“She’s right on schedule for the Debutante,” said Mike McCarthy, who oversees the Churchill Downs division of trainer Todd Pletcher’s stable. “She has been working very good, and her work last week was excellent.”
Runner-up in the Grade III Kentucky Stakes against the boys on May 1, Garden District has shown a steady stream of works since, highlighted by last Sunday’s five-eighths work in 1:01 and a :47.60 half-mile on June 1. She broke her maiden at first asking at Keeneland on April 10.
“There was nowhere else to go (after the Kentucky Stakes), so this race was the plan,” McCarthy said. “It looks like it is going to be a very competitive field.”
Churchill Downs officials anticipate a field of between eight and 10 for the six-furlong event.
BRIDGMOHAN EXPECTED TO BE BACK IN ACTION THIS WEEK – Doc Danner, the agent for jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, said Sunday morning that Bridgmohan would be off all of his mounts Sunday but “hopefully will be back Wednesday or Thursday” following a spill in Saturday’s first race.
“He is going to be sore today,” Danner said. “He has a cut on his right arm and left leg. There was no swelling last night.”
Bridgmohan stands sixth in the rider standings with 36 victories through the first 41 days of the 52-day Spring Meet that ends July 6.
“We have a big week ahead of us,” Danner said. “He is riding in Iowa on Friday and either at Belmont or Hollywood Park on Saturday.”
That Saturday ride would be on Millennium Farms’ Student Council, who is headed for either the Suburban (GI) at Belmont or the Hollywood Gold Cup (GI) in California. The 6-year-old son of Kingmambo tuned up for that Saturday engagement by working five furlongs in :59.60 over a fast track Sunday morning, the second fastest of 25 at the distance.
BOREL OK AFTER BEING UNSEATED ON SATURDAY – Calvin Borel was having a pretty good day Saturday … until the ninth race.
On his second day back riding after missing four racing days because of a swollen knee ligament, Borel had his second consecutive three-win day as he accounted for the Pick Three in races two through four.
However, in the ninth, his mount I Believe in Me stumbled badly coming out of the gate and went down on his nose. Borel was unseated in the incident.
“I was OK. I took off the last two races just as a precaution,” Borel said. “I went home and put ice on it and there was no swelling.”
WINSTAR’S WEST COAST SWING RETURNS WITH A VENGEANCE – WinStar Farm’s West Coast Swing, away from the races for eight months since running second in the Grade II Raven Run at Keeneland, made an impressive return to action Saturday by scoring a 6 ¼-length allowance victory at a mile on the main track.
“We have just been trying to get her ready and she was eligible for the condition,” said trainer Shannon Ritter, who has West Coast Swing stabled at Keeneland. “We will talk it over with Elliott to determine what is next.”
Elliott is former trainer Elliott Walden, vice president and racing manager for WinStar. Prior to becoming a trainer, Ritter served as an exercise rider for Walden, galloping, among others 1998 Belmont Stakes (GI) and 1999 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) winner Victory Gallop.
West Coast Swing is a 4-year-old homebred daughter of Gone West out of the Danzig mare Dance Swiftly. She has won four of her five career starts with her Saturday score being her first at Churchill Downs.
BARN TALK – Dolphus Morrison’s Rachel Alexandra remains “50-50” to run in the Debutante, according to trainer Hal Wiggins. “The Debutante comes up a little quick for us, coming back in 15 days,” Wiggins said. Rachel Alexandra broke her maiden on June 13 and ran one of the fastest five-furlong races of the meet for a 2-year-old in :57.50. “She ran real hard that day,” Wiggins said. “If she doesn’t go in the Debutante, we will hang around here and look for something at Arlington or Ellis.” … Donald Dizney’s Runaway Heart is also possible for the Debutante. The filly just arrived in trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ barn after breaking her maiden at Calder for trainer William White. “I am going to work her this week and then decide,” Lukas said. “I don’t know a lot about her.” … Mr. Champ’s victory in Saturday’s second race gave owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey their 13th winner of the meet. The Ramseys, who have won six Spring Meet owner titles and six Fall Meet titles, hold a 13-12 lead over Maggi Moss in the chase for leading owner with 11 racing days remaining in the Spring Meet that ends July 6. … Corey Lanerie had his first riding triple of the meet on Saturday to hike his win total to 16, good for eighth in the rider standings. Lanerie’s winners were Lost Trail ($5.80) in the first for trainer Frank Brothers and Ecton ($6) in the fifth and Baja Morning ($7.20) in the sixth, both for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Tom Walters’ Elite Squadron, prepping for the July 5 Triple Bend Invitational Handicap (GI) at Hollywood Park, worked a “bullet” five furlongs in :58.80 for trainer Jim Baker. … Team Valor International’s Fairbanks worked five-eighths in 1:01 (fifth fastest of 25) in preparation for Saturday’s Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Breeders’ Cup Handicap (GII) … Also working five furlongs was Silverton Hill Farm’s Corlett (1:01.80, ninth fastest of 25) for trainer Darrin Miller in preparation for Saturday’s Debutante. … Maggi Moss’ Aristides (GIII) winner Indian Chant worked a half-mile in :46.40 for trainer Tom Amoss, the fastest of 80 at the distance. Other half-mile workers of note were Winchell Thoroughbreds’ multi-graded stakes winner Zanjero in :51.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen, and Arindel Farm’s dual Grade I winner and 2006 3-year-old filly champion Wait a While in :49.80 for trainer Todd Pletcher. … Sunshine Millions Turf winner War Monger worked three furlongs in :39.60 for trainer Bill Mott. Owned by Peter Vegso, it was War Monger’s first work since April 29 at Keeneland, where he last ran on April 11 with a 10th-place finish in the Makers Mark Mile (GI).
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Saturday, June 20
Jockeys Starts 1-2-3
Robby Albarado 205 53-28-26
Miguel Mena 276 48-43-39
Julien Leparoux 248 42-47-44
Jamie Theriot 210 42-31-25
Calvin Borel 235 40-33-34
Shaun Bridgmohan 182 36-33-25
Jesus Castanon 206 22-22-23
Corey Lanerie 174 16-22-20
Brian Hernandez Jr. 156 13-21-15
John McKee 122 10-18-18
Elvis Trujillo 77 10-10-19
Tom Amoss 63 26-11-10
Ken McPeek 65 25-12-5
Steve Asmussen 105 22-17-16
Mike Maker 47 13-10-6
Ian Wilkes 41 13-8-5
Dale Romans 113 12-26-20
Eddie Kenneally 54 12-9-8
Bret Calhoun 21 9-1-3
Cody Autrey 48 8-9-10
Greg Foley 57 8-9-8
Nick Zito 20 8-5-1
Ken and Sarah Ramsey 45 13-7-10
Maggi Moss 26 12-6-3
Zayat Stables, LLC 44 7-10-10
Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein 32 6-7-5
Heiligbrodt Racing Stable 14 5-1-0
Four (4) owners tied at four (4) wins