Undefeated Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Justify continued training for the middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness Stakes (GI), Friday morning at Churchill Downs when he galloped 1 ½ miles with exercise rider Humberto Gomez aboard.
“He’s back to his normal self,” assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes said. “He’s feeling good and has a good bounce in his step.”
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is expected to fly into Louisville Sunday night and watch the colt train Monday and Tuesday before he flies to Baltimore Wednesday.
Owned by the partnership of WinStar Farm, China Horse Club, Starlight Racing and Head of Plains Partners, the Baffert trainee was the first horse on the track at 7:30 following the first track maintenance renovation break.
Justify is joined by four Churchill Downs-based horses that are possible to contest the Preakness Stakes: Kentucky Derby sixth-place finisher Bravazo (trainer D. Wayne Lukas), Kentucky Derby eighth Lone Sailor (Tom Amoss), Pat Day Mile (GIII) fourth Sporting Chance (Lukas) and Arkansas Derby (GI) fifth-place finisher Tenfold (Steve Asmussen).
Trainer Dallas Stewart reported Friday morning that Pat Day Mile third-place finisher Givemeaminit will bypass the Preakness and target the June 9 Woody Stephens (GII) on the undercard of the Belmont Stakes (GI).
CASSE RECORDS FIRST-CAREER VICTORY THURSDAY AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Trainer Norm Casse, longtime assistant to his father Mark, won his first-career race Thursday evening at Churchill Downs when $25,000 claimer Tiznoble romped by 7 ¼ lengths under jockey Julien Leparoux.
“It was an absolute honor to win for the first time at Churchill Downs,” Casse said. “It was even more special to team up with Julien for the win. We’ve been friends for a longtime and won a lot of races when I was the assistant to Dad.”
Casse, a third-generation trainer, was 0-for-8 prior to Thursday’s victory. The 34-year-old conditioner is currently based at Keeneland but hopes to move his string to Churchill Downs later this spring.
Tiznoble rewarded his backers with $2 mutuel payoffs of $6, $3.20 and $2.60. The 5-year-old horse was claimed in a two-way shake by owner James Rogers for trainer Chris Hartman.
HERNANDEZ VAULTS TO TOP OF JOCKEY STANDINGS FOLLOWING FOUR-WIN THURSDAY – Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. surged to a 10-7 win lead in the jockey standings over perennial leading rider Corey Lanerie following four victories on Thursday evening’s card at Churchill Downs.
“We had a great start to the meet,” Hernandez said. “We hope to keep the momentum rolling but we did very well Derby Week and had a great night Thursday.”
Hernandez started his night with a pair of sixth-place finishes in Races 2 and 3 but rallied to win Race 4 with 33-1 longshot Angaston.
The Louisiana-native returned to the Woodford Reserve Winner’s Circle in Races 6-8 with How’s My Bud (4-1), Awestruck (8-5) and Get Western (7-1), respectively.
Hernandez began Friday with a positive $2 win return on investment (ROI) of $144.40 through seven days of the 38-day Spring Meet.
SINGLE 6 JACKPOT AND PICK 5 CARRYOVERS HIGHLIGHT FRIDAY AFTERNOON CARD – A $385,131 Single 6 Jackpot carryover and, for the first time in Churchill Downs history, a $35,689 Pick 5 carryover are the highlights of Friday’s nine-race program at Churchill Downs.
The 20-cent minimum Single 6 Jackpot begins in Race 4 with a scheduled post time of 2:13 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the 50-cent Pick 5 carryover begins in Race 5 at 2:45 p.m. Both wagers have a low 15-percent takeout. First post is 12:45 p.m.
The 2018 Spring Meet marks the first time that the Pick 5 can carry over to the next day’s program if no one correctly selects five winners, thanks to a rule change approved by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission this spring. All Pick 5 carryovers will go to the next day’s late Pick 5 pool. There are two daily Pick 5 wagers offered on eight, nine and 10-race programs and three offered on 11-race cards.
MORTICIA HOPES TO AVENGE PREVIOUS LOSS TO TRIPLE CHELSEA IN UNBRIDLED SIDNEY – G. Watts Humprhey Jr.’s Morticia hopes to overcome a 2 ½-length defeat to Triple Chelsea in last month’s Giant’s Causeway Stakes at Keeneland as the 2-1 second choice in Saturday’s $70,000-added Unbridled Sidney Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Rusty Arnold II, Morticia contested the early lead in the April 14 Giant’s Causeway but tired late to finish third.
“She ran a nice race that day,” assistant trainer Jack Bohannon said. “Rusty has her at Keeneland right now and she’ll ship over Saturday morning before the race. She runs hard every time, so hopefully we can get lucky.”
The Unbridled Sidney, contested at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 11-race program with a 4:55 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. First post time Saturday is 12:45 p.m.
The field for the Unbridled Sidney, with riders, weights and morning line odds, from the rail out: Moon River (IRE) (Jon Court, 121 pounds, 20-1), There’syourtrouble (Shaun Bridgmohan, 121, 15-1), Triple Chelsea (Adam Beschizza, 125, 9-5), Daylight Ahead (Joe Rocco Jr., 121, 30-1), Ruby Notion (Corey Lanerie, 121, 8-1), Our Valor (C.J. McMahon , 121, 10-1), Natural Wonder (Gabriel Saez, 121, 15-1), Justa Lady (Ricardo Santana Jr., 121, 8-1), Morticia (Brian Hernandez Jr., 121, 2-1) and Excessivespending (Robby Albarado, 121, 10-1).
CHURCHILL DOWNS ANNOUNCES PARKING PLAN FOR MOTHER’S DAY, REMAINDER OF MEET – On the heels of the 144th Kentucky Derby and the successful rollout of its new Derby Week parking plan, Churchill Downs Racetrack announced parking procedures for Mother’s Day and the remainder of the 2018 Spring Meet.
Churchill Downs has invested $32 million to streamline the arrival experience for guests visiting the track throughout the year. These changes are designed to make the arrival and exit experience safer and more convenient for all guests. Phase 1 of the project was completed ahead of the 144th Kentucky Derby, and Phase 2, which will renovate the existing parking areas adjacent to Longfield Ave., will begin immediately after Mother’s Day.
Due to the ongoing construction, there are slight differences between the Mother’s Day parking plan and the remainder of the 2018 Spring Meet. Guests are encouraged to visit ChurchillDowns.com for detailed information on updated parking and entry procedures.
“We have gone to great lengths to develop the best parking and entry options to welcome our guests, including numerous enhancements to our historic facility,” said Kevin Flanery, President of Churchill Downs Racetrack. “We were excited to see our guests embrace the new plan during Derby Week and look forward to the benefits these improvements will provide our guests throughout the year.”
Below is helpful information to guide visitor parking and entry:
- Guests may enter through the Paddock Gate or VIP Gate any day of the 2018 Spring Meet.
- The Clubhouse Gate is open through Mother’s Day but will be closed to guests beginning May 14 as part of the ongoing construction.
- Admission Gates on Mother’s Day (May 13) will open at 11:30 AM.
- Visit ChurchillDowns.com for information on gate times for the remainder of the Spring Meet.
- Guests with reserved parking permits will park in the White Lot which is accessed from Central Ave. This area is reserved for Horsemen, Turf Club members, Suite holders and others with reserved parking permits.
- The Red Lot is reserved on live race days for guests with Red Lot parking permits.
- Permits must be displayed from the rearview mirror to gain access to parking area.
- Free parking will be available to guests in the Green, Orange and Black lots for the entire race meet.
- Free parking will also be available in the Yellow and Turquoise Lots through Mother’s Day.
- Charter Bus and oversized vehicle parking is available in the Pink Lot.
- Parking lots may be accessed from Central Ave., Longfield Ave. or Taylor Blvd.
- Neighborhood parking is also available.
- On select premium days, offsite parking and shuttle options will be available to accommodate larger crowds. These days will be identified in advance on ChurchillDowns.com.
Parking for Guests with Disabilities:
- Accessible parking spaces are available in the White Lot near the Paddock Gate for guests with State Issued Disabled Persons Parking Permits.
- Mobility Assistance golf carts are also available to shuttle guests from the free parking areas to the admission gates.
- Valet parking will be available in the Yellow Lot near the Clubhouse Gate through Mother’s Day (May 13). Those wishing to valet park should enter Churchill Downs via Longfield Ave.
- Cost for valet parking is $10 Thursday through Saturday and $20 on Mother’s Day.
- Valet Parking is not available beginning May 14.
Taxis and Ride-Sharing Services (Uber, Lyft, etc.):
- Guests utilizing taxis or ride share services should use the Churchill Downs auto court in front of the Barbaro Statue by the Derby Museum. This is accessible via Central Ave. for both pickup and drop-off on race days.
- Guests may be dropped off at the VIP Admission Gate.
- Drop-off area may be accessed from Thornberry Ave. or Kentucky Derby Drive.
Kentucky Derby Museum Visitors:
- Guests visiting the Kentucky Derby Museum may park in the Black, Orange and Green lots on Live Race days.
- On days when the track is not racing, the Red and White parking lots are also available for museum guests.
- Accessible parking spaces are available in the White Lot near the Paddock Gate.
- Employees may park in the Turquoise Lot May 10-12.
- Beginning on Mother’s Day (May 13) and continuing through the Spring Meet, employees should park in the track’s infield.
- Employees will need a parking permit from their Supervisor to access the infield. The infield is accessed via the Stable Gate which is located on 4th Street at the entry to the Stable Area.
For more information on parking and entry procedures, including shuttle bus traffic, please visit ChurchillDowns.com.
DOWN THE STRETCH – “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Fridays throughout the Spring Meet at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The weekly one-hour horse racing radio show is co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, and delivers a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/ or via podcast on the station’s website or https://soundcloud.com/.