06/08/2012 12:49PM

Churchill Downs: Allowance draws diverse cast of horses


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – If variety is the spice of racing, then the Sunday feature at Churchill Downs fits the bill. A turf-marathon specialist, a 4-year-old filly, and a couple of aspiring 3-year-olds will meet up with an otherwise standard group of older horses in the second of three allowances on a solid 10-race card.

Pleasant Run, trained by Ken McPeek, exits a series of longer races as one of a handful of contenders in the ninth race, a $62,500, second-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Brushed by a Star, the lone female in a cast of nine, along with 3-year-olds Afford and Point Taken are among the chief threats in a field that could have the 4-year-old colt Chilled as a slight favorite.

Brushed by a Star, a good second in a recent 6 1/2-furlong race versus fillies following a layoff of nearly six months, is not a sure thing to actually start, trainer Grant Forster said.

“We’re still thinking about it,” Forster said early Friday. “We wanted to enter and take a look. I think she has a good shot. She’s had her sprint prep, and she came out of it in great shape. Obviously we’ve been trying to get her in a ‘two-other-than’ against the girls, but it’s never gotten any more than four [entries]. Like any trainer, you hate to sit in the barn when a horse is doing as well as she is, so we’ll see.”

Brian Hernandez Jr. has the call on Brushed by a Star, who was assigned post 5.

Pleasant Run (post 4, Victor Lebron) turns back from a 1 1/2-mile turf allowance in April at Keeneland. Afford (post 6, Shaun Bridgmohan), based in Chicago with trainer Greg Geier, was deemed good enough to run in such stakes as the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby earlier in the year. Point Taken (post 9, Calvin Borel), a cleverly named son of 2001 Belmont Stakes winner Point Given, won a Fair Grounds allowance route two starts back. And Chilled (post 3, Corey Lanerie) actually finished first for these same conditions three weeks ago at Churchill before being disqualified for attempting to savage a rival in deep stretch.

In the two other Sunday allowances, Animal Spirits will try to rebound off a disappointing effort at Keeneland when making his second start since the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf when facing seven other 3-year-olds in race 5, a $59,800, first-level turf route, while a full and well-matched field of filly-mare turf sprinters will vie for a $59,800 purse in the 10th and last race.

First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the ninth-race feature going at 5:05 and the 10th at 5:33. After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days before another four-day race week resumes Thursday, with the Grade 1 Stephen Foster and three other graded stakes set for next Saturday night, June 16.