Five Breeders’ Cup champions with Churchill Downs ties will be paraded with horses running in Sunday’s eighth race. It is sure to be a unique and one-of-a-kind event for fans, but the trainers of these top horses also are looking forward to the special ceremony.
“He’s a good horse and I’m all for letting the fans see him,” said Ian Wilkes, trainer of Classic (Grade I) winner Fort Larned. “I’m all for anything to help racing.”
Trainer Buff Bradley said Groupie Doll, winner of the Filly & Mare Sprint (GI), will remain at Churchill Downs for a couple of more days than originally planned in order to make the event Sunday.
“I think it’s good for the public and for the fans to be able to come out and see some Breeders’ Cup winners,” Bradley said. “I think a lot of people back here in Kentucky felt like they’re a big part of it because so many of the horses were pulled from here.
“Of course, I would have liked the Breeders’ Cup to have been at Churchill Downs, but with so many of us going out there and doing well it shows we’ve still got good horses out here in Kentucky and we need to try to keep them here.”
Wise Dan, winner of the Mile (GI), will ship from Keeneland to Churchill on Sunday along with a couple of other horses trainer Charlie Lopresti plans to run on the card.
“The horse is doing great and came out of his race perfect,” Lopresti said. “I think it’ll be fun. I’ve never heard of something like this.”
Little Mike, winner of the Turf (GI), also will be paraded.
“Anything trying to promote racing is good,” trainer Dale Romans said. “Hopefully people want to see them. It makes me proud. There were a lot of Kentucky connections that ran well. Kentucky racing is not dead, we still have the best horsemen around.”
Another scheduled participant in the parade is Dirt Mile (GI) winner Tapizar.
“I think it’s a great idea,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “There’s nothing you could be more proud of.”
First post Sunday is 12:40 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the eighth race is scheduled for 4:09 p.m. Horses will begin the walkover after Race 7 at 3:32 p.m.
SHACKLEFORD COULD END CAREER IN GRADE I CLARK HANDICAP – Mike Lauffer, Bill Cubbedge and Phillips Racing Partnership’s Shackleford, winner of the 2011 Preakness (GI), is scheduled to be available for inspection at Darby Dan Farm on Friday through Sunday, but Thursday will not be the last day at the track for the chestnut colt.
Shackleford is scheduled to return to Churchill Downs at the beginning of next week and could make his final career start in the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) on Nov. 23.
“We might run him in the Clark,” trainer Dale Romans said. “We’ll see how he’s going into the race, but the plan right now is to go into (the Clark) or the Cigar Mile (GI at Aqueduct on Nov. 24). As long as he trains well, he’ll have one more race.”
Shackleford, who finished seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) in his most recent start, won the Churchill Downs (GII) on Kentucky Derby Day this year. The Clark would be his first race at more than a mile since running seventh in the 1 1/8-mile Donn Handicap (GI) at Gulfstream Park in February.
BIZZY CAROLINE BACK ON FAVORITE SURFACE IN SATURDAY’S CARDINAL – Catesby Clay’s Bizzy Caroline will seek her third graded-stakes victory over the Matt Winn Turf Course when she breaks from the rail in Saturday’s $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs.
A dark bay or brown daughter of Afleet Alex, Bizzy Caroline has a record of 3-1-0 from four lifetime starts on the grass at Churchill Downs. Her victories include the 2011 Regret (GIII), 2012 Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) and a seven-length romp in an allowance race.
“She ran really well in her last race at Churchill and we know she likes the ground there,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “She’s been real consistent at Churchill and it’s the main reason she’s running.”
Bizzy Caroline will enter the Cardinal off a sixth-place finish to Nahrain-GB in the Flower Bowl (GI) at Belmont Park. She was shipped to Lexington shortly after that effort.
“She’s doing super and has been training at Keeneland,” McPeek said. “She’ll ship over to Churchill the morning of the race.”
McPeek added that no plans have been made for Bizzy Caroline following the Cardinal.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Trainer Al Stall Jr. improved his record at the Fall Meet to 7-for-11 with victories by Seven Lively Sins and Upon Reflection on Wednesday’s card … Fevernthefunkhouse’s victory in Wednesday’s seventh race was the 308th career win at Churchill Downs for trainer Ken McPeek. He is now tied with Lynn Whiting for 12th in the all-time standings at the Louisville track … Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association will team up to distribute 10 $1,000 scholarships on College Scholarship Day on Saturday … Friday Happy Hours from 3-5 p.m. will feature $2 Budweiser and Bud Light drink specials plus live music by Horizontal Boogie Band in the new Plaza area adjacent to the saddling paddock and Gate 1 … Trainer Tom Proctor said Wednesday that owner and breeder Barbara Hunter recently passed away at her home on Brownwood Farm in Lexington, Ky. Hunter won four stakes races at Churchill Downs, including the 1964 La Troienne (now known as the Eight Belles) with Silver Dollar, the 1991 Abrogate Handicap with Harness Hitch and the 2009 Regret (GIII) and 2011 Louisville Handicap (GIII) with Keertana. “She was a nice lady that loved the horses and she was good for the business,” Proctor said.
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