 and its 2013 Spring Meet is scheduled continues through Sunday, June 30. The track has hosted the Breeders’ Cup World Championships a record eight times. Information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
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