LA CLOCHE HOPES TO MAKE AMENDS FOR LITTLE SISTER – The past two trips trainer James Toner has made to Kentucky have not brought the greatest results.
In October, La Cloche came to Keeneland and ran seventh in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) and three weeks later, Winter Memories ran second here in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GII). The fillies, both owned by the Phillips Racing Partnership, are half-sisters and on Saturday La Cloche will try to get the Churchill Downs victory that eluded Winter Memories when she runs in the Mrs. Revere (GII).
“Before she left for Kentucky, we had the big sister tell the little sister how it’s going to be done down there,” Toner said with a laugh Thursday morning from his Belmont Park headquarters. “That’s exactly what happened.”
At Keeneland, La Cloche, whose sire is Ghostzapper, was never a factor in the eight-horse QE II field.
“I think she caught a very deep field that day,” Toner said. “We brought her back home and she has trained really well and had two good works, so we sent her back for another shot.”
Kent Desormeaux, who won last year’s Mrs. Revere on Mary’s Follies, will have the mount Saturday on La Cloche.
In her only other graded stakes try, La Cloche ran second behind fellow Mrs. Revere entrant Dade Babe in the Pucker Up (GIII) at Arlington Park in September over a course labeled as good.
She really likes it firm,” Toner said. “She did not travel that well on it that day in Chicago. Hopefully that rain you had there this morning will move out and it will clear up for Saturday. As dry as it has been for the past three months, it should be OK.”
As for Winter Memories, a daughter of El Prado, Toner said the filly is doing well after her runner-up effort to More Than Real.
“She’s a little body sore, but she’s here and doing fine,” Toner said. “We are going to give her a little break and then take her down to Florida to enjoy the sunshine and get her ready for Keeneland in the spring.”
RAVI’S SONG READY FOR BIGGEST TEST IN FALLS CITY HANDICAP – The rehearsal is over and now it is time for Ravi’s Song to take one big step forward next Thursday in the 95th running of the $150,000-added Falls City Handicap (GII) for fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the main track.
“We planned back to the Falls City from the Gardenia at Ellis Park,” trainer Carl Bowman said. “She had her prep here, will work tomorrow and be ready for the Falls City.”
Owned by Mrs. Yoshio Fujita, Ravi’s Song is a 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song out of the A.P. Indy mare Lu Ravi, who Bowman trained. Lu Ravi compiled a record of 26-11-8-3 for earnings of $1,819,781 in five seasons of racing.
“Ravi’s Song is an awfully good filly,” Bowman said. “Lu Ravi was exceptional, but she was emperamental. You could not hit her with the whip because she would sulk. Pat Day was the only rider that wouldn’t use the whip and he won four stakes on her.”
Ravi’s Song’s temperament is better than that of her mother, Bowman says, but Ravi’s Song’s career has been limited to just nine starts by injury and the trainer’s reluctance to run her on Polytrack.
“She got injured last year at Prairie Meadows (when running second in the Prairie Meadows Oaks),” Bowman said. “I have a lot of patience and the owners have a lot of patience and we are fortunate to have her running.
“She is a two-turn filly and it is difficult to find two-turn races for her. I won’t run her on Polytrack. I thought about maybe running her on the grass and there were a couple of other races, but none of them fit.
“The day she ran in the Gardenia, it was a not a two-turn mile but it was a Grade III.”
Ravi’s Song suffered heatstroke in her sixth-place Gardenia finish in August, which was her only off-the-board showing since running 10th in her debut in March 2009. Ravi’s Song ran third in her comeback race here on Nov. 3.
“She was unprepared for the start and then got shuffled back to last behind an extremely slow pace, a trotting horse pace,” Bowman said. “She still ran well.”
Lu Ravi, a five-time graded stakes winner, ran fifth in her only appearance in the Falls City, that coming as a 3-year-old in 1998. Bowman will have Miguel Mena aboard Ravi’s Song in this year’s renewal as the daughter will try to upstage the mother.
Weights for the Falls City will be announced Friday.
BARN TALK – Greta Kuntzweiler rode her first winner at Churchill Downs in more than six years when she booted Robert J. Mondun’s Wealth to Me to a 1 ½-length victory in Wednesday’s featured ninth race. Her most recent victory prior to Wednesday came on April 28, 2004 aboard Zirconium.
Two riders scored their initial victories at Churchill Downs, Michael Baze and Marcelino Pedroza Jr. Baze, a 23-year-old native of Washington, won Wednesday’s fourth race aboard Darkest Hour and Pedroza, a 17-year-old native of Panama, won the eighth on Matty’s Trail. At the end of the meet, Baze will return to California to ride in some stakes through the end of the year before heading to Oaklawn Park. Pedroza’s victory was the first for an apprentice at the meet through the first 12 days of the 21-day meet. …
Julien Leparoux, whose two victories Wednesday moved him into a tie for second place with Shaun Bridgmohan with 13 winners during the meet, increased his career total at Churchill Downs to 435 and into 12th place all time. Leparoux passed Willie Martinez, who has ridden 434 winners.