GONCALVES OFF TO FAST START IN RIDERS RACE – Trainer Buff Bradley has found that other trainers are taking notice of the riding talents of Leandro Gonvalves.
"I am not getting to ride him as much because he is getting more clients,” Bradley said of Goncalves, who sits in a four-way tie for second place in the rider standings with seven victories through the first eight days of the 21-day meet.
Goncalves, a 27-year-old native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, already has equaled his victory total from the Spring Meet in only 51rides, nearly half his spring total when he had 100 mounts.
“Everything is better,” Goncalves said of the difference between the two meets. “I am getting on better horses and more people are watching me ride.”
Goncalves won his first U.S. riding title at the September Turfway Park meet and followed that up with six victories at the Keeneland meet, good for a tie for eighth in the standings. He also picked up his first graded-stakes victory when he guided Satans Quick Chick to win the Raven Run (Grade II) on Oct. 24, part of a three-win day.
Represented by Steve Elzey, Goncalves will ride at Turfway Park after the current meet ends Nov. 28 and then move to Oaklawn Park for the first time early next year.
Bradley has been a big supporter of Goncalves.
“He’s a very patient rider and he puts horses in the right place in a race,” Bradley said. “He is very positive and a hard worker. He has a lot of good qualities and I think he’ll be a top rider.”
Goncalves does not pattern his riding style after any one jockey.
“I watch all of the riders,” Goncalves said. “But there are a couple that I really like, John Velazquez and Gary Stevens when he was riding.”
EIGHT DISTAFFERS CONSIDERED PROBABLE FOR CARDINAL – Weights for the 36th running of the $100,000-added Cardinal Handicap (GIII) will be announced Saturday and as of Friday eight fillies and mares were considered as probable for the race by Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman.
Topping the list for the 1 1/8-mile race to be contested over the Matt Winn Turf Course on Saturday, Nov. 21, is Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma. Trained by David Carroll, Acoma has two graded-stakes wins over the Matt Winn Turf Course: the Mint Julep (GIII) in June and the Mrs. Revere (GII) last fall.
Other graded-stakes winners among the probables are Social Queen, winner of the Gallorette (GIII) at Pimlico in May, and Tizfiz, winner of the San Gorgonio (GII) at Santa Anita in January.
Other probables include Leamington, Lemon Chiffon, My Baby Baby, Polo Lounge and You Go West Girl.
Three horses are considered as possible for the Cardinal including Long Approach, who ran second to Indescribable in last year’s race. Other possibles are Celtic Princess (Brz) and Finish in Style.
KELLY’S LANDING THRIVING IN NEW CAREER AS PONY – Even though millionaire Kelly’s Landing retired from the races in January, his career at the racetrack is far from finished.
The 8-year-old gelding, whose career highlight was a victory in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (GI) in 2007, is now serving as a pony for his former trainer Eddie Kenneally.
“We retired him after the Mr. Prospector in January at Gulfstream Park,” Kenneally said. “He retired sound. He just wasn’t running at the highest level.”
During his career, Kelly’s Landing amassed $1,853,831 in earnings with a record of 27-10-3-2. He won at least one race each year from 2004-08 with his most impressive Churchill Downs victory coming in the 2005 Aristides (GIII) when he set the track record for six furlongs in 1:07.59, a mark that stood for two years.
A son of Patton, Kelly’s Landing won four graded stakes in her career and competed in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) twice.
“He is perfect for the job,” Kenneally said. “He began in May and is doing just super.”
BARN TALK – Apprentice Freddie Lenclud had a riding double Thursday, scoring on Sea Scamp ($5.60) in the third and Prince Will I Am ($93.80). Lenclud has five victories through the first eight days of the 21-day meet and already has equaled the 2008 total of leading fall apprentice Brandon Meier. … Bill Troilo, who retired from riding this past spring, was a visitor on the backside Friday morning. “I’m here in Louisville for steward’s school,” said Troilo, who retired with 2,514 victories and whose lone graded-stakes victory came here last fall aboard Karelian in the River City Handicap (GIII).