Thursday, June 28 2012

CHURCHILL DOWNS BARN NOTES Thursday, June 28, 2012

ROMANS BIDS FOR CLOSING WEEKEND STAKES SWEEP TO CAP SPRING MEET – Trainer Dale Romans has enjoyed a strong Spring Meet at Churchill Downs and he has the opportunity to end the meet in style by sweeping the three stakes races carded for this weekend.

The Louisville native hopes for a strong start with Jerry Romans’ Sassy Image in the $73,600-added Roxelana, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares at seven furlongs on the main track. A 5-year-old chestnut daughter of Broken Vow, Sassy Image is a five-time winner at Churchill Downs with four graded-stakes wins. The most prominent of those was the 2011 Humana Distaff (GI), with her other local stakes victories being the Pocahontas (Grade III) – Golden Rod (GII) double during her 2-year-old season and last spring’s Winning Colors (GIII).

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Circle Unbroken Leads Competitive field of Eight in Saturday’s Bashford Manor

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, June 27, 2012) – Veteran trainer Garry Simms, who saddled Blueeyesintherein to win last Saturday’s Debutante (Grade III), will try to become just the fifth trainer to sweep the Spring Meet’s pair of graded stakes races for 2-year-olds at Churchill Downs when he sends Travis Morgeson V LLC’s Circle Unbroken into Saturday’s $100,000-added Bashford Manor (GIII).

The 111th running of the Bashford Manor will be run at six furlongs on the main track at Churchill Downs as part of the “Downs After Dark” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program. It is scheduled as Race 6 with a post time of 9 p.m. (all times Eastern). Post time for the first of 11 races is 6:30 p.m.

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LOUISVILLE, KY (Thursday, June 27, 2012) – Churchill Downs officials will adjust their post times and race exclusively in the evening for the final three days of its 138th Spring Meet due to looming near-record triple-digit heat in the forecast for Louisville. The first race on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be 6:30 p.m. (all times Eastern). On Tuesday evening it was decided that Thursday’s nine-race program would be cancelled because National Weather Service forecasters were calling for a high of 103 with a southwest wind of 5-15 mph and gusts up to 26 mph.

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Thursday, June 21 2012

Blueeyesintherein Bids for Second Consecutive Debutante Victory for Veteran Trainer Simms

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, June 20, 2012) – Veteran trainer Garry Simms will bid for rare back-to-back wins in the $100,000-added Debutante Stakes (GIII) when he saddles Dorothy Sell and Barry L. King’s Blueeyesintherein to five nine rivals in Saturday’s 112th running of the historic six-furlong race for 2-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs.

The Debutante, which was first run at Churchill Downs in 1895, is the featured 10th event on an 11-race program on the next-to-last Saturday of racing in the historic track’s 2012 Spring Meet. Other highlights of the Saturday program include the $73,600 Kelly’s Landing, a seven-furlong overnight stakes race the for 3-year-olds and up, and an allowance race for older fillies and mares on turf that has attracted Karlovy Vary, winner of this year’s renewal of Grade I Ashland Stakes at Keeneland.

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Monday, June 18 2012

Mandurah Goes Gate to Wire in Feature; McGee Gets 300th Churchill Downs Win

LOUISVILLE, KY (Sunday, June 17, 2012) – Kip Colvin’s Mandurah went all the way on the lead in the $60,342 feature on the Matt Winn Turf Course and earlier on the card Paul McGee became just the 14th trainer in Churchill Downs history to reach the 300-win milestone at the historic Louisville track when Jay Em Ess Stable’s Storm Cloud Coming crossed the line first in Sunday’s fifth race.

Ten of McGee’s 300 Churchill Downs wins came in stakes events, including the 1988 Clark Handicap (GIII) with Balthazar B. and the 2003 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI) with Honor in War. Overall, the 49-year-old Louisville native has saddled 925 winners. His first career win came at Churchill Downs nearly 25 years ago on June 23, 1987.

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HUMANA DISTAFF WINNER GROUPIE DOLL BACK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Groupie Doll has resumed training at Churchill Downs following a brief vacation at trainer Buff Bradley’s Indian Ridge Farm in Frankfort after her record-breaking performance in the Humana Distaff (Grade I) beneath the Twin Spires on Kentucky Derby Day.

“She put on a few pounds and she looks great,” Bradley said. “We’re pointing to the Ballerina (GI at Saratoga on Aug. 24).”

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Ron the Greek Rallies for Grade I Stephen Foster Upset, Caps Huge Night for Mott Before 25,417

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, June 16, 2012) – Ron the Greek, sixth in the early going, rallied along the rail in the stretch under jockey Jose Lezcano to grab the lead from heavily favored Wise Dan in the final strides to win the 31st running of the $437,200, Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap by a head before 25,417 ‘Downs After Dark’ night racing fans on Saturday at Churchill Downs.

Owned by Brous Stable, Wachtel Stable and Jack T. Hammer, the 5-year-old son of Clear Mandate earned an automatic berth in the $5 million, Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita with his victory. For the first time, the Stephen Foster Handicap was part of the Breeders’ Cup’s “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series.

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LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, June 16, 2012) – Besilu Stable’s Royal Delta, North America’s champion 3-year-old filly of 2011, returned to the scene of her greatest victory with a jaw-dropping, eight-length victory over Afleeting Lady in the $161,700 Fleur de Lis Handicap Presented by Finlandia Vodka on Saturday night at Churchill Downs.

The Fleur de Lis, which means “flower of the lily” and honors the symbol in the city of Louisville’s flag, was the third of four graded stakes races run under the lights as part of Churchill Downs’ special “Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka” nighttime racing program.

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Thursday, June 14 2012

Champion Royal Delta, Hilltop Winner Coup and Peter Pan Runner-Up Right to Vote Top Trio

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, June 13, 2012) – Royal Delta, champion 3-year-old filly of 2011; Right to Vote, runner-up to Mark Valeski in the Peter Pan (Grade II); and Hilltop winner Coup headline the entries for the trio of graded stakes to be run under the lights Saturday at Churchill Downs as part “Downs After Dark” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program.

The $150,000-added Fleur de Lis (GII), $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII) and $100,000-added Regret (GIII) highlight the undercard of the 31st running of the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI), which is a part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” series for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) for the first time.

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Wise Dan, Alternation Head Accomplished Field of Nine for Saturday’s Stephen Foster Handicap

LOUISVILLE, KY (Wednesday, June 13, 2012) – Morton Fink’s homebred Wise Dan, winner of the Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) at Churchill Downs last fall, and Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Alternation, the top-rated horse in the latest NTRA poll off his narrow victory in the Pimlico Special (GIII), head a stellar field of nine entered for Saturday’s 31st running of the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at Churchill Downs.

The 2012 Stephen Foster for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the main track will make history as the first renewal of the race run under the lights. It is the main event among four stakes races scheduled that evening as part of the “Downs After Dark” Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program. The Stephen Foster is scheduled as Race 8 at 9:39 p.m. (ET).

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Tuesday, June 12 2012


NEHRO, ASTROLOGY LIKELY STRONG DUO FOR ASMUSSEN IN GRADE I FOSTER – Trainer Steve Asmussen said Monday that he has “mixed emotions” about running the “two best horses” in his stable against an imposing field in the $400,000-added Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I), but he expects to have a double-barreled threat in the starting gate for Saturday night’s race at Churchill Downs.

Asmussen said Monday Zayat Stables LLC’s Nehro, runner-up to Animal Kingdom in both the 2011 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and the recent Pimlico Special (GIII) to Foster contender Alternation, and Stonestreet Stables and George Bolton’s Astrology, winner of the 2010 Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs and third to Shackleford in the 2011 Preakness (GI), are expected to be entered when the field for the 31st running of the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up is drawn on Wednesday.

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Sunday, June 10 2012

Guys Reward Rallies to Win Opening Verse

LOUISVILLE, KY (Saturday, June 9, 2012) – Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward, a horse that has run some of his finest races over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course, collected his first stakes victory over that course at the historic track when he rallied from last in a field of six to win the $73,392 Opening Verse Overnight Stakes by a half-length over favored Seruni.

Guys Reward circled the field on the far turn under Shaun Bridgmohan and wore down Seruni in the final yards to pay $6.40, $3 and $2.60 as the second betting choice. Seruni, owned by G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm Racing LLC, held on to finish a clear second under Corey Lanerie and returned $2.40 and $2.20. Peter J. Callahan’s Scotus, ridden by Victor Lebron, was three lengths back of the top pair in third and returned $2.80.

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