DENIS OF CORK, MACHO AGAIN JOG BEFORE LEAVING FOR BELMONT STAKES – Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr.’s Denis of Cork, the third-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I), jogged two miles with Kim Carroll, wife of trainer David Carroll, up Wednesday morning at Churchill Downs.
David Carroll was already in New York, where Denis of Cork was scheduled to arrive on Wednesday afternoon for his start in the 140th Belmont Stakes (GI) after a noon flight from Louisville. Kim Carroll will head to New York on Friday.
The other Churchill Downs-based Belmont Stakes entrant, West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again, also jogged early Wednesday morning before the renovation break with Kenny Bourque up. Trainer Dallas Stewart was already in New York, awaiting the arrival of the Preakness (GI) runner-up who was on the same flight with Denis of Cork.
The Belmont, headed by Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown, drew a field of 10 with Big Brown and Kent Desormeaux breaking from the rail in the 1 1/2-mile event. Denis of Cork, who will be ridden by Robby Albarado, will break from post four, and Macho Again, who will be ridden by Garrett Gomez in the third jewel of the Triple Crown, drew post position three.
GRASSHOPPER, JONESBORO WORK TOWARD STEPHEN FOSTER – Grasshopper and Jonesboro, two possibles for the June 14 Stephen Foster Handicap – a Grade I event guaranteed at $750,000 and potentially worth $1 million if a Grade I winner starts – turned in six-furlong works over a track labeled as “good” before the renovation break Wednesday morning.
With regular exercise rider Annie Finney up, W.S. Farish and E.J. Hudson Jr.’s Grasshopper covered the distance in 1:13.20.
Winner of the Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) at Fair Grounds in his 2008 debut, Grasshopper is coming off a fifth-place finish in the mud in the Pimlico Special (GI) on May 16, the poorest showing in the Dixie Union colt’s 11-race career.
“He worked well this morning and he has been doing great since the Pimlico Special,” trainer Neil Howard said. “We couldn’t find anything wrong with him (after the Pimlico Special); maybe he just had a bad day. He grabbed a quarter and maybe he was sliding a little bit, but Robby (Albarado) said he handled the track fine.”
Michael Langford’s Jonesboro was clocked in 1:13 under jockey Jamie Theriot for trainer Randy Morse.
“He worked very well. The clockers got him in 1:13 and galloping out in 1:26,” Morse said of Jonesboro, who ran fourth in last year’s Stephen Foster.
Winner of the Grade III Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park in March, Jonesboro is coming off a sixth-place finish in the slop in the May 2 Alysheba (GIII) at Churchill Downs and Morse is cautiously eyeing a return Foster bid.
“If the race comes up light, I’d say we are leaning in that direction,” Morse said. “But if a bunch of heavyheads come in, we won’t go. But, we are here and the horse is doing good.”
RECAPTURETHEGLORY SET FOR CHURCHILL ENCORE – Louie Roussel III and Ronnie Lamarque’s Recapturetheglory, the fifth-place finisher behind Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby, may return to Churchill Downs for the $175,000-added Northern Dancer Stakes (GIII) on June 14.
“I am definitely committed to coming to Churchill,” Roussel said Wednesday morning of Recapturetheglory, who is stabled at Arlington Park. “He is doing great and he worked well here on Sunday (a :46 half-mile work between races).”
It was Recapturetheglory’s first work since the Derby. The Cherokee Run colt had been under consideration for the Preakness, but came down with a fever a little more than a week before the race that canceled those plans.
Roussel plans to work Recapturetheglory on Saturday or Sunday and ship a day later with hopes his colt can avoid a repeat of Derby Day when Recapturetheglory became agitated in the paddock and dumped jockey E.T. Baird in the tunnel en route to the track.
“I’d like to be able to saddle him on the track next to the pony,” said Roussel, who is also the colt’s trainer. “I’d like to just keep him moving and not have to go back into the (saddling) stall.”
BARN TALK – Tom Walters’ Elite Squadron, third in last Saturday’s Aristides (GIII), may be heading west for his next start according to trainer James Baker. “I am looking at the seven-eighths race at Hollywood Park on American Oaks Day,” said Baker, referring to the Grade I Triple Bend Handicap on July 5. “He loves the Polytrack, and there is nothing for him here (the rest of the meet).” Winner of the Churchill Downs Handicap (GII) on Derby Day, Elite Squadron finished more than five lengths behind Indian Chant in the Aristides. Indian Chant ran the six-furlong distance in a meet-best 1:08.40. “My horse runs in 1:09 and gets beat. Go figure,” Baker said. … New Orleans Handicap (GII) winner Circular Quay, who won sixth in the 2007 Kentucky Derby, was not included on the list of 29 nominees for the Stephen Foster. “He’s had a bit of a setback,” said Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. “He came down with a sinus infection and has missed some time. He is still here and remains in training.” … IEAH Stable, Lewis Lakin and Pegasus Holding Group Stables’ Pure Clan, third in the 2008 Kentucky Oaks (GI), is scheduled to work on the grass Thursday morning in preparation for the June 14 Regret (GIII). Jockey Julien Leparoux, who shares the Spring Meet riding lead with Robby Albarado with 33 victories, is scheduled to be aboard for the work for trainer Bob Holthus.
WORK TAB – Uptown Racing’s Boss Lafitte, winner of the USA Stakes at Lone Star Park in his most recent start on May 26, worked a half-mile on a “good” main track in :49, the ninth-best of 44 at the distance. Trained by Tom Amoss, Boss Lafitte took the Grade III Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland in April but is not under consideration for the June 14 Jefferson Cup (GII). “I’m not sure what’s next for him, but the Jefferson Cup is just too close to his last race,” said Amoss, who entered Wednesday as the leading trainer of the Spring Meet with 18 winners from 44 starters. … Kim and John Glenney’s Transduction Gold, winner of the 2007 Sycamore Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland, worked a half-mile in :48.80 over a “fast” track, the third-best move of the morning.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Sunday, June 1
Jockeys Starts 1-2-3
Julien Leparoux 181 33-32-34
Robby Albarado 129 33-14-19
Miguel Mena 175 30-22-24
Calvin Borel 178 25-26-26
Shaun Bridgmohan 117 24-22-13
Jamie Theriot 118 19-18-11
Jesus Castanon 143 19-12-12
Brian Hernandez, Jr. 99 8-15-12
Elvis Trujillo 47 8-7-14
Corey Lanerie 111 7-16-10
John McKee 84 7-13-16
Tracy Hebert 73 7-4-5
Larry Sterling, Jr. 54 6-7-7
Fernando De La Cruz 74 6-4-6
Tom Amoss 44 18-6-6
Ken McPeek 39 17-5-4
Steve Asmussen 71 16-12-12
Ian Wilkes 27 10-5-3
Mike Maker 32 9-5-3
Dale Romans 69 6-16-14
Eddie Kenneally 34 6-7-7
Greg Foley 45 6-7-6
Wesley Ward 21 6-4-4
Paul J. McGee 26 6-4-1
David Carroll 18 6-3-2
Four (4) trainers tied with five (5) wins
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 30 10-3-5
Maggi Moss 18 9-2-3
Zayat Stables, LLC 30 6-6-7
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable 8 5-0-0
Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein 21 4-5-2
Padua Stables 7 4-1-0
Five (5) owners tied with three (3) wins