05/27/2011 1:24PM

Albarado loses mount after DQ, but trainer says that wasn't the reason

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Robby Albarado knows all too well about being listed on the program on a horse, then being replaced, having suffered the indignity of losing Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in that way.

A similar scenario unfolded here Thursday involving Albarado and trainer Mike Maker, although the circumstances apparently were not what they seemed – and the mount lost by Albarado wound up being defeated as an odds-on choice.

Albarado rode Stinking Creek to a first-place finish for Maker and owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey in the fifth race, but the horse was disqualified to fourth for a blatant foul in deep stretch. Shortly thereafter, an announcement was made that Albarado was being replaced by Maker in favor of Julien Leparoux aboard Bizzee Mizzee in the scratch-laden eighth race. Leparoux’s original mount, Gaya, was one of four scratches in the off-the-turf race.

Bizzee Mizzee, the 4-5 favorite, finished a distant second to Distorted Love ($4.60) in that four-horse field. Bizzee Mizzee is owned by Connie Apostelos.

Maker denied that Albarado was taken off because anyone was upset with him for what happened with Stinking Creek.

“It had nothing to do with anything involving the DQ,” Maker said. “This particular owner originally wanted Julien. The timing of us making the change was unfortunate, but I had wanted to make sure that’s what the owners wanted to do, and I hadn’t heard from them until after the DQ. But it really had nothing to do with the horse having its number taken down.”

Albarado lost the ride on Animal Kingdom after suffering a broken nose and facial injuries in an incident three days before the race. Although he fulfilled his other Derby Day mounts, he was replaced by John Velazquez the day before the Derby after the colt’s managing partner, Barry Irwin, said he “wasn’t comfortable” with Albarado riding injured.

Albarado did not respond to a phone message left for him Friday morning.

Kentucky chief steward John Veitch said Albarado was scheduled to meet with the stewards Friday afternoon regarding the fifth-race disqualification and that the stewards would determine what penalty might be assessed. Typically, a riding infraction of that nature draws a three-day suspension.

Twinspired to turf in Jefferson Cup

Maker said Twinspired could make his first start since finishing 17th in the Derby by moving back to the grass in the Grade 3, $100,000 Jefferson Cup, one of four stakes on the June 18 Stephen Foster card at Churchill.

Dr. Harvey Diamond, the managing partner for the groups that own Twinspired, said the colt came out of the Derby in good fashion and probably will work “a couple times” leading up to the 1 1/16-mile Jefferson Cup.

“He’s already fit, and he’s sound,” Diamond said. “We’re happy with him.”

Before his poor effort in the Derby, Twinspired had campaigned primarily on grass and synthetics, ending with a nose defeat in the April 16 Blue Grass Stakes.

Foster Day always is the biggest post-Derby program of the Churchill spring meet. The Grade 1, $500,000 Foster anchors a card that also will include three Grade 3 races: the Jefferson Cup, the $125,000 Matt Winn, and the $125,000 Regret.

Woodard-Hays duo scores at Churchill

Trainer Joe Woodard and his main client, Billy Hays, may be beating up on the opposition at River Downs, but they can be tough at Churchill, too.

Woodard sent out Won Great Damsel ($3.40) to a 3 1/2-length victory in a $27,000 starter-allowance sprint here Thursday. A promising 3-year-old filly, she earned an 81 Beyer Speed Figure in her third career start.

Hays, along with his wife, Donna, and son, Justin, continue to lead the 2011 North American owner standings in wins. Into Friday, they had won 131 races; 2010 leader Midwest Thoroughbreds was second with 120. Those two ownership entities are far ahead of all others.

At River, where they have been the dominant owner-trainer tandem for years, the Hayses and Woodard lead their respective standings with 13 wins from their first 25 starters.

Guidry joins Romans stable

Retired jockey Mark Guidry went to work for trainer Dale Romans at Churchill this week after disbanding the public stable he trained for about three years. Guidry said he will serve as something of “a utility man” for Romans, who won the Preakness last weekend with Shackleford.

Guidry, 51, was aboard more than 5,000 winners during a 33-year riding career that ended in November 2007. Training in his native Louisiana, he won with 30 of 300 starters.