Richard and Bert Klein’s Cash Control, winner of Churchill Downs’ $100,000 Old Forester Mint Julep Handicap (Grade III) this summer, heads the list of probable starters for next Saturday’s $100,000 Cardinal Handicap (GIII), a 1 1/8-mile turf event for fillies and mares.
The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile boats a record of 6-4-0-2 over the Churchill Downs turf course and will be in search of her first win since winning the Old Forester Mint Julep by a head over stable mate Sweet Acclaim (IRE). Since then, she has finished second twice as a favorite in the $103,300 Indiana General Assembly Distaff at Indiana Grand on July 16 and the $348,666 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes on Sept. 3. In her most recent effort, she was sixth behind Photo Call (IRE) in Keeneland’s $400,000 First Lady (GI) on Oct. 8.
“It’ll be a big class relief,” said trainer Brad Cox. “We breezed her last Sunday on the grass (a half-mile in :48.20) and she went great. She likes this turf course and always seems to run well on it. Most of her better races have been on this turf course. Hopefully it’s not too tough. We’ll see what happens. If it’s a similar field than the one we beat this summer then I think we’ll be highly competitive.”
Cox believes that the 5-year-old mare hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down and will likely race next year as a 6-year-old.
“As long as she’s doing well she’ll probably stay in training next year,” Cox said. “We’ll continue on with her at age 6. She’s been rocking and rolling pretty well since last summer so hopefully she maintains.”
Other known probable entrants for the Cardinal Handicap, according to Churchill Downs stakes coordinator Dan Bork include Annulment, Lady Fog Horn and No Fault of Mine.
THIRSTFORLIFE MAY BYPASS DELTA JACKPOT IN FAVOR OF KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB – Trainer Mark Casse is on the fence on whether to run his 2-year-old Thirstforlife, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01 Saturday morning, in the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (Grade III) on Saturday, Nov. 19 or scratch from the race in favor of the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 26.
“He breezed (Saturday) morning and went real well,” Casse said. “We entered him in the Delta Downs Jackpot but we’ll make a decision probably (Sunday) on whether or not he’ll stay there or run in the Kentucky Jockey Club.”
The homebred son of Stay Thirsty was victorious against a competitive allowance field at Keeneland last time out when he defeated Just Move On and Society Beau, who came back to run one-two in a first-level allowance on Thursday. His most recent Churchill Downs start was a well-beaten fifth in the Iroquois (GIII) on Sept. 17.
“That’s a lot better race than I thought,” Casse said. “Earlier I was saying to (son and assistant) Norman that maybe his race here in the Iroquois when he ran against (trainer) Dale’s (Romans) horse (Not This Time) wasn’t that bad when he was down inside in the mud. Everybody’s got to run to beat McCraken, he’s a nice horse. He’ll be tough if we go in the Jockey Club.”
Casse went on to say that Dream Dancing, who breezed five furlongs in 1:02.40 on Saturday morning, would likely point to the $200,000 Golden Rod (GII) on Nov. 26 along with stable mate Valadorna, who was a late-closing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI).
OSORIO ENJOYING PROSPEROUS FALL MEET – The Churchill Downs Fall Meet has been a successful one for jockey Didiel Osorio, who has five wins on the meet and has been in the money 35-percent % of the time.
“I’ve had a beautiful meet so far,” Osorio, 21, said. “We’ve got two more weeks to go so hopefully it keeps on going. The horses have been running in the right spots. I’ve been riding a lot for (trainer) Ingrid (Mason) lately and she’s been a big help. We’re going to start getting on horses for (trainer) Keith (Bourgeois).”
Osorio’s agent Jose Santos, Jr., son of Hall of Fame rider Jose Santos, echoed those sentiments.
“We’ve just been working hard ever since the Ellis meet started,” Santos said. “We had a good meet down there and won 20 races. We were only six wins behind leading rider so it was real condensed. We did real well and came back here and had the highest win percentage, had a great Keeneland meet and it’s just been transferring. He’s been out here working every morning and he’s riding great right now. More people want to use him and we’re happy to ride for them, that’s for sure.”
Friday afternoon, Osorio’s mount in the finale, Secrets of Summer, lit up the tote board and paid $56.60 to win.
“That was exciting,” Osorio said. “He broke real sharp and I saw a lot of speed in the front and when he turned for home he had a ton of horse.”
Following Churchill’s Fall Meet, Osorio plans on riding the Holiday Meet at Turfway Park in December before heading to Hot Springs, Ark. to ride at Oaklawn Park.
WORKTAB – The D. Wayne Lukas-trained 4-year-old filly Super Saks recorded her fourth breeze since finishing fourth in the Grade III Winning Colors in May. She clocked five furlongs in 1:01. … Richard and Bert Klein’s 2-year-old colt Will Call, a 13 ¼ length debut winner at Indiana Grand, breezed four furlongs in :49.60. The Kentucky-bred son of Country Day is trained by Brad Cox. … Multiple stakes winner Alsvid breezed five furlongs in :58.80 for trainer Chris Hartman. … Frank Jones and William Pacella’s Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine, unraced since an eighth-place finish in the Grade I Secretariat in August, breezed five furlongs in 1:02 for trainer Dale Romans. … The Romans-trained 3-year-old filly Go Maggie Go also breezed five-eighths of a mile in 1:02. The Black-Eyed Susan (GII) winner is unraced since finishing sixth in the Grade I Alabama at Saratoga in August.
SINGLE 6 JACKPOT – There’s a nine-day carryover of $34,395 in the 20-cent minimum Single 6 Jackpot for Saturday, and the sequence covers Races 6-11 starting at 3:30 p.m. EST. The Single 6 Jackpot, which features a low 15-percent takeout, will be paid out only if there is a single winning wager with six winners placed at the required minimum bet value. If there are multiple winning wagers with six winners in the six-race sequence, 90 percent of the net money wagering into the pool will be paid out, and the remaining 10 percent will carry to the Single 6 Jackpot. If there are no tickets will all six winners, 100 percent of the pool will carry to the Single 6 Jackpot. There will be a mandatory payout on closing day.
MEET LEADERS – Julien Leparoux scored a riding triple Friday – Spanish Arch ($3), Coco Mon ($5.40) and Laythatpistoldown ($14.80) – to move into a three-way tie for third in the Fall Meet jockey standings. Corey Lanerie leads the colony with 11 wins. Brian Hernandez Jr. is second with nine. Leparoux, Shaun Bridgmohan and Joe Rocco Jr. are third with seven wins each. … Mike Maker won saddled two winners Friday – Spanish Arch ($3) and Touch of Bling ($4.20) – to tie Rusty Arnold atop the trainer standings with six wins apiece. Eddie Kenneally is third with five victories. … Eight owners have two wins at the Fall Meet: Glenn S. Bromagen’s Ashbrook Farm; John E. Cox; John Greathouse’s Glencrest Farm LLC and Joe Minor’s JSM Equine LLC; Robert O’Hara Jr. and Gwyneth Gower; Randy Patterson; Ken and Sarah Ramsey; Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust; and William Stiritz.
MILESTONE WATCH – After winning Friday’s opener with Blacklash, jockey Jon Court will enter Saturday’s action three wins shy of 4,000 career wins. … Trainer Paul McGee needs five victories to reach 1,000 career wins. … Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott is four wins away from becoming the first trainer to saddle 700 career wins at Churchill Downs. Dale Romans is approaching Mott’s all-time local win record. Mott has a 696-679 lead over Romans.
DELTA DOWNS JACKPOT – The $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot (Grade III) on Saturday, Nov. 19 is the next scoring race on the 2017 “Road to the Kentucky Derby” – the series of 35 races that will ultimately determine the field for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) on Saturday, May 6. Points awarded to the Top 4 Delta Downs Jackpot finishers will be 10-4-2-1 as part of the 19-race “Prep Season” that showcases foundation-building races in advance of the “Kentucky Derby Championship Series,” which begins in late February.
Churchill Downs-based jockeys Robby Albarado, Florent Geroux, Channing Hill, Corey Lanerie and Julien Leparoux have been named on mounts to ride the Louisiana track’s stakes-laden program.
The 1 1/16-mile Delta Downs Jackpot field from the rail out (with jockeys): Pat On the Back (Albarado), Line Judge (C.J. McMahon), Thirstforlife (Geroux), Our Stormin Norman (Leparoux), Dangerfield (Flavien Prat), Gunnevera (Javier Castellano), Balandeen (Channing Hill), Hot Sean (Martin Pedroza), J Boys Echo (Lanerie) and Tip Tap Tapizar (Gerard Melancon).
A trio of entries had Saturday morning breezes at Churchill Downs: the Chris Hartman-trained Street Sense runner-up Balandeen (four furlong in :47.40), the Dale Romans-trained Keeneland maiden winner J Boys Echo (five furlongs in 1:01.40) and the Mark Casse-trained Keeneland allowance winner Thirstforlife (five furlongs in 1:01).
The card also includes the $400,000 Delta Downs Princess for 2-year-old fillies at one mile, which is part of the 2017 “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” (Top 4 Points: 10-4-2-1). The field: Golden Mischief (Melancon), Jilly (Pedroza), Caroline Test (Leparoux), Forest Circle (Colby Hernandez), Flatter Up (McMahon), San Antonio Stroll (Ted Gondron), Chanel’s Legacy (Albarado), Shane’s Girlfriend (Prat), Cajun Delta Dawn (Juan Leyva) and Dude Fantasy (Tyler Gaffalione).
NOMINATIONS TO CLOSING WEEKEND STAKES CLOSE SATURDAY NIGHT – Nominations for Churchill Downs’ six graded stakes events over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend close Saturday at 11:59 p.m. EST.
The anchor of the lucrative weekend comes on “Black Friday,” Nov. 25 with the 142nd running of the $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI). The 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds and up annually lures some of the top older horses in North America.
Also added to this day is the 26th running of the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (GII), a prominent 1 1/16-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies, which previously was run earlier in the meet.
The 101st running of the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (GII) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles and the 39th running of the $100,000 River City Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf highlight Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs. Racing on Thanksgiving Day (first race at 11:30 a.m.) has been a Louisville tradition at Churchill Downs since 1969 where more than 7,000 turkey dinners are served with all the trimmings, making it the largest number anywhere in the region.
Saturday, Nov. 26 – the penultimate day of the Fall Meet – is “Stars of Tomorrow II,” a 12-race program entirely devoted to 2-year-olds. The marquee events are a pair of Grade II, $200,000, 1 1/16-mile races: the open Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod for fillies that are part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks series which award points to the Top 4 finishers (10-4-2-1).
‘INSIDE CHURCHILL DOWNS’ AIRS SUNDAY ON ESPN 680 AT 9 A.M. – “Inside Churchill Downs,” co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein, will air Sunday from 9-10 a.m. (all times Eastern) on ESPN 680/105.7. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/. Podcasts of the shows also will be available on the station’s website.
‘STAKES AND EGGS’ SUNDAY BRUNCH – Throughout the Fall Meet, Churchill Downs is offering a special “Stakes and Eggs” brunch special in the newly-renovated Stakes Room every Sunday. The $45 package for adults and $22 package for children includes a seat in the Stakes Room on the fourth floor of the Clubhouse and all-you-can-eat access to the brunch menu that includes an omelet station, scrambled eggs, biscuits and country gravy, French toast, hot brown, carved country ham, crispy bacon, sausage patties, hash brown potatoes with peppers and onions, fresh fruit, garden vegetables, breakfast breads and a chef’s dessert display. Gates on Sundays open at noon and the first race is 1 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets, in person at the Gate 1 box office or by calling (502) 636-4400.
WHO’S THE CHAMP? HANDICAPPING CONTEST RETURNS SUNDAY – The “Who’s the Champ? Handicapping Contest” returns Sunday. Interested participants can enter for $35 ($30 for TSC Elite members) for a chance to win the $1,000 cash voucher first prize by placing mythical $2 win and place bets on Races 3-8. Second place receives a $500 voucher and third place is worth a $200 voucher. The entry fee also includes a meal voucher and official program. Registration takes place between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the Clubhouse second floor at the top of the Gate 17 escalators. “Who’s the Champ?” also will take place on Sunday, Nov. 20.
SENIOR DAY ON WEDNESDAY – Wednesday is Senior Day at Churchill Downs with a discounted Millionaires Row offer for seniors age 60 and up.
KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGERS RETURN ON CLOSING WEEKEND – The first pools of the 2017 Kentucky Derby Future Wager will be offered Nov. 24-27. The traditional pool with 23 individual wagering interests and an “all others” option will return, and so will the Kentucky Derby Sire Future Wager, which debuted last year and requires bettors to wager on the winning sire for next year’s Kentucky Derby winner. The complete schedule for Future Wager dates: Pool 1 and Sire Future Wager, Nov. 24-27; Pool 2, Jan. 27-29; Pool 3 and Oaks Future Wager, Feb. 24-26; and Pool 4, March 31-April 2.
50/50 CHARITABLE GAMING RAFFLE SET FOR CLARK HANDICAP DAY – Churchill Downs will host a 50/50 Charitable Gaming Raffle on “Black Friday,” Nov. 25 with half of the raffle proceeds to benefit the Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation’s charitable initiatives.