Flurry Racing Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Mr. Misunderstood is set to return from a seven-month layoff in a $104,000 conditioned allowance contest Thursday evening at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Brad Cox, Mr. Misunderstood has not been seen since his gutsy half-length score in the Nov. 17 River City Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old gelded son of Archarcharch is a perfect 4-for-4 over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
“This will be a good spot to get him back started this year,” owner Staton Flurry said. “We hope he returns to his old self and this race will kick start his year.”
Named after the Eric Church hit song and album, Mr. Misunderstood originally was listed as a possible entrant to defend his title in the $250,000 Wise Dan (GII) last Saturday but Cox opted for Thursday’s race instead. Mr. Misunderstood, who has been regularly training at Churchill Downs since April, breezed an easy half-mile in :50.20 Saturday at 5:30 a.m. under the watchful eye of assistant trainer Jorje Abrego.
“That’s exactly the work we were looking for,” Abrego said. “Nice and easy. He’s ready to run.”
First post Thursday is 5 p.m. and Mr. Misunderstood will head to the post in Race 2, run at 1 1/8-miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, at 5:29 p.m. The field of six older horses, plus one main track only contender, includes Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s five-time winner Soglio and Mr. Misunderstood’s stablemate, Steve Landers Racing’s stakes winner Big Changes.
Mr. Misunderstood is listed at 4-5 on the morning line and will be ridden by Florent Geroux.
IMPRESSIVE 2-YEAR-OLD FILLY FRANK’S ROCKETTE CRUISES IN DEBUT BY 8 ¾ LENGTHS – Frank Fletcher Racing Operation’s precocious 2-year-old filly Frank’s Rockette cruised to an 8 ¾-length debut score in Race 1 Friday and earned an impressive 93 Brisnet speed rating.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux and trained by Bill Mott, Frank’s Rockette tracked from just off of the early pace in the five-furlong maiden special weight contest before taking over in the stretch and winning under a hand ride with a final time of :57.27. Frank’s Rockette recorded the ninth fastest 2-year-old five-furlong clocking at Churchill Downs in the last 50 years, according to Brisnet.com. Frank’s Rockette’s 93 speed rating is the seventh fastest 2-year-old rating in 2019.
“She was headed on the van to Saratoga at the eighth pole,” Mott’s locally-based assistant Kenny McCarthy joked. “She’ll actually be headed up to Bill’s string at Saratoga Sunday along with (Fleur de Lis winner) Elate. Those type of horses are a lot of fun to be around. Bill’s 100 percent with his 2-year-old starters this year. We’ll see if we can keep that percentage that high.”
Frank’s Rockette rewarded her backers at odds of 5-2 and returned $7.60.
MILESTONE WATCH – Trainer Steve Asmussen entered Saturday’s 11-race program at Churchill Downs only one win away from becoming only the third trainer to achieve 700 career victories beneath the Twin Spires. The others are Dale Romans (728) and Bill Mott (715). Asmussen had 10 entries Saturday across nine races: Tobacco Road (Race 1, 2-1); Jerusalem (Race 2, 6-1); Oxburger (Race 4, 4-1); Absolute Love (Race 5, 8-1); Mad Grace (Race 5, 6-1); Into a Hot Spot (Race 6, 5-2); Develite (Race 7, 10-1); Clever Serve (Race 8, 5-1); Rocky Tough (Race 9, 3-1); and Mia Mischief (Race 10, 8-5). Along with Asmussen’s milestone, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. is only five wins away form 600 career victories at Churchill Downs.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Five racing days remain at the Spring Meet. Closing day is next Saturday. … The track was rated “fast” for training Saturday from 5:30-7 a.m. until a large thunderstorm hit the Louisville area and left the track “sloppy” for the remainder of training. … Saturday’s program featured a massive $273,495 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot. The sequence covers Races 6-11 at 3:18 p.m. … Sunday is Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger. There will be more than 20 fun activities for kids under 12 in the Plaza, a family viewing area to watch live racing and special family ticket packages that start at $10 in advance (children under 2 are admitted free). The theme is “Get Outdoors” and families can learn about all that Louisville’s great outdoors has to offer with activities from The Parklands of Floyds Fork, Louisville Parks and Recreation, Kentucky Department of Agriculture and more. Additional event features include stick horse races, a petting zoo, mini pony rides, face painting, bounce houses, an obstacle course, corn hole, a bubble station, as well as a special area for children under 3. For more information or tickets, visit www.churchilldowns.com/tickets.