Trainer Kenny McPeek has a trio of stakes entrants on Friday Night’s “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” program at Churchill Downs including juveniles Ten City and Sunny Skies in the $100,000 Bashford Manor Presented by GE Appliances (Grade III) and $100,000 Debutante Presented by Finlandia Vodka (Listed) respectively, and The Truth Or Else in the $70,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes.
“We’re in for an exciting night,” assistant trainer Jeff Hiles said. “It’s a great feeling going into a card where you have several horses with live chances to win.”
Tommie Lewis’ Ten City impressed onlookers in his April 19 debut at Keeneland, as he cruised to a seven-length maiden special weight victory.
“The way he won his debut was extremely impressive,” Hiles said. “He was a little green but won easily.”
Purchased for just $12,000 at the 2016 Fasig Tipton October sale, Ten City’s pedigree could show a lot of promise for the early stages of his career. Ten City’s sire, Run Away and Hide, was a perfect three 3-for-3 that included a victory in the 2008 Kentucky Stakes (now known as the Kentucky Juvenile).
“I had a chance to watch Ten City (at Keeneland this spring) and he showed talented on Day One,” Churchill Downs’ clocker John Nichols said. “He was better than his company from the gate up there; he went (four furlongs in) :47 or something from the gate in hand and looked like a freak the way he won that day at Keeneland. He was on the outside and he just drew off. Robby (Albarado) just took him in hand late. He seems like a pretty nice colt, really.”
The Bashford Manor field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): I’m Corfu (Arienne Cox, 12-1); Hardworkcleanlivin (Channing Hill, 6-1); Mo Diddley (Corey Lanerie, 5-2); Fig Jelly (Sophie Doyle, 12-1); Copper Bullet (Florent Geroux, 8-5); and Ten City (Albarado, 2-1).
In the Debutante, Normandy Farm’s Sunny Skies, the first starter and winner in the Northern Hemisphere for sire Animal Kingdom, was a nine-length wire-to-wire victor on her debut April 27 at Keeneland.
“Just like Ten City, Sunny Skies was another very impressive debut winner,” Hiles said. “It’s exciting to have these promising juveniles in your barn at this time of the year, especially running at Churchill.”
Sunny Skies is the co-second choice on the morning line at 4-1 and will be ridden again by Albarado.
The Debutante field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line): Sunny Skies (Albarado, 4-1); Rockin Royalty (Channing Hill, 20-1); Upset Brewing (Shaun Bridgmohan, 20-1); Red Dread (Arienne Cox, 30-1); Caroline the Great (Eddie Martin Jr., 20-1); She’s a Julie (Florent Geroux, 4-1); Patrona Margarita (Chris Landeros, 8-1); Genuwine (Sophie Doyle, 50-1); Amberspatriot (Paco Lopez, 7-2); Therighttobeararms (James Graham, 30-1); Lady O’Toole (Corey Lanerie, 9-2); Chelada (Jesus Castanon, 30-1); and Waki Patriot (Jon Court, 5-1).
To close out the stakes action for McPeek, Harold Lerner and Magdalena Racing’s The Truth Or Else is set to face Limousine Liberal once again, this time in the Kelly’s Landing.
“Maybe the third time will be the charm,” Hiles said. “We keep hooking Limousine Liberal but I think The Truth Or Else is finally figuring out what he wants to do. Channing (Hill) rode him great in the Aristides in his last start and got to know what type of horse he is. We originally thought he’d come with one run from behind horses but I think he’s more of a grinder and the distance in the Kelly’s Landing should fit him perfectly.”
The Truth Or Else was the fifth-place finisher in the $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes (GII) on May 6 and third-place finisher in the $100,000 Aristides (GIII) on June 3. Both races were won by Limousine Liberal.
The 5-year-old horse by Yes It’s True has a career record of 30-6-3-7—$589,456 and is listed as the 6-1 co-third choice on Mike Battaglia’s morning line.
The Kelly’s Landing field from the rail out (with jockey and morning line): Wabel (Brian Hernandez Jr., 15-1); Hebbronville (Joe Rocco Jr., 20-1); The Player (Shaun Bridgmohan, 6-1); Limousine Liberal (Robby Albarado, 9-5); Recount (Chris Landeros, 5-1); Easy to Say (James Graham, 30-1); Fish Trappe Road (Gabriel Saez, 20-1); Vaporman (Didiel Osorio, 30-1); Woodland Walk (Miguel Mena, 30-1); Schivarelli (Julien Leparoux, 12-1); The Truth Or Else (Hill, 6-1); Bayerd (Florent Geroux, 12-1); Solitary Ranger (Rogelio Miranda, 50-1); and Wyeth (Corey Lanerie, 10-1).
Limousine Liberal will carry 123 pounds while the others will tote 121.
ROMANS CHASES MOTT TO BECOME CHURCHILL DOWNS’ ALL-TIME LEADING TRAINER – South Louisville native Dale Romans is on the verge of surpassing Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott as the all-time leading trainer in races won at historic Churchill Downs. Romans will begin Wednesday’s action trailing Mott, 701 wins to 698.
“We’ll try and get it this week,” Romans said. “Obviously we’ll get a better idea if we should get excited after Wednesday night. If we don’t get it this week, September is right around the corner.”
Romans has nine horses entered in five races over the final three days, while Mott has two entries.
Romans’ Wednesday-Friday entries:
Wednesday Race 4 (6:27 p.m.): #3 Hollywood Star (9-2)
Wednesday Race 7 (7:54 p.m.): #2 Flying Tipat (5-2)
Thursday Race 5 (6:56 p.m.): #11 Awesome Nona (15-1)
Thursday Race 8 (8:23 p.m.): #5 Tarpys Zapper (6-1)
Thursday Race 8 (8:23 p.m.): #11 Ntestinalfortitude (2-1)
Friday Race 7 (9:05 p.m.): #11 Iconic (3-1)
Friday Race 7 (9:05 p.m.): #14 Mascarpone (20-1)
Friday Race 11 (11:10 p.m.): #1 Victor Again (10-1)
Friday Race 11 (11:10 p.m.): #5 Laughing Levin (30-1)
Mott’s Wednesday-Friday entries:
Wednesday Race 7 (7:54 p.m.): #3 Wessex (7-2)
Thursday Race 2 (5:29 p.m.): #2 Starship Zeus (7-2)
Romans, who returned to Louisville on Sunday night after judging a yearling competition in Maryland, is scheduled to be in the paddock for Wednesday evening’s fourth and seventh races.
ONLY THREE DAYS LEFT AT SPRING MEET – Only three racing days and 28 races at Churchill Downs’ 38-day Spring Meet. Billed as “Sunset Stretch,” the final three days will feature twilight racing on Wednesday and Thursday and culminate with “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” on Friday under the lights.
Wednesday’s eight-race card and Thursday’s nine-race program have a first post of 5 p.m. (all times Eastern) and feature $1 draft beer, live music, food trucks and a Wagering 101 area.
Downs After Dark closes out the meet with an 11-race program featuring the $100,000 Bashford Manor Presented by GE Appliances (Grade III), $100,000 Debutante Presented by Finlandia Vodka and the $70,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes.
SINGLE-6 JACKPOT ENTERS WEDNESDAY AT $131,373 – A highlight of the meet’s final three days is the 20-cent minimum Single-6 Jackpot wager, which resumes in Wednesday’s third race with a carryover pool of $131,373. The Single-6 requires a single winning ticket to pay-out its entire pool, but if there is no individual winner on Wednesday or Thursday, the entire pool must be paid out on Friday’s wager to players who have the most winners on their Single-6 tickets.
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 20 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.
Wednesday’s Single-6 is scheduled for Races 3-8 starting at 5:58 p.m. Thursday’s Single-6 will cover Races 4-9 at 6:27 p.m. Friday 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 5-10 starting at approximately 7:57 p.m.
DOWNS AFTER DARK THEME IS ‘DOWNS DOES THE DECADES’ – Churchill Downs will conclude its Spring Meet with one of Louisville’s biggest summer parties on Friday night as the track stages “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka.” The theme for the nighttime racing program is “Downs Does the Decades” in which guests are encouraged to dress in their favorite attire from the 1950s to the ’90s.
General admission to Churchill Downs is $10 on Friday night. Box seats are $25 and reserved dining packages are $70. They can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets. New this year is the Guest Chef Series @ Millionaire’s Row, which will showcase Chef Patrick Roney of Harvest. The $149 tickets include a specially-designed menu by Roney and a full-bar package featuring specialty cocktails by Finlandia Vodka. All ticket options can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets.
The evening’s entertainment includes music on the Plaza Stage courtesy of The Wannabeatles from 6-7:30 p.m., Tony & The Tan Lines from 7:30-11 p.m. and DJ Matt Anthony from 11 p.m. until midnight. There also will be a decades-inspired fashion contest, disco and cocktail demonstrations, Kentucky’s largest disco ball, the Magbooth Retro Bus Photo Booth and “Bet or No Bet” where four lucky fans can take $100 in cash or place a free $1,000 win bet on a horse in Races 6-9.
Admission gates will open Friday at 5 p.m. and the first of 11 races will begin at 6 p.m. The final live race will be 11:10 p.m. but the on-track party will continue in the spacious Plaza area until midnight.
MEET LEADERS – With just three days left at the 38-day Spring Meet, 12-time Churchill Downs leading rider Corey Lanerie is positioned to snare another crown with a comfortable 56-42 lead over Brian Hernandez Jr. A triumph would mean 42-year-old Lanerie has won 13 of the last 15 riding titles at Churchill Downs since the 2012 Spring Meet and would be the second-most in track history only behind legendary Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day’s 34 local championships. The Top 10 jockeys are rounded out by Julien Leparoux (25), Florent Geroux (24), James Graham (22), Miguel Mena (20), Ricardo Santana Jr. (17), Chris Landeros (13), Joe Rocco Jr. (12), Didiel Osorio (11) and Gabriel Saez (11).
Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen is poised to collect his record-extending 18th Churchill Downs training title. The 51-year-old horseman entered closing week with a 22-18 lead over Ian Wilkes, who finished in a tie for second (10 wins) at the 2016 Fall Meet. Tom Amoss was third with 16 wins and was followed by Brad Cox (15), Dale Romans (15), J.R. Caldwell (13), Mike Maker (13), Brendan Walsh (12), Chris Hartman (9), Al Stall Jr. (8) and Mike Tomlinson (8).
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who seek to be the leading owners at Churchill Downs for a record-extending 29th time, trail Maggi Moss by one, 10-9, as she tries to upend the track’s perennial leaders. Moss seeks her fourth title at Churchill Downs after previously winning Spring Meet crowns in 2007, ’10 and ’14. Rigney Racing LLC and Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC are tied for third with six wins each, and are followed by Asmussen (4), Calumet Farm (4) and Chris Wilkins (4).
DOWN THE STRETCH – All Pro Championships will hold their annual Triple Crown merchandise sale in the Churchill Downs barn area next to the Recreation Hall and basketball court on Friday from 8 a.m. to noon. Brand name polos, jackets, sweatshirts, t-shirts, caps, collector’s glasses, shot glasses, pins, mugs, performance hoodies, full-zip fleeces and ladies’ fashions will be discounted by 70 to 80 percent from their regular price.