Repole Stable’s Overanalyze, winner of the Futurity (Grade II) at Belmont Park in his most recent start, leads a list of probable starters for Sunday’s Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
The Iroquois will share the spotlight with the Pocahontas (GII) on the Stars of Tomorrow I racing program, which features racing exclusively for 2-year-olds and kicks off the 21-day Fall Meet.
Churchill Downs officials expect as many as 10 others to challenge the Todd Pletcher-trained Overanalyze in the one-mile Iroquois.
The list of probable starters includes Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII) winner Pataky Kid (Tom Proctor), Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile champ Heaven’s Runway (Ron Moquett), Agave Cat (John Good), Exploring (Mark Casse), Five Iron (Brian Lynch), Positively (Pat Byrne), Royal Art (Wayne Lukas), Strike the Note (Jay Severs) and Symphony Forty One (David Fawkes).
Hightail (Lukas) is among the pre-entries for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, but is believed to be under consideration for the Iroquois as well.
UNDEFEATED GAL ABOUT TOWN TOPS POCAHONTAS PROBABLES – Iroquois Racing Club LLC’s undefeated filly Gal About Town heads the list of probable starters for Sunday’s Pocahontas (GII) at Churchill Downs.
The 44th running of the Pocahontas, which is part of the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” Prep Season, will be contested at one mile on the main track.
A chestnut daughter of City Zip, Gal About Town broke her maiden at first asking in a maiden special weight event at Monmouth Park. She followed up that effort with a 3 ¾-length score in an allowance race over the Polytrack at Keeneland.
Other fillies expected by Churchill Downs officials to enter the Pocahontas include Brotherhood Singer (Garry Simms), Cloudy Vow (Tim Hamm), Daar Zayed (Eoin Harty), I’m Already Sexy (Wayne Catalano), Sign (Al Stall Jr.) and Southern Symphony (Ron Moquett).
LOPEZ, ROCCO JR., COHEN JOIN CHURCHILL JOCKEY COLONY FOR FALL MEET – The high-quality jockey colony at Churchill Downs will get even more competitive this fall with the addition of Paco Lopez, Joe Rocco Jr. and David Cohen, who are scheduled to ride their first full meet at the Louisville track.
Lopez, who turned 27 on Oct. 18, moved to the United States in 2006 and began riding professionally in 2007. He was honored with an Eclipse Award as the top apprentice rider in 2008 and scored his 1,000th career victory at Monmouth Park in August. A leading rider at Gulfstream Park, Calder Race Course, The Meadowlands and Monmouth, Lopez has just eight career mounts at Churchill Downs with one victory, which came in the 2010 Alysheba aboard Arson Squad.
“We fell in love with Keeneland and we decided to stay in Kentucky until Gulfstream,” agent Cory Moran said. “We want to break into Kentucky and come back every year. You want to be in Kentucky if you’re in this business.”
Rocco Jr., son of veteran rider Joe Rocco, is just 42 victories away from the 1,000-win milestone. One of the leading riders in the Mid-Atlantic region, Rocco Jr.’s top mounts this year included Grade III winners Colonial Flag and Tiz Miz Sue. In his lone mount at Churchill Downs, Rocco Jr. finished ninth aboard Atrial Flutter in the 2001 Mrs. Revere (GII).
Rocco Jr. was involved in an Oct. 19 spill at Keeneland but sustained no serious injuries and will be ready to ride opening day at Churchill Downs.
“He was a little sore, but he’s doing fine now and he’s riding today (Wednesday) at Keeneland,” agent Lenny Pike said. “I think he’s going to have a good meet.”
Cohen, who has more than 1,100 career victories, is a two-time Grade I-winning jockey with victories in the 2005 Malibu aboard Proud Tower Too and the 2012 Travers on Golden Ticket. In his only mounts at Churchill Downs, Cohen finished 10th aboard Tamarind Hall in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) and ninth on Vexor in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint. Cohen started his career in Southern California and then moved his tack to the East Coast in 2007.
“I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to making Kentucky my home,” Cohen said.
OPENING DAY ENTRIES – Entries for Sunday’s 11-race opening day “Stars of Tomorrow I” program will be taken Thursday morning. Throughout the 2012 Fall Meet, entries will be taken on Saturday morning for racing on the following Wednesday; Sunday for Thursday; Tuesday for Friday; Wednesday for Saturday; and Thursday for Sunday. No entries will be drawn on Monday or Friday.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Trainer Ian Wilkes said Wednesday that recent Indiana Derby (GII) winner Neck ’n Neck is being pointed to the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) on Nov. 2 … Nominations close Wednesday (today) for the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up. The 39th running of the Cardinal will be contested at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Nov. 10 … Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on Sunday (Oct. 28). Activities, which will take place on the Horsemen’s Balcony overlooking the Paddock, include a Trick or Treat Parade with Churchill Charlie … The first 5,000 fans through the gates on Opening Day at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28 will receive a free 2013 Churchill Downs calendar compliments of Humana.