Following a 141-day layoff, Coffee Pot Stables’ multiple graded stakes winner Farrell is set for her return to the races in Saturday night’s 42nd running of the $100,000 Dogwood Presented by GE Appliances (Listed) at Churchill Downs.
“We’re excited to get her back to the races,” trainer Wayne Catalano said. “She’s been training great this summer at Saratoga and Churchill so our fingers are crossed.”
Farrell, a 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, was the second-betting choice in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) but did not handle the sloppy surface and finished a well-beaten 14th.
“The good news is rain is out of the picture Saturday,” Catalano said. “Now we get to deal with the heat. She’s a professional, though; she’ll handle it. There’s a lot of speed in the race so it will be interesting how the pace shapes up.”
The weather conditions for Farrell’s comeback start are likely to be ideal. The National Weather Service forecast for Louisville on Saturday calls for sunny skies with a high near 89 and a low around 66, which means the track will be “fast.”
The 11-race evening program – the final nighttime card at Churchill Downs this year – also will include a marquee race for purebred Arabians: the $100,000 President of the United Arab Emirates Cup, a Grade I event over 1 1/16 miles for 4-years-old and up featuring defending champ and two-time reigning Arabian Horse of the Year Paddys Day.
Farrell was the points leader in the 2016-17 Road to the Kentucky Oaks with 171 points after victories in last fall’s $200,000 Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs and an impressive sweep of Fair Grounds’ 3-year-old fillies series: the $150,000 Silverbulletday, $200,000 Rachel Alexandra (GII) and $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks (GII).
Catalano will join Churchill Downs’ John Asher, Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein on Friday at 6 p.m. (all times Eastern) on “Inside Churchill Downs” to discuss Farrell’s comeback start. The show can be heard locally on ESPN 680/105.7 or streamed online at www.espnlouisville.com. Podcasts will be available following the show on ESPN Louisville’s website.
Fellow Kentucky Oaks contender Jordan’s Henny could be one of Farrell’s main threats as she cuts back in distance to seven furlongs and switches surfaces back to dirt from her previous start at Saratoga in the Aug. 24 Riskaverse Stakes on turf.
“Ideally a one-turn mile would be perfect for her,” Tomlinson said. “I think she’ll do just fine going seven furlongs. The real story is the pace that could shape up in this race. There could be several horses contesting things early but the good news is she can rate. Hopefully we’ll be able to run them down and pick up the pieces late.”
Jordan’s Henny, owned and bred by legendary country music manager Erv Woolsey and Ralph Kinder, was targeting the Sept. 24 $200,000 Remington Park Oaks but will remain entered in the Dogwood, according to Tomlinson.
Tequilita, one of the chief rivals to Farrell and Jordan’s Henny, is expected to scratch in favor of running in the $300,000 Charles Town Oaks (Grade III) on Saturday evening, according to Racing Secretary Ben Huffman.
The complete Dogwood field from the rail out (with jockeys and morning line odds): Pinch Hit (Jon Court, 15-1); Champagne Problems (Calvin Borel, 20-1); Tequilita (Luis Saez, 4-1); Nineteenth Street (Alonso Quinonez, 20-1); Too Much Tip (Julio Garcia, 10-1); Minnie Blip (Miguel Mena,15-1); Cara Blythe (Alex Canchari, 20-1); Farrell (Channing Hill, 3-1); Student Body (Brian Hernandez Jr., 12-1); No More Babies (Joe Rocco Jr., 15-1); My Sweet Stella (Ricardo Santana Jr., 15-1); Jordan’s Henny (Corey Lanerie, 12-1); Covenant (Geroux, 4-1); and Perfect Wife (Chris Landeros, 20-1).
All 3-year-old fillies will carry 118 pounds except for Farrell, Tequilita and Too Much Tip, who will tack 122.
The Dogwood, won last year by G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Mines and Magic, will be run as Race 9 at approximately 10:11 p.m. (all times Eastern) on an 11-race card that begins at 6 p.m.
FINLEY’SLUCKYCHARM WORKS BULLET FRIDAY MORNING AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Carl Moore Management LLC’s multiple graded stakes-winning filly Finley’sluckycharm proved her love for the Churchill Downs surface once again by recording a five-furlong bullet workout in 1:00.20 Friday morning at Churchill Downs for trainer Bret Calhoun.
“She really looked great this morning,” said Calhoun, who was noticeably smiling when the 4-year-old daughter by Twirling Candy came off the track. “She’s such a talented horse and has already proven it to us. We’re still on target for the (Oct. 7) Thoroughbred Club of America (Grade II) at Keeneland.”
Finley’sluckycharm began her breeze relatively easy but really picked up the pace down the front stretch.
“When she got to the sixteenth pole she saw a horse finishing their work in front of her and really quickened to try and catch them,” Churchill Downs’ clocker John Nichols said.
Regular jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard Finley’sluckycharm for her Friday breeze at 6:20 a.m. and caught her last quarter mile in :22, according to Calhoun.
“She does everything so well and has such good natural speed that I just have to stay out of her way,” Hernandez Jr. said.
Finley’sluckycharm’s record at Churchill Downs is unblemished in six starts including victories in the April 29 Roxelana, May 27 Winning Colors (GIII) and June 24 Chicago Handicap (GIII).
“She loves the track here at Churchill,” Calhoun said. “It has really been nice to race in our backyard this spring.”
To view the entire Churchill Downs work tab: https://www.churchilldowns.com/horsemen/racing/workouts
EVEN-MONEY FAVORITE PADDYS DAY SET FOR BATTLE VS. EASTER MAN IN SATURDAY’S GRADE I, $100,000 PRESIDENT OF THE UAE CUP – Arguably the most talented Arabian horse in America, Paddys Day, is listed as the even-money favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 President of the UAE Cup (GI) as he attempts to avenge his Delaware Classic Handicap (GI) loss against Easter Man.
“We have a real battle on our hands,” owner/trainer Scott Powell said. “Easter Man has already defeated us two times this year but we’re ready to take another crack at him.”
Powell, primarily based at his Quarter Moon Ranch in New Mexico, traveled to Louisville by van on Thursday with Paddys Day and longshot Risky Red.
“We’re so excited to be back at Churchill Downs,” Powell said. “We had such a great experience last year winning this race and we just hope we can repeat again this year.”
The 6-year-old horse by Burning Sand is known in the Arabian world as a “legend” after winning 22 of his 32 starts, with seven seconds and no thirds, and banking an American Arabian record $485,346. He hasn’t finished worse than second in the United States in nearly three years (Oct. 18, 2014), and has been favored in all but three of his American starts.
“He’s only 6-years-old so he has all the time to improve,” Powell said. “With the purses being cut on Arabian racing in America in the recent years I don’t know if his record will ever be beat. Our main goal is getting back to the UAE and trying our hand once again over there. The racing overseas for Arabians, especially in the UAE, is tough. They run on the turf in the opposite direction and the way the course is configured if you draw outside you’re basically done after the start. The last two years we drew posts 15 and 14. We just hope we can draw a little more inside this year.”
Paddys Day, who will be ridden Saturday by Keiber Coa, will attempt to win his fifth Grade I event of the year and eighth overall. The bay Arabian rolled to a 5 ½-length win in his last start on Sept. 4, the $50,000 Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (GI) over one mile at Monmouth Park, to sweep all three legs of that breed’s Triple Jewel Series.
Betty J. and Joseph A. Gillis’ 5-year-old gray Easter Man (19-9-7-2—$188,965) appears to be Paddys Day’s stiffest competition. The Mississippi-bred son of Burning Sand handed Paddys Day his only two losses this year in a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Delaware Park on July 24 and the 1 ¼-mile Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap (GI) on Aug. 19. Trained by Jerenesto Torrez, Easter Man hasn’t raced since his 9-2 upset over Paddys Day one month ago.
The complete field (with jockeys, assigned weight, and morning line odds): Kao Maloan SWA (Borel, 121 pounds, 20-1); Sand Victor (Alex Canchari, 123, 10-1); Thess Is Awesome (Corey Lanerie, 123, 5-1); Quick And Rich (Joe Rocco Jr., 121, 15-1); Risky Red (Robert Paz, 118, 20-1); Raineing Sand (Florent Geroux, 121, 20-1); Lil Dude AA (Miguel Mena, 121, 20-1); Paddys Day (Coa, 123, Even); and Easter Man (Carol Cedeno, 123, 5-2).
ROMANS VS. MOTT – Trainer Dale Romans became only the second trainer in the history of Churchill Downs to record 700 victories but the South Louisville native is still one win behind Bill Mott’s all-time leading trainer mark at Churchill Downs, trailing 701-700 wins.
Romans does not have any entries Friday but comes with the firepower Sunday, with five horses entered.
Romans: Mizz Tutu (Saturday, Race 1); Bandito (Saturday, Race 6); Finished (Sunday, Race 2); Polar Bear (Sunday, Race 3); Bandito (Sunday, Race 6); Wolf Gourmet (Sunday, Race 9); and Northeast Bound (Sunday, Race 10).
Mott: Super Shack (Friday, Race 10); and Covenant (Saturday, Race 9).
MILESTONE WATCH – Along with the heated-battle between Dale Romans and Bill Mott for the all-time leading trainer honors at Churchill Downs (701-700 wins), trainer Greg Foley (398) is approaching 400 career-victories beneath the historic Twin Spires while trainer Ian Wilkes is targeting 200 career victories at Churchill Downs (193 wins). … Trainer Mike Tomlinson is just one win away from 500 career victories. The Oklahoma native has 499 victories so far in his 28-year career. … Trainer Kenny McPeek became only the seventh trainer to win 400 races at Churchill Downs when True Boots won Thursday’s sixth race.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Break out your bow ties and get ready to sip Kentucky’s finest bourbon while you bet on the world’s greatest Thoroughbreds at this Saturday’s Downs After Dark: Bourbon, Bets and Bow Ties presented by Stella Artois and Woodford Reserve. General admission is $10, reserved seating starts at $20 and dining starts at $70 at www.churchilldowns.com/downsafterdark. Gates open at 5 p.m. with first post at 6 p.m. … The “Who’s the Champ? Handicapping Contest” will be held on Sundays, Sept. 24 and Oct. 1. 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. Registration takes place those days between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on the Clubhouse second floor at the top of the Gate 17 escalators. … On Sundays, Churchill Downs is offering a special “Stakes and Eggs” brunch special in the Stakes Room every. 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. … The 50/50 charitable gaming raffle returns for the September Meet at Churchill Downs. Proceeds from the raffle will go towards charitable organizations that benefit from the Churchill Downs Incorporated Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that helps support the critical work of nonprofits in our industry, make a difference in important public health programs and provide meaningful opportunities in art and education. Visit www.derbygives.com to purchase tickets.