Sagamore Farm’s eye-popping 10 ¼-length Pimlico maiden winner Recruiting Ready headlines a field of nine 2-year-old colts and geldings entered in Saturday night’s 115th running of the $100,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) – the first of three stakes events on closing night of Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet.
The six-furlong Bashford Manor is the first of three stakes events on a deep 11-race nighttime card billed as “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Jack Daniel’s.” Admission gates open Saturday at 5 p.m. (all times Eastern), the first race is 6 p.m. and the “Downs After Dark” theme is “My Country ’Tis of Thee” in which guests are encouraged dress in their finest red, white and blue to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend and enjoy draft beer, specialty cocktails, BBQ, food trucks, “Bet or No Bet Presented by Thorntons” and live music by local country band Wildwood.
The Bashford Manor – one of Churchill Downs’ most storied races – kick-starts the stakes tripleheader in Race 7 at approximately 9:05 p.m. The $100,000 Debutante, a listed six-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies, goes as Race 8 at 9:39 p.m. The $67,000-added Kelly’s Landing, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled as Race 10 at 10:42 p.m.
Because it’s closing night, there is a mandatory payout in Churchill Downs’ 20-cent minimum Single 6 Jackpot, which began the week with a $671,761 carryover. Since May 13, the daily six-race sequence has challenged bettors to select the winners of six consecutive races but the Jackpot pool only is paid if there is a single winning ticket. When multiple tickets contain six winners – which has been the case for each of the last 28 race days – 90 percent of that day’s pool is paid out and 10 percent is added to the Jackpot carryover. Takeout on the Single 6 Jackpot is just 15 percent, which is one of the lowest multi-race wager takeout rates in American racing.
Saturday night’s Single 6 Jackpot, including any added money in the carryover, will be paid to ticket holders with the most winners in the six-race series, which covers Races 4-9 starting at approximately 7:26 p.m.
Recruiting Ready is certain to be included on numerous Single 6 Jackpot tickets.
Based in Maryland, Recruiting Ready won his May 28 debut at Pimlico with overwhelming authority as the odds-on 3-5 favorite under Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado. The 2-year-old son of freshman sire Algorithms sizzled along the inside through an opening quarter-mile in :22.39, opened up after a half-mile in :45.52 and crossed the finish line in :51.78 for 4 ½ furlongs, which was just .28 off champion Countess Diana’s 1997 track record of :51.50.
Horacio DePaz trains the promising colt for Sagamore Farm’s Kevin Plank, the founder and CEO of Under Armour who purchased Recruiting Ready for $110,000 at Keeneland’s September yearling sale. Recruiting Ready was bred in Kentucky by legendary Claiborne Farm.
“He’s got a lot of talent,” said DePaz, Sagamore Farm’s private trainer since March 2015 who is seeking his first career stakes win. “He’s a very talented horse.”
Recruiting Ready is comfortably drawn on the outside for the Bashford Manor and will ridden again by Prado, who flies in for the mount.
Chief among Recruiting Ready’s rivals will be Patricia’s Hope LLC’s Riv, a 4 ¼-length debut winner over Arlington Park’s Polytrack for trainer Larry Rivelli; Jerry Durant and Bill Jordan’s Texas invader U S Officer, who won by three lengths at 4-5 odds for trainer Danny Pish at Lone Star Park; and Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s locally-based Louisiana-bred Tip Tap Tapizar, who prevailed by 3 ¼ lengths on June 11 to pay $18.40 to win – one of four 2-year-old winners for trainer Steve Asmussen at the Spring Meet.
Asmussen has won the Bashford Manor four times – Lunarpal (2004), Kodiak Kowboy (2007), Kantharos (2010) and Cinco Charlie (2014) – and another victory would equal Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ record for the race.
The Bashford Manor field from the rail out (with jockeys): Classic Empire (Julien Leparoux), Boys From Boston (Eric Camacho), Tip Tap Tapizar (Ricardo Santana Jr.), My Golden Aura (Francisco Torres), Riv (Jose Valdivia Jr.), U S Officer (Corey Lanerie), Capt. Grider (Miguel Mena), Raising Rumors (Brian Hernandez Jr.) and Recruiting Ready (Edgar Prado).
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.
General admission to Churchill Downs is $10 on Saturday night. Box seats are $25 and reserved dining packages are $70. They can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.