Peter Callahan’s Scotus will make his fifth career start beneath the Twin Spires in Saturday’s $73,600 Opening Verse at Churchill Downs, but it will be his first visit to the Matt Winn Turf Course. In fact, it will be his first race on the turf anywhere.
In his 11 career starts, Scotus has recorded seven starts on the dirt and four on a synthetic surface. A 4-year-old dark bay or brown son of Successful Appeal, Scotus has wins on both surfaces, but his biggest victory came on the main track at Churchill Downs in the Matt Winn (Grade III) last spring.
“I think he’ll like the turf and being out of a Seattle Slew mare, he’s bred to like it,” said Phil Bauer, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek.
Scotus will enter the Opening Verse off a third-place finish behind Havelock and Lonesome Street in the Hanshin Cup (GIII) at Arlington Park on May 19. It was the second start of the year for Scotus, who won his 2012 debut by 3 ¼ lengths on the Polytrack at Keeneland on April 7.
“He’s doing really well,” Bauer said. “I think Dale (Romans)’s horse (Guys Reward) is the one to beat, but he’s coming off a short layoff and our horse is fresh.”
Scotus will break from post seven in the field of eight and will be ridden by Victor Lebron.
The Opening Verse for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on the turf will go as Race 5 Saturday at 2:48 p.m. (all times Eastern).
GUYS REWARD BREAKS FROM RAIL IN OPENING VERSE ON EIGHT DAYS REST – Prior to saddling Donegal Racing’s Dullahan for the $1 million Belmont (GI), trainer Dale Romans will watch from New York as Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward will seek to record his second win over the Matt Winn Turf Course in 10 days in Saturday’s Opening Verse.
Guys Reward, who narrowly finished third in the Louisville Handicap (GIII) behind Keertana and Bearpath at Churchill Downs last spring, was victorious in a competitive one-mile allowance race on the Matt Winn Turf Course on May 31.
“I don’t see why we wouldn’t run him,” assistant trainer Baldemar Bahena said. “He’s been doing really well since his last race and he galloped well this morning (Friday).”
Guys Reward, a 5-year-old dark bay or brown son of Grand Reward, broke from post one on May 31 and will break from the rail again under Shaun Bridgmohan.
BRIDGMOHAN, HERNANDEZ JR. NEARING CHURCHILL MILESTONES – Jockeys Shaun Bridgmohan and Brian Hernandez Jr. could both reach milestones at Churchill Downs during Friday’s special 11-race Twilight Racing program.
Bridgmohan, a 32-year-old native of Jamaica, is seeking to become just the 18th rider in Churchill Downs history to reach the 400-win milestone at the historic Louisville racetrack. With 30 wins at the Spring Meet, Bridgmohan has brought his total at Churchill Downs to 395. His lone Grade I victory beneath the Twin Spires came when Giant Oak was promoted to first in the 2011 Clark Handicap. He has recorded 17 other graded-stakes wins at Churchill Downs
He is scheduled to ride in Races 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9 and 10 on Friday and Races 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 11 on Saturday.
Overall, Bridgmohan has recorded 2,380 wins in North America during his 16-year career.
Hernandez brought himself within two victories from the 200-win milestone at Churchill Downs with a victory in Thursday’s fifth race aboard Wildcat Nation.
A 26-year-old native of Lafayette, La., Hernandez Jr.’s 198 wins at Churchill Downs includes five stakes victories, most recently with Ice Cream Silence in the Optimistic Gal on May 26.
He is scheduled to ride in Races 1, 7, 8, 10 and 11 on Friday and Races 1, 5, 6, 8 and 11 on Saturday.
In his nearly 10-year career, Hernandez has ridden 968 winners overall.
BARN TALK – Nominations for the 112th running of the $100,000-added Debutante (GIII) for 2-year-old fillies at six furlongs on the main track at Churchill Downs close Saturday, June 9. The Debutante was won last year by Barry King’s Flashy Lassie for trainer Garry Simms.
Churchill Downs’ Sunday racing program on June 10 will feature Family Fun Days activities Presented by Kroger. Attractions that include HorseRacing Bingo, Junior Jockey Club acitivies, story time, a walking tour of the Kentucky Derby Museum to visit with Winston, its resident miniature horse, and more will be held in the Paddock Pavilion from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sharing the Family Fun Days spotlight in the Paddock Pavilion will be a birthday party for Churchill Downs mascot Churchill Charlie. He will be joined by other local mascots in the part, which will include a Dance-A-Long and a mascot race on the turf course. More information is available at www.ChurchillDowns.com.
WORKTAB – Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Battle Hardened, winner of the Sam F. Davis (GIII) in February, breezed four furlongs in :51.60 on the fast main track at Churchill Downs on Friday morning for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
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 139th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2013, and its 2012 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.
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