Good things come in threes. At least that was the case for trainer Mike Tomlinson on Thursday evening when he made three trips to the winner’s circle.
Tomlinson saddled Jersey Street (Race 2, $13.40), Scatnap (Race 4, $10.40) and For Goodness Sake (Race 6, $16) – his only three starters on the program – to victories giving the trainer his first three-win day of his career. Jersey Street and For Goodness Sake were ridden to victory by Joe Rocco Jr.
“It was very fortunate,” Tomlinson said. “Sometimes the stars align and everything just falls into place and that’s what happened yesterday. It was my first hat trick so it was a lot of fun to be a part of.”
Prior to his trio of victories on Thursday evening, Tomlinson’s record on the Spring Meet was 20-2-1-2.
“You go through cycles like this and it’s been a little bit of a slump,” Tomlinson said. “But then you look up and your head is above the weeds because you win three in one day. I’m not a gambler so it doesn’t affect me at the windows but I hope that some of my friends did well.”
His first winner Jersey Street, a 2-year-old son of Maimonides, broke his maiden on the third attempt, and will likely see stakes action down the road.
“We’re going to eventually give him that shot,” Tomlinson said. “Obviously we wouldn’t come back in the Bashford Manor – that would be too soon. We’ll just give him a chance to see how far he can go.”
Tomlinson’s lone starter on Friday afternoon is Leonardo Da Vinci in Race 9.
ROMANS, VON HEMEL LOOK AHEAD WITH TRIPLE CROWN CONTENDERS – Trainers Dale Romans and Donnie Von Hemel are beginning to make plans for their Triple Crown contenders’ mid-summer campaigns.
Romans, who saddled Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine to respective sixth and seventh place finishes in the June 11 Belmont Stakes (GI), said that both of his 3-year-olds are possible for the $600,000 Jim Dandy (GII) on July 30 at Saratoga or the $1 million Haskell Invitational (GI) on July 31 at Monmouth Park.
“They’re just galloping right now and taking it easy,” Romans said. “We’re unwinding them from the Triple Crown and they’ll be back in heavy training soon.”
Romans did not specify whether Brody’s Cause and Cherry Wine would start in the same race or go separate ways. Two starts prior to the Belmont, both horses faced off in the Toyota Blue Grass (GI) at Keeneland where they finished first and third, respectively. Cherry Wine, who also was second to Exaggerator in the Preakness Stakes (GI) on May 21, is still in search of his first graded stakes victory.
Von Hemel listed the Jim Dandy and Haskell, as well as the $750,000 West Virginia Derby (GII) on Aug. 6 at Mountaineer Park as possibilities for Suddenbreakingnews, who was ninth in the Belmont Stakes.
“He’s doing fine,” Von Hemel said “He came out of the race in good shape it looks like, and we’ve just been galloping him. We don’t have anything definite, nothing figured out yet. He wouldn’t breeze anytime soon.”
DOWN THE STRETCH – The fields for two of next Saturday’s three stakes races are beginning to take shape. Probables for the $100,000 Bashford Manor (GIII), which is run at a distance of six furlongs for 2-year-olds, include Capt. Grider, Classic Empire, Recruiting Ready, Star Empire (GB) and U S Officer. Probables for the $100,000 Debutante, which is run at six furlongs for 2-year-old fillies, include Like a Hurricane, Maximum Edge, Midnight Chica, Pretty City Dancer, and Tricky One. Nominations for the Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes, which also is run next Saturday, close on Saturday June 25. Channing Hill has two mounts Friday in an attempt to collect his 1,000th career win. He rides Reality is Great in Race 7 (3:47 p.m. ET) and Shut the Gate in Race 8 (4:19 p.m.). … Lanerie needs one win to tie Charlie Woods Jr. for seventh on the list of Churchill Downs’ all-time leading riders with 757 wins. … Churchill Downs will honor a select group of its veteran trainers after the races on Friday: horsemen that are at least 70 years old and have consistently stabled at Churchill Downs for the past 25 years. Those veteran trainers are Charles “Scooter” Dickey, William “Jinks” Fires, Bernie Flint, Forrest Kaelin, D. Wayne Lukas, Angel Montano Sr., Carl Nafzger, Ernie Retamoza Sr., Marty Rouck, Merrill Scherer, Gary Thomas, Dave Vance and Lynn Whiting. The invitation-only event for the trainers and their family and friends will be held Friday in The Mansion from 5-7 p.m. … Saturday’s “Inside Churchill Downs” on ESPN 680/105.7 from 10-11 a.m. will be co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein. They’ll preview the weekend action at Churchill Downs and around the country with special guests.