The Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Skipadate caught longtime leader Baryshnikov in the final 20 yards to give trainer Dale Romans his 500th victory at Churchill Downs in winning the $49,701 Metro Medical Employee Appreciation Day Classic for 3-year-olds and up by a neck on Thursday.
Romans, a 43-year-old Louisville native, saddled his first Churchill Downs winner, Final Destroyer, on Nov. 12, 1987. Romans has won five training titles outright at Churchill Downs – three spring and two fall – and shared three other spring titles. Romans trails only Bill Mott (631) in Churchill Downs victories.
Baryshnikov led the field of eight through fractions of :24.29 and :48.44 while Francisco Torres was giving Skipadate of ground-saving trip in the run down the backstretch. Torres kept Skipadate on the inside to midstretch, when he swung out into the three path and gradually wore down Baryshnikov.
Skipadate covered the mile on a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in 1:37.04. The victory, the third in 14 career starts for the 4-year-old Florida-bred son of Skip Away, was worth $27,480 and increased Skipadate’s earnings to $189,202.
As the favorite, Skipadate returned $6, $3.40 and $2.60, Baryshnikov, ridden by Rex Stokes III, returned $7.20 and $4.40 and finished a neck in front of Au Moon, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, who paid $3.40 to show.
Racing resumes Friday with the second “Downs After Dark” program of the Spring Meet. First post time for the 11-race program is 6 p.m. (EDT). There will be a two-day Pick 6 carryover of $6,056 on races six through 11 with approximate post time for the sixth race at 8:32 p.m. Also, there is a $22,525 carryover in the Super Hi-5 in which the first five finishers in the 11th race (post time 11:20 p.m.) must be selected in order.
Churchill Downs, the world’s most legendary racetrack, has conducted Thoroughbred racing and presented America’s greatest race, the Kentucky Derby, continuously since 1875. Located in Louisville, the flagship racetrack of Churchill Downs Incorporated (NASDAQ Global Select Market: CHDN) also operates Trackside at Churchill Downs, which offers year-round simulcast wagering at the historic track. Churchill Downs will host the 137th running of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 7, 2011 and the Kentucky Oaks on Friday, May 6, 2011. The track’s 2010 Spring Meet continues through Sunday, July 4. Churchill Downs is scheduled to host the Breeders’ Cup World Championships for a record seventh time on Nov. 5 and 6, 2010. Churchill Downs tickets are available at Tickets.ChurchillDowns.com or by calling (502) 636-4400. Additional information about Churchill Downs can be found on the Internet at ChurchillDowns.com.
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