Charles Fipke’s Seeking the Soul has not missed many dances in the last three years and trainer Dallas Stewart hopes his $3.4 million earner will cap his 6-year-old campaign with a victory in the premier race of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs, the $600,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) on Friday, Nov. 29.
“We’re not just looking at the Clark, we want to run,” said a confident Stewart. “We’re back home and that’s where we like it.”
Seeking the Soul is the definition of a “horse for course” at Churchill Downs where he has recorded four victories, two seconds and four thirds in 11 appearances beneath the Twin Spires, including a win in the 2017 Clark and a third-place effort in last year’s event.
The son of Fipke’s prized stallion Perfect Soul (IRE) spent the majority of the last three months in California where he finished seventh in the $1 million Pacific Classic (GI), fourth in the $300,000 Awesome Again (GI) and sixth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).
Seeking the Soul will attempt to become only the fourth horse in 145 years to win the Clark multiple times and the first horse to win the race in non-consecutive years. Horses with multiple wins in the Clark: Hodge (1915-16), Bold Favorite (1968-69) and Bob’s Dusty (1977-78).
Nominations for the 1 1/8-mile Clark close Saturday, Nov. 16. To nominate, call the Churchill Downs Racing Office at (502) 636-4470.
RENAY BOREL CELEBRATES FIRST VICTORY AS TRAINER WITH HUSBAND CALVIN ABOARD – Renay Borel celebrated her first victory as a trainer when $30,000 claimer Flatoutandfoxy defeated a field of seven by 1 ¼ lengths in Wednesday’s fifth race at Churchill Downs.
Owned by Carson McCord, Flatoutandfoxy ($17.80) completed the six-furlong race in 1:11.29 with Renay’s husband, Calvin Borel, in the irons.
“This one is special,” said a jubilant Calvin Borel after the race. “This horse was ready to run today and I’m just so proud of (Renay).”
The win may have been an early birthday present for Calvin, who turned 53 on Thursday.
Renay Borel grew up in Florida and was an exercise rider prior to becoming a trainer. The mother of two has a small string of horses at Trackside Louisville, Churchill Downs’ training facility located five miles from the main track.
BATTAGLIA TABS TRACKSMITH AS 5-1 MORNING LINE FAVORITE IN SATURDAY’S COMMONWEALTH – Veteran oddsmaker Mike Battaglia tabbed Calumet Farm’s Tracksmith as the tepid 5-1 morning line favorite in Saturday’s highly-competitive 16th running of the $175,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Tracksmith (8-3-2-0—$243,533), a 3-year-old son of Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, finished second to Commonwealth rival Spectacular Gem in the $125,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed) in September at Churchill Downs. Trained by Joe Sharp, Tracksmith will be ridden by Brain Hernandez Jr. from post 7.
There are four 6-1 second choices on the morning line: Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins’ $125,000 Ontario Derby (GIII) runner-up Armistice Day; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Jefferson Cup third-place finisher Faraway Kitten; Hooties Racing and WSS Racing’s recent Kentucky Downs allowance winner Mr Dumas; and Candie Baker’s Spectacular Gem.
The 1 1/16-mile Commonwealth, scheduled to be run on the Matt Winn Turf Course, is carded as Saturday’s featured event in Race 10 with a post time of 5:36 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 1 p.m. The temporary rail on the turf course will be taken down for racing on Saturday and will be in Lane 1 on the hedge.
The complete field for the Commonwealth Turf from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, weight and morning line odds): Tobacco Road (Alex Achard, John Ennis, 118 pounds, 50-1); Osage Moon (Miguel Mena, Mark Casse, 118, 12-1); Clint Maroon (GB) (Channing Hill, Wayne Catalano, 120, 10-1); Pirate’s Punch (Robby Albarado, Grant Forster, 118, 20-1); Marquee Prince (Tyler Gaffalione, Brad Cox, 120, 8-1); Spectacular Gem (James Graham, Jimmy Baker, 120, 6-1); Tracksmith (Hernandez, Sharp, 120, 5-1); Tiz Plus (Ricardo Santana Jr., Asmussen, 118, 15-1); Knicks Go (Gabriel Saez, Ben Colebrook, 118, 12-1); Armistice Day (Corey Lanerie, Barbara Minshall, 120, 6-1); Mr Dumas (Joe Rocco Jr., John Ortiz, 118, 6-1); Louder Than Bombs (Alex Canchari, David Fawkes, 118, 8-1); Faraway Kitten (Julien Leparoux, Mike Maker, 123, 6-1); and Journeyman (Declan Cannon, Eoin Harty, 118, 20-1). Should any late scratches occur, the following horses could draw into the field: Proliferate (Chris Landeros, Casse, 118, 15-1); and Clear Vision (Cannon, Jerry O’Dwyer, 118, 8-1).
DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continues Thursday at Churchill Downs where there is a $15,345 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot. The sequence begins in Race 5. First post is 1 p.m. … On Sunday, Churchill Downs will celebrate Military Appreciation Day. We invite any active military or veterans to enjoy a day at the races with a special discounted ticket to Millionaires Row for $29. A portion of the ticket sales will benefit Supplies Over Seas, a locally-based nonprofit organization that has delivered supplies to 105 countries around the world. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.tiketmaster.com/military and use the offer code FTKNOX. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will return to the airwaves Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. Those outside the Louisville area can listen live on www.espnlouisville.com. … Celebrating birthdays this week at Churchill Downs: jockey Calvin Borel (Thursday, 53); trainer Mike Johnson (Thursday, 43); and paddock blacksmith Dennis Evinger (Thursday, 77). … Entering Thursday’s card at Churchill Downs, Randy Morse was two wins away from 1,000-career victories. He had three entries at Churchill Downs and one entry at Remington Park. ... Trainer Steve Asmussen is two wins away from matching Bill Mott’s second-leading win total at Churchill Downs of 715 victories and 20 wins away from tying Dale Romans’ all-time win total of 735. Asmussen had three entries on Thursday.