Regret (GIII) winner Pure Clan returned to the track Thursday morning for the first time since winning her third stakes race at Churchill Downs – and her first over the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Owned by IEAH Stable, Lewis Lakin and the Pegasus Holding Group Stables, Pure Clan added the Regret on turf to victories at Churchill Downs last fall on the dirt in the Pocahontas (GIII) and Golden Rod (GII). The Regret victory earned Pure Clan an invitation to the $750,000 American Oaks (GI) to be run July 5 at Hollywood Park.
“She is doing very well. She will breeze on the grass here on the 26th and then ship to California on the 30th,” trainer Bob Holthus said.
The journey to the American Oaks will mark a career first for the veteran trainer, who will turn 74 next Tuesday.
“This will be the first time I have saddled a horse in California,” said Holthus, “But, I have been to Hollywood Park once to buy a horse. It was 1982. I flew in, vetted a horse and flew back. Her name was Freida Frame and I bought her for John Franks. She turned out to be a stakes winner.”
The Regret win by Pure Clan was her first in four races this year. She finished third to Proud Spell in the Kentucky Oaks prior to her Regret victory.
MACHO AGAIN LOOKING GOOD TO STEWART – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Macho Again “is galloping regularly until we decide where to go with him,” trainer Dallas Stewart said.
Winner of the Derby Trial, Macho Again ran second to Big Brown in the Preakness (GI) and was fifth in the Belmont Stakes (GI) in his most recent start,
“He is doing really good and I don’t see anything that I don’t like,” Stewart said.
The $500,000 Jim Dandy (GII) on July 27 at Saratoga or the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (GIII) on Aug. 2 at Mountaineer are being considered for Macho Again.
Also eyeing the Jim Dandy is William K. Warren Jr.’s Denis of Cork, runner-up in the Belmont Stakes (GI) in his most recent start.
“He is doing well,” trainer David Carroll said of Denis of Cork, who ran third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI). “We are looking at the Jim Dandy, and from there that would give us four weeks to the Travers.”
APPRENTICE WADE LOOKING TO DRUM UP BUSINESS FOR ELLIS MEET – There was a new face hustling horses on the backside Friday morning at Churchill Downs: apprentice jockey Lyndie Wade.
“I am going to be here until Tuesday working horses and then I will be riding at Ellis Park,” said Wade, who got on horses for Randy Morse, Al Stall Jr., and Bob Holthus. “Fred Aime is going to have my book at Ellis.”
The Ellis Park meet opens July 4 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 1.
Wade, 17, is trying to jump-start a promising career that stalled last November in a spill at Hawthorne.
“I had won 26 races in Louisiana and then came to Hawthorne and won 26 races in five weeks,” Wade said. “Then on Nov. 30, a horse I was on broke down and two horses ran over me. I had head trauma, a broken jaw and a collapsed lung and I was in a coma for nine days.”
Wade returned to the track in March at Oaklawn Park galloping horses and notched eight winners in April at Hawthorne. He has ridden five winners at the current Arlington Park meeting.
“It has been tough at Arlington and I still have my (apprentice) bug,” Wade said. “I want to rejuvenate my bug. I want to be known as a good rider rather than the kid that got hurt at Hawthorne.”
ASMUSSEN ROARS BACK INTO RACE FOR LEADING TRAINER – Steve Asmussen saddled three winners on Thursday’s nine-race card and in the process turned the two-way race for leading trainer at the Spring Meet into a three-man scramble with 13 days remaining until the meet closes on July 6.
The three-win day was the second of the meet, matching the performance of Ken McPeek on May 24. Asmussen’s 22 wins trail Tom Amoss (26) and McPeek (24).
His winners on Thursday were Tora, who he owns, in the second, Cradle of Peace for Vinery Stables in the sixth, and Stonestreet Stable’s Sonoma Cat in the eighth.
Asmussen has won five training titles at Churchill Downs and swept both the Spring and Fall meets in 2007.
THERIOT, MCKEE TO BE FEATURED DURING 'JOCKEY TALK' – Jockeys Jamie Theriot and John McKee will be the featured guests during this Saturday’s “Jockey Talk” – a new program at Churchill Downs that allows horse racing fans to mingle with their favorite race riders.
Each Saturday throughout the remainder of the Spring Meet fans will get a chance to meet, visit, receive autographs and take pictures with select Churchill Downs jockeys from 11:30 a.m. to noon (all times Eastern) in the paddock area.
Theriot, a 29-year-old native of Arnaudville, La., is currently the hottest rider on the grounds, coming off a six-victory day on Wednesday. Theriot is fourth in the rider standings with 40 victories.
McKee, 26, entered Friday’s card with 10 wins on the meet, good for a tie for 10th place in the rider standings. The Cincinnati native was leading rider the 2004 Fall Meet.
NOMINATIONS CLOSE SATURDAY FOR CLOSING WEEK STAKES – Saturday, June 21 is the deadline for nominations for the final three stakes of the 52-day Spring Meet: The Firecracker (GII), the Bashford Manor (GIII) and the Locust Grove Handicap (GIII).
The $200,000 Firecracker is a mile on the Matt Winn Turf Course for 3-year-olds and up on July 4. The Bashford Manor carries a $150,000 purse for 2-year-olds going six furlongs on the main track on July 5 with the $150,000 Locust Grove scheduled for closing day July 6 at a mile on the turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.
Information is available by calling Churchill Downs Racing at (502) 636-4470 or nominations may be made via fax at (502) 636-4479.
BARN TALK – Overbrook Farm’s Clearly Foxy, scratched out of last Saturday’s Regret (GIII), is scheduled to ship to Hollywood Park on June 23 for the July 5 American Oaks Invitational (GI). Scheduled to be on the same flight is Melnyk Racing Stables’ Canadian champion filly Sealy Hill, who is shipping to Churchill Downs from Woodbine. Sealy Hill is scheduled to run in the July 5 Vanity Handicap (GI). Both fillies are trained by Mark Casse. … Unbridled Spring is the lone horse to be a perfect 3-for-3 at the Spring Meet, but he could get some company on Saturday when two-time winners Point Perfect and Antrim County go postward. James Gilliam’s Point Perfect will try the Churchill Downs turf for the first time in the sixth race, a five-furlong sprint, and Father Maloney Stable’s Antrim County is entered in the seventh race, a one-mile starter/allowance test on the main track. …Silverton Hill Farm’s Dominican, winner of the 2007 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI), worked a half-mile on Friday over a “muddy” track in :52.20 for trainer Darrin Miller.
2008 SPRING MEET LEADERS
Through Thursday, June 19
Jockeys (Starts 1-2-3)
1. Robby Albarado (199 50-28-25)
2. Miguel Mena (259 47-34-35)
3. Julien Leparoux (245 41-46-44)
4. Jamie Theriot (199 40-31-21)
5. Shaun Bridgmohan (175 35-32-22)
6. Calvin Borel (225 34-33-34)
7. Jesus Castanon (202 22-20-23)
8. Corey Lanerie (161 13-21-18)
-. Brian Hernandez Jr. (145 13-20-15)
10. John McKee (111 10-16-18)
--. Elvis Trujillo (76 10-10-18)
1. Tom Amoss (61 26-10-10)
2. Ken McPeek (63 24-12-5)
3. Steve Asmussen (97 22-16-13)
4. Mike Maker (43 12-9-4)
-. Ian Wilkes (39 12-8-5)
6. Dale Romans (106 11-24-18)
7. Eddie Kenneally (50 9-9-8)
-. Bret Calhoun (20 9-1-3)
9. Cody Autrey (46 8-9-9)
-. Nick Zito (20 8-5-1)
-. Greg Foley (55 8-9-8)
Five (5) trainers tied with 7 wins
1. Ken and Sarah Ramsey (45 12-7-8)
-. Maggi Moss 2(3 12-4-3)
3. Zayat Stables, LLC (41 7-8-9)
4. Richard, Elaine & Bert Klein (31 6-7-4)
5. Heiligbrodt Racing Stable (14 5-1-0)
6. Heflin & Driver Racing (22 4-5-4)
-. Padua Stables (7 4-1-0)
-. Eliah and Lisa Kahn (4 4-0-0)
Ten (10) owners tied with three wins