11/26/2009 12:00AM

Card holds promise of star-gazing


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Yes, there are the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod stakes, but there could be more hidden gems to be uncovered from the balance of the "Stars of Tomorrow" card Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The 10 supporting races on the closing-day card for 2-year-olds include two $60,000 grass stakes, the Grand Canyon and Caressing. Both races drew some good-looking prospects, perhaps most notably the Ken Ramsey duo of Kera's Kitten and Dean's Kitten among the 10 colts and geldings in the 1 1/16-mile Grand Canyon (race 6), and Orchestrator among the 12 fillies in the one-mile Caressing (race 10).

Furthermore, there are four entry-level allowances (races 2, 3, 5, 9) and four maiden specials (races 1, 4, 7, 12) on the card, each separated by gender, distance, or surface. At this early stage in their careers, 2-year-olds often blossom in races just like these, and thus the popularity of the "stars" concept with fans and horsemen.

Trainers with the most active stables Saturday will be D. Wayne Lukas (runners in nine races), Dale Romans (eight), Ken McPeek (seven), Ian Wilkes (six), Steve Asmussen (five), and Paul McGee (five).

Desormeaux hitting road

Julien Leparoux isn't the only top jockey who rode regularly here all meet but will miss the closing-day card. Kent Desormeaux will ride Saturday in New York, then Sunday in Southern California before leaving for Japan to ride the following weekend. Desormeaux said he then will ride in selected spots before heading to Gulfstream Park for the meet that starts Jan. 3.

Meanwhile, after the first six races Thursday, Leparoux held a 25-23 lead over Calvin Borel atop the fall-meet jockey standings. But after finishing out Thursday, Leparoux was scheduled to leave to ride in Japan, while Borel, with a slew of mounts over the final 2 1/2 programs, figures as a good bet to overcome Leparoux for the riding title.

Barbaro brother goes again

The first start was respectable enough, although it's always going to be tough for Lentenor to live up to what his big brother did.

Lentenor, part of a full field of turf maidens in the last race of the meet Saturday, is a full brother to Barbaro, the colt who was undefeated in winning the 2006 Kentucky Derby. By Dynaformer out of the Carson City mare La Ville Rouge, Lentenor will be making his second career start after finishing third in a seven-furlong Polytrack race on closing day of the Keeneland meet.

Lentenor has the same connections as Barbaro: owner-breeders Roy and Gretchen Jackson of the Lael Stables, and trainer Michael Matz. Besides Lentenor, the Jacksons and Matz also have another full brother to Barbaro: Nicanor, a 3-year-old colt whose promising career was put on hold in July because of injury.

Million returns to training

After loading planes for UPS at Louisville International Airport with "about 600 boxes an hour" for much of the last 22 months, Bill Million said he is ready to return to training. Million, 48, will run his first horse since December 2007, saddling first-time starter Stormy Tess for the fourth race Saturday.

"She's a magnificent-looking animal," said Million, who has won 163 races since 1994. "I've seen some nice horses in my years on the track, and she could be a good one."

Million said he will take his one-horse stable to Oaklawn Park this winter with the hopes of rebuilding.

Pick six pays $11K

With a six-day carryover of $74,739 going into the day, the pick six attracted an additional handle of $157,204 on Wednesday. Four of the six winning horses in the sequence were favorites, leading to 15 perfect tickets being sold on the 8-4-6-2-4-3 combination, each worth $11,394.

From the first 18 days of the meet, the pick six has been hit only twice. The first buildup ended Nov. 15 when a spate of logical horses resulted in parcels of $8,674.

* A well-matched field of 12 fillies and mares has been entered for the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural, the feature of a nine-race opening-day card Sunday at Turfway Park. Racing on the Kentucky circuit continues for four months at Turfway until Keeneland opens April 2.