Reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan, fresh off his second consecutive victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI), and Groupie Doll, the Filly & Mare Sprint champion of 2012 and a repeat winner in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI) at Santa Anita, are back in Kentucky following their early afternoon arrival at Louisville International Airport on a flight from Southern California.
The Sutton Forwarding Company flight carried those repeat Breeders’ Cup winners and had another repeat Breeders’ Cup winner on board in Mizdirection, winner of the Turf Sprint (GI) for a second consecutive year for Jungle Racing LLC, the stable of sports media personality Jim Rome.
Both Groupie Doll and Mizdirection are scheduled to pass through the auction ring in the coming days. The former traveled to Churchill Downs for a final night in trainer and co-owner/breeder Buff Bradley’s stable in Barn 14, while the latter traveled on to Lexington. Mizdirection is scheduled to sell as part of the Three Chimneys Farm consignment at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale.
Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan boarded a van for the short trip to Lexington and trainer Charlie LoPresti’s barn at Keeneland.
After spending the night at Churchill Downs, Groupie Doll will depart for Lexington on Monday for her Wednesday appearance in the Keeneland sales ring as hip #350. She was accepting visitors and peppermints at the barn, and the purple and gold floral mantle was draped over the shedrow’s wall just a few steps away. Her latest Breeders’ Cup triumph improved the homebred’s career record to 10-4-3 in 19 races with earnings of $1,908,850.
A second California-to-Kentucky flight set to arrive Sunday at 11:30 p.m. (all times EST) will include 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned, fourth to Mucho Macho Man in yesterday’s 2013 Classic; horses trained by D. Wayne Lukas that include Classic runner-up Will Take Charge and Juvenile (GI) third Strong Mandate; four horses trained by Dale Romans that include 2012 Turf (GI) winner Little Mike, seventh in this year’s renewal; the Mark Casse-trained My Conquestadory, third in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI), and Sprint (GI) runner-up Laugh Track; Pocahontas (GII) winner Untapable, eighth in the Juvenile Fillies (GI) for trainer Steve Asmussen; and the Ron Moquett-trained Gentlemen’s Bet, third in the Sprint (GI).
DAISY DEVINE TOPS CARDINAL WEIGHTS, BUT STATUS UNCERTIAN BECAUSE OF POSSIBLE SALE – Millionaire and defending winner Daisy Devine has been assigned high weight of 121 pounds for Saturday’s $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) on the Churchill Downs grass.
But the status of the Andrew McKeever-trained daughter of Kafwain for the 1 1/8-mile turf test is uncertain because of her presence in the catalog for this week’s November breeding stock sale at Keeneland. Eaton Sales is the consignor for owner James Miller, who hopes to sell the 5-year-old mare as either a broodmare or racing prospect. She is listed as hip #321 on Wednesday.
Along with her win in the 2012 Cardinal, graded stakes victories by Daisy Devine include a Grade I triumph in the 2012 Jenny Wiley and the Grade III Valley View at Keeneland and the 2011 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII) on dirt. She has won 10 of 21 races – including eight stakes triumphs – and earned $1,055,892 during her racing career.
If Daisy Devine does not defend her title, the likely co-starting high weights at 119 pounds would be Susan and Jim Hill’s Solid Appeal, winner of the Dance Smartly (GII) and Nassau (GII) at Woodbine for trainer Reade Baker, and Caroline Forgason’s Somali Lemonade, winner of the $250,000 Dr. James Penny Memorial (GIII) at Parx Racing and a close runner-up in the 2012 Garden City (GI) at Belmont Park for trainer Michael Matz.
Confirmed for the Cardinal is the Estate of Elaine Klein (Richard Klein) and Bertram Klein’s Miz Ida, winner of Churchill Downs’ Mint Julep (GIII) and fourth to Better Lucky in the recent First Lady (GI) at Keeneland. The Steve Margolis trainee has been assigned 118 pounds, the same impost given to Calumet Farm’s Starstruck, a 4-year-old Irish-bred daughter of Galileo trained by J. Larry Jones. She made her U.S. racing debut in May in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course and took the Matchmaker (GIII) at Monmouth Park before she ran a close fourth to Tiz Flirtatious and Marketing Mix in the recent Rodeo Drive (GI) at Santa Anita.
Phipps Stable’s Abaco was assigned 116 pounds for the Cardinal. The Shug McGaughey-trained Giant’s Causeway mare was runner-up to Pianist in her most recent start in the Athenia (GIII) at Belmont Park.
Others considered likely to compete in Saturday’s final Churchill Downs stakes event of 2013 for older fillies and mares on the grass include Grandma’s Rules (115), Prissy (115) and Beijoca (114). Soft Whisper (115) is listed as a “possible” Cardinal runner.
Entries for the Cardinal Handicap will be taken on Wednesday.
NOMINATIONS FOR MRS. REVERE, COMMONWEALTH TURF OVERFLOWING WITH KITTENS – In a year during which owner-breeeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey have set records for victories at Churchill Downs, Keeneland and Saratoga – with many of them scored by the homebred offspring of the Ramsey stallion Kitten’s Joy, the nomination rosters for Churchill Downs final stakes races exclusive to 3-year-old fillies and colts are packed with Ramsey-owned “Kittens.”
The nominations to the 23rd running of the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) and the 10th running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) include a total of seven Ramsey-owned horses sired by their house stallion. The two races are scheduled to be run under the lights on the lone “Downs After Dark” program of the Fall Meet on Saturday, Nov. 16.
Three Ramsey “Kittens” are among the 32 fillies nominate to the 1 1/16-mile Mrs. Revere, the year’s final stakes event devoted to 3-year-old fillies on turf. That group includes Emotional Kitten, the Wesley Ward-trained runner-up to Emollient in the American Oaks (GI) at Betfair Hollywood Park and seventh, beaten just three lengths, by stablemate Kitten’s Dumplings in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland; Quality Kitten, a recent allowance winner at Keeneland for trainer Wayne Catalano who is unbeaten in two starts; and Always Kitten, winner of the recent Ta Wee at Indiana Downs for trainer Mike Maker.
Another prominent nominee is Sycamore Racing’s Nellie Cashman, winner of the Virginia Oaks (GIII) and disqualified from first-to-third in the Lake Placid (GII) at Saratoga. Trainer Francis Abbott III’s daughter of Mineshaft was second to Overheard in the recent Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland.
Other notable Mrs. Revere nominations include the Catalano-trained I’m Already Sexy, winner of Arlington Park’s Pucker Up (GIII); E B Ryder, the Martin Wolfson-trained winner of Frances A. Genter at Calder; Tapicat, winner of the Florida Oaks (GIII) and runner-up in the Belmont Park’s Pebbles for trainer Bill Mott; Effie Trinket, winner of the Ticonderoga and John Hettinger for New York-breds at Belmont Park; Frivolous, runner-up in the Arlington Park Oaks (GIII) for trainer Victoria Oliver; Black-Eyed Susan (GII) runner-up Marathon Lady; Nancy O, third in Woodbine’s 2012 Natalma(GII); Native Bombshell, the Chad Brown-trained winner of Woodbine’s Ruling Angel; Oscar Party, third to Kitten’s Dumplings in Churchill Downs’ Regret (GIII) and runner-up to Pure Fun on dirt in the Indiana Oaks (GII); and trainer Ken McPeek’s Regret and Virginia Oaks runner-up Praia.
The Commonwealth Turf has a quartet of Ramsey “Kittens” on its list of 28 nominated 3-year-olds, headed by Admiral’s Kitten, winner of the Secretariat (GI) at Arlington Park. The Mike Maker-trained Admiral’s Kitten finished a troubled runner-up in his most recent outing in the Jamaica (GI) at Belmont, and also finished second this season in Churchill Downs’ American Turf (GII) and Arlington’s American Derby (GIII) and Arlington Classic (GIII).
The remaining Ramsey nominees are Redwood Kitten, a close-runner up in the recent Jefferson Cup (GIII) in September at Churchill Downs, the Wesley Ward-trained front-running winner of the James W. Murphy at Pimlico and third in a division of the Del Mar Derby (GII); and Amen Kitten, winner of Calder Race Course’s Tropical Park Derby last time out for Ward; and Gentlemen’s Kitten, third in Churchill Downs’ Jefferson Cup (GIII) for Catalano.
Other notables among the Commonwealth Turf nominees include WinStar Farm LLC’s versatile General Election, the Kellyn Gorder-trained winner of the Jefferson Cup and the Arlington Classic who has career wins on turf, dirt and synthetic surfaces; War Dancer, the Ken McPeek-trained winner of the Virginia Derby (GII); McPeek’s Arkansas Derby (GI) runner-up Frac Daddy; Central Banker, third in Saratoga’s King’s Bishop for trainer Al Stall Jr.; His Race to Win, the Malcolm Pierce-trained winner of Woodbine’s Ontario Derby (GIII); Looking Cool, the Carl Nafzger-trained winner of the Iowa Derby (GIII); River Seven, runner-up in the Prince of Wales and Breeders Stakes, the final two legs of Canada’s Triple Crown; and Super Derby (GII) runner up Ruler of Love.
BARN TALK – Don’t Tell Sophia is set to run next in Churchill Downs’ $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28 following her impressive win in Churchill Downs’ Chilukki (GII) on Saturday evening. Trained by Phillip Sims, who owns the 5-year-old daughter of Congaree in partnership with Jerry Namy, Don’t Tell Sophia was a bit erratic in her run through the stretch as she blew past favored runner-up Wine Princess to win the Chilukki, but that did not concern her trainer. “She’ll do that from time-to-time,” said Sims. “She might have been looking at the grandstand lights and everything. It was the first time she had run at night.” Don’t Tell Sophia is unbeaten in two races at Churchill Downs, with the other triumph coming in a 6 ½-furlong allowance race on Nov. 22, 2012. … Trainer Rick Hiles hopes that George Kerr’s Good Morning Diva, a last-to-first rail-skimming winner of Saturday’s $60,000-added Bet On Sunshine Overnight Stakes, hopes the 4-year-old son of Lion Heart will run again at Churchill Downs before the Fall Meet concludes on Saturday, Nov. 30. If no suitable race pops up, Hiles will probably send Good Morning Diva to the Fair Grounds for the 88th running of the $100,000 Thanksgiving Handicap at six furlongs on Thanksgiving Day. … Kerr traveled from his home in Maine to watch his star win on Saturday at Churchill Downs. Also present in the winner’s circle following Good Morning Diva’s Bet On Sunshine victory was David Holloway, the owner of the Churchill Downs fan favorite for which the race is named. Bet On Sunshine won 22 of 47 starts and earned $1,449,882 for Holloway and trainer Paul McGee. He twice ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (1997, 2000) and ran in Churchill Downs’ Aristides (GIII) five times, winning the race in 2000 and 2001 and finishing third in 1996 and 1997. ... Jockey Leandro Goncalves entered Sunday’s racing at Churchill Downs off his best day ever beneath the Twin Spires. Goncalves won four races on Friday at the Louisville track, entering the winner’s circle with Phat Day (1st race, $3.60), Southern Dude (2nd race, $2.80), Hazards of Love (6th race, $3.20) and Boss Barney’s Babe (7th race, $15.60). Goncalves travelled to Santa Anita on Saturday for the Breeders’ Cup. He finished last of 12 aboard Sum of the Parts in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.