09/03/2010 2:23PM

Albarado expects to be ready for Keeneland


Jockey Robby Albarado said Friday that he is healing on schedule from injuries suffered in a spill at Saratoga and that he expects to be 100 percent when the Keeneland fall meet begins Oct. 8.

Albarado suffered a fractured right collarbone and a broken bone just above the knuckle of his right index finger when his mount fell when galloping out shortly after the first race Aug. 11.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Albarado said from his home in Middletown, Ky. “The collarbone break is closer to my shoulder than my neck, so there are tendons and muscles holding it in place. Everything’s looking pretty good, so far.”

Albarado said he will see his orthopedic specialist, Dr. Raymond Shea, on Sept. 20, when he hopes to be cleared to begin exercising horses.

“I’m assuming I’ll ride some races here and there, maybe Turfway and New York, before we really get going strong again at Keeneland,” he said.

Albarado, who turns 37 on Sept. 11, has suffered a litany of injuries during his 20-year riding career, including skull fractures in 1998 and 1999. He has been the leading rider at Keeneland four times, including the 2008 and 2009 fall meets.

Brass Hat, Inca King set for Guilliams

Besides Brass Hat, the venerable winner of more than $2 million, the closing-day feature at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Memorial, also was expected to get Inca King, whose last-out victory in the Claiming Crown Emerald pushed him over the $800,000 earnings mark.

The Guilliams, a 1 1/16-mile turf race, also was likely to get another five or six older horses for its third running Monday, according to stakes coordinator Tia Murphy.

Tony Farina will be aboard Brass Hat, who will be making his 38th career start but first at Ellis. Entries for Monday were to be drawn Saturday.

Court returns to riding after injury

Veteran jockey Jon Court returned last week at Ellis from a four-week hiatus caused by a fractured vertebra. Court won with his third mount back on his first day, Aug. 27, and proceeded to ride the remainder of the weekend.

“It’s still a little tender in that spot, although it wasn’t as severe an injury as I’ve had in the past,” Court said. “But it wasn’t one to be neglected, so I gave it the proper time.”

Court, 49, is a six-time leading jockey at Ellis, with his latest title coming last summer.

Lanerie wins Ellis riding title

With the top three jockeys at the meet missing the final four-day stretch of the Ellis meet, Corey Lanerie will wind up as the leading jockey with 33 winners, followed by Victor Lebron with 29. Both are serving suspensions for riding infractions.

Oriana Rossi, the leading apprentice at the meet, was tied for third with Jamie Theriot with 19 wins apiece going into Friday. Rossi recently suffered a broken collarbone in a Hoosier Park spill and is scheduled to be back in a few weeks.

Kentucky Downs, Turfway to open meets

After Ellis, the only day of stakes action on this circuit until Keeneland starts will take place this coming Saturday, Sept. 11, when the three-race Kentucky Cup series is run at Kentucky Downs in Franklin while Turfway Park in Florence runs the only stakes of its 16-day fall meet, the $100,000 Turfway Fall Championship.

Turfway opens Thursday, two days before the four-day Kentucky Downs meet opens with the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf, the $50,000 KC Ladies, and the $50,000 KC Dash. Kentucky Downs also will run Sept. 13, 18, and 20.

Turfway has announced that it has replaced its outdated analog system with a new digital transmission for its outgoing video production and that fans should see “dramatic improvement” in video clarity. The track has contracted with Maryland-based International Sound for the first time.

Fall condition book for Keeneland released

The condition book for the Keeneland fall meet was released last week, and it reflects the depressed state of Kentucky racing. Officials at the Lexington, Ky., track announced this summer that purses at the 17-day meet (Oct. 8-30) are being cut by more than $1 million, including the elimination of the Perryville and Bryan Station Stakes and decreases in other stakes.

A quick review of the book shows that maiden special races have dipped from the longtime standard of $50,000 to $47,000; first-level allowance races from $52,000 to $49,000; and $10,000 claiming races from $17,000 to $16,000.

◗ Churchill Downs in Louisville has announced that opening day of the fall meet, Oct. 31, will be a daytime card. The track initially had planned to host night racing on that date, but logistical problems with hosting the Nov. 5-6 Breeders’ Cup led officials to announce last week that the only night date at the meet will now be Nov. 19. The track held four night cards at the spring meet, all of them attracting large ontrack crowds.