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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Churchill Downs Press Staff – The action was bustling Saturday morning at Churchill Downs with several accomplished horses recording workouts for upcoming stakes appearances, most notably Gold Square’s multiple Grade I winner Cyberknife who cruised five furlongs in 1:01.20 with jockey Florent Geroux aboard.

          The talented 3-year-old son of Gun Runner is possible to run in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (GI) on Sept. 24 at Parx, according to trainer Brad Cox. Following his disappointing 18th place finish in this year’s $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI), Cyberknife went on to win both the $225,000 Matt Winn (GIII) and $1 million Haskell (GI). 

          Along with Cyberknife, other stakes-caliber horses that donned the work tab Saturday morning included Best Actor (five furlongs, 1:01.80), Fulsome (five furlongs, 1:00.80), Juju’s Map (five furlongs, 1:01), King Fury (five furlongs, 1:00.40), Mo Strike (four furlongs, :50), Rattle N Roll (five furlongs, 1:00.40), Santin (five furlongs, 1:01.40), Tawny Port (five furlongs, 1:01.20) and Twilight Blue (five furlongs, 1:02.40).

          Many of the top horses based on the famed grounds of Churchill Downs will train in Louisville prior to competing in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships held 75 miles east at Keeneland on Nov. 4-5. When the Breeders’ Cup was last hosted at Keeneland in 2020, there were 39 contenders who were based at Churchill Downs.

          The final two weeks of the September Meet will feature six stakes events which many horses will use as their final prep before the Breeders’ Cup. Among the stakes that will be featured are the $500,000 Lukas Classic (GII), a prep toward the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), and the $300,000 Ack Ack (GIII), a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race for the $1 million Dirt Mile (GI). Nominations to both the Lukas Classic and Ack Ack closed Saturday and will be released in the coming days.

DOWNS AFTER DARK: FIESTA UNDER THE SPIRES ON SATURDAY, SEPT. 24 – The final Downs After Dark of the year will take place Saturday, Sept. 24 as Churchill Downs presents a night full of thrilling horse racing and a Latin-inspired celebration of live music, dance and art for “Fiesta Under the Spires.”

          Event highlights include music from DJ Roberton (5:30-8 p.m.) and Kentucky Salsa Allstars (8:30-11:20 p.m.); salsa lessons in the Plaza from Louisville Salsa Underground (6:45-7:40 p.m.); strolling mariachi performances by Mariachi Alegre; and a showcase of Latin artists including Claudia HernandezMercedes Harn and Andy Perez.

          Admission gates will open at 5 p.m. and the 11-race program will be conducted between 6-11:10 p.m.

          General admission to Downs After Dark is $14 and includes an official program. Guests under the age of 18 will only be admitted to the track if accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Limited premium dining packages are available starting at $82 per person. Outdoor-third floor box seats are on sale for $17 per person. Reserved seating can be purchased online at

DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continued Saturday beneath the historic Twin Spires with an 11-race program that got underway at 12:45 p.m. There was a $32,173 carryover in the 20-cent Derby City 6 jackpot and a $7,098 carryover in the $1 Super HI 5. … Trainer Rusty Arnold II was two wins away from 400 at Churchill Downs. The veteran horseman had one entry in Race 6. … Jockey agent Tim Hanisch was back to work five days after being shot in his side outside his condo in Louisville. Hanisch was on his way to the track when he noticed his roommate’s car being broken into. Hanisch, who represents Alex Achard and Mitchell Murrill, said he is doing well and happy to be back to work. … Jockey Channing Hill was at Churchill Downs on Thursday night when he helped his father-in-law Wayne Catalano saddle his trainees. Hill stopped riding in 2020 after suffering neck and back injuries in a race at Oaklawn. Since then, Hill has worked hauling horses and helping his wife, Shelbi, with their four children. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will return to the airwaves Friday, Sept. 23. The one-hour program will air on ESPN 680/105.7 and stream live on the station’s website at … For more information about the Churchill Downs September Meet, visit

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