Maggi Moss’ top sprinter Indian Chant, winner of Churchill Downs’ Grade III Aristides in his most recent start on May 31, is headed for Calder’s “Summit of Speed” according to trainer Tom Amoss.
“He is going to work Tuesday or Wednesday,” Amoss said of Indian Chant, whose Florida objective is the Grade II Smile Sprint Stakes at six furlongs.
In winning the Aristides, Indian Chant covered the six furlongs in 1:08.40, the fastest time of the meet for the distance at which 95 races had been run through Saturday. The Amoss trainee set the record for the distance in an allowance race on the closing day of the 2007 Spring Meet under the Twin Spires.
“Everything has been going smooth since the Aristides,” Amoss said. “The thing about him is that he tips his hand with his training. I thought before his last race with the way he was doing, he was going to be tough to beat. His next work will tell us if he is ready to go.”
The 5-year-old California-bred gelding has compiled a career record of 9-9-2 in 23 starts for earnings of $471,823. At the six-furlong distance, Indian Chant has a record of 5-8-1 in 16 races.
DEBUTANTE WINNER GARDEN DISTRICT EXITS RACE WELL – Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, reported Sunday morning that Twin Creeks Racing Stable’s Garden District came out of her hard-fought victory in Saturday’s $100,000-added Debutante Stakes (GIII) in good order.
“She is doing real good this morning,” said McCarthy, who oversees Pletcher’s Churchill Downs string. “She did all the dirty work yesterday, was down on the fence and under pressure and still won. She’s a nice filly.”
Pletcher had indicated Saturday that Garden District would head next to Saratoga and point to either the Grade III Schuylerville on July 23 or the Grade II Adirondack on Aug. 13.
Runner-up Rachel Alexandra is going to get some time off after running for the second time in 15 days and third time in five weeks according to trainer Hal Wiggins.
“I don’t know what is next, but I may wait until the Arlington-Washington (GIII on Sept. 6),” Wiggins said. “She came out of the race all right.”
Wiggins had put Rachel Alexandra’s chances of participation in the Debutante at “50-50” early last week before dropping her name in the entry box.
“The 15 days was a little quick, but as long as she was training well we thought we’d try,” Wiggins said. “Plus, it was a chance for the owner (Dolphus Morrison) to come down from Columbia, Mo., to see her run.”
A daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, Rachel Alexandra was bred by Morrison. The mare, Lotta Kim, was trained by Wiggins.
“Lotta Kim won going long. She won the Tiffany Lass at the Fair Grounds,” Wiggins said. “So, we are looking for more ground with Rachel Alexandra.”
Like her daughter, Lotta Kim ran well at Churchill Downs. Her races here included a runner-up finish to Be Gentle in the 2003 Golden Rod (GII) at 1 1/16-miles.
OUT OF RETIREMENT? NOPE, HALL OF FAMER McCARRON WAS JUST HELPING OUT – Onlookers did a double take Sunday morning after the renovation break when retired Hall of Fame jockey Chris McCarron galloped past on horseback headed to the starting gate.
McCarron, who now runs the North American Racing Academy (NARA) in Lexington, Ky., worked a 2-year-old out of the gate for Art and Stephanie Preston’s Oxbow Racing.
McCarron ponied one of his NARA graduates, Matthew Straight, to the starting gate in Straight’s first day of racing on Friday, but the break from the gate at Churchill Downs was his first since being on Came Home
in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.
“When I got in the gate, (starter) Scott Jordan said, ‘I guess you have been here a few times’ and I said ‘you ought to know. You were on my head with Tiznow in the (2000) Breeders’ Cup Classic.’ ”
He would win that Classic aboard Tiznow, outlasting European champion Giant’s Causeway in a memorable stretch duel.
McCarron said he was helping out the Prestons with their 2-year-olds.
“They have about 70 2-year-olds at their farm,” McCarron said. “There are a dozen of their horses at the Academy and with all of the students on vacation, exercise riders have been getting on them.”
McCarron won the Kentucky Derby with Alysheba in 1987 and Go for Gin in 1994. Other important wins under the Twin Spires included Kentucky Oaks victories aboard Seaside Attraction (1990) and Farda Amiga (2002) and his Breeders’ Cup Classic wins aboard Alysheba (1988) and Tiznow.
BALLYNOE FINALLY DELIVERS ON “STARS OF TOMORROW” PROMISE – The closing day card of the 2007 Fall Meet at Churchill Downs was the second all 2-year-old program of the meet and dubbed “Stars of Tomorrow II."
There were two first-time starters who broke their maidens that day: Denis of Cork and Ballynoe.
Racing fans are well aware of what became of Denis of Cork, who has accomplished much as the winner of the Grade III Southwest Stakes, third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and runner-up in the Belmont Stakes (GI) for starters. But what happened to Ballynoe?
The question was answered Saturday afternoon when the Blue Nine Stables’ runner scored a 1 ½-length allowance victory on the Matt Winn Turf Course for her first win since breaking her maiden.
Trained by Steve Margolis, Ballynoe spent the winter knocking on the door at Gulfstream Park before coming to Churchill Downs. By Distorted Humor out of a Dynaformer mare, Margolis was eager to try Ballynoe on the grass and that chance finally came on June 7.
“She got beat five lengths that day, but I didn’t think she ran that bad,” Margolis said. “The horse that beat her, Closeout for Tom Proctor, is a nice horse, but she was caught down on the inside and she does not like to be in close.”
On Saturday, Ballynoe was reunited with jockey Larry Sterling Jr., who had ridden her to her maiden win, and she was drawn outside.
“The thing I liked about her race yesterday was that when the fresh horses came at her, she broke again,” Margolis said. “That was a nice bunch of fillies she beat.”
Margolis said Ballynoe could come back in two weeks in the Audubon Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf at Ellis Park on July 12.
“I might gamble and run her there,” Margolis said. “It is a little quick, but I would love to get some black type with her.”
ALBARADO, AMOSS AND RAMSEYS RACE TOWARD MEET TITLES – With six racing days remaining in the 52-day Spring Meet, Robby Albarado holds an eight-win margin (63-55) over Miguel Mena in the battle for leading rider honors.
The 35-year-old Albarado, who never has won a Churchill Downs riding title, is named on eight mounts Sunday, while Mena has mounts in each of the day’s 10 races.
Tom Amoss, who shared the 2002 Spring training title with Dale Romans and who ranks 10th all-time at Churchill Downs with 285 victories, enters Sunday’s card with a two-win lead over Steve Asmussen (29-27) with Ken McPeek next with 26. Asmussen, who claimed both Churchill Downs training titles in 2007, has increased his career victory total under the Twin Spires to 296, good for eighth all-time. Asmussen has six runners entered on Sunday, while Amoss has two and McPeek one.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have won a record combined 12 owner titles at Churchill Downs, have two runners entered Sunday. They enter the day with a 16-12 edge over Maggi Moss, who was the leading owner here last spring.
Moss has no entrants on Sunday’s racing program.
BARN TALK – Unbridled Spring will attempt to become the first four-time winner of the meet Sunday afternoon when he faces five foes in the second race, a $5,000 starter/allowance test at seven furlongs. The 6-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song is owned by Alan Kingsbury and back in the barn of Kevin Aubrey, who claimed him back for $5,000 off Mike Maker after his third win of the meet on June 6. Unbridled Spring had been claimed by Maker for $10,000 at Keeneland on April 4. …A happy 41st birthday today to jockey Joe Johnson, a native of Owensboro, Ky. … Jockey Julien Leparoux posted his meet-leading 14th victory on the turf when he guided the Allen Paulson Living Trust’s Almonsoon to a win in Saturday’s ninth race. Robby Albarado is second in turf wins with 12.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Arindel Farm’s Wait a While posted her third work at Churchill Downs since returning from a minor injury in mid-March, covering a half-mile in :49.80 for trainer Todd Pletcher. A Grade I winner on turf, Wait a While was the 3-year-old filly champion of 2006. … Peter Vegso’s Sunshine Millions Turf winner War Monger worked three furlongs in :39.60 for trainer Bill Mott over a track labeled “fast.” Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein’s 2006 Pocahontas (GIII) winner Change Up worked a half-mile in :48.60 for trainer Steve Margolis. … Ocean Colors, a daughter of 1988 Kentucky Derby-winning filly Winning Colors who scored a 5 ¼-length victory in her career debut on June 13, breezed four furlongs in :52.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Saturday, June 28
Jockeys (Starts 1-2-3)
1. Robby Albarado (243 63-34-29)
2. Miguel Mena (311 55-47-45)
3. Julien Leparoux ( 277 47-54-48)
4. Jamie Theriot ( 247 45-34-33)
5. Calvin Borel (265 43-39-38)
6. Shaun Bridgmohan (192 39-34-25)
7. Jesus Castanon (231 26-23-28)
8. Corey Lanerie (199 18-26-25)
9. Brian Hernandez Jr. (182 15-29-19)
10. John McKee (138 12-21-20)
1. Tom Amoss (73 29-13-12)
2. Steve Asmussen (122 27-20-18)
3. Ken McPeek (69 26-12-5)
4. Mike Maker (60 16-13-9)
5. Dale Romans (128 15-26-22)
6. Ian Wilkes (47 13-12-7)
7. Eddie Kenneally (61 12-10-10)
8. Cody Autrey (53 9-9-11)
-. Greg Foley (60 9-9-8)
-. Bret Calhoun (23 9-2-4)
Five (5) trainers tied at eight (8) wins
1. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (59 16-10-13)
2. Maggi Moss (28 12-6-4)
3. Zayat Stables, LLC (47 8-10-10)
4. Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein (36 7-7-7)
5. Heflin & Driver Racing (27 5-5-6)
-. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable (17 5-1-0)
Seven (7) owners tied at four (4) wins