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CHURCHILL BARN NOTES

Edited Churchill Staff Release – Kueber Racing’s two-time stakes-winning filly Coach will attempt to collect her first victory in graded stakes company as the headliner in Saturday’s $300,000 Chilukki Stakes (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.

          The one-mile Chilukki Stakes for fillies and mares will go as Race 10 of 11 with a post time of 5:35 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post is 1 p.m.

          Owned by Louisville entrepreneur Rick Kueber and trained by Brad Cox, Coach was victorious in the $98,000 Rags to Riches as a 2-year-old and won the $150,000 Pippin to begin her 4-year-old campaign. In between those two races, the daughter of Commissioner finished third in the $200,000 Golden Rod (GII), second in the $200,000 Martha Washington, third in the $600,000 Fantasy (GIII) and ninth in the $1.25 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI).

          Coach finished fourth in this year’s $250,000 Bayakoa (GIII) and was forced to the sidelines for nearly eight months until her runner-up effort in the $100,000 Twixt Stakes on Oct. 1 at Laurel.

          Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. will have the riding assignment in the Chilukki and break from the rail. Santana was aboard Coach for her victory in the Pippin and an allowance contest on Dec. 17 at Oaklawn.

          Chief among Coach’s rivals in the Chilukki is Grade III winner Center Aisle. Owned by Larry Best’s OXO Equine and trained by Paulo Lobo, Center Aisle won the $100,000 Sugar Swirl (GIII) last year at Gulfstream Park. Following two disappointing efforts against Grade I competition in the $500,000 Madison and $750,000 Derby City Distaff (GI), Center Aisle returned against allowance foes where she finished a determined head in front of Chandana on Oct. 9 at Keeneland. Jockey Gerardo Corrales will be in the saddle for the Chilukki from post No. 3.

          Also entered in the Chilukki is Rigney Racing’s $150,000 Mistletoe Stakes winner Mariah’s Princess. Trained by Phil Bauer, Mariah’s Princess made the first start of her 4-year-old campaign on Oct. 29 at Keeneland where she made a sweeping four-wide move at the head of the stretch to take the lead in the 1 1/16-mile allowance event but gave way late to eventual winner Le Da Vida (CHI). Jockey Martin Garcia will be aboard Mariah’s Princess from post 2.

          Here is the complete field for the Chilukki from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Coach (Santana, Cox); Mariah’s Princess (Garcia, Bauer); Center Aisle (Corrales, Lobo); Ice Orchid (Tyler Gaffalione, John Ortiz); Empire House (Joe Talamo, Jonathan Wong); She Can’t Sing (Brian Hernandez Jr., Chris Block); and Liberty M D (Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes).

          It will be a cool day for racing Saturday in Louisville with temperatures expected to reach 36 degrees and sunny skies, according to the National Weather Service.

          Wagering is available on www.twinspires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Incorporated and the Kentucky Derby.

CLARK EXPECTED TO FEATURE KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER RICH STRIKE – Nominations closed Saturday for the 148th running of the $750,000 Clark presented by Norton Healthcare (Grade I) and the 1 1/8-mile race is expected to feature Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike.

          Should Rich Strike win the Clark, he’d become the first Derby winner to win the Clark in his 3-year-old season since His Eminence in 1901.

Only 14 Kentucky Derby winners have gone on to win the Clark: Silver Charm (1998), Whirlaway (1942), Exterminator (1922), Old Rosebud (1917), His Eminence (1901), Lieut. Gibson (1900), Plaudit (1898), Halma (1895), Chant (1894), Azra (1892), Riley (1890), Spokane (1889), Buchanan (1884) and Hindoo (1881).

The Clark has a storied history at Churchill Downs. It holds similarities with the Longines Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve for being the third race in track history to consecutively run since 1875. The first running of the Clark awarded $1,425 to the winner Voltigeur. An estimated $465,000 will be awarded to the winner of this year’s event.

Entries for the Clark will be drawn Sunday.

THIS WEEK AT CHURCHILL DOWNS – Only 10 days of live racing remain in 2022 at Churchill Downs. The five-day race week kicked off Wednesday with daily first posts of 1 p.m. The 10-race card featured a $127,000 first level allowance event that included returning 3-year-old filly Casa de Goat, who broke her maiden on debut by 12 ¾ lengths at Keeneland. The card also included $197,000 William Walker Stakes runner-up B D Valeski in a first-level starter allowance.

          Thursday’s 10-race card will feature a $134,000 second-level allowance event where Warrior Johny is the 7-5 morning line choice. Previously, the son of Cairo Prince won a first-level allowance at Saratoga by 8 ½ lengths. The 2021 Iroquois Stakes (GIII) winner Major General was entered in the race but is likely to scratch and stay entered in the Keeneland November Horses of Racing Age Sale, according to his connections.

          Friday’s program features a $134,000 second level allowance event scheduled for the turf. The rail will be in Lane 4, 36 feet from the inside.

          Saturday’s card was being drawn Wednesday and will feature the $300,000 Chilukki Stakes (GIII) while Sunday’s entries will be taken Thursday.

MEET LEADERS – With 10 days of racing remaining at the Fall Meet, jockey Tyler Gaffalione had an 11-8 win advantage over Brian Hernandez Jr. and Luis SaezFlorent Geroux had six wins and Francisco Arrieta and Joe Talamo were tied with five wins. … Trainers Steve Asmussen and Mike Maker were tied atop the standings with five wins. Genaro Garcia and Tom Van Berg had four wins. … There was a four-way tie in the leading owners’ race between GodolphinGrit to Glory RacingLothenbach Stables and Paradise Farms Corp and David Staudacher, who all had two wins.

AROUND THE BACKSTRETCH – The first day of racing at Fair Grounds will be Friday and include Churchill Downs riding colony members Adam BeschizzaDavid CohenJack GilliganJames GrahamRey Gutierrez and Colby Hernandez. … Jockey Rene Diaz is back in the entries Friday after being sidelined six weeks with a knee injury. He was named on two horses for trainer Genaro Garcia. … Churchill Downs’ Trackside Louisville will remain open this winter for training and several top outfits are scheduled to keep horses in Louisville, including Juan CanoBrad CoxGreg FoleyMike Maker and Dale Romans. … Happy Birthday wishes are extended to Churchill Downs clocker John L. Robertson who turned 78 Wednesday. Robertson was a trainer from 1981-2001 and began his career in the horse industry while he was still in high school by walking hots to support his mom and sisters when his father died.

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