ACOMA SEEKS TO BUILD GRASS RESUME IN MRS. REVERE - Before trainer David Carroll ran Acoma in the Valley View (Grade III) at Keeneland, he termed the 3-year-old filly's grass debut as "a bit of an experiment."
Acoma passed the "experiment" with flying colors, scoring a half-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile test. On Saturday, she hopes to build on that success when she faces 10 rivals in the 19th running of the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Owned by Helen Alexander and Helen Groves, Acoma also has won on Polytrack at Keeneland, a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs and posted a victory in the Grade III Dogwood on a fast main track here in May. She returned to Carroll's barn at Churchill Downs right after her Valley View win on Oct. 17.
"She is the kind of filly who likes to settle in to one place before she runs," Carroll said. "That is why I took her to Keeneland well before she ran there."
Acoma worked a half-mile on the main track in :50.80 on Monday in her first work since the Keeneland victory.
"It was just a nice maintenance work," Carroll said. "She came out of the race fine and she has been doing really well since coming back here."
A homebred daughter of Empire Maker out of the Danzig mare Aurora, Acoma has won four of seven career starts. She is a half-sister to Arch.
"The Mrs. Revere is a little quick back, but this is her last race of the year," Carroll said. "We will bring her back in the spring."
SOUSAPHONE WORKS TOWARD POSSIBLE CARDINAL RUN - Elisabeth Alexander's Sousaphone made the trip over to Churchill Downs on Thursday morning from the Trackside Training Center for a six-furlong work in 1:15.20 as a prelude to a possible run in the Nov. 15 Cardinal Handicap (GIII).
"We are kind of taking a gamble," trainer Michelle Nihei said of a possible run in the Cardinal.
Nihei, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher who was the primary exercise rider for two-time champion and 2004 Kentucky Oaks winner Ashado, has 30 horses stabled at Trackside. Sousaphone presented Nihei with her second Churchill Downs victory this summer and later delivered the trainer's first stakes score with a triumph in the Vivacious Handicap at River Downs.
Sousaphone has been idle since the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 13.
"She is the kind of filly who does not like it real hard like it was at Kentucky Downs," Nihei said. "She got stuck behind a wall of seven horses that day and had nowhere to go and ran eighth ... beaten 2 ½ lengths."
TRACK KITCHEN HOSTING "PARTY FOR WOMEN" ON MONDAY - Churchill Downs backstretch workers and spouses are invited to a "Party for Women" on Monday from 9-10:30 a.m. to raise cancer awareness, an initiative of Horses and Hope.
Supported in part by a grant from the Kentucky Breast Cancer Research and Education Trust Fund, the party will offer free breakfast, door prizes and gifts, plus the opportunity to meet with former rider Patty Cooksey, Churchill Downs' all-time leading female jockey and breast cancer survivor.
There will be signups for mammograms that will be available at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25.
Horses and Hope is a project of Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear, the Kentucky Cancer Program, and the Pink Stable, a committee of Kentucky horse owners, trainers, jockeys, race track representatives, and others. The mission is to increase breast cancer awareness, education, screening and treatment referral among the state's horse industry workers and their families.
For more information on the event, contact Rachelle Seger at the Kentucky Cancer Program at (502) 852-5223.
BARN TALK - The victory by WinStar Farm's Fine Flyer in Wednesday's eighth race was the 449th for trainer Dale Romans at Churchill Downs, a figure that ties him with D. Wayne Lukas for second place all-time here. Bill Mott leads all trainers in career victories at Churchill Downs with 592. Romans is represented by four runners on Thursday's card. ...
Tim Poole, assistant to trainer Nick Zito, reported that Robert LaPenta's Just a Coincidence was okay Thursday morning after some dicey moments in Wednesday's seventh race in which the 2-year-old Foresty colt bounced off the rail at the head of the stretch while on the lead, dropped back, and then rallied again to finish fourth. "He's got a little cut and he's a little stiff, but he's fine," Poole said. "It looked like he was getting ready to change leads and he went into the rail a couple of times. My heart was in my throat." ...
Back on May 8, jockey Miguel Mena won five races on the Churchill Downs card to present his father Jose Mena with a happy 48th birthday. Thursday is Mena's 22nd birthday and he rides nine races on the 10-race card in a quest to match the family birthday trick. Mena is fifth in the rider standings with six victories through the first seven days of the meet.
WORK TAB - Two colts nominated to Sunday's sixth running of the Commonwealth Turf (GIII) put in works around the "dogs" Thursday morning on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course. Glencrest Farm, Dapple Stable and Sassafras Racing's On the Virg worked a half-mile in :51.60 for trainer Todd Pletcher, and Uptown Racing's Boss Lafitte covered the same distance in :52.40 for trainer Tom Amoss. ... Also working on the turf Thursday morning was W.S. Farish and Joseph Shields Jr.'s Diverse, a nominee to the Cardinal Handicap (GIII), who worked a half-mile in :51 for trainer Neil Howard. ... Sam P., ninth in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 for trainer Todd Pletcher. ... Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Sugar Mom, seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, breezed a half-mile in :49.80 for trainer Wayne Catalano.
CALVIN BOREL GLASS GIVEAWAY ON SATURDAY - The week's promotional calendar is highlighted by the first of three collectable hurricane glass giveaways that salute popular Cajun jockeys who ride at Churchill Downs. A Calvin Borel glass, sponsored by Thorntons, will be given away to the first 5,000 paid and pre-paid admissions on Saturday. Glasses depicting Robby Albarado and Kent Desormeaux will be given away on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22, respectively.
FRIDAY HAPPY HOURS - New Orleans-themed "Friday Happy Hours" - featuring $2 Budweiser Select, $2 hurricanes, $2 Fischer's hot dogs and live jazz music - will be held Friday from 3-5 p.m. in the upper Jockey Club's paddock balcony area.
SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE DOWNS - Sunday Brunch at Churchill Downs returns this Sunday. For $41.50 ($25 for children 12 and under), customers can dine and watch the Nov. 9 races from a reserved seat Millionaires' Row Six, the luxurious 9,000 square-foot room with a four-tier balcony that overlooks the finish line. The brunch, accompanied by live jazz music, is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and features a wide selection of food, including stuffed French toast, eggs, maple smoked bacon, homemade biscuits and gravy, carved roast turkey, fresh salads and plenty of sides. Appetizers and a bountiful desert tray will be available until 5 p.m. Brunch and an official program is included in the admission price. Another Sunday Brunch is scheduled for Nov. 23. The reserve a spot, call (502) 636-4400.
"IN SEASON" AIRS ON WAVE-3 SATURDAY - "In Season," Churchill Downs' weekly magazine-style television program hosted by John Asher, will air Saturday on NBC affiliate WAVE-3 in the Louisville area. The live half-hour program will be broadcast from 9:30-10 a.m. ET.
JUNIOR JOCKEY CLUB WEEKEND ACTIVITIES - A special appearance by the Louisville Fire Department Fire Safety Trailer and a fire truck display will highlight this weekend's activities at Churchill Downs' Junior Jockey Club located near the Guest Services Booth inside Gate. 10. The LFD will be on hand Saturday and Sunday between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. There also will be cloth pumpkin crafts for children age 4-10. Coloring books, crayons, individual games and reading material are available as well, and Churchill Downs' mascot Churchill Charlie will be on hand for photographs between 1-1:30 p.m.
HANDICAPPING CONTEST WEDNESDAYS, SUNDAYS - Racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer every Wednesday and Sunday in the popular twice-weekly "Who's the Champ?" Handicapping Contest. For a $30 entry fee ($25 for Twin Spires Club members), participants will compete for weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Nov. 23 final where the top two finishers will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship X slated for Jan. 23-24, 2009 in Las Vegas.
SPECIAL VETERANS DAY RACING ON TUESDAY - Churchill Downs will host a special live racing program on Tuesday, Nov. 11 in honor of Veterans Day. The first of 10 live races will be 12:40 p.m. ET.