LUKAS SUPPLEMENTING HOPEFUL WINNER DUBLIN TO IROQUOIS – Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas has supplemented Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin into Sunday’s 28th running of the Iroquois (Grade III) at a mile on the main track.
Fifth in his most recent start in the Champagne (GI) at Belmont Park on Oct. 10, Dublin has turned in two five-furlong works at Churchill Downs since that race.
“He has done very well since the Champagne,” said Lukas, who has given the riding assignment to Rajiv Maragh. “I did not consider the Breeders’ Cup with him, because I did not want to run him on the artificial (Pro-Ride surface at Santa Anita).”
A $525,000 Keeneland September Sale purchase last year, Dublin debuted during the spring meet here running fourth behind two-time graded states winner Backtalk. Dublin returned two months later at Saratoga to break his maiden and then capture the Grade I Hopeful on Sept. 7.
“He’s my best 2-year-old and he may be one of the best in the country,” said Lukas, a four-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. “Over the past few years, he ranks right with the best that I have had. I have been high on him since Day One. He has a good pedigree (Afleet Alex out of a Storm Bird mare) and lots of ability.”
TELLING WORKS AROUND THE DOGS FOR BREEDERS’ CUP TURF – Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Telling, upset winner of the Grade I Sword Dancer Invitational in August at Saratoga, worked a leisurely five furlongs in 1:08.20 around the “dogs” Thursday morning at Churchill Downs with Jesus Castanon up for trainer Steve Hobby.
“He usually averages 1:03 and change on the dirt, so 1:08 and 1 around the dogs on soft ground is probably about right for him,” Hobby said. “This is the first time I have worked him on the turf.”
Clockers rated the course as “firm” although there had been steady rain early the morning before.
“It is still pretty soft out there but nowhere near as soft as what he ran in the last time,” Hobby said referring to the Turf Classic Invitational (GI) on Oct. 3 at Belmont Park in which Telling finished third but was disqualified to fourth for interference in the stretch.
Telling arrived at Churchill Downs on Sunday from Hawthorne and will fly out to Santa Anita on Monday for a run in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) on Nov. 7. Javier Castellano, who has been aboard for Telling’s past two starts, will have the call.
The Santa Anita trip will be the first for Hobby, a 53-year-old Illinois native.
“I have never run in California,” Hobby said. “Heck, I never had run in New York before this summer.”
SHE’S OUR ANNIE ON COMEBACK TRAIL FOR FIRES – When Destiny Oaks’ She’s Our Annie won the Prima Donna in stakes record-equaling time in March at Oaklawn Park, the sky appeared to be the limit.
“After that race, we detected the start of a slab fracture and caught it before it materialized,” trainer Jinks Fires said. “Her next out was going to be going a mile at Oaklawn (in the Instant Racing Stakes). We gave her 90 days off and she has come back really good.”
A homebred daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, She’s Our Annie has won three of four career starts. She has turned in five works locally, four bullets, with the most recent being a six-furlong move in 1:13.40 on Tuesday.
She’s Our Annie is nominated to the one-mile Chilukki to be run Nov. 7.
“She is probably going to run in an overnight stake, but we have nominated to the Chilukki,” Fires said. “We had high hopes for her this spring and we still do.”
BARN TALK – Calvin Borel, who this spring became the first jockey since 1993 to win the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby in the same year, has been invited to participate in a jockey challenge in Japan from Dec. 2-7 according to his agent Jerry Hissam. Borel, who won the Oaks on Rachel Alexandra and the Derby on Mine That Bird, finished the spring meet with 61 victories, second only to Julien Leparoux’s 62.
Jackson Bend, who swept the Florida Stallion series at Calder, arrived in trainer Nick Zito’s barn at Churchill Downs early Thursday morning according to Tara Murty, Zito’s assistant. Robert La Penta purchased a controlling interest in the 2-year-old colt, who has won five consecutive races with the most recent being the In Reality Stakes on Oct. 17.
General Quarters, the pride and joy of owner-trainer Tom McCarthy, is back on the track following his recovery from surgery to have a chip removed from his right front knee. “He had his first work back last week (:38.80 on Oct. 22) and he may go tomorrow if it doesn’t rain and the track is OK,” McCarthy said Thursday morning as General Quarters galloped by. Winner of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI) this spring at Keeneland, General Quarters ran 10th in the Kentucky Derby and ninth in the Preakness before going on the shelf. McCarthy had hoped to have General Quarters ready for a possible run in the Nov. 27 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII), “but every time we get ready to do something, it rains,” McCarthy said. “If he doesn’t make a race here, I’ll point to something at the Fair Grounds this winter.”
2010 CHURCHILL DOWNS WALL CALENDAR GIVEAWAY ON OPENING DAY – The first 5,000 fans in attendance on Sunday, Nov. 1 – opening day of the 2009 Fall Meet – will receive a free 2010 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, sponsored by Humana. The colorful calendar features major event listings and vivid and memorable images from the Kentucky Derby and around the historic racetrack.
Opening day of the anticipated 21-day stand doubles as “Stars of Tomorrow I” with 11 live races entirely devoted to rising 2-year-old stars who have aspirations of trail-blazing their way to next year’s Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks (GI). The featured events are the open Iroquois and the fillies’ Pocahontas, a pair of Grade III, $100,000-added events run at one mile on the main track.
The day also will feature the debut a new free Sunday morning public workout program from 8-10 a.m. entitled “Daybreak at the Downs” and a special 2-year-old handicapping seminar and breakfast in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.
Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and first post is 12:40 p.m. ET.
Churchill Downs 120th Fall Meet, featuring world-class horse racing, will continue for a four-week stand through Saturday, Nov. 28.
General admission is $3, but only $1 for senior citizens and members of the track’s free-to-join Twin Spires Club. Children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is free in the Longfield Avenue lot (Gates 10 & 12) and $3 in all other lots. Valet parking is $5.
For more information or to reserve seats, please call (502) 636-4400 or visit www.ChurchillDowns.com.
SPECIAL 2-YEAR-OLD HANDICAPPING SEMINAR SET ON OPENING DAY FROM 9-11:30 A.M. – Churchill Downs will host its annual “Stars of Tomorrow” 2-Year-Old Handicapping Seminar on Sunday, Nov. 1 in the Paddock Pavilion from 9-11:30 a.m.
Churchill Downs racing analyst Jill Byrne will host this year’s seminar with jockey Jon Court, trainer Ian Wilkes and workout clocker John Nichols. The quartet will provide insight on how to improve handicapping skills for 2-year-old racing and in-depth analysis of the entire “Stars of Tomorrow I” racing program with a question and answer session.
One of the most attractive aspects of the seminar is a special trip to the saddling paddock for an up-close inspection of a 2-year-old and its confirmation, behavior and equipment.
The cost to attend is $25 and includes breakfast buffet, official program, Brisnet.com past performances, and a reserved seat in Skye Terrace 5. There also will be a raffle for door prizes, including a VIP day at the races, two rounds of golf at Belterra Casino Resort & Spa, signed framed photographs of past Kentucky Derby winners and a chance to watch a race from the Churchill Downs announcer’s booth with track commentator Mark Johnson.
Call (502) 636-4400 for reservations.
“WHO’S THE CHAMP?” HANDICAPPING TOURNAMENT RETURNS SUNDAYS & WEDNESDAYS – Churchill Downs’ popular “Who’s the Champ” Handicapping Tournament will return for the 2009 Fall Meet with contests every Sunday and Wednesday through Nov. 22.
Horse racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer for twice-weekly cash prizes and an invitation to the Sunday, Nov. 22 final. The top two finishers in the final will win coveted berths in the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship XI scheduled for Jan. 29-30 at Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa in Las Vegas.
Prize money for each contest, which requires participants to place mythical $2 Win and Place wagers in Races 3-9, totals $4,000, including a $1,400 first prize.
The top 25 unique participants in each contest through Wednesday, Nov. 18 will be invited to the Nov. 22 final.
The participation fee for each contest is $30 and includes complimentary lunch. It’s discounted to $25 for Twin Spires Club members. Registration will take place in the Champions Club Lounge on the second floor of the clubhouse from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on contest days. Additional contest seating will be available in the Churchill Downs Lounge when necessary.
NEW “DAYBREAK AT THE DOWNS” FREE EVERY SUNDAY FROM 8-10 A.M. – “Daybreak at the Downs” – patterned after Kentucky Derby week’s well-attended “Dawn at the Downs” – will make its debut on opening day, Sunday, Nov. 1, and take place every Sunday from 8-10 a.m. throughout the 2009 Fall Meet.
Churchill Downs’ racing analyst Jill Byrne will host the program with select special guests and she’ll describe the on-track action and provide insightful commentary as hundreds of horses prepare for their upcoming races in morning workouts.
“Daybreak at the Downs” is free to attend each Sunday. Complimentary coffee, donuts and milk will be served to attendees.
Interested patrons should park in the Longfield Lot and enter through Gate 10. The “Daybreak at the Downs” will be presented in Sections 116-117 of the clubhouse. Visitors are welcome to stay for a day at the races free of charge.