MIGHT HOPES TO STEP OUT OF BLAME’S SHADOW IN DOGWOOD - Since Adele Dilschneider and Claiborne Farm’s Might made her debut on Feb. 20 of this year, she has been known to most racing fans as “Blame’s younger sister.”
Her older brother is most famous for winning the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Churchill Downs by a head over Zenyatta last November. Saturday’s Dogwood (GIII) at Churchill Downs may not be the Breeders’ Cup Classic, but it will be Might’s first opportunity to make history of her own beneath the Twin Spires as she competes stakes company for the first time.
Trainer Al Stall Jr. was pleased with Might’s two most recent works and saw the Dogwood as the next logical step following her very impressive 4 ¾-length victory in a seven-furlong allowance race at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Oaks Day.
“She won so impressively in her last start and has been working well since then,” Stall said. “If she ran in another allowance she probably would have had to face older horses. Running in the Dogwood allows her test stakes company and keep running against 3-year-olds.”
While Stall is well-aware that it will be difficult to replace Blame, who was crowned champion older horse at the most recent Eclipse Awards, he is excited about Might’s potential. “I don’t know if she (Might) is as good as him (Blame), but she’s pretty good in her own right,” Stall said.
The 3-year-old Arch filly may be talented, but she doesn’t have the nicest of dispositions.
“She’s hot and fiery,” Stall said. “Blame was very laid back and a total gentleman. They have totally different personalities.”
The Dogwood is the main focus for Might; however, the Stall barn has looked ahead to a few possible spots for her if Saturday goes as planned.
“We want to get by Saturday first, but then we may look at the Test (GI at Saratoga on Aug. 6),” Stall said. “Looking way ahead we may bring her back to Churchill for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (GI).”
Might will face a field of eight in Saturday’s race. The field for the Dogwood from the rail out (with jockey, weight) includes: Might (Leparoux, 117), Angelica Zapata (Pedroza Jr., 117), Salty Strike (Cruz, 117), Juanita (Court, 119), Fantasy of Flight (Albarado, 117), Henny’s Hurricane (Garcia, 117), Holy Heavens (Bridgmohan, 117), and Gran Lioness (Theriot, 119).
NUMBER ONE IN LUND’S BARN – Having two Roys in the same barn can get a little confusing. So how does trainer Valorie Lund handle being around Roy Schaefer of R.E.V. Racing and stable star Atta Boy Roy at the same time?
“It’s simple. I call him (Atta Boy Roy) Roy number one and he (Schaefer) is Roy number two,” Lund said.
Atta Boy Roy, winner of the Churchill Downs (GII) in 2010 and the number one Roy in Lund’s barn, will face a strong field of eight Saturday in the $100,000-added Aristides (GIII). The 23rd running of the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up includes three Grade-I winners in Here Comes Ben, Capt. Candyman Can and Noble’s Promise; the defending Arisitides champion in Riley Tucker; two graded-stakes winners at Churchill Downs in Hurricane Ike, winner of last year’s The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII), and Atta Boy Roy; a multiple-stakes winner in Cash Refund; and Good Lord, who has a record of 2-2-2 in eight starts over the main track at Churchill Downs.
“Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s one of the toughest Aristides’ fields they’ve ever seen,” Lund said. “It’s a very tough race, but we are excited to be apart of it.”
Atta Boy Roy, a 6-year-old ridgling by Tribunal out of Irish Toast by Synastry, is one of six horses who currently race under the colors of R.E.V. Racing for Schaefer. The owner recently flew into Louisville from his home in Seattle, Wa. and was on hand to watch Atta Boy Roy jog around the historic Churchill Downs track prior to the renovation break on Friday morning.
“He’s my first and only stakes winner,” Schaefer said. “There’s something special about the first one and I don’t think anyone will ever be able to replace him.”
Following Atta Boy Roy’s victory in the Churchill Downs last year, he would go on to finish second in both the Aristides and the Iowa Sprint Handicap before making a return to the winner’s circle in the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Cup. Atta Boy Roy finished his 2010 campaign with an eighth place finish in the Woodford (GIII) on the turf at Keeneland and a 10th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) at Churchill Downs.
After a disappointing last-place finish in the in the Potrero Grande (GII) at Santa Anita, the Washington-bred won a six-furlong allowance race at Turf Paradise on May 1 in his most recent start.
Atta Boy Roy will be ridden Saturday by Jesus Castanon, but he won’t be the first member of the family to have ridden “Roy number one.”
“Jesus’ brother, Antonio, was aboard him for his first two starts and he broke the horse’s maiden,” Lund said. “So we’re happy that Jesus gets to ride him now.”
The Aristides, which will be the 10th race of Saturday’s 11-race program, is scheduled to go off at 5:29 p.m. The field for the Aristides from the rail out (with jockey) includes Here Comes Ben (Leparoux), Riley Tucker (Desormeaux), Capt. Candyman Can (Borel), Hurricane Ike (Albarado), Cash Refund (Bridgmohan), Good Lord (Lanerie), Atta Boy Roy (Castanon) and Noble’s Promise (Garcia).
MEET LEADERS AT THE HALF – Through the first 19 days of the 39-day Spring Meet, jockey Corey Lanerie, trainer Steve Asmussen and owners Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds were the leaders in their respective categories at Churchill Downs. Below is a look at the leaders entering Friday’s action:
Top 12 Jockeys
1. Corey Lanerie (23-for-103, 22% win-percentage, $703,881 in earnings)
2. Shaun Bridgmohan (22-for-102, 21%, $656,817)
3. Julien Leparoux (14-for-88, 16%, $569,593)
4. Jon Court (13-for-71, 18%, $328,416)
5. Calvin Borel (12-for-107, 11%, $419,040)
5. Miguel Mena (12-for-88, 14%, $415,038)
7. Kent Desormeaux (11-for-67, 16%, $671,463)
8. Freddie Lenclud (8-for-68, 12%, $243,320)
9. Marcelino Pedroza Jr.* (7-for-85, 8%, $241,269)
9. Constantino Roman* (7-for-79, 9%, $189,418)
11. Manny Cruz (6-for-52, 12%, $235,433)
11. Brian Hernandez Jr. (6-for-49, 12%, $184,594)
Top win-percentage for jockeys with more than three wins: Martin Garcia (75.0%), John Velazquez (31.3%), Corey Lanerie (22.3%), Shaun Bridgmohan (21.4%), Garrett Gomez (20.0%), Jon Court (18.3%), Jimmy Graham (18.2%), Rafael Bejarano (17.6%), Kent Desormeaux (16.4%) and Julien Leparoux (15.9%).
Top 16 Trainers
1. Steve Asmussen (9-for-53, 17%, $871,152)
2. Tom Amoss (8-for-21, 38%, $213,661)
2. Dale Romans (8-for-53, 15%, $674,665)
4. Brad Cox (6-for-23, 26%, $113,485)
4. Tim Glyshaw (6-for-19, 32%, $100,525)
4. Eddie Kenneally (6-for-26, 23%, 143,411)
4. Steve Margolis (6-for-31, 19%, $197,595)
4. Merrill Scherer (6-for-22, 27%, $131,007)
9. Bob Baffert (5-for-7, 71%, $880,869)
9. Ian Wilkes (5-for-29, 17%, $198,060)
11. Jim Baker (4-for-11, 36%, $92,889)
11. Greg Foley (4-for-20, 20%, $81,974)
11. D. Wayne Lukas (4-for-35, 11%, $183,828)
11. Mike Maker (4-for-38, 11%, $178,467)
11. Ken McPeek (4-for-28, 14%, $207,468)
11. Tom Proctor (4-for-17, 24%, $277,712)
Top win-percentage for trainers with more than three wins: Bob Baffert (71.4%), Kellyn Gorder (42.9%), Tom Amoss (38.1%), Jim Baker (36.4%), Tim Glyshaw (31.6%), Garry Simms (30.0%), Merrill Scherer (27.3%), Brad Cox (26.1%) and Michelle Lovell (25.0%).
Top 8 Owners
1. Richard and Karen Papiese’s Midwest Thoroughbreds (5-for-20, 25%, $101,870)
2. Robert C. Baker and William L. Mack (4-for-12, 33%, $76,775)
3. Don Adam’s Courtlandt Farms (3-for-14, 21%, 215,979)
3. Billy, Donna and Justin Hays (3-for-26, 12%, $73,965)
3. Mace and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable (3-for-12, 25%, $92,018)
3. Merrill Scherer, Dan Lynch and Ken Sentel (3-for-14, 21%, $83,242)
3. Tom Ludt’s Vinery Stables (3-for-6, 50%, $126,316)
3. Ahmed Zayat’s Zayat Stables LLC (3-for-8, 38%, $534,244)
Horses with multiple wins: Backside Blackie (2-for-2, $45,000), Cherry Included (2-for-2, $19,200), C J Russell (2-for-2, $60,000), Distorted Love (2-for-2, $62,700), Manhattan Man (2-for-2, $21,000), Racing Office Joe (2-for-2, $23,400), Sassy Image (2-for-2, $276,412), She’s an Alpha Gam ($25,200), Shot of Kela (2-for-3, $19,800), Strike Impact (2-for-2, $71,760) and Valid Citizen (2-for-2, $18,000).
BARN TALK – Donald Adam’s possible Belmont Stakes (GI) starter Prime Cut is scheduled to work at Churchill Downs Monday morning according to trainer Neil Howard. The work will be the final major move for Prime Cut before a decision is made on his next start. …
Gaillardia Racing LLC’s Wilkinson, who was considered to be a possible starter for the Belmont Stakes, will opt to run in the Ohio Derby (GIII) Saturday at Thistledown rather than make a start in the third and final leg of the Triple Crown. …
Trainer Benard Chatters recorded the first Churchill Downs win of his career when Slew of Medals crossed the line first in the sixth race at Churchill Downs Monday. Chatters will send out Holy Heavens Saturday in the $100,000-added Dogwood (GIII) at a mile on the main track at Churchill Down. …
Jockey Nathaniel Puello also recorded his first Churchill Downs win with Slew of Medals. It was only the second mount beneath the Twin Spires for the 38-year-old journeyman. …
Trainer Al Stall Jr. said Claiborne Farm and Adele Dischneider’s Bind, second beaten a half-length to Worldly in his most recent start in a Churchill Downs allowance race on Kentucky Derby Day, will next run in the $125,000-added Matt Winn (GIII). The 1 1/16-mile race, formerly known as the Northern Dancer, is part of the June 18 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) undercard. …
Scavenger hunts and crafts involving horse shoes for children aged 3-10 will highlight the weekend’s activities at Churchill Downs’ Junior Jockey Club located near the Guest Services Booth inside Gate. 10. The Junior Jockey Club is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Churchill Downs’ mascot Churchill Charlie will be on hand for photographs between 2-2:30 p.m. Coloring books, crayons, individual games and reading material are available as well.
STEPHEN FOSTER HANDICAP, THREE FOSTER DAY STAKES CLOSE SATURDAY - Nominations for the four graded-stakes to be run on Stephen Foster Day on Saturday, June 18 will close this Saturday, June 4. Heading the roster is the 30th running of the $500,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI), a race won last year by Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s Blame, who returned to Churchill Downs in November to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).
Other horses that completed the Stephen Foster-Breeders’ Cup Classic sweep in the same year include Black Tie Affair (1991), Awesome Again (1998) and Saint Liam (2005).
The other graded stakes races set for Stephen Foster Handicap Day include the $125,000-added Matt Winn (GIII), formerly known as the Northern Dancer, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16th miles on the main track; the $125,000-added Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8th miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course; and the $100,000-added Jefferson Cup (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16th miles on turf.
WHO’S HOT – The hottest jockeys over the last five racing days (May 26- June 2) are Corey Lanerie (9-for-31) and Shaun Bridgmohan (7-for-28). Brad Cox (4-for-8) and Merril Scherer (3-for-6) are the hottest trainers over the same period. The hottest owners are Midwest Thoroughbreds Inc. (3-for-7) and Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer (2-for-2).
WORKTAB – Robert Baker and William Mack’s Dublin worked four furlongs over a fast main track in :47.20 at Churchill Downs on Friday morning for trainer Wayne Lukas. The workout was the fastest of 45 at the distance, giving Dublin his third bullet work beneath the Twin Spires in three weeks. The 4-year-old son of Afleet Alex has not raced since finishing fifth in the 2010 Preakness Stakes (GI). ...
Columbine Stable’s J.B.’s Thunder breezed three furlongs in 37.80 on Friday for trainer Al Stall Jr. The 3-year-old son of Thunder Gulch was victorious in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland before finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Churchill Downs in his most recent start. …
Frank L. Jones Jr.’s Tapitsfly, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs last November, worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 for trainer Dale Romans. Tapitsfly is a possible starter for the 35th running of the Early Times Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs on June 11.
WEATHER – Friday: Mostly sunny, 91. Saturday: Mostly sunny and hot, 96. Sunday: Partly sunny with a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 92. Monday: Mostly sunny, 92. Tuesday: Mostly sunny and hot, 94. Wednesday: Mostly sunny, 93. Thursday: Mostly sunny and hot with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms, 94.