After sustaining a minor injury from her fourth-place performance in the April 5 Ashland (Grade I) at Keeneland, multiple graded stakes winner Testa Rossi-FR will make her return to the races against an overflow field of 14 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $200,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs.
The 3-year-old daughter of Mr Fong began her career in 2013 in her native of France where she won three of five starts prior to being purchased by owners James Covello, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable and shipped to trainer Chad Brown in August of last year.
She won her U.S. debut in the Miss Grillo (GIII) at Belmont Park and followed that with a runner-up performance in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI). She started her 3-year-old campaign with a win in Gulfstream Park’s Florida Oaks (GIII) before suffering a minor setback after her performance in the Ashland.
“She suffered a minor injury after the Ashland,” Brown said. “But she came back from it in good order and has been training well since.”
The Ashland was the only non-turf start for Testa Rossi, and her jockey Jose Lezcano said immediately following the Ashland that he didn’t think she handled the Polytrack as well as he had hoped.
“The race was a little rough to begin with, but she recovered,” Lezcano said. “I don’t think she handled the surface too good.”
Brown recognized Saturday’s Mrs. Revere as a favorable return situation for Testa Rossi and said the race had been on their radar for the last three months.
“We’ve had the Mrs. Revere circled since about August,” Brown said. “We just looked at it as a good spot to bring her back. Beyond the Mrs. Revere I have no plans for her yet.”
Lezcano, a regular rider on the New York circuit for the majority of 2014, will make the trip to Louisville to ride Testa Rossi in her return Saturday. She will break from the one-hole.
The Mrs. Revere goes as the ninth of 10 races with an approximate post time of 4:36 p.m. ET.
FIRES HEATING UP AFTER PAIR OF SUNDAY WINNERS
Trainer William “Jinks” Fires had a big Sunday at Churchill Downs, capturing the fourth race with 30-1 shot I’m Extraordinary and the fifth race with Simply Confection who had been given only two weeks rest since placing second in the Oct. 26 Rags to Riches. Both are 2-year-old fillies.
With Fires’ son-in-law, jockey Jon Court up, I’m Extraordinary broke her maiden in Sunday’s fifth, taking a mile turf contest in gate-to-wire fashion and returning her backers with $61.60, $17.80 and $7.
“Judging from her first two starts, we decided she doesn’t like the dirt hitting her in the face,” Fires said. “I figured if we stretched her out a little further on the grass she wouldn’t have that problem. She got out to an early lead, her heart got big and she just kept on running.
“Although I’m not exactly sure what race it will be yet, we do plan on running her again before the meet’s end.”
In the fifth race, an allowance optional claiming event for 2-year-old fillies, Simply Confection stalked leader I’m a Chatterbox throughout the early stages and took control in the stretch, crossing the wire three lengths in front at odds of 4-1, also with Court in the saddle.
“We were really happy with her race,” Fires said. “I said before that I usually don’t like to run them back that fast, but she was doing so well that I decided to go ahead with it since the weather’s not getting any warmer.”
Fires said that the 2-year-old daughter of Candy Ride would be nominated to the Nov. 29 Golden Rod (GII), but said he would wait and see how things develop over the coming weeks.
“I nominated her to the Golden Rod, but we’re going to wait and see how that field shapes up,” Fires said. “Maybe if it’s a shorter field and she’s one of the top fillies in there we’ll go. I really wasn’t planning on it, but never say never.”
Fires also commented on the performance of his son-in-law Court, who returned to the racetrack from a wrist injury in late September and won three races on Sunday’s card.
“We obviously were glad to get Jon back; he had a rough time with his hand and we didn’t know when he was going to return there for a while,” Fires said. “But he had a great day Sunday and he’s been working horses for me in the mornings so it seems like he’s back in the swing of things. It’s good to have him back.”
MILESTONE WATCH – Robby Albarado, who was awarded his 1,000th Churchill Downs winner when Kentucky Horse Racing Commission stewards uploaded a ruling Saturday on their web site (http://khrc.ky.gov/Rulings/14-0081.pdf), is still waiting to celebrate that significant milestone with a winning ride. He had two scheduled mounts on Wednesday. The only other jockeys to win 1,000 races at Churchill Downs are Pat Day (2,482) and Calvin Borel (1,170).
EVENTS THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester returns to Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 14 with the special theme being “Shaken, Not Stirred.” – a nod to James Bond films. Martinis, silhouette dancers, movie villains, live music and more await in an ambiance that exudes class and understated cool at Downs After Dark: Shaken, Not Stirred. Gentlemen are encouraged to don tuxedos with bow ties or tailored suits for an understated cool. For the ladies, a cocktail or evening dress will help steal the spotlight from your international man of mystery. With cool temperatures expected, it’s important to note that all guests will have free access to “The Classic Lounge” – an interior pop-up spy-themed cocktail lounge located on the second floor of the Clubhouse that will feature live musical performances by Endless Summer Band and The Voice’s Allison Bray. Additionally, there are still tickets available for the 21-and-over VIP Sky Terrace at ChurchillDowns.com/tickets. First post on Friday will be 4:30 p.m. ET. … Pigskins and Ponies returns in the Plaza for the final three Saturdays of the Fall Meet with the weekend’s biggest college football matchups featured on the Plaza video board. Drink specials ($2 Bud/Bud Light, $3 Stella Artois and $1 Pepsi products and bottled water) and tailgate-style food will be offered from the Plaza Grill. Churchill Downs will offer free admission to college students every Saturday with a current student I.D. … Next Sunday marks the return of the “Who’s the Champ? Betting Challenge” in the ITW area on the second floor of the Grandstand. The entry fee is $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members). Registration is 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: Fully paid spot in the Horse Player World Series in Las Vegas (includes a four-night stay in the Orleans Casino plus a $250 travel voucher). Second prize: $500 cash voucher. Third prize: $250 cash voucher. … Churchill Downs will welcome outstanding Metro Louisville area high school students who are members of the 2014 Churchill Downs Governor’s Scholars initiative with a reception at the track in the Oaks and Derby Rooms on Thursday. The students will be joined by their parents, family members and officials of their respective schools to celebrate their participation in the track’s Governor’s Scholars Program, an initiative launched in 2001 that funds the participation in the overall Kentucky Governor’s Scholars Program by students from Jefferson County and portions of surrounding counties who have overcome personal adversity and challenges to become high achievers in their personal lives and academic pursuits. One student is chosen from each of Jefferson County’s legislative districts, some of which extend into surrounding counties, to benefit from the Churchill Downs Governor’s Scholars Program. … Churchill Downs is offering free general admission to active or retired members of the United States armed services on Saturday and Sunday this week.
ON THE WORKTAB – Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) winner Take Charge Brandi breezed five furlongs in 1:02.20 for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Official clockers had her in fractions of :24.40, :37, :49.20 and out six furlongs in 1:18.20. Also for Lukas, Grade I-placed Mr. Z covered five furlongs in 1:01.60. The conditioner said Mr. Z was pointed to the Nov. 22 Delta Downs Jackpot (GIII) and Take Charge Brandi to the Delta Princess (GIII) on the same day.