Ashbrook Farm’s Wicked Style, winner of the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (Grade I) at Keeneland and one of the top 2-year-olds of 2007, is set to make his anticipated debut at three in a one-mile allowance race on turf on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
The chestnut son of Macho Uno ran off a three-race winning streak to start his career that included his Breeders’ Futurity victory and a win in the $200,000-added Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII) at Arlington Park, before he suffered his only career loss over a sloppy track in the $2 million Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) at Monmouth Park on Oct. 27. He broke from an outside post that day and faded to finish 10th in the field of 11, beaten 41 lengths by champion War Pass.
Arnold had pointed Wicked Style toward a run in the $250,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs in late November, but was forced to the sidelines by an injury. Wicked Style has been training steadily for Arnold over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland in preparation for his debut on the grass.
Wicked Style has drawn the rail post in a field of 10 horses entered for Wednesday’s eighth race. He will be ridden by Robby Albarado, who has been aboard for all of the colt’s races. The field for Wednesday’s race includes a pair of horses entered for the main track only.
Arnold’s colt will be joined in the starting gate by another Grade I winner that is making his debut on turf.
Silverton Hill LLC’s Dominican, winner of the 2007 renewal of the $750,000-added Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (GI), will break alongside Wicked Style from post two. The 4-year-old son of El Corredor will try to snap a four-race losing streak that started with an 11th-place finish behind Street Sense in the 2007 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
The Darrin Miller-trained Dominican has raced only once this year. He finished second to Self Made Man in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race over Polytrack at Keeneland on April 18. It was the first race for the chestnut gelding since his sixth-place run behind Zanjero in the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (GII) at Mountaineer Park on Aug. 4.
KENTUCKY OAKS FILLIES ENTERED IN WEDNESDAY ALLOWANCE RACES – Two 3-year-old fillies that competed in the $500,000-added Kentucky Oaks (GI) won by Brereton C. Jones’ homebred Proud Spell are set to make their first post-Oaks starts in Wednesday allowance races at Churchill Downs.
Koolmen Racing Stable’s A to the Croft, seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, is set to make her debut on turf in a 1 1/16-mile allowance race that will be run as the day’s fourth race. The seventh race on Wednesday is a 1 1/8-mile allowance race that will mark the return of Lloyd DeBruycker’s Rasierra, who finished eighth in the Kentucky Oaks.
Both Kentucky Oaks fillies will face older rivals for the first time in their careers in Wednesday’s races.
Robby Albarado will ride the Ken McPeek-trained A to the Croft, who is winless in three races in 2008 after a juvenile campaign that saw her finish second to Irish Smoke in the Spinaway (GI) at Saratoga and Country Star in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland. She has a career record of 1-3-2 in eight races and has earned $236,158.
Rasierra, who is now trained by Cody Autrey after being saddled by Ray Tracy Jr. in the Kentucky Oaks, has a record of 1-4-1 in eight races and has earned $86,149. The daughter of Kafwain was second in last year’s Arlington-Washington Lassie (GIII) at Arlington Park and was the runner-up to Euphony last month in the $75,000 Instant Racing Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She was a supplemental entry to the Kentucky Oaks at a cost of $25,000.
VETERAN BRASS HAT TOPS WEIGHT ASSIGNMENTS FOR 71ST RUNNING OF THE LOUISVILLE HANDICAP – Veteran star Brass Hat has never won in four races on the turf, but his overall accomplishments are so significant that he looms as the starting high weight in Saturday’s 71st running of the $150,000-added Louisville Handicap (GIII) on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
Churchill Downs Racing Secretary Ben Huffman has assigned Brass Hat 117 pounds for the 1 ½-mile turf race. The 7-year-old gelding finished third to Dancing Forever in the $200,000 Elkhorn (GII) at Keeneland in his most recent start. Trainer William “Buff” Bradley’s veteran star has won eight of 24 races and earned $1,753,819.
Reigning “Horse of the Year” Curlin was among the 24 older turf stars nominated to the Louisville and was assigned high weight of 126 pounds, but he will not compete in the race. Trainer Steve Asmussen is pointing the 4-year-old son of Smart Strike toward a possible run in the $750,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs on June 14.
Bushwood Stable’s Better Talk Now, winner of the John Deere Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) in 2004, was also nominated and was assigned 121 pounds, but trainer Graham Motion does not plan to send his veteran star to Churchill Downs for the Louisville.
Other horses considered likely for the Louisville Handicap (with assigned weights) include Yate’s Black Cat (116), three-time Louisville Handicap winner Silverfoot (115), Lattice (114), Lord Carmen (114), Transduction Gold (114) and Save Big Money (113).
Chrysalis Stables LLC’s Silverfoot won three consecutive runnings of the Louisville Handicap from 2004-06, but did not race in 2007. He is winless for trainer Dallas Stewart in three starts this year, including a fifth-place finish in the Elkhorn.
BARN TALK – Trainer Steve Asmussen said “Horse of the Year” Curlin was scheduled to work at Churchill Downs on Monday in preparation for a possible start in the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on June 14. Curlin, who won the $6 million Dubai World Cup (GI) at Nad Al Sheba in his most recent start on March 29, has worked twice at Churchill Downs since that race. He breezed a half-mile in :52.20 over a “fast” track on May 5 and followed that with a slow five furlongs over a “muddy” surface in 1:06 on May 12. … New Orleans Handicap (GII) winner Circular Quay breezed a half-mile at Churchill Downs on Sunday for trainer Todd Pletcher. The 4-year-old son of Thunder Gulch covered the distance in :49.20 over a “good” surface. … Midnight Cry Stable’s Einstein, winner of the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) on Kentucky Derby Day, breezed four furlongs over a “muddy” track in :51.60 on Sunday for trainer Helen Pitts.
WORK TAB (Track: MUDDY, improved to GOOD) – La Troienne (GIII) winner Game Face breezed four furlongs in :49 over a “good” track…Fairbanks breezed four furlongs in :48.80 over a “muddy” track. … Sam P., ninth in last year’s Kentucky Derby, breezed a sharp five furlongs over a “muddy” track in :59.80 for trainer Todd Pletcher. The move was the fastest of 29 at the distance. … Change Up, a candidate for the $100,000 Winning Colors (GIII) on May 26, breezed five furlongs on a “good” surface in 1:01.40. … Jonesboro breezed four furlongs over a “muddy” surface for trainer Randy Morse in :48. … Louisville Handicap candidate Save Big Money breezed a “muddy” five furlongs 1:02.60.