FLINT EYEING BREEDERS’ CUP JUVENILE WITH EXFACTOR – Stoneway Farm’s Exfactor, the last-to-first winner of the 110th running of Saturday’s Grade III Bashford Manor Stakesat Churchill Downs, was in good order at Bernie Flint’s barn on Monday morning and his trainer was making plans to get the colt to the starting gate for the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) beneath the Twin Spires on Nov. 5.
"If I can keep him coming from behind like that, we’ve got the Breeders’ Cup right here,” Flint said. “He’s a special horse; he’s been a special horse.”
The 71-year-old Flint said after Exfactor’s impressive Bashford Manor win that the colt would sent to Saratoga this summer, but he indicated on Monday that plans for the precocious colt remain uncertain.
“I’m not going to make plans for awhile,” Flint said. “We’ll take our time and try and keep a fresh horse.”
Stoneway Farm and Flint also started Bonaparte in the Bashford Manor. He challenged for the lead early and then faded to sixth in the field of seven.
“He (Bonaparte) did what he could do that day,” Flint said. “He got a little sick and missed a work or two, so he wasn’t a hundred percent – but he also-ran in some nice company.”
Despite Bonaparte’s disappointing run, he still has much confidence in the son of Touch Gold.
“He did not run a bad race,” Flint said. “He just got a little late at the end, but it can’t do anything but help him down the road. I’ll keep him in stakes company.”
Flint has saddled seven winners at the Spring Meet and four of those wins have come for Stoneway Farm. The connections will have their final starter of the meet with Leola Bella in Monday’s third race, a 2-year old maiden special. Flint, who has a long history of success with 2-year-olds, has five wins in 20 starts in “baby” races this spring.
Leola Belle, a 2-year-old daughter of juvenile champion, Stevie Wonderboy, will make her debut under leading rider Julien Leparoux, who recorded his 500th career victory at Churchill Downs on Sunday with another 2-year-old, Joseph Sutton’s Maan. Leparoux also won Sunday’s featured allowance race aboard James B. Tafel LLC’s Prado Dash to improve his career total to 501.
JOCKEY, TRAINER TITLES STILL UP FOR GRABS ENTERING CLOSING DAY – Potential for “Getaway Day” drama loomed at Churchill Downs on Monday as the races for champion jockey and trainer of the 2011 Spring Meet were still on the line entering the closing day of the 38-day racing session.
Julien Leparoux, who has earned seven riding titles at Churchill Downs, enters the special 11-race, Independence Day program with a solid, but no insurmountable, lead over Corey Lanerie, who is bidding for his first local crown. Leparoux entered Monday’s racing with 51 wins, which put him five ahead of Lanerie.
The French-born Leparoux, who on Sunday became just the tenth jockey in Churchill Downs history to record 500 wins at that track, is scheduled to ride in all 11 races on Monday, including the morning-line favorites in Races 5, 9 and 11. Lanerie was set for 10 mounts, including the morning line favorite in Race 6.
The race for leading trainer is a three-way battle between Steve Asmussen, Ken McPeek and Eddie Kenneally. Asmussen, who has won nine riding titles at Churchill Downs, entered Monday’s action with 18 wins, which was two ahead of McPeek (16 wins), who earned the Fall 2002 training crown, and Kenneally (16), who is seeking his first local title.
Asmussen will have six starters on Monday in Races 3, 7 and 9-11, Kenneally will saddle horses for Races 4, 6, and 8 and McPeek will have horses competing in Races 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 11.
The leading owner for the Spring Meet is Richard and Karen Papiese’ Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. The stable entered Monday with eight wins at the meet and have their final starter of the spring in the first race.
TOP RIDERS AT CHURCHILL MAKE SUMMER PLANS AS MEET ENDS – As the 38-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs wound toward its conclusion on Monday, members of the track’s talented jockey colony were preparing to disperse throughout the country to ride at other tracks through the summer.
Julien Leparoux, Shaun Bridgmohan, Kent Desormeaux, Robby Albarado, Freddie Lenclud and Miguel Mena will ride at the high-profile meet a New York’s Saratoga. Corey Lanerie, Brian Hernandez Jr. and Jon Court plan to remain in Kentucky to ride at Henderson’s Ellis Park.
Manoel Cruz, completing a strong first meet in Kentucky, will head to Saratoga for the first time.
Three-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel, who has ridden 32 winners this spring and ranked third in the spring standings heading into Monday’s final program, planned a limited summer schedule.
"I’ll be at Ellis and then ship around on the weekends to ride some good ones,” Borel said. “I want to be able to stick with my good horses throughout the summer. I’ll probably go up to Saratoga a few times. It’ll be fun.”
WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockeys over the last five racing days (June 26-July 3) are Julien Leparoux (9-for-34) and Calvin Borel (8-for-29). Bill Mott (5-for-8) and Eddie Kenneally (5-for-15) are the hottest trainers over the same period. Mace and Samantha Siegal’s Jay Em Ess Stable (3-for-3) and Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey (3-for-9) are the hottest owners.
WORKTAB – Vinery Stables’ Regally Ready, winner of the Churchill Downs Turf Sprint (GIII) on Kentucky Derby Day in his most recent start, breezed five furlongs over a fast main track Monday morning in 1:02 for trainer Steve Asmussen.
Lothenbach Stables Inc.’s Mister Marti Gras, who was scratched from Monday’s Firecracker Handicap Presented by GE (GII), breezed five furlongs in 1:01 on the main track for trainer Chris Block.
Grant Heider, John Kuehl and David Conway’s Lil Bit O’Fun, winner of the Oliver Stakes on the turf at Indiana Downs, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer Tom Proctor.
Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology, who finished third in the Grade I Preakness behind Shackleford and Animal Kingdom prior to a disappointing sixth-place performance in the Grade III Iowa Derby at odds of 1-2 last time out, breezed four furlongs in :52.40 for Asmussen.
Courtlandt Farms’ Perregaux, who finished third in the Jefferson Cup Presented by Abu Dhabi (GIII) for trainer Neil Howard, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 – the second fastest of 22 works at the distance.