SURGING CUSTOM FOR CARLOS FOLLOWS IN SWIFT HOOFPRINTS FOR KENNEALLY – A month after Kelly’s Landing was winding down his stellar career, a possible replacement debuted for trainer Eddie Kenneally at Gulfstream Park in Custom for Carlos.
Racing for Homewrecker Racing and Avalon Farms, Custom for Carlos closed out his 3-year-old campaign with a 3 ¾-length victory over Churchill Downs Stakes (GII) winner Accredit in Saturday’s Bet On Sunshine overnight stakes. Custom for Carlos covered the six furlongs in 1:09.71 and improved his record at the distance to 3-1-0 in four races with the lone loss coming by a nose in the Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park on Oct. 10.
“He’s a nice horse and we’ll look at the Mr. Prospector to start next year,” Kenneally said of the six-furlong Grade III test at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 16.
Kelly’s Landing had run twice as a 3-year-old for trainer Tom Burgin before beginning his racing career with Kenneally at age 4. Under Kenneally’s care, Kelly’s Landing won 8 of 25 starts with the biggest victory coming in the Dubai Golden Shaheen (GI) as a 6-year-old.
“There are a lot of similarities between the two at this stage of their careers,” Kenneally said. “Custom for Carlos could become a top sprinter.”
Custom for Carlos is 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs at six furlongs, the same distance as the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) that will be contested beneath the Twin Spires on Nov. 6, 2010.
HANFORD, OLDEST KENTUCKY DERBY WINNING JOCKEY, DIES AT 91 -- Ira “Babe” Hanford, who won the 1936 Kentucky Derby aboard Bold Venture, passed away on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Ocala, Fla. after a lengthy illness. He was 91.
Hanford was the oldest living Kentucky Derby-winning jockey and was the first apprentice to win the “Run for the Roses.”
Tne of 10 children, Hanford grew up in Fairbury, Neb., and followed his two brothers to the East Coast to become a jockey. His oldest brother “Buddy” died after sustaining a head injury in a race at Pimlico Race Course in 1933. His brother Carl, now 93, is the Hall of Fame trainer best known for training five-time Horse of the Year Kelso.
Ira Hanford was at Churchill Downs for the 2006 Kentucky Derby.
“Babe and I enjoyed celebrating the 70th anniversary of his winning ride by attending the 2006 Kentucky Derby,” said Virginia “Ginny” Hanford, his wife of 67 years.
In addition to his wife and brother, Hanford is survived by his two sons Glenn and Gary and numerous nieces and nephews, including trainer Gail Hanford.
A private funeral is scheduled for Saturday. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that a donation be made to the Kentucky Derby Museum to help its recovery from August flood damage.
RAMSEY-OWNED TURF STAKES WINNERS TOP GRAND CANYON, CARESSING NOMINEES – Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Dean’s Kitten and Kera’s Kitten, both stakes winners on the grass, top a list of 24 nominations for Saturday’s $60,000-added Grand Canyon, an overnight stakes race for 2-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the grass.
Mike Maker trains both sons of Kitten’s Joy. Dean’s Kitten, winner of the Vision Stakes at Belmont Park on Oct. 25, is the only Grand Canyon nominee to have run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita. He finished sixth in the field of 12, beaten only 2 ¾ lengths by Pounced.
Kera’s Kitten is undefeated in two career starts, both on the grass. He broke his maiden going six furlongs at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 21 and then won the one-mile El Joven Stakes at Retama Park on Oct. 24.
Trainer Dale Romans has nominated the only two colts among the nominees to have won grass races at Churchill Downs during the current meet. Lost Aptitude, owned by Michael Bruder and Frank Jones, won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race on Nov. 8. Romans Reward, owned by Jones, broke his maiden going 1 1/16 miles on Nov. 1.
The Ramsey-Maker tandem also has one of two turf stakes winning fillies nominated to Saturday’s $60,000-added Caressing at a mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course. A total of 37 2-year-old fillies were nominated to the Caressing.
Lisa’s Kitten won the La Senorita on Oct. 24 at Retama Park before finishing 10th, beaten only 6 ¾ lengths, in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.
Rich Pearl, owned and trained by Jerry Todd, is undefeated in two grass starts and won the Donnie Wilhite Memorial going a mile at Louisiana Downs on Aug. 15.
Entries for both overnight stakes will be taken Wednesday for the final day “Stars of Tomorrow II” card that will feature 12 races exclusively for 2-year-olds.
SWIFT TEMPER COULD START BIG WEEKEND FOR ROMANS – Dale Romans has been the trainer of Swift Temper for her past 14 races and during the 17-month span the millionaire mare never had thrown in two clunkers in a row … until her past two starts.
So it is that Swift Temper, owned by Mark Stanley, enters Thursday’s 94th running of the Falls City Handicap (GII) at 1 1/8 miles with plenty of questions surrounding her after a 10th-place finish in the Spinster (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 11 and a sixth-place showing in the Chilukki (GII) here on Nov. 7.
“I hope she wakes up,” Romans said. “She didn’t care for the Polytrack (at Keeneland) and she didn’t have the best of trips in the Chilukki.”
Under Romans’ care, Swift Temper has compiled a record of 14-4-2-3. In the Falls City, Swift Temper will be reunited with jockey Alan Garcia.
“She seems to run really well for him,” Romans said of Garcia who has guided Swift Temper to two victories and two runner-up finishes the four times he has been aboard.
While Romans may be bidding Swift Temper farewell after the Falls City, Saturday’s “Stars of Tomorrow II” card for 2-year-olds could portend a big 2010 for the trainer.
Romans, who already has Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Tapitsfly in his barn, will be active in Saturday’s two graded stakes on the main track as well as the overnight Grand Canyon on the turf.
“(Pocahontas winner) Sassy Image is doing great and I may also put a maiden, Quiet Temper, in the Golden Rod,” Romans said. “Mr. Saturdaynight shipped in a couple of weeks ago from California for the Kentucky Jockey Club and the two grass horses, Lost Aptitude and Romans Reward, are going to run Saturday.
“Quite a few of them look like they can mature into nice horses.”
BOREL WILL STAY ON THE MOVE AFTER MEET CONCLUDES – Calvin Borel, on his way to a possible third Churchill Downs riding title, will be a man on the move when the Fall Meet ends Saturday.
Borel and Garrett Gomez will represent the United States in the World Super Jockey Series at Hanshin racecourse in Japan on Dec. 5 and 6. The top seven flat riders in Japan will take on an overseas continent of eight riders in the event that is in its 23rd year.
When Borel returns from Japan, he will be the grand marshal for the Christmas parade in his hometown of Catahoula, La., according to his agent Jerry Hissam. Following the parade, the town will unveil two signs to be placed at city entrances that will proclaim Catahoula to be “The birthplace of two-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel”.
At the start of 2010, Borel may ride New Year’s Day at Delta Downs and then head to Hot Springs, Ark., on Jan. 11 for the Jan. 15 opening of the Oaklawn Park meet.
Borel, who had a 21-18 lead on Julien Leparoux heading into the final five days of the meet, previously won Churchill Downs riding titles during the 1999 Fall Meet and shared the 2006 Fall title with Shaun Bridgmohan.
BARN TALK – Superstar filly Rachel Alexandra has jogged lightly once around the track at the end of training hours with regular exercise rider Dominic Terry up accompanied by assistant trainer Scott Blasi on a pony. Undefeated in eight starts in 2009 including three victories over males and a 20 ¼-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks (GI), Rachel Alexandra has not run since winning the Woodward (GI) at Saratoga on Sept. 5. Rachel Alexandra began walking under tack in trainer Steve Asmussen’s shedrow last week and Monday’s appearance on the track was her first since arriving here Oct. 7. …
Julien Leparoux rode two winners Sunday to move into 15th place all time at Churchill Downs with 397 victories. He moved past Rafael Bejarano (396). Sitting immediately ahead of Leparoux is Earlie Fires with 403 victories beneath the Twin Spires.
WORK TAB – Iroquois (GIII) winner Thiskyhasnolimit worked a half-mile in :50.60 over a “fast” track for trainer Steve Asmussen on Tuesday as a prelude to Saturday’s Kentucky Jockey Club (GII). Also working for the Kentucky Jockey Club was Activity Report, who covered three furlongs in :35.80 for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Another who worked three-eighths for Lukas was Debutante (GIII) winner and Pocahontas probable Decelerator (:37). Rich Pearl worked a half-mile around the “dogs” on a “firm” turf course in :49.80 for owner-trainer Jerry Todd in advance of Saturday’s Caressing. … On the Monday tab, Denis of Cork worked a half-mile over a “fast” track in :49.80 as he continues his comeback from a couple of injuries. Trained by David Carroll, Denis of Cork ran third in the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and second in the Belmont Stakes (GI).