Designated Hitters Racing’s $125,000 Kentucky Juvenile hero Rookie Salsa tops a field of 10 2-year-olds that were entered in Saturday’s 118th running of the $125,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) – part of a trio of stakes races on closing day of the 38-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.
The six-furlong Bashford Manor, carded as Race 11 at 5:59 p.m. (all times Eastern), is the featured event on the 12-race extravaganza to close the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs. Also on the program is the Bashford Manor’s female counterpart, the $125,000 Debutante (Listed) for 2-year-old fillies, and the $120,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes for older sprinters. A total of 137 horses were entered for Saturday’s card, which has a first post of 12:45 p.m.
Rookie Salsa (3-2-0-1—$112,975), trained by Maryland-based conditioner Jeremiah O’Dwyer, rallied from four-lengths off the pace to defeat seven rivals by 1 ½ lengths under jockey Angel Suarez at odds of 27-1 in the five-furlong Kentucky Juvenile on May 1. The Florida-bred son of Two Step Salsa recently finished third in the $150,000 Tremont Stakes on June 7 at Belmont Park. Suarez has the return call on Rookie Salsa, who will break from post position No. 4.
Among the rivals to Rookie Salsa in the Bashford Manor is Bada Beng Racing, Tom Beckerle, Terry Lovingier and Amanda Navarro’s Phantom Boss (2-1-1-0—$55,900), who enters the race after an easy 2 ½-length score in a California-bred maiden special weight contest at Santa Anita. Trained by West Coast conditioner Jorge Periban, regular rider Rafael Bejarano is scheduled to have the mount on Phantom Boss, who drew post 1.
Also entered in the field is Hat Creek Racing’s 3 ¼-length allowance winner Alec and Arthur (3-2-0-1—$104,173), L and N Racing’s stout 4 ¾-length maiden winner Rowdy Yates (1-1-0-0—$30,128) and Arnaldo Monge and Rey Hernandez’ Indiana Grand maiden winner Finnick the Fierce (1-1-0-0—$19,840).
The field for the Bashford Manor from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Phantom Boss (Bejarano, Periban); Snell Yeah (Gabriel Saez, John Ennis); Alec and Arthur (Tyler Gaffalione, John Hancock); Rookie Salsa (Suarez, O’Dwyer); Finnick the Fierce (Abel Lezcano, Rey Hernandez); Silent Malice (Chris Landeros, Pat Byrne); Jamming Cameron (Aaron Court, Tommy Short); Verb (James Graham, Keith Desormeaux); Two Last Words (Corey Lanerie, Tim Glyshaw); and Rowdy Yates (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen).
First run in 1902, the Bashford Manor is named for the former Louisville Thoroughbred breeding and racing farm that dominated the American racing scene in the early 1900s. George J. Long, a wealthy foundry owner, purchased Bashford Manor Farm in 1887 and developed his Thoroughbred operation that provided him two Derby wins as an owner, 1892 (Azra) and 1906 (Sir Huon), and three as a breeder, 1892 (Azra), 1899 (Manuel) and 1906 (Sir Huon). In addition, Bashford Manor also won the Kentucky Oaks in 1894 (Selika) and 1915 (Kathleen). The original Wilder family owned Bashford Manor. The Wilders were direct descendants of Lord Baltimore, whose English home was also called Bashford Manor. Long died in 1930 and the farm was eventually sold in 1973 to make way for the development of a mall complex, fittingly named Bashford Manor, that formally closed in 2003.
Churchill Downs admission gates will open Saturday at 11:45 a.m. General Admission is $5, reserved seating is $12 and reserved dining packages are $41. Tickets can be purchased in advance online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.
Churchill Downs will have a three-day week of racing to close out the Spring Meet (with first race post time, number of races): Thursday (5 p.m., 8 races), Friday (12:45 p.m., 11 races) and Saturday (12:45 p.m., 12 races).
Twilight Thursday presented by Blue Moon will feature eight races with a post time of 5 p.m. along with $1 Blue Moon drafts, $1 domestic draft beer, food trucks, lawn games, one-on-one expert betting advice and live music on the Plaza Stage from Mama Said String Band.
There is a massive $294,725 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot to enter Thursday’s program. The sequence will begin in Race 3. Also on Thursday there is a $6,763 carryover in the $1 Super Hi-5 in Race 8.
Because Saturday is closing day, there will be mandatory payout in the Single 6 Jackpot with all monies distributed to ticket holders with the most winners in the six-race series. Saturday’s Single 6 Jackpot, which only costs 20 cents per combination, will cover Races 7-12 starting at approximately 3:50 p.m. The daily six-race sequence, which has a low 15% takeout, has challenged bettors to select the winners of six consecutive races but the Jackpot pool is only paid if there is a single winning ticket. When multiple tickets contain six winners 90% of that day’s pool is paid out and 10% is added to the Jackpot carryover.
Perennial leading rider Corey Lanerie enters closing week with a 38-29 win lead over Miguel Mena in the Spring Meet jockey standings as he attempts to land his 17th local riding title. Julien Leparoux is third with 27 wins. In the trainer standings, Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen is in pursuit of his 21st Churchill Downs training title with a 27-16 win margin over Eddie Kenneally. Brad Cox is third with 14 wins. The top owner could come down to the final day of racing as five-time Churchill Downs leading owner Maggi Moss holds a one-win cushion over Calumet Farm and Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Churchill Downs’ all-time leading owners and holders of 31 Churchill Downs leading owner titles.