BREEDERS’ CUP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS FEATURE STRONG CHURCHILL DOWNS INFLUENCE – When the 26th renewal of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships begin its two-day run at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Friday, the presence of Churchill Downs-based trainers and runners that have performed beneath the Twin Spires in 2009 will be significant.
In all, 13 of the 14 races will feature participants that, in some fashion, have ties to Churchill Downs, with the only exception being Friday’s Ladies’ Classic (Grade I)..
The Breeders’ Cup card kicks off Friday at 3:35 p.m. (all times EST) with the Marathon followed by five races for fillies and mares culminating with the Ladies’ Classic at 6:45 p.m. Saturday will feature nine Breeders’ Cup races beginning with the Juvenile Turf at 1:45 p.m. and concluding with the Classic at 6:45 p.m.
First post time for the live Churchill Downs cards both days is 12:40 p.m.
Here is a rundown of horses that have run or trained at Churchill Downs in 2009 or who have trainers with Churchill Downs or the Trackside Training Center as their main base participating in the Breeders’ Cup in race order:
Marathon: Gangbuster (30-1).
Juvenile Fillies Turf: House of Grace (4-1), Jungle Tale (15-1), Lisa’s Kitten (12-1) and Tapitsfly (8-1).
Juvenile Fillies: Beautician (6-1), Connie and Michael (4-1) and She Be Wild (8-1).
Filly & Mare Turf: Pure Clan (5-1) and Visit (10-1).
Filly & Mare Sprint: Game Face (10-1) and Informed Decision (5-2).
Juvenile Turf: Becky’s Kitten (12-1), Bridgetown (8-1), Kera’s Kitten (12-1) and King Ledley (20-1). Dean’s Kitten (20-1) is on the also-eligible list.
Turf Sprint: Cannonball (8-1).
Sprint: Capt. Candyman Can (15-1) and Join in the Dance (30-1).
Juvenile: Aspire (30-1), Noble’s Promise (8-1) and William’s Kitten (30-1).
Mile: Court Vision (12-1) and Cowboy Cal (6-1).
Dirt Mile: Bullsbay (3-1), Chocolate Candy (15-1), Furthest Land (20-1) and Mr. Sidney (12-1).
Turf: Telling (20-1).
Classic: Einstein (12-1), Mine That Bird (12-1), Regal Ransom (20-1), Summer Bird (9-2) and Zenyatta (5-2). Zenyatta trained two days at Churchill Downs this spring in preparation for the Louisville Distaff (GII) but did not run because of track condition.
RAIL DRAW IN CLASSIC FOR DERBY WINNER BUOYS BOREL – Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) winner Mine That Bird landed in the No. 1 post position for Saturday’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Santa Anita when the 14-race World Championships card was drawn Tuesday.
“I love it,” jockey Calvin Borel said with a big grin Wednesday morning during the renovation break at Churchill Downs.
Borel gave Mine That Bird a rail-skimming ride in the Derby in May to post a 50-1 upset. It was Borel’s second Kentucky Derby victory. Borel, who turns 43 on Saturday, is hoping Mine That Bird gives him a second Breeders’ Cup victory.
“I have seen him training in the mornings and he looks like he is going just like he was before the Derby, maybe more so than in any race since the Derby,” Borel said.
Borel, who rode two winners here on Sunday’s opening-day card, said he has talked with trainer Chip Woolley since Mine That Bird’s sixth-place finish in the Goodwood (GI) at Santa Anita on Oct. 10.
“He told me he has been training good,” Borel said. “His last race was not that bad. He gets an extra eighth of a mile this time and he needed that last race since it was his first start in two months.”
Borel has one other mount on Saturday: Ready’s Echo for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“He’s a nice little horse,” Borel said of Ready’s Echo, who drew post position 10. “I rode him one time at Saratoga and he ran good (finishing third in the seven-furlong Forego). He might have won with a little luck because he got in a little trouble.”
DEMARCATION RETURNS TO THE DIRT IN FRIDAY’S ACK ACK – It is back to the dirt for the Amerman Racing Stables’ Demarcation in Friday’s 17th running of the $100,000-added Ack Ack (GIII).
Trained by Paul McGee, Demarcation has not raced on the dirt since Feb. 17, 2008, at the Fair Grounds. The ensuing 13 starts have been on the grass at five tracks.
So why dirt and why now?
Actually it was by process of elimination,” McGee said. “I entered him in a money/allowance at Keeneland last week that didn’t fill and then I entered him in a money/allowance here that didn’t fill.
But he has run well on dirt and I was looking to get him back on the dirt. He broke his maiden going six furlongs on the dirt at the Fair Grounds and he ran second here in the Matt Winn behind Spin Master as a 3-year-old.”
Jose Castanon has the riding assignment Friday and will break from post position three in the field of eight. Castanon was aboard for Demarcation’s most recent victory, a dead heat with Karelian in last fall’s River City Handicap (GIII) here.
McGee also said that David Holloway Racing’s Dubious Miss, an easy winner Saturday at Keeneland, is being pointed to the Nov. 27 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII) at 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
BARN TALK – Doc Danner, agent for jockey Julia Brimo who was injured in a spill Friday at Keeneland, said the rider had an operation Tuesday at the University of Kentucky Hospital in Lexington. “The operation went well and now we just hope for the best for the next 48 to 72 hours,” Danner said of the procedure to relieve pressure on Brimo’s vertebrae.
Nominations close today for the 36th running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Saturday, Nov. 21. Indescribable won last year’s Cardinal under Kent Desormeaux for trainer Bill Mott, his record sixth victory in the race.