ARIZONA-BRED UH OH BANGO STEPS UP IN IROQUOIS – Three weeks ago, trainer Kory Owens ran his first starter at Keeneland and did all right for himself in picking up a $25,000 check to take back to Remington Park.
His Ez Dreamer, who races for Triple AAA Ranch, ran third in the Phoenix (Grade III), beaten less than a length by Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) pre-entrants Fatal Bullet and Capt. Candyman Can.
Owens loaded up the van again this week and returned to Kentucky, bringing Ez Dreamer’s half-brother, Uh Oh Bango, to Churchill Downs for Sunday’s 28th running of the Iroquois (GIII) at a mile on the main track.
“They are quite a bit alike and at this stage of their careers both were able to rate,” said Owens, who is well-versed on the pedigree of both horses.
“I trained the dam (French Debutante), the granddam (To the Post) and the great-granddam (Steady Gate). Rocky Bar is a son of To the Post and he is the sire of Carlsbad (who ran second in the TCA at Keeneland).”
Uh Oh Bango, an Arizona-bred son of Top Hit, debuted at Prairie Meadows in spectacular fashion by winning a five-furlong sprint by eight lengths. He followed that up with a runner-up effort to Grand Slam Andre in the Clever Trevor at Remington Park and then won the Prairie Meadows Freshman by 10 ½ lengths at six furlongs.
“I was wanting to try a mile with him and I looked around this area and the only other option was Delta Downs,” said Owens, who splits his time between Remington Park and Turf Paradise.
Glenn Corbett, who has ridden Uh Oh Bango is all of his starts, has the call Sunday. Uh Oh Bango, who will break from post position seven, is the co-second choice at 5-1 in a field of 12 on the morning line.
Corbett will be making his first trip back to Churchill Downs since riding Lusty Latin in the 2002 Kentucky Derby.
HOBBY HOPES TIZ MIZ SUE FOLLOWS RACHEL ALEXANDRA’S PATH – Before trainer Steve Hobby heads west on Monday with Telling for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI), he hopes to pick up a little shipping money in Sunday’s 41st running of the Pocahontas (GIII) with Cresran LLC’s Tiz Miz Sue.
“That’s the plan,” said Hobby, who has 10 horses stabled here for the fall meet that begins Sunday.
But, first things first, Hobby is focused on the Pocahontas.
Tiz Miz Sue, a homebred daughter of Tiznow, enters the Pocahontas off a runner-up finish in the Arlington-Washington Lassie (GIII) on Sept. 5 at Arlington Park. Listed as the co-second choice at 5-1 in a field of 13 2-year-old fillies, Tiz Miz Sue will break from post position four under Jesus Castanon.
“She had heatstroke after the race at Arlington and we backed off her,” Hobby said.
Tiz Miz Sue has a record of 3-1-2-0 with all races coming at Arlington Park. Going the one-turn Pocahontas distance of a mile in her most recent start, Tiz Miz Sue finished second to She Be Wild, who is headed to the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).
“It looks like she will have a shot in the Breeders’ Cup,” Hobby said of She Be Wild. “Her last race at Keeneland (a runner-up finish in the Grade I Darley Alcibiades) was solid.”
A good showing in the Pocahontas could propel Tiz Miz Sue on to the closing-day Golden Rod (GII) at 1 1/16 miles.
“I hope we go on to the Golden Rod,” Hobby said. “We want to follow the path that Rachel Alexandra paved last year.”
Rachel Alexandra ran second in the Pocahontas and then came back to win the Golden Rod, the first of nine consecutive victories for the filly who is now the frontrunner for “Horse of the Year” honors.
GLOBAL HUNTER, MIDSHIPMAN TOP-WEIGHTED FOR ACK ACK – Global Hunter-ARG, winner of this summer’s Eddie Read (GI) at Del Mar, and Midshipman, champion 2-year-old of 2008, were assigned the top weight of 121 pounds by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman for Friday’s 17th running of the Ack Ack (GIII).
Sharing the next high weight of 119 pounds were Girolamo, a Godolphin Racing stablemate of Midshipman, and the 7-year-old Jonesboro, winner of the Cornhusker Handicap (GII) and Texas Mile (GIII) this year. Trained by Randy Morse, Jonesboro is considered a “probable” starter by track racing officials.
Weighted next at 118 pounds were 3-year-olds Kensei and Regal Ransom along with B. Wayne Hughes’ My Pal Charlie, whose retirement from racing was announced Friday. My Pal Charlie will stand at stud in 2010 at Elite Thoroughbreds near Folsom, La.
Probable starters as of Saturday and their weight assignments are Greeley’s Conquest (117), Riley Tucker (115), Que Paso (114) and Spotsgone (114).
Entries for the Ack Ack will be taken Tuesday.
BARN TALK – When Sunday’s 11-race “Stars of Tomorrow I” card kicks off the 21-day Fall Meet, the luminaries from the 2008 autumn season will be back in action.
Julian Leparoux, who posted a Fall Meet-record 63 victories in 2008, is named on seven mounts on the card including rides in both stakes. Leparoux, who has won five riding titles total beneath the Twin Spires, will ride Raging Wit for trainer Bill Mott in the Iroquois (GIII) and the undefeated Running Bride for trainer Eddie Kenneally in the Pocahontas (GIII). Leparoux won four stakes last fall, including the Iroquois on Capt. Candyman Can.
Mike Maker, who claimed his first leading trainer title in 2008 with a Fall Meet-record 31 victories, will have one starter on Sunday’s card. Maker’s entrant is Stately Victor in the third race.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who have dominated the owner standings this decade, will send out one runner Sunday: Sparkle of Light in the fourth. Winners of the past four meet leading owner titles, the Ramseys own a track-record 15 leading owner titles: Eight in the Spring and seven in the Fall, including the past two. The seven Fall Meet titles share the track record with the late John Franks.
2010 CHURCHILL DOWNS WALL CALENDAR GIVEAWAY ON SUNDAY’S OPENING DAY – The first 5,000 fans in attendance on Sunday, Nov. 1 – opening day of the 2009 Fall Meet – will receive a free 2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, sponsored by Humana. The colorful calendar features major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.
Opening day of the anticipated 21-day stand doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow I” with 11 live races entirely devoted to rising 2-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (GI). The featured events are the open Iroquois and the fillies’ Pocahontas, a pair of Grade III, $100,000-added events run at one mile on the main track.
The day will also will feature the debut a new free Sunday morning public workout program from 8-10 a.m. entitled “Daybreak at the Downs” and a special 2-year-old handicapping seminar and breakfast in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.
Admission gates for the day’s racing card will open at 11:30 a.m. and first post is 12:40 p.m. ET.
Churchill Downs 120th Fall Meet, featuring world-class horse racing, will continue for a four-week stand through Saturday, Nov. 28.
General admission is $3, but only $1 for senior citizens and members of the track’s free-to-join Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.
For more information or to reserve seats, call (502) 636-4400 or visit www.ChurchillDowns.com.
SPECIAL 2-YEAR-OLD HANDICAPPING SEMINAR SET ON OPENING DAY FROM 9-11:30 A.M. – Churchill Downs will host its annual “Stars of Tomorrow” 2-Year-Old Handicapping Seminar on Sunday, Nov. 1 in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.
Churchill Downs racing analyst Jill Byrne will host this year’s seminar with jockey Jon Court, trainer Ian Wilkes and workout clocker John Nichols. The quartet will provide insight on how to improve handicapping skills for 2-year-old racing and in-depth analysis of the entire “Stars of Tomorrow I” racing program with a question and answer session.
One of the most attractive aspects of the seminar is a special trip to the saddling paddock for an up-close inspection of a 2-year-old and its confirmation, behavior and equipment.
The cost to attend is $25 and includes breakfast buffet, official program, Brisnet.com past performances, and a reserved seat in Skye Terrace 5. There also will be a raffle for door prizes, including a VIP day at the races, two rounds of golf at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, signed framed photographs of past Kentucky Derby winners and a chance to watch a race from the Churchill Downs announcer’s booth with track commentator Mark Johnson.
Access to the “Stars of Tomorrow” handicapping seminar is available through either Gate 1, off Central Avenue., or Gate 10, off Longfield Avenue.
Call (502) 636-4400 for reservations.
“WHO’S THE CHAMP?” HANDICAPPING TOURNAMENT RETURNS SUNDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Churchill Downs’ popular “Who’s the Champ” Handicapping Tournament will return for the 2009 Fall Meet with contests every Sunday and Wednesday through Nov. 22.
Horse racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer for twice-weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Sunday, Nov. 22 final. The top two finishers in the final will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship XI scheduled for Jan. 29-30 at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.
Prize money for each contest, which requires participants to place mythical $2 Win and Place wagers in Races 3-9, totals $4,000, including a $1,400 first prize.
The top 25 unique participants in each contest through Wednesday, Nov. 18 will be invited to the Nov. 22 final.
The participation fee for each contest is $30 and includes complimentary lunch. It’s discounted to $25 for Twin Spires Club members. Registration will take place in the Champions Club Lounge on the second floor of the clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on contest days. Additional contest seating will be available in the Churchill Downs Lounge when necessary.
NEW “DAYBREAK AT THE DOWNS” FREE EVERY SUNDAY FROM 8-10 A.M. – “Daybreak at the Downs” – patterned after Kentucky Derby week’s well-attended “Dawn at the Downs” – will make its debut on opening day, Sunday, Nov. 1, and take place every Sunday from 8-10 a.m. throughout the 2009 Fall Meet.
Churchill Downs’ racing analyst Jill Byrne will host the program with select special guests and she’ll describe the on-track action and provide insightful commentary as hundreds of horses prepare for their upcoming races in morning workouts.
“Daybreak at the Downs” is free each Sunday, and complimentary coffee, donuts and milk will be served to attendees.
Interested patrons should park in the Longfield Lot and enter through Gate 10. The “Daybreak at the Downs” will be presented in Sections 116-117 of the clubhouse. Visitors are welcome to stay for a day at the races free of charge.