Joseph W. Sutton’s Bradester has been made the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (Grade III) at Churchill Downs and trainer Eddie Kenneally was happy to get five-time local champion jockey Corey Lanerie the mount for the first time.
“Corey’s breezed him once in the morning but this will be his first time riding Bradester in a race,” Kenneally said. “We’re obviously excited to get Corey; I ride him all the time and have the utmost confidence in him.”
Bradester is coming off of back-to-back runner-up performances at Monmouth Park in the Monmouth Cup (GII) and the Salvator Mile (GIII). He was beaten 1 ½ lengths by Itsmyluckyday in the Salvator Mile, who went on to win the Woodward (GI) last Saturday at Saratoga.
“Bradester is doing well and training great,” Kenneally said. “He shipped down to the Churchill a few of weeks ago and has put in a good work over the track. He has won on the track and has run some other good races at Churchill before.”
The 4-year-old son of Lion Heart recorded a bullet five-furlong workout on Aug. 29 under the Twin Spires in :59.60.
“We’re going from a two-turn race back to a one turn,” Kenneally said. “That’s the biggest difference for him; it’s more of a sprint. It also is a solid field even though there aren’t many in there.”
The one-mile Ack Ack is the fourth of 11 races on Churchill’s Saturday card with an approximate post time of 2:19 p.m.
“We’ll see how he breaks and leave the trip to Corey,” Kenneally said. “Hopefully he runs his race.”
ASMUSSEN ASSISTANT SAYS IROQUOIS ‘SHOULD BE A TWO-HORSE RACE’
Trainer Steve Asmussen will saddle a pair of promising 2-year-olds in Saturday’s $100,000-added Iroquois (GIII) in Ackerley Brothers Farm’s Bold Conquest and Jerry Durant’s Lucky Player.
“They’re both doing so well; I think it should be a two-horse race,” Asmussen’s assistant trainer Galen Prewitt said Friday morning.
Bold Conquest, a son of Asmussen-trained and recent Hall of Fame inductee Curlin, took a maiden race at Saratoga on Aug. 16 going 6 ½ furlongs, winning by a head. He was runner-up in his only previous start, also at Saratoga going 5 ½ furlongs.
“He definitely seemed to benefit from going a little longer in his second race at Saratoga,” Prewitt said. “It’s so competitive up there. He’s got a lot of class, just like his daddy.”
Bold Conquest, 4-1 on the morning line, will be ridden by Joel Rosario breaking from post position eight in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile event.
Lucky Player is coming off of a runner-up effort in the Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile, where he dug in late and just missed by a neck.
“Lucky Player is doing great,” Prewitt said. “He’s really progressing well; he ran a good second last out at Prairie Meadows and came out of it great. I have no doubt in that horse’s abilities.”
Lucky Player will break from post five at odds of 5-1 on the morning-line with jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. getting the call.
The Iroquois is slated as the ninth race on Saturday with an approximate post time of 4:55 p.m.
GORDER ON HASHTAG BOURBON: ‘IROQUOIS WAS PLAN FROM DAY ONE’
Bourbon Lane Stables’ Hashtag Bourbon, victorious in the Mountaineer Juvenile in his last start, has had the $100,000-added Iroquois (GIII) on his radar for quite some time, according to trainer Kellyn Gorder.
“The Iroquois has been the plan from Day One,” Gorder said. “We like the fact that we don’t have to ship and we thought this would shape up to be a perfect spot for him.”
After a troubled start in his maiden debut beneath the Twin Spires on June 28, Hashtag Bourbon started the race in ninth-place before rallying late to finish third in the nine-horse field.
Hashtag Bourbon began his last race in sixth, but went on to capture the six-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile by taking a narrow lead in the stretch and widening to win by a 4 ½-length margin.
“I expect him to maybe be a little closer than in his last race,” Gorder said. “He’s also breaking better each time he runs. His first race he basically just stood there in the gate; he didn’t break well at all.
“I think he should handle the distance fine. I think we’ll be off the pace, but of course it all depends on how the race shapes up.”
The 2-year-old son of 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver breezed a half-mile in :50.20 at Churchill Downs on Monday in his last workout prior to Saturday’s Iroquois.
“He’s trained very well,” Gorder said. “No hiccups; we’ve been very happy with him.”
Hashtag Bourbon will break from the rail in post one in the Iroquois with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr.
CARVE LOOKS TO GIVE COX ANOTHER GRADED SCORE IN ACK ACK
Churchill Downs-based trainer and Louisville native Brad Cox is looking for his second graded stakes score with Michael Langford’s Carve in Saturday’s $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) under the Twin Spires.
Carve’s victory in the Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (GIII) marked the first graded stakes score for Cox on June 28.
“He was my first graded stakes winner,” Cox said. “He’s been big for our barn. It was a big accomplishment to get that first graded win and it was a nice purse. His last race at Mountaineer was a big effort as well.”
Carve’s last effort, a win in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at Mountaineer was his third consecutive victory, which boosted his earnings to $686,931.
“He’s training really well,” Cox said. “He breezed a half-mile here at Churchill this past weekend in :49.40. He’s fit and happy.”
Carve will shorten up for the one-mile Ack Ack after going 1 1/16 miles in his victory at Mountaineer and 1 1/8 miles in the Cornhusker.
“I think he’ll handle the one-turn mile well,” Cox said. “He won an allowance race here at that distance before the Cornhusker, so I don’t think it will be an issue with him at all.”
FRIDAY IS COLLEGE RIVALRY NIGHT
Louisville is one of the best college sports cities in America and Churchill Downs is opening its September Meet tonight with a salute to local college teams and to raise funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Fans are encouraged to show their school pride by wearing their team colors and participating in competitive games and contests, including Tailgating Olympics, cornhole trick shots and a dunk tank. Churchill Downs will donate $1 to the V Foundation for each fan in attendance.
Popular DJ 2nd Nature will be performing his artful blend of sights and high-energy sounds on the Plaza Stage, while local college cheer and dance teams perform at locations throughout the track.
Attendees also will be able to compete for a chance to win a VIP experience to the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 9, which features matchups between U of L and Indiana and Illinois and Villanova.
The gates open at 4 p.m. and the first race is at 6 p.m. General admission is $10, reserved box seats are $20, the new 21+ Terrace Lounge is $25, Millionaires Row is $60 and 21+ Terrace Lounge VIP cabanas are $99.
THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Tonight, Sept. 5 – Downs After Dark Presented by Old Forester: College Rivalry Night
- 10 races from 6-10:24 p.m. (Gates: 4 p.m.)
- Downs After Dark Presented by Old Forester
- Theme: College Rivalry Night. Fans are encouraged to show their school pride by wearing their team colors and participating in competitive games and contests, including Tailgating Olympics, cornhole trick shots and a dunk tank.
- Churchill Downs will donate $1 to the V Foundation for each fan in attendance.
- Popular DJ 2nd Nature will be performing his artful blend of sights and high-energy sounds on the Plaza Stage, while local college cheer and dance teams perform at locations throughout the track.
- Attendees also will be able to compete for a chance to win a VIP experience to the Jimmy V Men’s Basketball Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York on Dec. 9, which features matchups between U of L and Indiana and Illinois and Villanova.
- Co-Feature (Race 4 at 7:26 p.m.): $39,000 alw opt clm, 2yo, 1 M (T)
- Co-Feature (Race 8 at 9:39 p.m.): $39,000 alw, 3yo, 7 F
- Box Office hours: 12-9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 6
- 11 races from 12:45-5:56 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Kentucky Derby & Oaks 141 logos revealed after Race 3 (1:47 p.m.)
- Co-Feature (Race 4 at 2:19 p.m.): $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII), 3 & up, 1 M, 22nd running
- Co-Feature (Race 8 at 4:24 p.m.): $100,000-added Locust Grove, f & m, 1 1/16 M, 31st Running
- Co-feature (Race 9 at 4:55 p.m.): $100,000-added Iroquois (GIII), 2yo, 1 1/16 M, 33rd Running – A Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Season Race (Top 4 Points: 10-4-2-1) and Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Juvenile Division Challenge Race
- Co-feature (Race 10 at 5:27 p.m.): $200,000-added Pocahontas (GII), 2yo f, 1 1/16 M, 46th Running – A Road to the Kentucky Oaks Prep Season Race (Top 4 Points: 10-4-2-1) and Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Juvenile Fillies Division Challenge Race
- Box Office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 7
- 10 races from 12:45-5:27 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Feature (Race 9 at 4:55 p.m.): $39,000 alw, f & m, 1 1/16 M (T)
- Box Office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.