PROCTOR HOPES TO KEEP REGRET ALL IN THE FAMILY – Last year, trainer Tom Proctor secured his second victory in the Regret Stakes (GIII) when Keertana upset the field.\
n Saturday, Proctor will go for a repeat with Keertana’s half-sister, Snow Top Mountain. Both fillies are homebreds, owned by Barbara Hunter.
“This is a lot like last year when I had two of them in there,” Proctor said. “Prytania was the favorite, but it was Mrs. Hunter who went home happy.”
Proctor also has a second starter in the Regret this year in Queen of the Creek, who is the morning line favorite at 7-2. Snow Top Mountain is 12-1 on the line.
“I like both of my fillies,” Proctor said. “Queen of the Creek comes out of the same race that Prytania did last year (the American 1,000 Guineas at Arlington Park). Prytania was fourth in that race last year and Queen of the Creek ran third.
“I know Queen of the Creek is the favorite, but I think Snow Top Mountain will run big.”
Snow Top Mountain’s sire is Najran and Keertana’s sire is Johar. The Regret will be only the fourth start for Snow Top Mountain whereas Keertana was starting for the eighth time in last year’s Regret.
“She (Snow Top Mountain) was a little smaller,” Proctor said of the filly’s later start of the two. “They are both nice fillies and they get better the longer they go.”
In addition to the two fillies, Proctor will be trying for his first victory in the Jefferson Cup (GIII) on Saturday when he sends out Our Douglas. Named in honor of injured jockey Rene Douglas, Our Douglas is 4-1 on the Jefferson Cup morning line.
GOOD OMENS APLENTY FOR NO ADVANTAGE FOSTER RUN – Stephanie Beattie attended her first Kentucky Derby last month and saw Calvin Borel guide Super Saver to victory.
So, when the trainer saddles her first horse at Churchill Downs, who better to ride than Borel?
“The owner (Pablo Suarez) called Calvin’s agent (Jerry Hissam),” said Beattie, trainer of No Advantage. “He said, how often do you get Calvin Borel to ride your horse at Churchill Downs? He is the hottest rider around there.”
Borel got an introduction to No Advantage, who he will ride in Saturday’s Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on Friday morning with a trip to the track. No Advantage is listed at 30-1 on the morning line, but a big price on a Borel horse in a Grade I race at Churchill Downs is not unprecedented … see Mine That Bird ($103.20) in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.
Beattie has had No Advantage for a year and a half since Suarez bought the horse at auction after the initial ownership group, of which Suarez was a member, broke up.
“We got him when he came up from Louisiana and he won the first time out at Charles Town,” Beattie said of No Advantage, who has posted six of his seven victories in her care. “In his last race, he was second to (Stephen Foster second morning line choice) Blame in the Schaefer at Pimlico and he had some trouble in that race.”
Although the Stephen Foster will mark Beattie’s first start at Churchill Downs, the Suarez colors have been seen here before. Suarez’s Thor’s Echo won the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) here and those silks made their way to the National Museum of Racing in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., for a time as part of an exhibit honoring Eclipse Award winners of that year.
DOWNS AFTER DARK MAKES FOR LONG DAY(S) FOR TRACK CREW – Churchill Downs Track Superintendent Butch Lehr spent Friday morning getting ready to tackle his own Daily Double: Possible heavy weather and the first night of Downs After Dark with a 6 p.m. post time.
“The track crew is stretched thin and they are working double shifts,” Lehr said. “Things don’t stop because they aren’t running in the afternoon.”
Lehr’s initial concern Friday was a strong band of storms headed toward the Louisville area.
“It looks like the front is going to get here about 5 this afternoon and then there is a chance of rain Saturday and Sunday,” Lehr said. “We have three races on the turf tonight, but if it rains, I will take them off the turf except for the Opening Verse (overnight stake).”
Lehr sealed the track after morning training was done.
“There is no break,” Lehr said. “If it rains, we will need to float the track. If not, we will continue to put water on the track because the sun takes the moisture out of it.”
Friday night’s final race is scheduled for an 11:20 post time, but the crew’s work is not done once the final official sign is posted.
“After the races, we have to get the track ready for training the morning,” Lehr said of training hours that begin at 6 a.m. “There might be a little lull of a couple of hours, but if it rains, we’ll have to get out and float and seal the track.”
BARN TALK – Jockey Robby Albarado will be seeking his fourth consecutive victory in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap on Saturday aboard Macho Again. The most recent rider to win the same Grade I race in four consecutive years was Jorge Chavez, who won the Vosburgh from 1996-99. Angel Cordero Jr., who will be here Saturday for Kentucky Derby Alumni Day to celebrate his two Kentucky Derby victories in the 1970s (Cannonade in 1974 and Bold Forbes in 1976), won the Grade I Woodward five consecutive years (1981-85). Other riders to win Grade I races four years in a row were Bill Shoemaker (Oak Tree Invitational from 1975-78), Gary Stevens (Santa Anita Oaks from 1987-90) and Jerry Bailey (Gulfstream Park Handicap from 1995-98). Pat Day won the Oaklawn Handicap from 1982-85, but that race, now a Grade I, was a Grade II in those years. …
Steve Bass, agent for jockey Julien Leparoux, said the rider is shooting to return to riding by July 1 for the final four days of the Spring Meet. “He goes back to the doctor on June 22and he hopes to get cleared to get back on horses that week,” Bass said of Leparoux, who was injured in a fall May 14 at Pimlico in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (GII). “Our target date to ride is July 1 and then he will stay around here for a few weeks before going to Saratoga (which opens July 23).”
Trainer Paul McGee scratched Demarcation out of Friday night’s Opening Verse overnight stake on the turf to run in Saturday’s Stephen Foster Handicap. …
Making the rounds on the backstretch Friday morning was two-time Kentucky Derby-winning rider Jacinto Vasquez, who is in town for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Alumni Day. Winner of the 1975 Derby on Foolish Pleasure and 1980 on Genuine Risk, Vasquez lives in Ocala, Fla., and works as an agent for Classic Mile Park, a thoroughbred training center that features a regulation one-mile track, a seven-furlong turf course and a three-furlong training track.
WORK TAB – Kentucky Juvenile (GIII) winner Lou Brissie worked five furlongs in 1:02.40 on a fast track.
KENTUCKY DERBY LEGENDS OF THE 1970S TO SHINE ON ALUMNI DAY – Saturday is Kentucky Derby Alumni Day at Churchill Downs, saluting connections of some of the stars from the 1970s.
There will be a commemorative print giveaway sponsored by GE that will be distributed to the first 5,000 guests through the gates that open at 11 a.m. (EDT). From 1-3 p.m. in the Paddock Pavilion, connections of some of the Kentucky Derby winners from the 1970s will be on hand signing the print.
Connections on hand for the autograph session will be:
- 1970 – Dust Commander: Trainer Don Combs and jockey Mike Manganello.
- 1972-73 – Riva Ridge and Secretariat: Jockey Ron Turcotte.
- 1974 and 1976 -- Cannonade and Bold Forbes: Jockey Angel Cordero Jr.
- 1975 – Foolish Pleasure: Jockey Jacinto Vasquez.
- 1977 – Seattle Slew: Trainer Billy Turner and jockey Jean Cruguet.
- 1978 – Affirmed: Owners Patrice Wolfson and Steve Wolfson Sr. and jockey Steve Cauthen.
Others scheduled to attend include: Don Brumfield (1966, Kauai King), Pat Day (1992, Lil E. Tee), Dell Hancock of Claiborne Farm (1984, Swale), Chris McCarron (1987, Alysheba; 1994 Go for Gin); Bobby Ussery (1967, Proud Clarion; 1968, Dancer’s Image) and Lynn Whiting (1992, Lil E. Tee).
Also, this year’s winning jockey Calvin Borel, trainer Todd Pletcher and owners/breeders Bill Casner and Kenny Troutt of WinStar Farm will be on hand to collect their Kentucky Derby trophies in a winner’s circle ceremony after the fifth race.
ASHER TO SPECIAL “GET IN THE GAME” TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE -- John Asher will host a special edition Saturday of the “Get in the Game” seminar in which he will talk to the winning connections and discuss their historic journey through their Triple Crown victories and Kentucky Derby wins in the 1970s.
“Get in the Game” will be located in the paddock starting at 11:30 a.m. and will be featured on all in-house monitors.
Fans also will be able to save up to 50 percent on discounted products from the Official Art of the Kentucky Derby Collection from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
JOCKEY TRADING CARD GIVEAWAY, AUTOGRAPH SESSION SLATED SUNDAY -- The first 2,500 guests to arrive on Sunday, June 13 will receive a free set of jockey trading cards. Gates will open at 11 a.m. (EDT) on Sunday with the trading cards being distributed at Gates 1, 10, and 17.
The cards feature a mixture of current and Hall of Fame jockeys not limited to Churchill Downs’ current jockey colony. Churchill Downs jockeys will be available for an autograph session in the Paddock Pavilion from 11 a.m. to noon.
OFFICIAL LIMITED EDITION RON TURCOTTE BOBBLEHEAD SALES SET SUNDAY -- Official limited edition Ron Turcotte bobbleheads will be on sale between the Churchill Downs store and Gate 17 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 13.
Turcotte, who won the Triple Crown aboard Secretariat in 1973, will be on site to autograph and sell his limited edition bobbleheads.
Only 1,973 of these bobbleheads were manufactured with 500 being available for purchase at $50 each. A portion of the funds raised from the sale will be donated to the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.