THERIOT EAGER TO RETURN TO THE RACES ON MONDAY – Jockey Jamie Theriot will resume riding on Monday at Indiana Downs following the conclusion of a 30-day suspension stemming from a May 23 incident at Arlington Park.
“The only time I have been idle longer is when I have been hurt,” said Theriot. “I have never been out this long for a suspension.”
The 30-year-old Theriot is scheduled to ride three races on Monday night and six on Tuesday night at Indiana Downs and then ride the final four days of the Churchill Downs meet that closes Sunday, July 5.
Saturday morning was a typical one for Theriot during his suspension.
“I worked 11 horses this morning and I have been averaging between seven and 10 to 11 a day,” Theriot said. “Fitness-wise, I am ready.”
BASHFORD MANOR FIELD TAKING SHAPE – Six 2-year-old colts are considered as probable starters for Friday’s 108th running of the Bashford Manor Stakes (Grade III) at six furlongs on the main track.
Of the six, three faced off in a five-furlong allowance race on June 11 won by the Millsap Stables’ unbeaten homebred Brassy Boy. Trained by Hal Wiggins, Brassy Boy won his debut outing in a $30,000 claiming race 4 ½ furlongs on May 29 before coming back to defeat the likes of probable Bashford Manor starters Soundman, who finished third, and Flatter Than Me, who ran fourth.
Other probable starters include the undefeated Backtalk, a half-brother to graded stakes winner Bsharpsonata, who broke his maiden in his first start on June 11, Westrock Gold, a maiden winner on June 20, and Mission Impazible, a maiden winner at Keeneland who ran third in the Grade III Kentucky Juvenile on April 30 at Churchill Downs.
Entries will be taken Tuesday.
JOHN KELLY DOES JOHN KELLY WARREN PROUD – Trainer David Carroll closed out the second edition of “Downs After Dark” Friday night in grand style when he sent out John Kelly to a 2 ¼-length maiden score in the 11th race.
So, the question Saturday morning was, “Who is John Kelly?”
“He is named for Mr. Warren’s son, John Kelly Warren,” Carroll said, referring to the colt’s owner William K. Warren Jr.
The 3-year-old son of Seattle Fitz was purchased at the 2008 Barretts March Sale for $600,000 and has been in Carroll’s barn since last year. However, John Kelly did not make his racing debut until last month.
“He has just had some growing pains,” Carroll said. “But he does have talent and he’ll probably go to Saratoga.”
In 2008, Carroll trained Denis of Cork for Warren with the colt finishing third in the Kentucky Derby (Grade I) and second in the Belmont Stakes (Grade I). Warren named the colt after Father Denis Casey, a priest from County Cork, Ireland.
The Carroll barn will be trying to strike out of town next weekend when Helen Alexander’s Selva runs in the $300,000 Prioress (Grade I) for 3-year-old fillies at Belmont Park on Saturday.
“She leaves Tuesday for Belmont Park,” Carroll said of Selva, a three-time stakes winner who has compiled a record of 6-4-2-0. Selva’s most recent race was the Beaumont (Grade II) at Keeneland on April 8 in which she finished second.
MISSION IMPAZIBLE PLETCHER’S HOPE FOR THIRD BASHFORD MANOR – The Spring Meet has been iceberg cold for the Todd Pletcher barn, but that does mean it is “Mission Impossible” for a strong finish after a 1-for-36 start.
Make that Mission Impazible.
Owned by Twin Creeks Racing Stable, Mission Impazible should be one of the favorites in Friday’s Bashford Manor Stakes for Pletcher, who won the race in 2003 with Limestone and in 2006 with Circular Quay.
A son of Unbridled’s Song, Mission Impazible turned in his final work for the Bashford Manor with a half-mile work in :47.80 over a fast track Saturday morning, the fourth best of 67 at the distance. Mission Impazible has not run since finishing third in the Kentucky Juvenile (Grade III) on April 30.
“He has been doing extremely well since his last race,” said Mike McCarthy, who runs Pletcher’s Churchill Downs string. “We did the same thing with Garden District last year and this race was the goal all along.”
Garden District ran second to males in the Kentucky Juvenile and came back eight weeks later to win the Debutante, defeating a group of fillies that included runner-up Rachel Alexandra, who is now among the frontrunners for “Horse of the Year” honors after her 20 ¼-length win in the Kentucky Oaks (GI) and her historic win over Kentucky Derby (GI) winner Mine That Bird and other males in the Preakness (GI).
One horse in the Pletcher barn on the comeback trail is Team Valor International’s King of the Roxy. A two-time Grade II stakes winner, King of the Roxy has not run since April 2008 and rejoined the barn last month.
“He is going to work Sunday,” McCarthy said of the 5-year-old who has had three works since coming back. “He is about a month away from running and he could possibly go to Saratoga.”
BARN TALK – Calvin Borel was blanked on the Friday night card and remained three wins (56-53) behind Julien Leparoux in the battle for leading rider of the Spring Meet. Leparoux missed Friday’s “Downs After Dark” program to ride in stakes races at Prairie Meadows. Borel will be in New York on Saturday to ride Rachel Alexandra in the Mother Goose (Grade I) while Leparoux returns to Churchill Downs and has nine mounts on the 11-race card. Both riders will be here Sunday with Leparoux named on eight mounts and Borel seven.
Belmont Stakes (Grade I) winner Summer Bird will make a brief return to Churchill Downs on Thursday. Trainer Tim Ice is vanning Summer Bird from his home base at Louisiana Downs to Monmouth Park for the Aug. 2 Haskell Invitational (Grade I).
“We are going to stop over there for about 10 hours and then get back on the road that night,” said Ice, who expects to arrive at Churchill Downs around 10 o’clock Thursday morning and be housed in the Stakes Barn (Barn 17). “He had his first work since the Belmont this morning and he went nice and easy (five furlongs in 1:04.42). He’s a happy horse right now and we want to keep him that way.”
Summer Bird finished sixth to Mine That Bird in the Kentucky Derby, but turned the tables on that rival in the Belmont.
Weights for the 19th running of the $150,000-added Firecracker Handicap (Grade II) will be released Saturday with the race scheduled to headline the Fourth of July holiday card.
Weights for the 28th running of the $100,000-added Locust Grove Handicap (Grade III) for fillies and mares will be released Sunday. The Locust Grove serves as the feature on Sunday, July 5, closing day of the 45-day Spring Meet.
WORK TAB – Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) winner Macho Again worked a half-mile in :50.80 over a fast track. The fastest half-mile works of 67 came from the Eddie Kenneally duo of Keep the Peace and Custom for Carlos, who covered the distance in :47.20. Also working a half-mile was Flying Private, who covered the distance in :53.40 in his second work since finishing sixth in the Belmont Stakes.