While polished Churchill Downs jockeys Robby Albarado, Florent Geroux, Corey Lanerie and Julien Leparoux were at Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Drayden Van Dyke travelled away from his Southern California base to secure mounts at the Louisville track, which resulted in a trio of victories.
The 21-year-old Louisville native enjoyed success with Recount and Allidoisdreamofyou in Churchill’s first and fourth races on Friday afternoon. The following day, Van Dyke guided Explosive Kowboy to a win in the third race.
“I came here a couple of times before and rode but I hadn’t won a race here,” Van Dyke said. “Friday was my first time winning a race here at Churchill which was really big for me since I was born in Louisville, Ky. My father was a valet here and galloped horses here a lot so it was a big deal for me to win a race at Churchill. I had a great weekend with a couple wins and a few seconds.”
Van Dyke was aboard Birdatthewire in Saturday’s feature race, the Chilukki (GII) who charged late to finish second behind Kiss to Remember as the even-money favorite. His record over the two days was 12-3-6-0—$162,540.
“I would have like to have won that stakes race there but even the best lose,” Van Dyke said. “Overall it was a great trip so I’m glad that I came. Hopefully one day I can be in the big time and be in the most important places in the big time, but I enjoyed coming here and going anywhere that I can win.”
Van Dyke will be back in action at Santa Anita on Sunday before making his way to Del Mar for their Fall Meet. Van Dyke, however, has yet to commit to a winter circuit.
“That’s a little far away to know exactly what I’m going to do,” Van Dyke said. “I have a few things in mind to maybe go somewhere else but whatever benefits my business the most is what I’ll do.”
MOQUETT EXCITED FOR RECENT MAIDEN VICTOR TORRENT – Trainer Ron Moquett is looking forward to what the future holds with 2-year-old filly Torrent, who secured her first trip to the winner’s circle in Saturday’s sixth race.
“We’re not much of a 2-year-old program so anytime they win at age 2 is a good thing for us,” Moquett said. “It leads us to believe that they will have a bright future so we kind of let them develop on their own and if they can get there in the fall as a 2-year-old, then that means we’re going to have a fun Oaklawn with them in the winter.”
Saturday’s victory was the Westrock Stables LLC-owned daughter of Blame’s fourth start of her career, where she received a bit of class relief from some of her previous starts. She kicked off her racing career in the summer at Saratoga where she was up against the likes of Breeders’ Cup contenders La Coronel and Jamyson ’n Ginger.
"She’s bred to be a nice filly and she’s owned by good people so I’m excited about the possibility of her being something fun,” Moquett said. “I don’t know where she’ll go yet. I’m going to talk to the owners and they’re real cool and let me do whatever is best for the horse. She’s going to do well. She’s an easy name to remember.”
FLINT EYEING COMMONWEALTH TURF WITH ONE MEAN MAN – LTB Inc. and Ron Hillerich Racing Inc.’s four-time stakes winner One Mean Man is targeting Saturday’s $100,000 Commonwealth Turf (Grade III), a 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.
The son of Mizzen Mast will be looking to notch his third straight win. He prevailed by 1 ½ lengths in the $100,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed) at Churchill Downs on Oct. 1 after taking the $200,000 Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park by a nose in late August. Earlier in the summer, One Mean Man earned his lone graded stakes win in the $125,000 American Derby (GIII) at Arlington Park.
“He’s won four out of his last five and ran great here last time,” trainer Bernie Flint said of One Mean Man (16-6-3-1—$418,597). “He worked here the other day (breezing four furlongs in :49 on Friday) and looked great doing it. He’s ready.”
Other probables for the Commonwealth Turf include Queen’s Plate winner Sir Dudley Digges, who is unraced since a runner-up effort in the $389,433 Breeders’ Stakes, the third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown, Discreetness, Surgical Strike and Zapperini.
DOWN THE STRETCH – There’s a $15,697 Single 6 Jackpot carryover on Sunday for Races 5-10. … Sunday is the final day to register for 2017 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks tickets. Guests can register online at https://www.kentuckyderby.com/tickets/how-to-buy/online-sales by 11:59 p.m. ET. The online sale is expected in coming days. … Churchill Downs will be dark Monday and Tuesday. Racing resumes Wednesday with a 10-race card at 1 p.m. ET.