Donegal Racing’s Dullahan appeared on the Churchill Downs work tab on Saturday for the first time since his seventh-place finish in the $1 million Belmont (Grade I) and trainer Dale Romans said the son of Even the Score would run next in Monmouth Park’s $1 million Haskell Invitational (GI) on July 29.
“We haven’t given up thinking he can run on dirt,” Romans said. “If we want to try him on the turf after that, we can always wheel him back in the Secretariat.”
The Grade I Secretariat is scheduled for 1 ¼ miles on the turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 18.
Working in the second set after the renovation break, Dullahan breezed five furlongs on the fast main track in 1:00.60, which was the fifth fastest move of 28 at the distance. Dullahan recorded fractions of :12.60, :24.40, :36, :47.80 and galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.
“He worked well,” Romans said. “We wanted him to get out there and stretch his legs.”
Dullahan, a half-brother to 2009 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner Mine That Bird and the third-place finisher to I’ll Have Another in the 2012 Kentucky Derby, is one of many stars in the Romans barn and the Louisville-born trainer provided details Saturday on stakes plans for several of his major horses.
Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s homebred Shackleford, winner of the 2011 Preakness and this year’s Met Mile (GI) by the narrowest of margins, will make his next start in the Whitney Handicap (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 4. A 4-year-old chestnut son of Forestry, Shackleford breezed five furlongs on Saturday morning in 1:03.60.
Shackleford’s older half-sister Afleeting Lady, who finished second behind Royal Delta in the Fleur de Lis Presented by Finlandia Vodka (GII), will be pointed to the Molly Pitcher (GII) on July 29 at Monmouth Park.
Priscilla Vaccarezza’s Little Mike, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Day undercard, has been shipped to California for next Saturday’s Shoemaker Mile (GI) at Hollywood Park.
Frank Jones Jr.’s Tapitsfly, winner of the Longines Just a Game (GI) at Belmont Park in her last start, will be pointed to the Diana (GI) on the turf at Saratoga on July 28. Tapitsfly was under consideration for the Firecracker Handicap (GII) at Churchill Downs, but Romans decided he wanted the 5-year-old daughter of Tapit to have more time between races.
Romans will have a starter in the Firecracker, though. Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward is being pointed to the event off his victory in the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs on June 9. It was the second win of the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs for Guys Reward, who was third in last spring’s Louisville Handicap (GIII).
The Firecracker is one of two stakes that will be run at Churchill Downs on closing weekend. The other is the Bashford Manor (GIII) for 2-year-olds at six furlongs on the main track. Romans will start Donegal Racing’s Roman’s Avenue, who broke his maiden in his career debut on May 27.
Mark Bacon and Dana Wells’ Silver Max, winner of the American Turf Presented by RAM (GII) on the Kentucky Oaks Day undercard and the recent Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs, will appear next in the American Derby (GIII at Arlington Park on July 14) or the Virginia Derby (GII at Colonial Downs on July 21). Romans said he is leaning toward an American Derby run for Silver Max.
Depending on which race Silver Max runs in, Romans could have two starters in the American Derby or Virginia Derby. Albaugh Family Stables LLC’s Cozzetti, seventh in the Preakness (GI) and runner-up in the Oliver, is being pointed to the American Derby, while Donegal Racing’s Finnegans Wake, winner of a turf allowance at Churchill Downs on June 10, is scheduled to start next in the Virginia Derby.
One top performer in the barn without a short-term race target is Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image, winner of last year’s Humana Distaff (GI). Sassy Image returned from a more than eight-month layoff to finish sixth when trying to defend her title in this year’s Humana Distaff. She worked five furlongs on the main track Saturday morning in 1:00. It was the second fastest work at the distance.
WISE DAN IN GREAT FORM AFTER FOSTER; LOPRESTI POINTING TURALLURE TO CLOSING-DAY FIRECRACKER HANDICAP – Trainer Charlie Lopresti thought Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan was going to win last Saturdays’ Stephen Foster (GI) at Churchill Downs, but Ron the Greek under Jose Lezcano found an opening on the rail and got up just in time to beat the winner of last fall’s Clark Handicap (GI).
"I thought we were going to win it and we started jumping up and down,” Lopresti said. “Then I saw the other horse coming and it was almost like the Breeders’ Cup.”
The Foster finish brought to mind last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) at Churchill Downs when Four D Stable’s Turallure, also trained by Lopresti, finished second by a nose to Court Vision.
“(Wise Dan) ran a good race,” Lopresti said. “When you get beat like that, it’s not like your horse didn’t show up, you’re just a little unfortunate. The horse that beat us is a good horse and (trainer) Billy (Mott) had a huge night. He’s a great trainer and any time you run second to him in a big race like that, you can’t be too disappointed.”
Lopresti said has been pleased with the 5-year-old chestnut son of Wiseman’s Ferry in the days since his runner-up effort in the Stephen Foster.
“Wise Dan is doing very, very well,” Lopresti said. “He’s not even acting like he ran, which is scary. He’ll go to the Whitney (GI at Saratoga on Aug. 4).”
Wise Dan was entered in the Foster as an entry with another Fink homebred, Successful Dan, who was scratched the morning of the race. Successful Dan, who won the Alysheba Presented by Besilu Stables (GII) in track-record time, was entered only as a back-up plan if Wise Dan needed to scratch.
“Successful Dan is doing great,” Lopresti said. “He’s going in the Cornhusker (GIII) next week at Prairie Meadows.”
The previously mentioned Turallure has raced twice since his narrow defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. He was second by a neck behind Data Link in the Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) on the turf at Keeneland and then finished seventh in the Woodford Reserve Classic (GI) on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard.
Turallure is doing really well,” Lopresti said. “I think we ran him back a little too quick after the race at Keeneland. He ran his eyeballs out that day and just lost to Data Link, who won another stake at Monmouth.
“We’re going to run him in the Firecracker Handicap (GII at Churchill Downs on July 1) and then we’ll take him to Saratoga for the Fourstardave (GII on Aug. 11). That’s the plan.”
Lopresti will be seeking back-to-back wins in the Firecracker, as last year he won last year’s renewal with Wise Dan, who was making his career debut on turf in the race.
BARN TALK – Trainer Ian Wilkes said Saturday morning that Janis Whitham’s homebred Fort Larned, who finished eighth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 16, will run in next Saturday’s Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII).
“He didn’t really get to run and didn’t finish up,” Wilkes said. “The start hindered us. He came out of the (Stephen Foster) well and so we’re going to take a shot.”
A 4-year-old son of E Dubai, Fort Larned broke the track record for 1 3/16 miles at Gulfstream Park in his Skip Away (GIII) victory earlier in the year.
Wilkes said no decision has been made on a rider for Fort Larned in the Cornhusker. …
Trainer Dale Romans said Saturday morning that Donegal Racing’s O’Prado Again, winner of the Remsen (GII) last November, could be back breezing at Churchill Downs as early as next week. O’Prado missed the first half of the year with a cracked shin in his right front leg. …
Donald Grego’s Cielo Classic recorded his fourth-straight win in Friday’s sixth race at Churchill Downs, but it was no ordinary victory. The 6-year-old gelding by Sky Classic was making his first start off a 30-month layoff. …
Churchill Downs’ Sunday racing program on June 24 will feature another edition of Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger. Family Fun Days offer a very special Sunday for the entire family, with attractions that include HorseRacing Bingo, Junior Jockey Club activities and more. There also will be a special performance by the Mexico Lindo Dancers at 2:30 p.m.
Family Fun Days are scheduled from 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion. More information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
WORKTAB – At the nearby Trackside Training Center, Dr. Kendall Hansen and Skychai Racing LLC’s Hansen, the champion 2-year-old of 2011, breezed five furlongs on the fast track on Saturday morning in 1:01.20. Trainer Mike Maker said after the work that Hansen will make his next start in the Iowa Derby (GIII) at Prairie Meadows on June 30. It will be his first start since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). …
Vinery Stables’ homebred Regally Ready, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) in November, breezed five furlongs on the fast main track at Churchill Downs in :59.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen. It was the fastest of 28 at the distance. …
Lally’s Stable’s Heavenly Landing, who finished second by a neck to Bizzy Caroline in the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) on the Matt Winn Turf Course on June 2, breezed four furlongs on the main track in :49.60 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. The work ranked as 32nd fastest among 65 at the distance. …
Craig Singer’s homebred Salty Strike, winner of last spring’s Dogwood (GIII) at Churchill Downs, breezed four furlongs on the main track in :49 for trainer Ken McPeek. The work ranked 20th at the distance. …
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 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013, and its 2012 Spring Meet is scheduled for April 28-July 1. 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.
- END -