FLAT OUT CONFIRMED FOR CLARK HANDICAP – Owner Art Preston and trainer Scooter Dickey met at Churchill Downs on Wednesday morning and decided to continue the 2011 campaign of Jockey Club Gold Cup (Grade I) and Suburban Handicap (GII) winner Flat Out in the 137th running of the $500,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Friday, Nov. 25.
Flat Out is coming off a fifth-place finish behind WinStar Farm’s Drosselmeyer in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Nov. 5 at Churchill Downs.
“He’s been doing really well since the Classic,” Dickey said. “Also, it’s a Grade I race worth a $500,000. We’re excited about it.”
Flat Out finished just three lengths behind the victorious Drosselmeyer in the Classic.
“He really didn’t run a bad race,” Dickey said. “Losing by three lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Classic is nothing to be ashamed of.”
The Clark, a race for 3-year-olds and up run at 1 1/8 miles on the main track, could play a major role in the Eclipse Award voting for Champion Older Male and Horse of the Year. But Dickey said that was not a factor that determined Flat Out’s participation in the race.
“A lot of people have been telling me that if he (Flat Out) wins (the Clark) that he could be champion older male or maybe even Horse of the Year,” Dickey said. “It’d be nice, but we’re not really worried about all of that.”
The Classic was the third start at the Louisville track for Flat Out, who launched his career at two with a sixth-place finish in a maiden race. He also finished sixth in this year’s the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI) won by Pool Play.
“We don’t really know why the same Flat Out that ran in the Suburban and the Jockey Club didn’t show up in the Stephen Foster and the Classic,” Dickey said. “He handles the track fine, though, and has always trained very well over it.”
Flat Out’s one and only work for the Clark will come this weekend; however, the exact date of the work has yet to be decided.
“We’re going to see what the weather does and how the track looks,” Dickey said. “The earliest he’ll work is Friday morning, but we might push it back a day or two.”
After the Clark, Flat Out will be given some well-deserved time off before being prepared for a 2012 campaign.
“This (the Clark) will be the end of his year and then we’ll give him some time,” Dickey said. “The goal is to come back next year in the Donn Handicap (GI at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 11).”
GOLDEN HOPES FOR GOLDEN HISTORY – It had been 48 hours since Golden History’s five-furlong bullet work at Churchill Downs, but the staff in the barn of trainer Mark Casse continue to beam over that sharp training move on a dreary Wednesday morning beneath the famed Twin Spires.
The barn is now counting the days until Churchill Downs’ Stars of Tomorrow II racing program on Saturday, Nov. 26, when the Kentucky-bred 2-year-old filly is expected to compete in the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII).
Golden History zipped five furlongs on in 1:00.40. The work under exercise rider Melanie Giddings was the fastest of 24 moves at the distance.
“She worked great and went over the track really well,” assistant trainer Norman Casse said. “We’re still thinking that she’s going to run a big race in what will be just her third start in the Golden Rod. She’s trained well since her last race and she should be right there.”
John Oxley’s Golden History began her career with a 2 ¾-length victory over the synthetic Polytrack course at Woodbine and was entered in the $150,000 Pocahontas (GII) on Stars of Tomorrow I at Churchill Downs off that effort. Breaking from the gate at odds of 18-1, Golden History finished fifth, beaten three lengths in the one-mile race.
“I think she needed a start over the dirt and she probably didn’t get a whole lot out of her first race,” Casse said. “It was also asking a lot of her to run in the Pocahontas in just her second start. We were hoping to run her in an allowance race here, but the race didn’t go, so our hands were tied and we had to go (in the Pocahontas). The Golden Rod has been the target all along."
The daughter of Medaglia d/Ore was a $450,000 purchase earlier this year Florida’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Selected 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale, and has carried high hopes since the day she came under Casse’s care. Golden History is out of User History, who is out of User Friendly-GB., a winner of four Group I races in Europe on her way to the Cartier Award for European Horse of the Year in 1992.
She has a great pedigree and she’s a really good mover,” Casse said. “She’s also very intelligent. She has all the characteristics of a good horse.”
Another 2-year-old filly in the Casse barn with lots of potential is Sky High Lady, who will make her fourth career start in Thursday’s fourth race at Churchill Downs. Sky High Lady was pre-entered in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), but Casse opted to run her in a maiden-special at Churchill Downs on Oct. 30 when it seemed unlikely that she would draw into the Breeders’ Cup race from its list of also-eligibles. After breaking slowly, Sky High Lady raced wide and finished third as the 9-5 favorite.
“She always breaks slow and that is one of the reasons she got beat in the stake (Mazarine at Woodbine),” Casse said. “Hopefully she’ll break better Thursday and I think she’ll really like going two turns. The race over the track should also help her.”
Sky High Lady is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for Thursday’s race.
MEET LEADERS AT A GLANCE – Through 11 days of the 21-day Fall Meet, jockey Julien Leparoux, trainers Steve Asmussen and Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey are the leaders in their respective categories at Churchill Downs. Here is a look at the “human race” leaders entering Wednesday’s racing action:
1. Julien Leparoux (22-for-83, 27% win-percentage, $1,297,540 in earnings)
2. Corey Lanerie (13-for-68, 19%, $324,673)
3. Brian Hernandez Jr. (9-for-40, 23%, $233,755)
4. Jon Court (6-for-35, 17%, $118,214)
5. Shaun Bridgmohan (5-for-24, 21%, $197,267)
1. Steve Asmussen (9-for-37, 24%, $1,952,095)
1. Mike Maker (9-for-33, 27%, $1,311,788)
3. Bill Mott (5-for-16, 31%, $3,999,863)
3. Dale Romans (5-for-34, 15%, $1,518,380)
5. Eddie Kenneally (4-for-20, 20%, $201,866)
5. Ken McPeek (4-for-20, 20%, $200,021)
5. Ronny Werner (4-for-11, 36%, $116,665)
1. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (8-for-24, 33%, $689,378)
2. Billy, Donna and Justin Hays (4-for-10, 40%, $53,071)
3. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (3-for-8, 38%, $29,453)
4. Fred Allor (2-for-2, 100%, $51,120)
4. Richard, Bertram & Elaine Klein (2-for-8, 25%, $258,500)
4. Robert Lothenbach’s Lothenbach Stables Inc. (2-for-5, 40%, $79,470)
4. Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith (2-for-11, 18%, $2,418,000)
4. Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables LLC (2-for-5, 40%, $67,470)
4. Kenny Troutt’s WinStar Farm LLC (2-for-4, 50%, $2,728,970)
MILESTONE WATCH – Jon Court, currently fourth in the Churchill Downs jockey standings with six wins, is nearing his 400th win beneath the Twin Spires. Court recorded his 393rd career victory at the Louisville track in Sunday’s second race aboard J Isle. …
In Sunday’s fourth race, Quick Praise gave trainer Greg Foley his 336th career victory at Churchill Downs. The win moved Foley passed Jack Van Berg for seventh all-time in wins at the Louisville track. …
Trainer Paul McGee is nearing the 300-win milestone at Churchill Downs. The 49-year-old native of Louisville has saddled 295 winners in his career at his home track. ...
Trainer Ken McPeek tied Elliot Walden for 15th all-time in the Churchill Downs trainer standings with his two wins on Sunday’s card. McPeek, who has 288 career wins beneath the Twin Spires, is now one win behind Jinks Fires. …
Trainer Steve Asmussen is nearing the 6,000-win plateau. Entering Wednesday, Asmussen is just five wins shy of the milestone that has been reached by only four other trainers.
WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockey over the last five racing days (Nov. 9-13) is Julien Leparoux (12-for-31). Mike Maker (6-for-12) is the hottest trainer over the same period and Ken and Sarah Ramsey (5-for-8) are the hottest owners.
WORKTAB – Cash Refund, a multiple stakes-winning earner of $316,082, breezed five furlongs over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs on Sunday morning in 1:04.60 for trainer Steve Margolis. The work was the second fastest of three at the distance.