“It’s just timing,” said McPeek, who entered Thursday with 10 wins at the meet and ranked second in the Fall Meet trainer standings behind Al Stall Jr. We tend to try to bring them around a little later in the year and we tend to run a lot on this day every year. I think it’s a really great day of racing.”
“We know he’s good,” McPeek said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how he runs against a horse like (Grade III Iroquois winner) Uncaptured and some other horses that have shown some talent. It’s a good barometer for next year.”
Charles Fipke’s homebred Java’s War won the Sunday Silence on the turf at Louisiana Downs in his third start and most recently finished third behind Joha and Dynamic Sky in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland. Saturday’s Kentucky Jockey Club will be his debut on dirt.
“I think he’ll run all right on it,” McPeek said. “He’s trained well on it (at Churchill Downs) and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. His pedigree says he’s a grass horse on the female side, but his sire (War Pass) was a good dirt horse.
“We like them both. Java’s War is a stakes winner and we think the world of Frac Daddy. So, you’ve got to be excited about both of them.”
McPeek said Taken by the Storm, entered in Saturday’s eighth race, would be put under consideration for the CashCall Futurity (GI) at Hollywood Park if he runs well this weekend. The Kentucky Jockey Club will likely be the final start of 2012 for Frac Daddy and Java’s War, but McPeek said nothing is set in stone.
McPeek, ranked 12th in all-time wins at Churchill Downs with 313 victories, won his lone local training title at the 2002 Fall Meet. Saturday he will saddle horses in Races 2-8 and 10-12.
DEWEY SQUARE SEEKS TO REMAIN UNBEATEN IN KENTUCKY JOCKEY CLUB – Siena Farms LLC’s homebred Dewey Square is undefeated in two starts and he’ll attempt to keep his unbeaten streak alive in Saturday’s $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII).
A dark bay or brown son of Bernardini, Dewey Square broke his maiden at Hoosier Park in September by 11 ¾ lengths and then scored a four-length victory in an allowance at Churchill Downs on the undercard of the “Stars of Tomorrow I” program.
“I love him,” trainer Dale Romans said. “He’s done everything a good horse is supposed to do. The (Kentucky Jockey Club) was pointed to when he broke his maiden. The plan was to go into the allowance and then come back in this race.”
Romans opted for a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Churchill Downs as the prep for the Kentucky Jockey Club over the traditional prep of the Iroquois (GIII). WinStar Farm LLC’s Gemologist took the same path to win the 2011 Kentucky Jockey Club.
“I thought we’d take a more conservative route with him and try to win this race,” Romans said. “I learned something from (WinStar Farm President/CEO) Elliott Walden.”
Dewey Square will be ridden by Corey Lanerie in the Kentucky Jockey Club, which is carded as Race 11 on the 12-race “Stars of Tomorrow II” program with a post time of 5:35 p.m. (all times Eastern).
READY’S ROCKET RETIRED, WILL BE SALUTED ON CLOSING DAY – Ready’s Rocket, who with 11 local wins has more victories at Churchill Downs than any other horse since 1991, when detailed records were kept by Equibase, has been retired from racing and will be saluted in the Paddock of his favorite track on Sunday, closing day of the Fall Meet, before making his way to Old Friends in Georgetown, Ky.
Fans of Ready’s Rocket will have a chance to see him one last time beneath the Twin Spires as he will be paraded in the Paddock with horses running in Race 2, which has been named “The Ready’s Rocket” in his honor. He will walk from the barn area, parade in front of the Churchill Downs grandstand and then head to the Paddock where he will remain during the running of the race. Post time for Race 2 is 1:08 p.m.
“It means a lot that he has so many fans and so many people ask about him,” Glyshaw said. “I think why people like him so much is that he’s what you would call an ‘everyday horse,’ but you don’t see an everyday horse go out and run like he did at a racetrack.
“It’s great that we’ve gotten him to Old Friends. He loves attention and they give tours out there and tell every horse’s story and he’s got a great, long story.”
A 9-year-old gelded son of More Than Ready, Ready’s Rocket scored a 3 ½-length victory at Churchill Downs in his final race at the track on May 1. Shortly thereafter, he suffered an injury to the suspensory ligament in his right front leg.
Co-owner and trainer Tim Glyshaw and co-owners Deann Baer and Margaret Woodside were hopeful the injury would heal quickly enough for Ready’s Rocket to return to the races at the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs, but a recent report that he would need another three to five months off caused the team to retire him.
Ready’s Rocket, bred in Kentucky by Nicky Kearns, retires with a record of 20-10-13 from 74 starts and earnings of $261,636, including a record of 11-3-3 from 26 starts at Churchill Downs.
DOWN THE STRETCH – Jockey Calvin Borel entered Thursday’s card just four wins shy of becoming the 26th jockey to reach the 5,000-win milestone. Borel is scheduled to ride in Races 2, 6, and 9 on Churchill Downs’ Thanksgiving Day program … $2 Budweiser and Bud Light drink specials and music by popular Louisville cover band Eight Inch Elvis highlight this week’s Friday Happy Hours from 3-5 p.m. in the new Paddock Plaza. The Paddock Plaza is the new 30,000-square-feet of open gathering space for general admission patrons adjacent to the saddling paddock and Gate 1. There’s a convenient bar with flat screen TVs, and the new Paddock Plaza Balcony features outdoor covered seating, flat screen TVs, ceiling fans, lights and close proximity to the Jockey’s Quarters … Churchill Downs’ popular “Who’s the Champ?” Handicapping Contest will return on Saturday. Horse racing fans can pit their handicapping skills against the best Louisville has to offer, and the winner will receive a $1,500 first prize and a VIP trip to compete in the coveted and lucrative Horse Player World Series, which is scheduled for Feb. 21-23, 2013 in Las Vegas at The Orleans Hotel & Casino. Participation fee to each contest, which requires players to place mythical $2 Win and Place wagers on two different horses in Races 3-8, is $25. Registration will take place on the day of the contest from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the TSC Elite Gold Room, located on the second floor of the Clubhouse.