SUPER ESPRESSO LOOKS TO END RACING CAREER WITH FALLS CITY VICTORY – Celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s Super Espresso will look to end her racing career in style on Thursday when she makes her final start in the 96th running of the $175,000-added Falls City Handicap (Grade II) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the main track at Churchill Downs.
“This will be her last race,” said Michael McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “We’re looking to get her some more black type before she enters her second career (as a broodmare).”
Super Espresso, a $1.1 million Keeneland September Yearling purchase, will face nine rivals in the Falls City, the featured event on the Thanksgiving Day racing program.
She captured the DuPont Distaff (GIII) at Pimlico in May and then competed in five consecutive Grade I events. She hit the board in her first two starts at the highest level, running third to Awesome Maria in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (GI) and second to Ask the Moon in the Ruffian Handicap (GI).
The 4-year-old daughter of Medaglia D’Oro then finished fifth to Ask the Moon in the Personal Ensign, 10th to Aruna in the Spinster (GI) over the synthetic Polytrack surface at Keeneland and enters the Falls City off a seventh-place finish to Royal Delta in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs.
The Ladies’ Classic was a bit of a reach,” McCarthy said. “This is a logical spot for her. She’s getting a bit of a class break and her numbers are as good as or better than everyone else in the field.”
In preparation for the Falls City, Super Espresso breezed a sharp four furlongs over the fast main track in company with Giant Sensation in :47.80, the third fastest of 47 at the distance. The duo recorded fractions of :12.20, :24.20, :35.80 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.60 and six furlongs in 1:14.20.
“She had a nice work over the track a few days ago and she’ll enter the race with good energy and a good attitude,” McCarthy said.
Super Espresso has a career record of 4-2-4 from 17 starts and earnings of $270,788. She will break from post eight in the field of ten under Javier Castellano.
The Falls City is the featured event on Thursday’s 12-race holiday program. It will go as race 11 with a post time of 4:24 p.m. EST.
CHAMBERLAIN BRIDGE GETS CLASS BREAK, BETTER DRAW ON THURSDSAY – Carl R. Moore Management LLC’s Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) at Churchill Downs, returns to his favorite track on Thursday in an attempt to snap a five-race losing streak.
The 7-year-old War Chant gelding is entered in Thursday’s sixth race, an allowance optional-claiming event at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Chamberlain Bridge attempted to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in his most recent start, but fell well short of that goal. He broke from the outside post in a field of 14 on the Churchill Downs grass and finished eighth to the victorious Regally Ready.
"Hopefully that race is just a throw out,” said Dennis “Peaches” Geier, assistant to trainer Bret Calhoun. “He was coming into the Turf Sprint really well and his two works before the race (:59 on a wet-fast main track at Churchill Downs on Oct. 19 and :50.60 on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course on Oct. 29) were probably two of the best works of the entire Breeders’ Cup. He really had no chance whatsoever breaking from the 14-hole. It’s a tough gig out there.”
Chamberlain Bridge, who was made the 7-5 morning-line favorite by Churchill Downs oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, will break from post two in Thursday’s race under Brian Hernandez Jr. It will be the first time since October of 2009 that Chamberlain Bridge has been ridden by a jockey other than Jamie Theriot.
Jamie is already in New Orleans (for the Fair Grounds meet), so we got Brian to ride,” Geier said. “Brian has definitely been hot this meet and I hope he (Chamberlain Bridge) runs well for him.”
Hernandez has experience aboard Charmberlain Bridge. He rode the veteran turf sprint star to a 5 ½-length claiming victory at Keeneland in October of 2007. And Hernandez has been on a roll during the Fall Meet and entered Wednesday’s racing with 11 wins from 55 mounts at the meet. That’s good for third in the jockey standings behind Julien Leparoux and Corey Lanerie.
Thursday’s race is also notable for Chamberlain Bridget in that it will be his first outing in more than three years in which he has dropped out of the ranks of stakes horses to face allowance foes.
“It’s a break, but it’s not going to be an easy race,” Geier said. “There are several horses in there that are running really well. I think they’ll be enough speed in there for him to run at, though, and if he’s anything like he was last year then he should win.”
Future plans for Chamberlain Bridge, whose 17 career wins include four victories over the Matt Winn Turf Course, have not been decided. But he is expected to race as an 8-year-old.
“We’ll bring him to Fair Grounds with us, but I’m not sure what we’ll do with him,” Geier said. “There aren’t too many races down there for him, though. We didn’t go too hard on him this year, so he might stay in training, but he could also get some time off before next year. A lot will depend on Thursday’s race.”
FALL MEET LEADERS ENTERING FINAL WEEK – Through 16 days of the 21-day Fall Meet, jockey Julien Leparoux, and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey had clear leads in their respective divisional races at Churchill Downs. But trainers Steve Asmussen and Mike Maker were locked in a tight battle for “leading trainer” honors. Below is a look at the leaders entering the final week of the Fall Meet:
1. Julien Leparoux (28-for-106, 26% win-percentage, $1,441,452 in earnings)
2. Corey Lanerie (20-for-103, 19%, $511,772)
3. Brian Hernandez Jr. (11-for-55, 20%, $285,115)
4. Jesus Castanon (9-for-55, 16%, $415,003)
5. Jon Court (8-for-51, 16%, $185,269)
1. Steve Asmussen (11-for-49, 22%, $2,013,337)
1. Mike Maker (11-for-42, 26%, $1,374,178)
3. Dale Romans (8-for-43, 19%, $1,583,459)
4. Eddie Kenneally (6-for-25, 24%, $297,652)
4. Ken McPeek (6-for-30, 20%, $250,988)
4. Bill Mott (6-for-18, 33%, $4,027,702)
1. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (9-for-33, 27%, $735,718)
2. Billy, Donna and Justin Hays (5-for-20, 25%, $98,805)
3. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (3-for-10, 30%, $34,053)
4. 14 owners are tied for fourth with two wins each
BARN TALK – Veteran trainer Robert Holthus, a regular on racing circuits in Kentucky, Arkansas and the Midwest for nearly 60 years, died Tuesday morning in Louisville, Ky. at the age of 77. A local memorial service for Holthus has been scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 26 at 10:30 a.m. (EST) at Christ Chapel on the Churchill Downs backside. Holthus saddled 211 winners beneath the Twin Spires, including 11 stakes wins. …
For the second year in-a-row, jockey Corey Lanerie was named a finalist for Santa Anita's George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award. The other finalists are Ramon Dominguez, Martin Pedroza, DeShawn Parker and Scott Stevens. The winner, to be determined by a nationwide vote of jockeys, will be announced in January. The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in all of racing. It recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. …
Leading-rider Julien Leparoux will travel to Hollywood Park on Friday to ride Team Block's Never Retreat in the Matriarch (GI). Leparoux enters Wednesday with a 28-20 lead in the jockey standings over Corey Lanerie. He will return to beneath the Twin Spires on Saturday and is named to ride in all 12 races on that day’s Stars of Tomorrow II program. ...
Churchill Downs will host a “Stache Bash” on Saturday during the races to honor and celebrate all of the Mo Bros and Mo Sistas who participated in Movember. Churchill Downs will donate $1 per attendee who is sporting a mustache to the Movember Foundation with a minimum guaranteed pledge of $5,000 given through the Churchill Downs Foundation. The day’s festivities will include between-race live music by popular Cincinnati-based My Sister Sarah in the paddock area and Happy Hour drink specials from 3-5 p.m. …
Trainer Angel Montano Sr. recorded his 334th victory at Churchill Downs with Autumn Eyes in Sunday’s sixth race. Montano ranks ninth in career victories at Churchill Downs and his next victory will pull him into a tie for eighth with Jack Van Berg. …
Jockey Jon Court is five wins away from the 400-win milestone at Churchill Downs. Court has mounts in eight races Wednesday, six races Thursday and nine races Friday.