ACK ACK WINNER APART RETURNS TO KEENELAND; CLARK BID POSSIBLE – Adele Dilschneider’s Apart, a three-quarter length winner of Friday’s $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII), settled back into his home base at Keeneland on Sunday with a return trip to Churchill Downs possible at the end of the month.
“The (GI) Clark (Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare on Nov. 26); maybe,” trainer Al Stall Jr. said. “He’s going back to Keeneland and I’ll talk it over with his owner.”
Stall won the Clark last year with Blame and Apart, a workmate for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner earlier in the year, has followed almost an identical path in his 3-year-old year.
“He is with Blame on the calendar,” Stall said of Apart, who had won the Super Derby (GII) in the race before the Ack Ack, a race Blame had run second in in 2009. “We thought dirt was Apart’s best surface and he was not proven on Polytrack.”
Blame went from the Super Derby last year to a victory in the Fayette (GII) at Keeneland over Polytrack, while Apart came to the Ack Ack over the Oct. 30 Fayette.
“We had our eye on Charlie Lopresti’s horse (Successful Dan, who was stabled two barns away in the Rice Road stable area at Keeneland) and he ran like we thought he would in the Fayette,” Stall said. “We have a lot of respect for his horse.”
Nominations for the Clark close Wednesday and Successful Dan likely will be listed among the nominees. Another likely nominee is the Amerman Racing Stables’ Demarcation, who finished second in the Ack Ack.
“The Clark is possible,” trainer Paul McGee said of Demarcation, who ran eighth behind Blame in last year’s race. “Let’s say he will be nominated.”
MALIBU AT SANTA ANITA MAY BE NEXT FOR NOBLE’S PROMISE – Chasing Dreams Racing 2008’s Noble’s Promise made his return to the races a successful one on Friday when he scored a 2 ¼-length victory in the Jimmy V. “Don’t Give Up … Don’t Ever Give Up!” overnight stake at six furlongs.
It was the colt’s first victory since the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland in 2009 and first in a sprint since September 2009.
The (Grade I) Malibu (on Dec. 26) going seven-eighths at Santa Anita would be a great race for him,” trainer Ken McPeek said. “And, we may look at some races in Hong Kong and Japan. But I will probably keep him at seven-eighths.”
Following his victory in the Breeders’ Futurity, Noble’s Promise closed out 2009 with a third-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) and a runner-up effort behind Lookin At Lucky in the CashCall Futurity (GI). This year, the colt was second in the Rebel (GII), fifth in the Arkansas Derby (GI), fifth to WinStar Farm’s Super Saver in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and fifth in the Group I St. James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“I think he did well to go as far as he did this year,” McPeek said of Noble’s Promise, a son of Cuvee out of a Clever Trick mare. “He is a talented, fast horse, but he is bred for shorter distances.”
CHILUKKI WINNER DISTINCTIVE DIXIE COULD RETURN IN FALLS CITY – A little layoff turned out to be a good thing for the Robert and Beverly Lewis Trust’s Distinctive Dixie, who came off a four-month break to win Saturday’s Chilukki (GII) for her first graded stakes victory.
“After the Indiana race (the Shelby County Arts Handicap on July 7 at Indiana Downs), we gave her a break because she had run so hard here against Rachel Alexandra,” said Aimee Dollase, assistant to her father Wally, referring to Churchill Downs’ mid-June Fleur De Lis (GII) in which Distinctive Dixie ran second to the 2009 Horse of the Year.
“It was more mental than anything. After the break, she has been a totally different horse. She is a filly that gives you everything she has and wants to do too much. Now she is more relaxed and does things within herself.”
Dollase said the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) is a possibility for Distinctive Dixie, who owns a 6-3-1-0 mark over the track.
“She loves this track and you may as well strike while the iron is hot,” Dollase said. “The plan now is to run her next year as a 6-year-old.”
Three horses have completed a Chilukki-Falls City double with the most recent being Halory Leigh in 2004.
BARN TALK – Harvey Clark and Andrew Albstein’s Yankee Fourtune, wire-to-wire winner of the Hawthorne Derby (GIII) as the even-money favorite in his most recent start, headlines a list of 39 nominees for the seventh running of the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) to be run Saturday at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Trained Kiaran McLaughlin, Yankee Fourtune is undefeated in four starts on the grass. Entries for the Commonwealth Turf will be taken Wednesday. Get Stormy won the 2009 renewal of the Commonwealth Turf. …
Augustin Stable’s Fugitive Angel, winner of four consecutive starts that include a score in the Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland, heads a list of 36 3-year-old fillies nominated to the 20th running of the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) to be run at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Nov. 20. Mary’s Follies won last year’s Mrs. Revere. …
Trainer David Fawkes, who earned his first Breeders’ Cup victory when Big Drama won the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) on Saturday, said he may return to Churchill Downs before the end of the meet with Duke of Mischief for the Clark Handicap. Fawkes said that Duke of Mischief, who finished eighth behind Blame in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) this summer, has been nominated to the Clark. …
Drew Coontz, assistant to trainer Chris Block, said that Askbut I Won’ttell came out of her Sunday victory in the Cardinal Handicap (GIII) in good order. Block is keeping a small string of horses at Churchill Downs and one who is staying here is Giant Oak, who was placed fourth in Friday’s Breeders’ Cup Marathon (GIII). “He is going to go the track in tomorrow morning to train,” Coontz said. “I am not sure what their plans are for him.” Giant Oak ran fourth to Blame in last year’s Clark Handicap. …
Robby Albarado, who has ridden 10 winners through the first six days of the 21-day fall meet, is three wins away from joining the 900-win club at Churchill Downs. Albarado, who has one leading rider title here (Spring 2008), could pass Larry Melancon (914) for fourth all-time beneath the Twin Spires at his current pace. …
In addition to the $500,000-added Clark Handicap and the Falls City Handicap, nominations close Wednesday for two other final week stakes: the centerpieces of the Nov. 27 “Stars of Tomorrow II” card for 2-year-olds, the $150,000-added Golden Rod (GII) for fillies and the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII).