FLINT HAS SCREEN YOUR FRIEND BACK ON TRACK - Veteran trainer Bernie Flint did not get to fully enjoy a banner summer at Churchill Downs. He notched his 400th career victory beneath the Twin Spires in June and had to watch from home as Screen Your Friend won the Bashford Manor (GIII) on July 5.
"I had a back operation in early June and was stuck in the house for six weeks," Flint said on a drizzly Friday morning from his barn at Churchill Downs. "I am doing better ... not as fast as I used to, but at my age (68) that's to be expected."
Also doing better is Screen Your Friend, who is owned by William Carl. Screen Your Friend worked five furlongs in 1:00.60 on Wednesday as he nears a return to the races.
"He is doing really good," Flint said. "We stopped on him after he ran at Mountaineer (in the Aug. 2 Mountaineer Juvenile). He got sick on the trip up there and we had to stay a couple of extra days. We gave him a lot of time after that and we have been bringing him back and he is working forward."
Flint said that Screen Your Friend would "probably make an appearance at the end of the month or early December, probably at the Fair Grounds."
As for the rest of the barn, Flint is optimistic.
"We have cut back a little, but I think we have a good group of horses; lots of young horses and three-year-olds," said Flint, who ranks fourth all-time at Churchill Downs with 406 victories, the most recent of which came Wednesday when Extreme Warrior won the fourth race.
RIDING ON YOUR BIRTHDAY ... PIECE OF CAKE FOR BOREL - Calvin Borel turned 42 on Friday and celebrated the day by doing what he does every day: riding horses.
Borel worked several horses in the morning and then was listed to ride eight mounts in the afternoon. After that, would there be cake?
"I might have a little piece of cake," Borel said with a laugh. "I know (fiancée) Lisa will probably have something cooked up, but I will probably stick mostly with the vegetables."
Borel, who guided Street Sense to victory in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, has ridden eight winners this fall to rank fourth in the jockey standings. He has ridden 871 winners at Churchill Downs, fifth best in track history.
So, before hitting 43 next fall, what would Borel like to achieve?
"I'd like to get closer to 5,000 wins, that's my goal," said Borel, who has 4,539 career victories. "And, I'd like to find another Derby horse!"
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. Also, Borel will be available to sign glasses the following day on Sunday in the second floor of the clubhouse between 11-11:30 a.m.
Glasses depicting Robby Albarado and Kent Desormeaux will be given away on Nov. 15 and Nov. 22, respectively.
MEIER SEEKS ELUSIVE FIRST CHURCHILL DOWNS WIN - Apprentice jockey Brandon Meier has savored the sweet taste of victory 62 times in his first year as rider with success coming at storied venues such as Arlington Park, Santa Anita and Keeneland.
However, the winner's circle at Churchill Downs has proved to be an elusive enclosure to find for the 20-year-old son of journeyman rider Randall Meier.
"It is frustrating for sure. There have been a lot of seconds and thirds, but no winners," said Meier, whose 0-for-34 streak to start the meet has included five runner-up finishes and five thirds.
"My dad and I talk a lot and he says that streaks like that are part of the game and to just keep working hard and work through it."
After Arlington Park closed in September, Meier moved his tack to California for a brief stay at Santa Anita before coming to Keeneland, where he had a chance to watch and learn from a wide variety of jockeys.
"There are a lot of good riders at both places," said Meier, who plans to ride this winter at Turfway Park when the current meet ends.
As for the getting off the schneid at Churchill Downs, Meier hopes it comes quickly.
"I am riding seven [Friday], one for this man," Meier said of trainer Jinks Fires. "He's the one who put me on my first winner at Keeneland."
BARN TALK - Ken and Sarah Ramsey, winners of six Fall Meet owners titles this decade, are well on their way to a seventh with eight victories from 20 starters. The Ramseys have four horses entered on Friday's card. The Fall Meet record for wins by an owner is 15, set by T. Alie Grissom during the 23-day meet in 1965. ... Trainer Dallas Stewart said it is likely that Horton Stable's Pearl of Valor will run back again before the end of the meet on Nov. 29. "That's the plan," Stewart said of the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, who broke her maiden on her fifth try Thursday in winning by a length at 1 1/16 miles. A $385,000 Keeneland September Sale purchase last year, Pearl of Valor's best races have come at Churchill Downs, where she finished second in her debut in June. ... Nominations close Saturday for the $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) to be run at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Nov. 22. Weights for the 32nd running of the race will be announced Nov. 15.
WORK TAB - Thomas Van Meter and Ken Meng's Be Smart worked a half-mile in :49.80 over a fast track Friday morning at Churchill Downs. It was the first work for Be Smart since she finished 12th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) at Santa Anita on Oct. 24. Prior to that, Be Smart had finished second in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas was undecided as to whether the Smarty Jones filly would run in the closing-day Golden Rod (GII). ... Summerplace Farm's veteran sprinter Kelly's Landing worked a half-mile in :52 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Kelly's Landing won the 2004 Aristides here and is coming off an Oct. 17 allowance victory at Keeneland.
JOCKEY TALK ON SATURDAY - Every Saturday during the Fall Meet, members of Churchill Downs jockey colony will be on hand for a meet and greet with the fans in the paddock area between 11:30 a.m. and 12 p.m.
This Saturday's special guests will be Julio Garcia and Miguel Mena.
"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.
This week's features include interviews with guest track announcer Travis Stone, trainer David Carroll, Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel and Churchill Downs' Tom Aronson will talk about the new Z-5 (Super Hi-5) wager.
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.
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.
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.