Finley’sluckycharm, Whitmore and World Approval were among seven Churchill Downs-based Breeders’ Cup contenders who breezed Friday morning at the Louisville, Ky. racetrack in advance of next weekend’s championship event at Del Mar.
Live Oak Plantation’s World Approval, one of the favorites for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, was one of five Mark Casse-trained Breeders’ Cup contenders to breeze. The 5-year-old Woodbine Mile (Grade I) winner breezed a half-mile in :47.80 through splits of :12.80 and :24.80 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 and six furlongs in 1:13.80 under regular exercise rider Pierre Godoy.
“It is very rewarding going into the Breeders’ Cup with a string of horses that can participate at the highest level our sport has to offer,” assistant trainer Norm Casse said. “World Approval has been a completely different horse since we turned him back in distance. He ran extremely well in the Woodbine Mile and we’re very confident entering the (Breeders’ Cup) Mile.”
Bred in Florida, World Approval has amassed $1,837,363 in earnings in 23 career starts that include 10 wins, two seconds and four thirds.
“I feel like exercise riders make a big difference and we have a great crew of riders throughout the country,” Casse continued. “We flew in Pierre, from Florida, for three weeks, to breeze World Approval and Awesome Slew and he’s really benefitted both horses in their works.”
Godoy also was aboard Awesome Slew for his half-mile workout in :47.60 through splits of :12.20 and :24.20, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 and six furlongs in 1:13.
Awesome Slew is pre-entered for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Other notable Casse workers Friday included a tandem half-mile breeze in :47.80 from Gio Game, with Julien Leparoux aboard, and Wonder Gadot, with E.J. Bowler up.
Gio Game and Wonder Gadot are both pre entered in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Holding Gold, pre-entered for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, turned in a half-mile breeze in :49.60 with Bowler aboard.
Just after the track opened at 6 a.m. EDT, Robert LaPenta, Southern Spring Stables and Head of Plains Partners’ speedy Whitmore breezed a :48 half-mile, in company with Junket, for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
“It was a really solid work,” trainer Ron Moquett said. “I think he’s the happiest he’s been since Oaklawn last winter. He’s a horse that breezes in company and will go as fast as the workmate but keep head-in-head throughout the breeze until the rider asks him to go. If his workmate goes :48, he’ll go :48. If they go :46, he’ll go :46. This morning’s breeze started out a bit weird because the pony started acting up a bit so they went a little quick into the early portion of the work. He galloped out very well and there’s nothing more we can ask of him before heading to Del Mar. It’s nice going out to a race like this when you truly feel like you have a shot.”
Finley’sluckycharm, one of the top contenders for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, breezed a half-mile in :47.80 for trainer Bret Calhoun through splits :12.80 and :24.80, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80.
“We’re ready to get out to California,” Calhoun said. “It’s a tough group from top to bottom. I think she stacks up with them and I think it will just come down to a little racing luck.”
Breeders’ Cup Distaff contender Forever Unbridled will join the Casse contingent, Whitmore and Finley’sluckycharm on Monday’s plane to Del Mar, according to trainer Dallas Stewart. The Aug. 28 Personal Ensign (GI) victor breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.
BRAVAZO, LONE SAILOR SET TO SQUARE OFF IN $80,000-ADDED STREET SENSE OVERNIGHT STAKES – Calumet Farm’s Bravazo and G M B Racing’s Lone Sailor, the second and third place finishers, respectively, in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (Grade I) at Keeneland, are set for a rematch in the $80,000-added Street Sense Overnight Stakes on Sunday’s opening day card at Churchill Downs’ 21-day Fall Meet.
“Lone Sailor has developed nicely from June until now,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “He’s mentally tough on the racetrack, carries a good flesh and weight, and really enjoys his job.”
Lone Sailor’s owners, Tom and Gayle Benson, won the Street Sense in 2015 with Mo Tom. Besides owning several racehorses, the duo owns the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans.
“The cross over from Thoroughbred racing to football is special and brings attention to our sport,” Amoss said. “They are two great ambassadors to our sport and they love it. Mr. Benson was highly involved in racing prior to buying the Saints in 1970. He and wife Gayle own a farm in Lexington. In their very first year coming back to racing they had two horses in the Kentucky Derby from the six they bought as yearlings. They’re shooting to the stars with their horses and they’re wonderful to be with.”
Lone Sailor is listed as the 7-2 favorite for the Street Sense on oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line.
Calumet Farm’s homebred Bravazo, trained by Hall of Fame conditioner D. Wayne Lukas, was a 4 ¾-length maiden winner at Churchill Downs on Sept. 16 prior to his runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Futurity.
“I thought it was a really nice maiden race,” assistant trainer Sebastian “Bas” Nicholl said. “He did things on his own and Jon (Court) rode him well. I still think he’s pretty green and has some learning to do but has future potential.”
The one-mile Street Sense, one of four stakes races on the juvenile showcase day, is carded as Race 10 at approximately 5:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). The undercard also includes the $80,000-added Rags to Riches Overnight Stakes for fillies, $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes, and $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes.
Billed as “Stars of Tomorrow I,” each of Sunday’s 11 races is for 2-year-olds. Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. and the first race is 1 p.m.
The Street Sense Field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Twin Farms (Ricardo Santana Jr., 8-1); Netas (Julien Leparoux, 12-1); Rubus (Joe Rocco Jr., 9-2); Ebben (James Graham, 20-1); Renaisance Frolic (Jose Batista, 15-1); Bravazo (Jon Court, 4-1); Gotta Go (Chris Landeros, 10-1); Honorable Treasure (Robby Albarado, 4-1); Lone Sailor (Florent Geroux, 7-2); and Souper Smart (Corey Lanerie, 8-1).
“Stars of Tomorrow” has produced more than 50 Grade I winners over the last 12 years. Inaugurated in 2005, Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow” programs have helped launched the careers of numerous graded stakes winners, including more than 50 future Grade I winners led by 2010 Kentucky Derby champ Super Saver; 2011 Preakness and 2012 Met Mile and Clark Handicap winner Shackleford; 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra; 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic and 2013 Stephen Foster Handicap hero Fort Larned; 2012 Kentucky Oaks winner Believe You Can; 2013 champion 3-year-old Will Take Charge; 2016 Belmont Stakes winner Creator; and four-time Grade I winner Gun Runner, who will vie for favoritism in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.
EZMOSH, MIA MISCHIEF HEAVY MORNING LINE FAVORITES FOR SUNDAY’S SPENDTHRIFT STALLION SERIES – Zayat Stables’ Ezmosh and Bill and Corinne Heiligbrodt’s Mia Mischief are the even-money morning line favorites in Sunday’s $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes and $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes, respectively, at Churchill Downs.
“I think we have a big shot on Sunday with Ezmosh,” trainer Brad Cox said. “In the Breeders’ Futurity, he fought Javier (Castellano) for much of the early part of the race after he broke a step slow. I think cutting him back to one turn is what he wants to do and with a cleaner break we should be closer to the front. He’s really been training well after the race so we’re hoping the cut back in distance is what he really likes.”
The seven-furlong Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes, carded as Race 7 on Churchill Downs’ “Stars of Tomorrow I” card, has a scheduled post time of 4 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 11-race card also includes the $80,000 Street Sense Overnight Stakes and $80,000 Rags to Riches Overnight Stakes. The first race is 1 p.m.
Ezmosh broke his maiden in his third start on Sept. 16 at Churchill Downs in a one-turn mile maiden special weight under jockey Florent Geroux. The 2-year-old Oklahoma-bred son of Tizway was a $40,000 purchase at the Keeneland November Sale from breeders Scott and Lanae Pierce.
The purse has been structured with a unique approach to award $100,000 to the owners of the placed horses, with the other $100,000 allocated to award the breeders of the first-thru-fourth-place finishers. Specifically, the winning breeder will earn $40,000, with $30,000 going to the breeder of the runner-up, $20,000 for third, and $10,000 for fourth.
The field for the Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): John Tippmann (Robby Albarado, 4-1); Just Be Frank (Cisco Torres, 20-1); El Rubio (Jack Gilligan, 20-1); Dream Baby Dream (Shaun Bridgmohan, 10-1); Ezmosh (Geroux, 1-1); O’Malley’s March (Eddie Perez, 20-1); Captivating Moon (Jose Valdivia Jr., 9-2); and Fight On (Ricardo Santana Jr., 9-2).
Mia Mischief is scheduled to face eight competitors in the inaugural running of the Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes. The 2-year-old daughter of Into Mischief was a dominate 16-length maiden victor on Oct. 8 at Keeneland.
The seven-furlong contest, carded as Race 9, has a scheduled post time of 5 p.m.
The field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Southampton Way (Robby Albarado, 4-1); Mia Mischief (Ricardo Santana Jr., 1-1); Aerial Assets (Julien Leparoux, 20-1); Cinema Doll (Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1); Foxy Mischief (Jon Court, 15-1); Breaking Beauty (Channing Hill, 15-1); Wendy Peffercorn (Eddie Perez, 50-1); Bibbidibobbidi Boo (Marcelino Pedroza, 20-1); and Sultry (Corey Lanerie, 7-2).
MONOMOY GIRL MADE 3-1 MORNING LINE FAVORITE FOR SUNDAY’S $80,000-ADDED RAGS TO RICHES OVERNIGHT STAKES – Monomoy Stables and Michael Dubb’s Monomoy Girl tops a competitive field of 10 2-year-old fillies as the 3-1 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $80,000-added Rags to Riches Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The one-mile Rags to Riches is carded as Race 8 with a scheduled first post of 4:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 11-race “Stars of Tomorrow” juvenile showcase also includes the $80,000-added Street Sense Overnight Stakes, $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Stallion Stakes, and $200,000 Spendthrift Juvenile Filly Stallion Stakes. The first race is 1 p.m.
Monomoy Girl is undefeated in two starts over the turf for trainer Brad Cox. The 2-year-old filly by Tapizar rallied from off the pace in her Sept. 5 debut at Indiana Grand, then recorded a wire-to-wire victory at Churchill Downs on Sept. 28 in a first-level allowance race. A $100,000 purchase at the 2016 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Monomoy Girl will switch surfaces to the dirt and break from post position 6 with jockey Florent Geroux aboard.
Gutsy maiden-winner She’s Pretty Lucky, a 2-year-old daughter by Lookin At Lucky, is listed as the 4-1 co-second choice on the morning line following a 23-1 upset in her career debut over seven furlongs at Churchill Downs on Sept. 30 for trainer Eddie Kenneally. The Texas-bred filly will break from post position 2 with Joe Rocco Jr. getting the return call.
The Rags to Riches field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Missap (Dean Sarvis, 8-1); She’s Pretty Lucky (Rocco, 4-1); Over Thinking (Jon Court, 15-1); Saguaro Row (Corey Lanerie, 5-1); Dark Artist (Brian Hernandez Jr., 20-1); Monomoy Girl (Geroux, 3-1); Firstmate (Gabriel Saez, 15-1); Queen Mum (Julien Leparoux, 4-1); Grats Road (Robby Albarado, 15-1); and Foxtrot Sally (James Graham, 6-1).
ROMANS VS. MOTT – Dale Romans, a 51-year-old native of South Louisville, is just one win away from joining Hall of Famer Bill Mott as the all-time leading trainer in races won at Churchill Downs – a record that 64-year-old Mott has held for 31 years. Mott has 701 wins at Churchill Downs, while Romans begins the meet with 700 wins after landing just one victory with a pair of seconds and a trio of thirds from 24 starters during the 11-day September Meet (Mott went 0-for-6).
Romans Entries: Dance Rhythms (Sunday, Race 2); Overdraft (Sunday, Race 2); Seven Trumpets (Sunday, Race 4); Jan One (Sunday, Race 5); Lion’s Share (Sunday, Race 6); Finished (Sunday, Race 6); Jail House (Sunday, Race 11); Paddys Class (Wednesday, Race 5); Miss Subzero (Wednesday, Race 5); and Front Row Debbie (Wednesday, Race 8).
Mott Entries: Fortune Cookie (Sunday, Race 1); Miss Vinegar (Sunday, Race 2); and Border Force (Wednesday, Race 1).
MILESTONE WATCH – Along with the heated-battle between Dale Romans and Bill Mott for the all-time leading trainer honors at Churchill Downs (701-700 wins), trainer Greg Foley (398) is two wins away from 400 career-victories beneath the historic Twin Spires while trainer Ian Wilkes is targeting 200 career victories at Churchill Downs (194 wins).
TRICK-OR-TREAT-AT-THE-TRACK OFFERS SAFE HALLOWEEN FUN AT SUNDAY’S FAMILY ADVENTURE DAY – Break out your Halloween costume and bring the kids to Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger for safe trick-or-treating, fun family activities and racing. Churchill Downs and our community partners will pass out more than a ton (2,244 pounds) of candy at 17 booths throughout the first floor of the racetrack between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Kids are encouraged but not required to wear costumes. Parents may wear costumes but masks on adults are prohibited for safety reasons.
Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger offers the usual family fun and games, including the chance to stick horse race on the famous Turf Track, a carousel, petting zoo, bounce houses, bubble station, video game truck, face painting, toddler bounce house, soft play area, mini pony rides, inflatable football toss, soccer fever inflatable game and more!
Tickets are available for $8 in advance at www.churchilldowns.com/tickets
LANERIE, MAKER, RAMSEY’S SET TO DEFEND TITLES IN FALL MEET – Jockey Corey Lanerie, trainer Mike Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey will defend their Fall Meet titles. Lanerie, who rode 31 winners at the 2016 Fall Meet, is seeking to land his 15th riding title at the last 17 meets at Churchill Downs. The native of Lafayette, La. landed his 14th local title with a record 19 wins over last month’s 11-day September Meet. Maker, who won 16 races a year ago for his sixth local title, is celebrating the 10th anniversary of his record-setting 2008 Fall Meet when he won an unprecedented 31 races over 26 days. His primary owners, the Ramseys, secured their 29th title for top owners at Churchill Downs during the September Meet when their red-and-white silks were carried into the G.H. MUMM’s Winner’s Circle five times. Last fall, the Nicholasville, Ky. couple won six Fall Meet races. Overall, they’ve won 474 races at Churchill Downs, which is more than twice as much as their nearest competitor, the famed Overbrook Farm’s 206.
DOWN THE STRETCH – “Inside Churchill Downs” airs Fridays 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. Friday’s guests include Daily Racing Form and NBC Sports’ Jay Privman, private clocker Gary Young and trainer Dallas Stewart. 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/. … Churchill Downs will simulcast the Breeders’ Cup World Championships from Southern California’s Del Mar on Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4. Churchill Downs will run 10 races those days beginning at 2 p.m. and 2:15 p.m., respectively. A simulcast of the 10-race Championship Friday card from Del Mar will begin at 2:25 p.m. and the Breeders’ Cup will cover Races 6-9 (5:25-7:35 p.m.). Championship Saturday’s 12-race program at Del Mar will commence at 1:10 p.m., cover Races 4-12 (Breeders’ Cup starts at 3 p.m.) and culminate with the Grade I, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at 8:35 p.m. The first 5,000 fans in attendance on Saturday, Nov. 4 for a simulcast of the Breeders’ Cup receive a free 2018 Churchill Downs Wall Calendar, presented by Humana. … The 50/50 charitable gaming raffle is back for the Fall Meet. Proceeds from the raffle will go towards charitable organizations that benefit from the Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that helps support the critical work of nonprofits in our industry, make a difference in important public health programs and provide meaningful opportunities in art and education. Visit www.derbygives.com to purchase tickets and for more information. … For more information about Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet visit: https://www.churchilldowns.com/racing-wagering/news/40-things-to-know-about-churchill-downs-fall-meet