02/11/2011 2:01PM

Bischoff having hot run of his own


Clay Bischoff will never approach the success in racing that his cousin has known, but he’s savoring a recent hot streak nonetheless.

Bischoff, 39, has won with 5 of his 6 starters at the winter-spring meet that began Jan. 1 at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., and if you count the winner he ran on the final night of the holiday meet, Dec. 31, he is 6 for his last 7.

It’s no Triple Crown – which is what his first cousin, Steve Cauthen, won as a jockey on Affirmed in 1978 – but Bischoff will gladly take it.

“I remember watching on TV when Steve won the Belmont on Affirmed,” said Bischoff. “I was 6, and we had a baby-sitter. My mom and dad both went to New York for the race. I guess you could say I didn’t quite realize the importance of it all.”

Bischoff’s father, Tom Bischoff, is a longtime trainer who retired in 2008 but is still active in racing as a co-owner of some of the horses in his son’s six-horse stable at Turfway. Tom Bischoff is the brother of Myra Cauthen, Steve’s mother. The family hails from the northern Kentucky region in close proximity to Turfway, and Steve Cauthen returned years ago to the area after his Hall of Fame riding career to raise a family with his wife, Amy, on their Dreamfields Farm.

Clay Bischoff said he has always had an affinity for the racetrack and worked as an assistant for his father but left for a while to “do a little welding on the Ohio River on the dry dock,” he said. “I just never could stay away from the horses.” He assumed the training of his father’s small stable in 2009 and has since won with 13 of 60 starters.

“This is just a lot of hard work,” said Bischoff. “We try to do the best thing we can for the horses and keep them happy. My father was a heck of a trainer, and I always have him to go to. It’s also nice to be able to talk to Steve for advice.”

Derby Future pool set to open

The list of 23 separately listed interests in Pool 1 in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is scheduled for release by Churchill Downs on Wednesday, said track spokesman John Asher. The pool will run Friday through next Sunday, Feb. 20. Pool 2 is set for March 11-13, and Pool 3 for April 1-3.

This is the 13th year for the Future Wager, which has undergone a number of changes through the years. The latest is exactas in the Kentucky Oaks pool being offered this year. The pool will again run concurrently with Derby Pool 2. Exactas were first offered on Derby futures during Pool 2 of 2009.

All Derby pools will open at noon Eastern on the corresponding Fridays and close at 6 p.m. on the corresponding Sundays. The same goes for the one Oaks pool, except for a 6:30 p.m. Sunday close.

Meanwhile, at Churchill, the barn area is scheduled to reopen March 11. The track closes for training every year on Dec. 31 to permit regular maintenance to be performed.

◗ To make up days lost to weather-related cancellations at the winter-spring meet, Turfway will incorporate two additional Thursdays into the schedule by racing March 17 and March 24. The track is currently operating on a Friday-through-Sunday schedule.

◗ Turfway has announced that Bill Samuels Jr., who is retiring after 35 years as president of the Maker’s Mark distillery, will be the guest of honor when post positions are drawn on the evening of March 23 for the annual showcase race, the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes. The race will be run the following Saturday, March 26.