Thursday, May 14 2009


JOCKEY LEPAROUX WINS HIS 1,000TH CAREER RACE


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Wednesday, May 13, 2009) – Jockey Julien Leparoux won the 1,000th race of his brief career on Wednesday when he guided My Little Connor ($6.20) to a 1 ¾-length victory for trainer Dave Vance in the third race at Churchill Downs.

“It feels good,” Leparoux said. “I’ll feel even better when I get 1,001. Each victory feels a little bit better. There are so many people that have helped me along the way, including [trainer Patrick] Biancone, who helped me from the start to my agent Steve Bass, trainers like Mike Maker and great owners such as Ken and Sarah Ramsey. There are too many good people to mention, but I’d like to thank all of the owners and trainers who gave me the opportunity to ride their horses.”





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Churchill Downs Barn Notes 5.13.09


CONTENDERS RACHEL ALEXANDRA, PIONEEROF THE NILE DEPART CHURCHILL DOWNS FOR BALTIMORE – The exodus of Churchill Downs-based contenders for Saturday’s 134th running of the $1 million Preakness (Grade I) was completed on Wednesday when major contenders Rachel Alexandra and Pioneerof the Nile stepped onto separate vans around 12:30 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday for the short trip to Louisville International Airport for their flight to Baltimore.

Those major players figure to be the top two betting choices in Saturday’s second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown. Post positions for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness will be drawn this afternoon at Pimlico.





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Tuesday, May 12 2009


Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.12.09)


KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD HEADS TO PIMLICO – A few minutes after 9 o’clock Tuesday morning, Double Eagle Ranch and Buena Suerte Equine’s Mine That Bird rolled out of the Churchill Downs barn area headed for Baltimore and the second leg of racing’s Triple Crown.

With trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley behind the wheel of the Ford F-450 Lariat and exercise rider Charlie Figueroa riding shotgun, the Kentucky Derby-winning team left Barn 42 with Mine That Bird comfortably ensconced in the trailer behind the truck.





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Churchill Downs to Request Reduced Racing Dates, Stakes Purses for 2009 Spring Meet


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 11, 2009) – Due to a reduced number of entries and a decline in purse money earned from all wagering sources during its ongoing 2009 Spring Meet, Churchill Downs Racetrack (“Churchill”) will request permission from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission (“KHRC”) to eliminate seven race days from its 2009 Spring Meet, which had been scheduled for 52 racing days between Saturday, April 25, and Sunday, July 5. The request, which will be made at the KHRC’s regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, May 12, comes on the heels of four consecutive race days in which at least one race was canceled due to small field sizes.

“With this announcement, we are now clearly seeing the impact of competing with Thoroughbred racetracks that supplement their purses with revenue from additional gaming options, such as slots and video lottery terminals,” said Bill Carstanjen, chief operating officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated. “Our analysis shows that tracks with these enhanced purses are attracting more horses to their races. Meanwhile, Kentucky, the cradle of our industry, is seeing a decline in field size. Until we address this inequity, Kentucky’s horse industry will continue to suffer.”





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Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.11.09)


KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER MINE THAT BIRD WORKS SURPRISE FOUR FURLONGS WITH BOREL IN SADDLE – Trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr. waited until after the renovation break to send Kentucky Derby 135 winner Mine That Bird to the track Monday morning at Churchill Downs.

That signaled the trip was not business as usual – no two-mile gallop under exercise rider Charlie Figueroa.

“Are you working?” Woolley was asked upon arrival at a viewing stand.





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Monday, May 11 2009


Churchill Downs Barn Notes 5.10.09


KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER RACHEL ALEXANDRA WORKS FOR NEW BARN – Possible Preakness candidate Rachel Alexandra, a record-smashing 20 ¼-length winner of the Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) tuned up for a possible bid for Saturday’s $1 million Preakness Stakes (GI) with an easy four-furlong work on Sunday at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, working for the first time for new trainer Steve Asmussen, covered the half-mile distance over a “fast” track in :48.40. Exercise rider Dominic Terry was in the saddle as Rachel Alexandra turned out fractional times of :12.40 and :24.40 and galloped out five furlongs in 1:02. The move ranked 13th among 81 works at the distance.





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Sunday, May 10 2009


Trusty Temper Wins 505 Dayton Girls Dash at Churchill Downs


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Saturday, May 9, 2009) – Mark Stanley’s Trusty Temper made a successful return to the races Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs, scoring a wire-to-wire, four-length victory in the featured 505 Dayton Girls Dash for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up.

In giving trainer Ronny Werner his second victory of the day and jockey Jamie Theriot his third triumph, Trusty Temper covered the five furlongs on a “fast” track in :57.73. The race originally was scheduled for the Matt Winn Turf Course.





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Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.9.09)


BOREL TO BE NAMED ON MINE THAT BIRD – The “$64,000 question” for trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley is who will ride Kentucky Derby (Grade I) winner Mine That Bird in next Saturday’s Preakness (GI) at Pimlico.

“Calvin Borel will be on the (entry) card,” Woolley said Saturday morning at Churchill Downs. “I do have a backup, but I am not ready to release it.”





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Friday, May 08 2009


Churchill Downs Barn Notes 5.09.09


BOREL TO CONTINUE TO RIDE KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER RACHEL ALEXANDRA – Jockey Calvin Borel has reached an agreement with the new owners of Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Rachel Alexandra to ride the 3-year-old filly through the “current racing season.”

Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, majority owner of Rachel Alexandra, and partner Harold McCormick announced in a press release issued Friday that Borel would continue to ride the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, who was purchased for an undisclosed price in a private transaction earlier this week. Rachel Alexandra is unbeaten in five races under Borel, a string that started in November in the Golden Rod (GII) at Churchill Downs and continued in her record 20 ¼-length victory in the Oaks under the track’s historic Twin Spires on May 1.





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Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.7.09)


RACHEL ALEXANDRA MOVES TO NEW BARN – Stonestreet Stables and Harold McCormick’s new purchase Rachel Alexandra began her new life in the care of trainer Steve Asmussen on Thursday morning by galloping once around a sloppy Churchill Downs main track under exercise rider Dominic Terry.

The dominating, 20 ¼-length winner of last Friday’s Kentucky Oaks (Grade I), Rachel Alexandra was sold by the L and M Partners of Dolphus Morrison and Michael Lauffer on Wednesday. Rachel Alexandra was transferred from trainer Hal Wiggins’ barn to Asmussen’s at 5:15 (EDT) Thursday morning.





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OCULUNA NOSES NORTHERN BELLE TO WIN CHURCHILL DOWNS FEATURE


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Thursday, May 7, 2009) – Silverton Hill’s Oculuna outgamed Northern Belle through a stretch-long duel to win Thursday’s $51,785 featured allowance at Churchill Downs by a nose.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Oculuna ranged alongside Northern Belle at the top of the stretch after Northern Belle had put away the pace-setting Gibsonsfasttrick. The two raced as team to wire with Oculuna winning the head-bob and completing the five furlongs on a “sloppy” track in :57.88.





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Thursday, May 07 2009


Churchill Downs Barn Notes (5.6.09)


MINE THAT BIRD GALLOPS TWICE AROUND – Longshot Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird galloped twice around the Churchill Downs through a light drizzle Wednesday morning with exercise rider Charlie Figueroa up.

“He looked super and switched leads perfectly,” trainer Bennie “Chip” Woolley Jr said. “I was happy with him yesterday (when Mine That Bird galloped a mile). He tried to run off a little bit and that surprised me. I will let him do a little bit more tomorrow.”





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