Churchill Downs Racetrack will raise the curtain on its 26-day Fall Meet on Sunday, Oct. 26 and focus its racing spotlight on Thoroughbred racing’s rising stars in the first of two popular “Stars of Tomorrow” racing cards devoted exclusively to 2-year-olds. Ten races are scheduled on the program and a pair of $58,000-added, one-mile overnight stakes races – the Street Sense for colts and geldings and the Rags to Riches for fillies – headline the action.
Conquest Stable LLC’s Conquest Tsunami and Harry T. Rosenblum’s Far Right, both coming out of competition in Grade I stakes events, head a field of seven colts entered in the Street Sense, which is scheduled as the fourth race with a post time of 2:06 p.m. (all times Eastern). Wayne Catalano, who earned his first “Leading Trainer” title at Churchill Downs when he tied for that honor in the recent September Meet, trains three of the 11 fillies entered in the Rags to Riches. Catalano’s entrants include Mary and Gary West’s West Coast Belle and Movie Mystery and It’s All About The Girls Stable’s Four Inch Heels.
The 2014 Churchill Downs Fall Meet consists of 26 days of racing through its conclusion on Sunday, Nov. 30. Post time for Sunday’s “Stars of Tomorrow I” opening day is set for 12:45 p.m. and admission gates are scheduled to open at 11:30 a.m. The historic home track will operate on a Wednesday-through-Sunday schedule during the last of its three 2014 racing sessions.
Racing fans and horsemen enthusiastically welcomed the “Stars of Tomorrow” concept when it was introduced in 2005. The second of the meet’s racing days comprised solely of races for horses that could emerge as contenders for next spring’s $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), America’s greatest race, and the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the nation’s most prestigious event for 3-year-old fillies, is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 29.
Conquest Tsunami and Far Right will meet for the second time in their young careers. They finished 1-2 at Keeneland on April 25 in a 4 ½-furlong maiden race that served as the respective career debut for both colts.
Conquest Tsunami rolled to 6 ¼-length victory for trainer Mark Casse over Keeneland’s former Polytrack surface that day, then traveled to Canada’s Woodbine for three consecutive victories that included wins in the Victoria and Colin Stakes over Polytrack and an allowance win on turf. He suffered his first loss in five career outings when he ran sixth over Keeneland’s new dirt surface in the 1 1/16-mile Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity. The son of Stormy Atlantic finished 14 lengths behind the victorious Carpe Diem in that 12-horse field, but assistant trainer Norman Casse said Conquest Tsunami has trained well since that setback.
“We really thought he ran a solid race in the Breeders’ Futurity,” Casse said. “We figured he was going to get a little tired; being his first start on the dirt going two-turns. But we think we’ll get a truer gauge on what he really is by running him in the Street Sense.”
Jockey Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Conquest Tsunami from post six and will shoulder high weight of 122 pounds
The Ron Moquett-trained Far Right brings a record of 1-2-0 in four races into the Street Sense that includes a fourth-place run behind Blofeld in the Belmont Futurity (GII) on Oct. 5 at Belmont Park. Moquett said his colt was the victim of a moderate pace in the Futurity, but he expects better from son of Notional at Churchill Downs, where Far Right was a maiden winner on Sept. 13.
“You can’t give those types of horses 23-second quarters and think that you can catch them at the end,” Moquett said. “He made a mental move to try and make up some of it and he was able to make up about five lengths toward the end, but it just wasn’t enough to punch on through after giving those guys that kind of easy first half.”
Others that figure to attract solid backing the Street Sense include Lothenbach Stables’ Handy Candy, whose two runs in the Churchill Downs September Meet for trainer Ian Wilkes included a 33-1 upset win in his career debut and a fourth-place effort in a one-mile allowance race, and Gary and Mary West’s Instant Replay, a Lemon Drop Kid colt who won at first asking for Catalano on Sept. 23 at Philadelphia’s Parx Racing.
Also competing for Lothenbach Stables is Nun the Less, a Candy Ride colt with a record of 2-1-0 in three races that includes an allowance win over mud at Keeneland on Oct. 3. Florent Geroux will ride the colt for Chicago-based trainer Chris Block.
The field for the Street Sense, from the rail out (with jockey, weight) includes Handy Candy (Chris Landeros, 118); Far Right (Ricardo Santana Jr., 118); Instant Replay (Corey Lanerie, 118); Jumps for Bucks (Francisco Torres, 118); Nun the Less (Geroux, 120); Conquest Tsunami (Bridgmohan, 122); and Risetotheoccasion (Rosie Napravnik, 118).
The members of the Catalano-trained trio in the Rags to Riches are each coming off a victory in their lone career start. Two of the fillies – West Coast Belle and Four Inch Heels – were winners at New Jersey’s Monmouth Park, while Movie Mystery was a winner at first asking at Parx Racing. The latter was a supplemental entry to the race at a cost of $500, but Catalano said there was a chance that one of his trio could be scratched, though all could be competitive.
“West Coast Belle is a nice filly,” Catalano said. “She only went five-and-a-half furlongs in her first start but I think she’s ready to handle going a little further. But I like her a lot and she’s been training great. Four Inch Heels is a similar story. She’s been doing everything right.”
Channing Hill was named as the rider for both West Coast Belle and Movie Mystery, and Geroux will ride Four Inch Heels. If both West Coast Belle and Movie Mystery run, they will compete as a coupled entry.
While Catalano has strength in numbers, a filly from the high-powered stable of trainer Todd Pletcher could attract strong support in the Rags to Riches. StarLadies Racing’s Hopefaithjoy comes into the race off a 3 ¾-length maiden romp at 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland after a solid third-place run in the mud in her racing debut at Saratoga.
The daughter of Preakness (GI) winner Lookin at Lucky, a $270,000 yearling purchase at the 2013 Keeneland September Sale, will break from the outside post as she turns back to Churchill Downs one-turn mile distance. Two-time Kentucky Oaks-winning jockey Rosie Napravnik will ride.
Another contender could be JoAnn and Alex Leiblong’s Silver Allure, who was an easy winner at Indiana Grand in July before she finished a good second to Paige in a roughly run allowance race at Churchill Downs in September.
“She did really well in that last allowance race here,” trainer Steve Hobby said. “The filly that beat her, Paige, came back and ran third in the (Grade I) Darley Alcibiades at Keeneland, so that kind of made us feel better about getting beat there. She seems to like Churchill; her works since the last race have been excellent and we’re looking forward to seeing what she can do here Sunday.”
Edmond and Sharon Hudon’s Streetheart finished in a dead-heat with Keen Pauline for the victory in a seven-furlong maiden race on Sept. 27 at Churchill Downs. The daughter of Street Sense is trained by Eddie Kenneally and could also be among the fans’ choices in Sunday’s race.
Another possible contender is Winding Bay, an unbeaten Malibu Moon filly co-owned by trainer Wesley Ward and Kent Spillman. She was a 7 ½-length winner at Indiana Grand in her only career start, but Ward’s filly is cross-entered in the $100,000 Chelsea Flower Stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The field for the Rags to Riches, from the rail out (with jockey and weight) includes Winding Bay (Rafael Hernandez, 118); Tiz Sexy Now (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118); West Coast Belle (Hill, 118); Movie Mystery (Hill, 118); Taylor S (Miguel Mena, 118); Simply Confection (Jon Court, 118); Silver Allure (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118); Four Inch Heels (Geroux, 118); Flexible Ethics (Corey Lanerie, 118); Streetheart (Julien Leparoux, 118); and Hopefaithjoy (Napravnik, 118).