G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Mines and Magic will target Keeneland’s $250,000 Raven Run (Grade II) on Oct. 22 for her next start following Saturday’s three-quarter-length win in the $100,000 Dogwood Stakes (listed) at Churchill Downs.
“That’s the plan as of right now,” said trainer Vicki Oliver by phone from her Keeneland base. “This is her home track so hope we can get lucky. She looked very good (Sunday) morning, and came out of the race really well.”
The 3-year-old daughter of Mineshaft earned her first stakes victory in the Dogwood, which improved her record over the Churchill Downs main track to a spotless 3-for-3. Her other two victories over the Louisville oval occurred in a May 28 maiden race, in which she won by four lengths, and a June 25 allowance.
POWELL LOOKS AHEAD TO ABU DHABI WITH PADDYS DAY; BOREL TO RIDE – Following Paddys Day’s decisive victory in Saturday night’s $100,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup (Grade I), trainer Scott Powell plans on giving Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel the opportunity to ride his reigning Arabian Horse of the Year in Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan Jewel (GI) on Nov. 6.
“We’re going to Abu Dhabi in November and Calvin is coming,” Powell said. “You know what? We’re going to do some damage. It’s a different game but we’re going to do some damage and we’re going to do our best. We’re pretty tough.”
Powell’s admiration for the three-time Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) jockey began when he guided 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird to an upset victory in the 2009 edition of the Run for the Roses.
“To me, I wanted Calvin because, come on, our ranch is in New Mexico and who won the (2009) Derby with (New Mexico-trained) Mine That Bird? Borel,” Powell said. “It was the most incredible ride ever, and I thought, ‘You know what?’ He’s got three Derbies, he’s stepped up above and beyond what we’ve got but no jockey has a Grade I Arabian stakes race at Churchill and those. Calvin’s the best. We made history.”
Paddys Day earned his third Grade I victory against Arabians this year in the President of the United Arab Emirates Cup. His other two came in the HH Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup Stakes at Sam Houston on Mar. 25 and Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap at Delaware Park on Sept. 10. He boasts a lifetime record of 23-16-5-0 with career earnings of $317,075.
EXPECTED RULER GIVES 21-YEAR-OLD BENSON FIRST CHURCHILL VICTORY – Trainer Liam Benson, a 21-year-old student at the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program earned his first career win as a trainer at Churchill Downs in Saturday night’s opener with Expected Ruler, a 3-year-old son of Leroidesanimaux, who also gave the trainer his first stakes victory in last year’s Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park.
“It was a lot of fun especially since we had a lot of people over from U of L fill up the winners circle,” Benson said. “The horse ran unbelievable. I had a feeling that he was sitting on that race. It was just a matter of getting the race to go and getting a clean trip. (Jockey) Didiel (Osorio) gave him a great ride.”
Expected Ruler entered Saturday’s race off a close fourth in Saratoga’s Quick Call Stakes on Aug. 4 where he was 1 ¾ lengths behind Holding Gold. His last victory came during Keeneland’s Spring Meet in April against allowance company when he was 16-1.
“It was definitely a confidence booster for him,” Benson said. “I don’t have the slightest idea what we’re going to do next. We’re kind of limited with the whole turf sprint thing. He might end up on the dirt at some point going short. He’s more likely to go short on the dirt than long on the turf anytime soon. He’s nominated to the (Grade III, $150,000) Woodford (at Keeneland on Oct. 8), but 14 days is a little tight for what I would like. (Saturday)’s race didn’t take anything out of him though. I gave him a little more than a full feed (Saturday) night and he devoured it.”
DOWN THE STRETCH – The Single 6 Jackpot carryover is up to $40,737 for Sunday’s 10-race program. The six-race sequence will cover Races 5-10 starting at 2:45 p.m. … The fields for Saturday’s three stakes races will be drawn Wednesday. Known probable starters for the $175,000 Lukas Classic, a 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up, according to track stakes coordinator Dan Bork: Bradester, Breaking Lucky, Bullards Alley, Hawaakom, Honorable Duty, Noble Bird and Rocket Time. Probables for the $100,000 Jefferson Cup (listed), a one-mile turf event for 3-year-olds: Baharona, Bondurant, Conquest Daddyo, Cutacorner, Don’t Be So Salty, Keystoneforvictory, Surgical Strike and Zapperini. The $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap (GIII), a one-mile event on the main track for 3-year-olds an up will likely attract reigning Champion Sprinter Runhappy and Schivarelli. … Thursday is the final “Twilight Thursday” of the year at Churchill Downs. Fans can enjoy Thoroughbred racing and $1 beers after work in the Paddock Plaza. Gates open at 4 p.m. (all times Eastern) and the first race is 5 p.m. Live music will be performed by BoogieJuice. There also will be food trucks (Red Top Gourmet Hot Dogs, Holy Mole, Mark’s Feed Store, 502 Café and Pollo) and Betting 101 tips from resident handicappers in Churchill Downs’ Plaza from 5-8 p.m. … After Thursday, post time for Friday, Saturday and closing day Sunday will be 12:45 p.m.