11/04/2011 12:04PM

Churchill: Cardinal Handicap contender Ravi's Song adapts well to turf

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Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges Jr.
Ravi's Song, winning the Pelleteri Stakes at Fair Grounds on the main track, has proven equally adept on the turf, where she is a prime contender in Sunday's Cardinal Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Trainer Carl Bowman is confident Ravi’s Song will run a strong race Sunday as one of the favorites in the featured Cardinal Handicap on the Churchill Downs turf. Ravi’s Song was a solid performer on dirt before Bowman elected this past summer to switch the gray mare to turf, where she was second in back-to-back Grade 3 races, the June 11 Mint Julep at Churchill and the July 31 Matchmaker at Monmouth Park.

“We gave her a little break after Monmouth because it’s just so hot at that time of year,” said Bowman. “I had her ready to run in a prep race last month at Keeneland, but it came off the turf, so I scratched and just trained her up to this. I’m really happy with how she’s doing.”

Bowman said Ravi’s Song will winter at Fair Grounds and will race at 6.

“She’s shown she can run on both turf and dirt, which gives us a lot of options,” he said.

Ravi’s Song, a homebred 5-year-old owned by Miyoko Fujita, is a daughter of the millionaire mare Lu Ravi, whom Bowman also trained. Hopes have always been high for her, and Bowman would like to see her improve on her record of 6 wins and 4 seconds from 15 career starts in the coming months.

“We’ve got a fresh horse going into this race and into next year,” said Bowman.

Many Derby runners still active

Although none of the top three finishers from the 137th Kentucky Derby were here for the Breeders’ Cup, there was representation from that May 5 classic.

Three Derby starters made it back for the Breeders’ Cup: Shackleford (fourth in the Derby) in the BC Dirt Mile, Brilliant Speed (seventh) in the BC Turf, and Stay Thirsty (12th) in the BC Classic. In addition, Uncle Mo, who was scratched from the Derby, was the morning-line favorite for the Classic, while yet one more Derby runner, Santiva (sixth), was scheduled to return in an allowance race Friday at Churchill but was scratched.

Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who came out of the June 11 Belmont Stakes with a hock injury, returned to light training about a month ago at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland with the hopes of being ready for the $10 million Dubai World Cup in March. Trainer Graham Motion said this week that Animal Kingdom will pick up the pace with stronger gallops starting Monday.

Derby runner-up Nehro recently had his return to the races delayed after trainer Steve Asmussen said he was not satisfied with the progress the colt was making in light training following surgery on his right front ankle. Nehro was diagnosed with a non-displaced ankle chip following the Belmont.

“We had him out jogging for a few weeks, but I didn’t think he was quite right, so we’ve turned him out again,” said Asmussen. “We’re just being really careful with him. We’d hoped to maybe have him back for some of these fall races, but when we saw we weren’t going to make it, we just decided to give him more time.”

Mucho Macho Man, third in the Derby, also is unraced since the Belmont but is in serious training at Belmont Park and is expected to return soon for Kathy Ritvo, perhaps in an allowance race.

Part 2 of documentary airs on HRTV

Part 2 of the HRTV special “Tornado at the Twin Spires” is scheduled to air Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern. Part 1 of the special aired in early October. The show is from the “Inside Information” series and documents the June 22 tornado that struck Churchill while featuring interviews with many people whose lives were affected by the near-catastrophe.

Reruns of the documentary will air periodically in the coming weeks on HRTV.

◗ Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the all-time leading trainer at Churchill, hit the 650-win milestone when he sent out Anecdote to win the eighth race Wednesday. Mott wasted no time getting Churchill win No. 651 when Clear Attempt captured the next race on the card. Dale Romans is second on the all-time wins list locally, more than 100 behind.