DOWNS-BASED PREAKNESS HOPEFULS HAVE ROUTINE MORNING –The five horses stabled at Churchill Downs that are deemed as probable starters for the May 21 Preakness (Grade I) at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course had routine gallops Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology galloped a mile before the renovation break; the Estate of Edward P. Evans’ Dance City galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Obed Perez before the morning renovation break; Robert LaPenta’s Dialed In, who finished eighth in Kentucky Derby 137 as the favorite, galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Carlos Correa before the renovation break; Michael Laufferand W.D. Cubbedge’s homebred Shackleford galloped a mile and a half under exercise rider Faustino Ramos after the renovation break; and,Batman Stable, Philip Lebherz, Cindy Olsen, Janet Sharp and Glen Wallace et al’s Sway Away galloped a mile and a half under exercise riderKeith Davis before the renovation break.
Of the horses considered as possible for the race, Zayat Stables’ Nehro, runner-up in the Kentucky Derby, went to the starting gate under exercise rider Carlos Rosas; Arnold Zetcher’s Midnight Interlude, 16th-place finisher in the Kentucky Derby, galloped a mile and a half after the renovation break under Peter Hutton, assistant to trainer Bob Baffert. Going out before the break was Fog City Stable and George Bolton’s The Factor, who jogged a mile on his first day back to the track after working five furlongs in 1:00 on Tuesday; and Tom Walters’ Santiva, sixth in the Derby galloped a mile and half.
ON-TRACK MEMORIAL FOR JOCKEY MICHAEL BAZE SET FOR FRIDAY – Fellow jockeys will join racing fans, horsemen and track employees at Churchill Downs on Friday in an on-track tribute to jockey Michael Baze, who died this week at the age of 24.
The memorial will follow the fourth race, which has a scheduled post time of 4:18 p.m. (all times EDT).
Baze’s body was found in his car in the Churchill Downs stable area late Tuesday afternoon. Jefferson County Deputy Coroner Jim Wesley said an autopsy performed on Wednesday revealed “no anatomical cause of death.” Wesley said toxicology reports would be available in about three weeks.
Baze is a member of great Northwest U.S. racing family that includes Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, racing’s all-time win leader, and jockeysTyler and Gary. He rode at Churchill Downs for the first time during the
2010 Fall Meet and had planned to ride during the ongoing Spring Meet. Baze had no mounts during Kentucky Derby Week and had been named to ride one horse on Thursday’s racing card.
Baze won 918 races, 52 of those in stakes events, in a career that began in 2003.. He won riding titles at Del Mar, Hollywood Park and Arlington Park. He scored 34 wins in the 2011 meet at Oaklawn Park.
CHERRY INCLUDED COULD GIVE DOUBLE PAYDAY TO OWNER –Exercise rider Tara Murty will have more than just a rooting interest in Cherry Included in this afternoon’s eighth race, an $8,000 non-winners of two races lifetime event over seven furlongs on the main track.
Not only is Murty the exercise rider for the 3-year-old filly, she is the owner of Cherry Included.
The dark bay daughter of Include will be making her fourth start for trainer Eddie Kenneally, but her first under the navy and beige silks of Murty.
A former assistant to Nick Zito, Murty was the regular exercise rider for Cherry Included while the horse was stabled in Florida and privately purchased her from breeder Stewart Armstrong shortly after the filly’s second-place finish in a $15,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park on March 31.
“I liked the horse and she had been training well and so when I found out she was for sale I decided to make an investment in her,” Murty said.
Cherry Included is the only horse is training owned by Murty, who was injured in May 2009 in an automobile accident while on her way to Churchill Downs. Murty sustained a fractured vertebra below the neck, a fractured cheekbone and eye socket, and a slight concussion. She was out of the saddle for more than five months, but made a full recovery.
Murty has high hopes for the 3-year-old filly in today’s race, who is the morning-line favorite at 9-5. “She’s doing really well and I think we are in a good spot,” said Murty, who gets a check for galloping Cherry Included. “I pay Eddie a training fee for the horse and then he pays me for galloping the horse.”
WILD ABOUT MARIE, SPEEDACIOUS HEAD SATURDAY’S UNBRIDLED SIDNEY – Dawn and Ike Thrash’s Wild About Marie and Carl Moore Management’s Speedacious, the 2-3 finishers in the off-the-turf Giant’s Causeway last month at Keeneland, head a field 11 fillies and mares set to go postward in Saturday’s $63,000 Unbridled Sidney, an overnight stake for fillies and mares going five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
Kent Desormeaux has the mount on the Jeff Thornbury-trained Wild About Marie, a two-time stakes winner at the recently concluded Fair Grounds meet. Jamie Theriot will ride Speedacious for trainer Bret Calhoun.
The field for the Unbridled Sidney, from the inside out, is as follows:Little Polka Dot (Shaun Bridgmohan, 120), Wild About Marie (Desormeaux, 120), Celadon (Miguel Mena, 120), Hungry Tigress (John McKee, 118),Ubettorubet (James Lopez, 118), Old Time Religion (Freddie Lenclud, 118), Jocata (Calvin Borel, 118), Speedacious (Theriot, 122), My New Lady(Jon Court, 118), Go for Jan (Julien Leparoux, 118) and Well Deserved(Jesus Castanon, 118).
BARN TALK – Robert and Val Yagos’ Archarcharch, who suffered a career-ending injury in running 15th in last Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, returned to trainer Jinks Fires’ barn Thursday after undergoing surgery at the Rood & Riddle clinic in Lexington. …
Adele Dilschneider’s Apart, winner of the Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) here last fall and the Super Derby (GII) at Louisiana Downs, will be heading to Pimlico next week for the $100,000 William Donald Schaeffer Stakes (GIII) at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track according to trainer Al Stall Jr. Stall used the same race last year to kick off the 2010 campaign for Blame that ended in a victory over Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) here). …
Nominations close Saturday for the 74th running of the $100,000 Louisville Handicap (GIII) to be run at a mile and a half on the Matt Winn Turf Course for 3-year-olds and up on May 28, and also for the eighth running of the $100,000 Winning Colors (GIII) for fillies and mares going six furlongs on the main track on Memorial Day, may 30. Free Fighter won the Louisville Handicap last year and Dubai Majesty won the Winning Colors.
WORK TAB – Courtlandt Farm’s Machen, winner of The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) on the opening night of the spring meet, worked a half-mile in :49 over a fast track Thursday morning for trainer Neil Howard. The work was the 23rd fastest of 47 at the distance. Barbara Hunter’s Keertana, winner of the Bewitch (GIII) on April 28 at Keeneland worked a half-mile over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in :50.40 for trainer Tom Proctor.