LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, May 2, 2012) – Defending Grade I Derby Day winners from 2011, Get Stormy and Sassy Image, plus the 1-2 finishers from last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI), Musical Romance and Switch, top the list of marquee names that will be featured Saturday in races leading up to the 138th running of the $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
Saturday’s 13-race program begins at 10:30 a.m. (all times Eastern) with the Kentucky Derby going as the 11th race of the day with a 6:24 p.m. post time. Prior to the Kentucky Derby, five graded stakes will be contested.
Sullimar Stable’s Get Stormy will seek to become the second horse to defend his title when he goes postward in the 26th running of the $500,000-added Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Grade I) for 4-year-olds and up going 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Only Einstein in 2008-09 repeated in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic.
The Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, which drew a field of 11, will go as Saturday’s 10th race with a 4:44 p.m. post time.
Trained by Tom Bush, Get Stormy has a 6-3-1-2 record at the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic distance of nine furlongs. Fourth in his most recent start in the Maker’s 46 Mile (GI) at Keeneland, Get Stormy will be ridden by Ramon Dominguez and break from post position four.
The three horses that combined to finish a length in front of Get Stormy last month at Keeneland also return in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic: Data Link, Turallure and Doubles Partner.
Owned by Stuart Janney III, Data Link earned his first stakes victory in the Maker’s 46 Mile. Trained by Shug McGaughey, Data Link will be ridden by Alex Solis and break from post position seven.
Four D Stable’s Turallure, trained by Charles Lopresti, fell a nose short of catching Court Vision here last fall in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI). Julien Leparoux has the mount on Turallure, who will break from post position two.
WinStar Farm’s Double Partner, winner of the Canadian Turf (GIII) in his 2012 debut, finished third in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic last year, beaten only a length. Javier Castellano has the mount Saturday on Doubles Partner, who will break from post position six.
The field for the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, from the hedge out, is as follows: Little Mike (Joe Bravo, 120 pounds), Turallure (Leparoux, 120), Boxeur des Rues (Mario Gutierrez, 118), Get Stormy (Dominguez, 124), Slim Shadey (GB) (David Flores, 122), Doubles Partner (Castellano, 120), Data Link (Solis, 124), Turbo Compressor (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Al Khali (Corey Nakatani, 118), Brilliant Speed (John Velazquez, 120) and Papaw Bodie (Joel Rosario, 120).
Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image will attempt to make history in the 26th running of the $300,000-added Humana Distaff (GI) for fillies and mares going seven furlongs on the main track.
No horse has won the Humana Distaff twice and the Dale Romans-trained 5-year-old mare will have to turn back eight foes to complete the double.
Sassy Image has won five of six career starts at Churchill Downs with other stakes victories coming in the 2011 Winning Colors (GIII) and the 2009 Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod (GII). Robby Albarado has the riding assignment on Sassy’s Image, who will break from post position three.
Chief among the rivals to Sassy Image are Pinnacle Racing Stables and trainer Bill Kaplan’s Musical Romance and Lee Searing’s Switch as well as Fred and trainer Buff Bradley’s Groupie Doll, winner of the Vinery Madison (GI) at Keeneland on April 12.
Fourth as the favorite in the Vinery Madison, Musical Romance has remained in Kentucky since the Keeneland race instead of returning to her South Florida base. Juan Leyva, who was aboard for the Breeders’ Cup triumph, has the mount Saturday on Musical Romance, who will break from post position eight.
Trained by John Sadler, Switch will be making her initial start of 2012. The millionaire daughter of Quiet American also ran second here in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Switch will break from post position seven under Mike Smith.
Groupie Doll, who broke her maiden here last summer in her only dirt start at Churchill Downs, won the Vinery Madison by three lengths under Rajiv Maragh who retains the mount Saturday. Groupie Doll will break from post position six.
The Humana Distaff will go as Saturday’s ninth race with a 3:49 p.m. post time.
The field for the Humana Distaff, from the rail out, is as follows: Magical Feeling (Roberto Alvarado Jr., 120 pounds), Fantasy of Flight (John Velazquez, 118), Sassy Image (Albarado, 118), Salty Strike (Julien Leparoux, 118), Mildly Offensive (Joel Rosario, 118), Groupie Doll (Maragh, 123), Switch (Smith, 118), Musical Romance (Leyva, 123) and Hot Summer (Rafael Bejarano, 118).
Thomas Sanford and trainer Bill Spawr’s Amazombie, winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) here last fall, and 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford, owned by Mike Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge, head a field of eight sprinters for the 78th running of the $400,000-added Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) at seven furlongs on the main track.
The Churchill Downs, won last year by Aikenite, will go as the seventh race Saturday with a 2:08 p.m. post time.
Amazombie, who will be ridden by Mike Smith, enters the Churchill Downs off a victory in the Potrero Grande (GII) at Santa Anita. Amazombie will break from post position six.
Trained by Dale Romans, Shackleford closed his 2011 campaign with a runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI). Third in the Carter Handicap (GI) in his most recent start, Shackleford will break from post position four under Jesus Castanon.
The field for the Churchill Downs from the rail out, is as follows: Smiling Tiger (Joel Rosario, 118 pounds), Almo d’Oro (Javier Castellano, 118), Apriority (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Shackleford (Castanon, 118), Hamazing Destiny (Corey Nakatani, 118), Amazombie (Smith, 123), Gantry (Richard Eramia, 118) and Will’s Wildcat (Calvin Borel, 118).
Two rising grass stars, Daisy Devine and Marketing Mix, plus 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Tapitsfly top a field of 10 to pass the entry box for the 27th running of the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII) for fillies and mares going a mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
The Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, won last year by Aviate, will go as the eighth race Saturday with a 2:59 p.m. post time.
Owned by James Miller and trained by Andrew McKeever, Daisy Devine is undefeated in four starts on the turf. James Graham, who has been aboard for the past three victories that include a score in the Jenny Wiley (GI) last month at Keeneland, has the mount Saturday on Daisy Devine, who will exit post position five.
Glen Hill Farm’s Marketing Mix has won four of five starts on grass with the lone setback being a runner-up finish in last fall’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland. Trained by Tom Proctor, Marketing Mix won the Mrs. Revere (GII) here to close out her 2011 and campaign and won her seasonal bow three weeks ago at Keeneland. Marketing Mix will start from post position three under Julien Leparoux.
Frank Jones Jr.’s Tapitsfly enters the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile off a third-place finish in the Jenny Wiley. Trained by Dale Romans, Tapitsfly took the Honey Fox (GII) in March at Gulfstream Park. Tapitsfly will break from post position four under Robby Albarado.
The field for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile from the hedge out is as follows: Heavenly Landing (Corey Lanerie, 118 pounds), Hooh Why (Rafael Bejarano, 118), Marketing Mix (Leparoux, 120), Tapitsfly (Albarado, 120), Daisy Devine (Graham, 123), Annabel Lee (Jon Court, 118), Aruna (Ramon Dominguez, 118), City to City (Corey Nakatani, 120), La Reine Lionne (Javier Castellano, 118) and Hungry Island (John Velazquez, 118).
Carl R. Moore Management LLC’s veteran Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) here, heads a field of 12 for the 18th running of the $125,000-added Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE Appliances (GIII) for 4-year-olds and up going five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
The Twin Spires Turf Sprint, won last year by Regally Ready, will go as the sixth race Saturday with a 1:19 p.m. post time.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Chamberlain Bridge will be making his fourth appearance in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint with a victory coming in the 2009 renewal. Jamie Theriot has the riding assignment on Chamberlain Bridge, who will break from post position 11.
Chief among Chamberlain Bridge’s rivals is Melnyk Racing Stables’ Bridgetown, who will be making his 2012 debut. Second in this race last year, Bridgetown will be ridden by John Velazquez and break from post position four.
The field for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint from the hedge out is as follows: Santo Gato (Rafael Bejarano, 118 pounds), Great Attack (Joel Rosario, 120), Cactus Son (Robby Albarado, 118), Bridgetown (Velazquez, 118), City Sage (Calvin Borel, 118), Stormy Going (Gabriel Saez, 118), Speight the Halo (James Graham, 118), Spinning Move (Corey Lanerie, 118), Amanecer de Oro (Richard Eramia, 118), Great Mills (Julien Leparoux, 120), Chamberlain Bridge (Theriot, 118) and Shabaab (Luis Contreras, 118).
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 138th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 5, 2012, and its 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.