Atta Boy Roy had an adventurous run in Saturday's Aristides (GIII).
He lost his footing at the break, spotting the field several lengths, rushed up to take the lead and then grudgingly gave way to the victorious Riley Tucker in the final eighth of a mile.
"He's bright and happy looking this morning," trainer Valorie Lund said. "He was like ‘Hey, I did what I was supposed to do yesterday.'
The break made all the difference to Lund.
"It cost us the race. You can't spot a quality field like that three or four lengths," Lund said. "It was a killer."
Lund said Atta Boy Roy came out of the race with a little nick on his heel, but it won't cost the 5-year-old any training time.
Winner of the Churchill Downs (GII) in his previous start on May 1, Atta Boy Roy will get a little break before his next start.
"I like to space his races between six and eight weeks," Lund said. "I am looking at something for him at six furlongs at Monmouth or Saratoga in that time frame."
The Monmouth race likely would be the $150,000 Teddy Drone on Aug. 1 or the $250,000 Alfred Vanderbilt (GI) at Saratoga on Aug. 8.
Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen, said Riley Tucker came out of the Aristides in good order. Plans for Riley Tucker's next start are indefinite.
PLANS PENDING FOR DOGWOOD WINNER AILALEA; TAP TAP TAPPING MAY BE IOWA-BOUND -
Starlight Partners' Ailalea was doing well Sunday morning after her victory in Saturday's Dogwood (GIII), according to Mike McCarthy, the Churchill Downs-based assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher.
"She got a little hot after the race and she did the same thing after the (Kentucky) Oaks," McCarthy said. "But she is fine after about 30 minutes. We had her out on the grass earlier this morning and she was fine."
Ailalea, who ran fifth in the Kentucky Oaks (GI), now has two graded stakes victories on her resume. She won the Grade III Tempted last fall at Aqueduct.
McCarthy said "there are no plans at the moment" for Ailalea's next race.
The Pletcher barn, which celebrated its first Kentucky Derby victory this month with Super Saver, will again be a hub of activity in a couple weeks with horses being pointed to four of the five stakes on Kentucky Derby Alumni Day, which is Saturday, June 12 and headed by the $600,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI).
"We have Battle Plan coming in probably the week of the race for the Stephen Foster," McCarthy said. "We have Colizeo for the Northern Dancer, Connemara for the Jefferson Cup and Caminadora for the Regret."
While there are no immediate plans for Ailalea, trainer David Vance is eyeing the Iowa Oaks (GIII) for Dogwood runner-up Tap Tap Tapping.
"That race usually comes up light and it is $200,000," Vance said after Tap Tap Tapping rallied from last in the field of eight to fall a length short of Ailalea. "She is really just learning, and I think she has more in her."
Prior to the Dogwood, Tap Tap Tapping turned in a dull, fifth-place effort here on April 28.
"Her first race here, I expected her to win easily and she just threw in a clunker," Vance said. "Maybe I tried to do too much with her at Oaklawn trying to get to the Fantasy."
Tap Tap Tapping is a daughter of Tapit out of an El Gran Senor mare, a pedigree that is tempting to Vance.
"I am inclined to keep her on the dirt, but I may work her on the grass to see how she handles it," Vance said. "She has El Gran Senor in her pedigree and sometimes the Tapits take to the grass."
THREE TOP WEIGHTS EXPECTED TO RUN IN EARLY TIMES MINT JULEP
Defending champion Acoma has been assigned top weight of 122 pounds for Saturday's 34th running of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Owned by Helen Alexander and Helen Groves, Acoma will be making her first start since winning the Cardinal Handicap (GIII) here last fall. Trained by David Carroll, Acoma never has lost in five starts at Churchill Downs with three of those wins on turf.
Sharing the second high weight of 120 pounds are Barbara Hunter's Keertana and Nelson McMakin's Hot Cha Cha, both of whom are expected to run on Saturday.
Hot Cha Cha, trained by Phil Sims, highlighted her five-win campaign in 2009 with a victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland last fall. In her most recent start, Hot Cha Cha finished second in the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (GII) on Derby Day.
Keertana, trained by Tom Proctor, won the Regret (GIII) here last summer and was runner-up in the Mrs. Revere (GII) in the fall. She has compiled a record of 3-2-0 in five races on the Matt Winn Turf Course. Keertana is 2-for-2 in 2010.
Other probables for the Early Times Mint Julep are Magdalena Racing's My Baby Baby (116) and Keith Kinmon's Absolutely Cindy (113).
Entries for the Early Times Mint Julep will be taken Wednesday.
BARN TALK - Calvin Borel moved closer to the 1,000-victory plateau at Churchill Downs by winning two races Saturday, highlighted by the victory of Ailalea ($4) in the Dogwood Stakes (GIII). His other victory came in the first race on Cool Hero ($2.80). Borel victory count stands at 997 and he is named on five mounts Sunday. Borel will not ride Monday at Churchill Downs as he will be at Belmont Park that day to ride Warrior's Reward for trainer Ian Wilkes in the Metropolitan Handicap (GI). ...
In addition to Borel, jockeys Shaun Bridgmohan (Lone Star), Jamie Theriot (Lone Star) and Corey Nakatani (Hollywood) will be out of town Monday for stakes engagements. ...
Trainer Dale Romans was blanked Saturday with two starters to leave his Churchill Downs victory total at 498. Romans has no horses entered Sunday, but two on Monday as he attempts to become the second trainer with 500 victories at Churchill Downs. Bill Mott has 630.
Robby Albarado, the sixth all-time leading rider at Churchill Downs with 864 victories, has had a quiet spring here thus far with only 12 victories from 105 mounts. However, the past two Saturdays, Albarado has been money on the road with three stakes victories. On Saturday, he won Exhi to victory in the Marine Stakes at Woodbine and on May 22 he won the American 1,000 Guineas with Bay to Bay and the Arlington Classic with Workin for Hops at Arlington Park. This Saturday, Albarado will be at Belmont Park to ride Court Vision in the $400,000 Manhattan Handicap (GI).
WORK TAB - Tapitsfly, winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last fall, worked a half-mile in :46.80 over a fast main track for the fastest work of 62 at the distance Sunday morning. ... Seeking the Title recorded the five-furlong bullet with a :59.20 clocking, best of 37. Other prominent five-furlong works were Backtalk (:59.80, fifth fastest), Custom for Carlos (1:00.20, eighth fastest) and Buckleupbuttercup (1:00.20, eighth fastest). Putting in five-eighths works at the Trackside Training Center for Mike Maker were Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Furthest Land (1:00, best of 10) and Lane's End (GII) winner Dean's Kitten (1:01, second fastest).