Entered in Friday night’s featured $43,000 allowance optional claiming event at Churchill Downs is Brereton C. Jones’ Myositis Dan, who was named to specifically build awareness for a disease called Myositis that affects thousands of Americans each year.
According to The Myositis Association’s website, myositis.org, Myositis is muscle inflammation and can be caused by infection, injury, certain medicines, exercise, and chronic disease.
Myositis Dan will face a solid field of eight 3-year-olds and up in Friday night’s one-mile contest, which goes as Race 8 of 10 on Friday’s Downs After Dark card at approximately 9:39 p.m. ET.
“We were contacted by a gentleman named Bob Goldberg, who is the head of the Myositis foundation and also a big horse racing fan,” said Bret Jones, the former Kentucky governor’s son who heads bloodstock services for his father’s Airdrie Stud. “Mr. Goldberg had the idea of calling a few different farms and seeing if they would consider including ‘Myositis’ in the naming of various horses to try and raise awareness for the disease.
“It’s a really terrible illness but an illness that not many people know about. So we actually named one horse before Myositis Dan, who was Stop Myositis, but unfortunately Stop Myositis wasn’t very fast, so we didn’t do a very good job getting the name out there with the first one.
“Bob called us back a year later and said that he really appreciated us doing it the last year, asked if we would do it again and then told us the story of Dan Schuler. Dan had been stricken with Myositis and eventually sadly lost his battle to it. Of course we said we’d be happy to do it again and he’s turned out to be a really cool horse. We got Dan’s family and Bob in town when he won at Keeneland and they were all in the winner’s circle. It was very emotional but at the same time fantastic for the cause.”
Myositis Dan broke his maiden in his second start, taking a 6 ½-furlong race at odds of 16-1 at Keeneland on Oct. 13 of last year.
“We were very happy just to raise some awareness and we feel like we have,” Jones said. “Everyone we talk to asks us where the name comes from, and everybody that we tell it to is very eager to spread the word or even become a donor, so it’s really cool.”
Trained by Tom Proctor, Myositis Dan finished third in the Derby Trial (Grade III) at Churchill earlier this year, and most recently finished eighth in the Aug. 23 King’s Bishop (GI) at Saratoga.
“He’s been doing great,” Jones said. “He had a rough trip in the King’s Bishop; he was down on the inside where you don’t really want to be. There also wasn’t the pace early on that you’d normally expect in the King’s Bishop. But to only get beat by four lengths and change when you don’t have an ideal setup… We’re not huge fans of moral victories but it really wasn’t as bad of a race as it looked like at the time.”
Jones said that a large portion of Myositis Dan’s earnings are donated to the Myositis Association.
The Joneses also have a filly entered in Saturday’s $100,000-added Dogwood (GIII) in Enjoy the Family, also trained by Proctor. The 3-year-old daughter of Brother Derek will make just her fourth start on Saturday, coming off a runner-up effort in an allowance optional claiming event at Arlington Park.
“Enjoy the Family is training well,” Jones said. “We’re mainly just taking a shot to see where we are. With a 3-year-old filly, we think she has the ability to get some black type on the page and this just looked like a reasonable spot to try and get it done.”
The seven-furlong Dogwood is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday’s card with an approximate post time of 4:55 p.m.
MILAM READY FOR REMATCH WITH FIFTYSHADESOFGOLD IN DOGWOOD
Joseph Sutton’s Milam enters Saturday’s $100,000-added Dogwood (Grade III) at Churchill Downs ready for a rematch with Fiftyshadesofgold, whom she finished a half-length behind in the Eight Belles (GIII) on Kentucky Oaks Day.
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Milam finished third in her last effort, the June 29 Victory Ride (GIII) at Belmont Park. She has drawn post position four for Saturday’s seven-furlong contest and will get jockey Corey Lanerie at the reigns for the Dogwood.
“Fiftyshadesofgold is one of the horses to beat,” Kenneally said. “She’s a tough horse but we’re doing as well as we possibly can, so we’ll see. I think it’ll be a close race for sure.”
The seven-furlong Dogwood features a field of 10 3-year-old fillies (although Kiss to Remember and Honey’s Ryan are expected to scratch), and will be run as the ninth of 10 races on Saturday with an approximate post time of 4:55 p.m. ET.
“The race came up tough; it’s a solid, deep race,” Kenneally said. “Milam’s doing really well; she hasn’t run in a little while but she’s worked over the Churchill track a couple of times this month and she’s ready to run.”
Milam’s last breeze under the Twin Spires came Sept. 13 with a half-mile workout in :49.
“She’s been consistent all along,” Kenneally said. “She likes the track and ran a big race in the Eight Belles at seven furlongs so it’s an ideal spot for her.”
Milam also won a Churchill Downs allowance race last November. Overall, she’s won three of seven starts and earned $157,676.
THANK YOU MARYLOU SEEKS FIRST STAKES WIN IN DOGWOOD
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Thank You Marylou will bid for her first stakes win in Saturday’s $100,000-added Dogwood (Grade III) at Churchill Downs and trainer Mike Maker thinks she is due for a big performance.
Her last effort resulted in a sixth-place finish in the Test (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 2, where she only was beaten by 2 ½ lengths.
“She’s always trained well,” Maker said. “In the Test, she just had an inside trip and got a little intimidated down there, so we’re going to add blinkers on her and hope for a better outcome on Saturday,” Maker said.
The 3-year-old daughter of Birdstone ran fifth in this year’s Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), her only start under the Twin Spires.
“In the Oaks she was making a move at the quarter pole, but I think a mile-and-an-eighth might have been a little too far for her,” Maker said. “The competition also might have been a little too steep, but I don’t think she had any issues with the track. Hopefully she runs big.”
Thank You Marylou will be ridden Saturday by Miguel Mena and break from post position seven at odds of 4-1 on the morning line.
WARD HOPING FOR BIG WEEKEND WITH PROMISING 2-YEAR-OLDS
Trainer Wesley Ward is expecting a big weekend at Churchill Downs for some potential up-and-coming 2-year-olds as he will saddle Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Wayward Kitten in a maiden special weight on the turf Friday night and first-time starter Pow Wow Pal in a maiden special weight on dirt Saturday.
Pow Wow Pal is one of two homebred entries for owner My Meadowview Farm in Saturday’s five-furlong maiden event along with Cloverdale Nine. Pow Wow Pal is out of the Grade-I winning mare Funny Moon, while Cloverdale Nine is a half-brother to Grade-I winner and stallion Whywhywhy. Ward said that Pow Wow Pal most likely would be the one making the start on Saturday.
“We’re not going to run both of them,” Ward said. “Right now we’re leaning toward Pow Wow Pal over Cloverdale Nine,” Ward said. “They’re both nice horses, and well bred, but I think Cloverdale Nine is going to want to go a little longer. Pow Wow Pal should handle this distance well.”
Jockey Rafael Hernandez, who was lured to Kentucky from Illinois by Ward to come ride for some bigger purse money, will ride Pow Wow Pal in Saturday’s seventh race, which goes at approximately 3:53 p.m. ET.
“He’s obviously had some success in his career,” Ward said. “He’s a great guy and I wanted to give him the opportunity to perform on a bigger stage.”
Hernandez also will ride Wayward Kitten for Ward on Friday night going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The 2-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy will make his second start after a runner-up effort at Arlington Park in his debut.
“Wayward Kitten is looking very good,” Ward said. “He should be tough. Kitten’s Joys get better as time goes on, so I think as the distance gets further on the grass he’ll do better. I’m looking for a big race out of him.”
When asked if the Oct. 5 Bourbon (GIII) at Keeneland would be on Wayward Kitten’s radar if he ran a big race Friday, Ward said “Mr. Ramsey has a wealth of 2-year-olds that have won, so we’ll have to sit down with the boss and see what direction he wants to go.”
The Bourbon is a “Win and You’re In” qualifying race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI), which will be run at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 31.
ODDS AND ENDS
Jake Ballis, who co-owns graded stakes winner Cigar Street with NBA forward Rashard Lewis, said their 5-year-old son of Street Sense was likely to enter the $125,000-added Homecoming Classic at Churchill Downs instead of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) at Belmont Park. Cigar Street was nominated to both races, which are scheduled for Sept. 27. …Ricardo Santana Jr. and Corey Lanerie remain locked in a two-way tie at the top the jockey standings with nine each after both jockeys won two races on Sunday’s Card… Steve Asmussen moved into sole possession of first place in the trainer standings after saddling Incompatible to a victory in the last race on Sunday’s card, his fourth win on the meet… Owner Maggi Moss captured her fourth victory on the meet with Galloping Domino in Sunday’s fourth race, giving her the outright lead in the owners’ standings with six more days of racing remaining in September. She is unbeaten with four starters. … Belated birthday wishes to trainer Dallas Stewart, who turned 55 on Monday. … Trainer Charlie LoPresti will celebrate his 57th birthday on Sunday.
THIS WEEKEND AT CHURCHILL DOWNS
Friday, Sept. 19 – Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester: Oktoberfest
- 10 races from 6-10:42 p.m. (Gates: 4 p.m.)
- Theme: Oktoberfest. Churchill Downs will transform its 30,000-square-foot Plaza into Louisville’s largest beer garden.
- In addition to a live polka band and a roaming accordion player, the Plaza Stage features live performances by The Rheingold Band and the popular cover band, The Respectables.
- A variety of German beers and traditional German foods such as sausages, sauerkraut and pretzels will be available for sale.
- Feature (Race 8 at 9:39 p.m.): $43,000 alw opt clm, 3 & up, 1 M.
- Box Office hours: 12-9 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Pigskins and Ponies
- 10 races from 12:45-5:27 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Feature (Race 9 at 4:55 p.m.): $100,000-added Dogwood (GIII), 3yo, f, 7 F.
- College Football shown on 16’ x 20’ Plaza video screen: Georgia Tech at Virginia (12 p.m.) and Louisville at Florida International (3:30 p.m.).
- Drink specials in the Plaza: $2 Budweiser/Bud Light; $3 Stella Artois, $1 Pepsi products & bottled water.
- Free admission to college students with a current student ID.
- Who’s the Champ? Betting Challenge in the ITW area on the second floor of the Grandstand. $35 to enter ($30 for TSC Elite members). Registration from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Churchill Downs Lounge. $2 Win/Place mythical wagers on Races 3-8. First prize: 1,000,000 TSC Elite Points ($1,000) plus $500 entry fee for Churchill Challenge. Second prize: 500,000 TSC Elite Points ($500). Third prize: 250,000 TSC Elite Points ($250).
- Box Office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 21
- 10 races from 12:45-5:27 p.m. (Gates: 11:30 a.m.)
- Feature (Race 8 at 4:24 p.m.): $41,000 alw opt clm, 3&up, 6 ½ F
- Box Office hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.