11/23/2012 1:07PM

Churchill Downs: Breakout performance by Infrattini sets him up for bigger races


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Infrattini earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 105 when he broke the track record for a mile Thursday at Churchill Downs in a breakthrough performance that has his connections hoping for a great 2013.

Breaking from post 1 in the one-turn race, a $57,500 classified allowance, Infrattini and jockey Joel Rosario sped to the lead down the backstretch and never looked back, opening nearly 10 lengths down the stretch and prevailing by 7 1/4 lengths. He returned $14.20 to win. The winning time of 1:33.31 over a fast track bettered the prior mark of 1:33.57 set by Chilukki in the 2000 Churchill Distaff.

“We really thought about running him in the Clark [Handicap, on Friday] because he was doing so good,” said Paul McGee, who trains Infrattini for the Z Thoroughbreds LLC of Mike Zlaket of Thousand Oaks, Calif. “He’s always been a nice horse and it was great to see him run a huge one like that.”

Infrattini, a 4-year-old homebred gelding by Include, now has 5 wins and 5 seconds from 15 career starts. He will ship this week with the balance of the McGee stable to Fair Grounds, where he will be pointed to the major older-horse events at the New Orleans track.

Infrattini was a subject horse in one of the Lasix mix-ups that have occurred on the Kentucky circuit since the state veterinarian’s office became responsible in early October for pre-race injections. In the hours prior to his last start on Oct. 24 at Keeneland, he did not get his shot but still was allowed to start anyway. He won that third-level allowance as a 7-5 favorite.

Meanwhile, Thursday was a memorable afternoon for Rosario, the 24-year-old Dominican who has ranked among the nation’s top jockeys for the last several years. Rosario was in from New York to ride Afleeting Lady to win the Grade 2 Falls City Handicap later on the card. He also won a maiden turf race for Bill Mott on Bargain Blitz.

Applauding goes next at Oaklawn

Applauding will make her next start at Oaklawn Park after remaining unbeaten in three career races with a workmanlike triumph here Wednesday under Joe Rocco Jr. in a second-level allowance sprint. She earned a 77 Beyer, leading throughout, for a 1 1/4-length victory in the six-furlong race.

Applauding, a 3-year-old filly owned by Ramona Bass and trained by Al Stall Jr., has been closely followed by racing fans after setting the 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack record at Keeneland in winning her career debut in October 2011.

Stall said from Fair Grounds on Friday that he believes Applauding should benefit “in a big way” from her comeback effort, which came nearly a year since she won a Fair Grounds allowance. He said he is pointing her to the Jan. 20 American Beauty at Oaklawn.

“A ‘three-other-than’ won’t fill, and there aren’t any filly-mare stakes on the dirt here,” he said.

Neck ’n Neck has surgery

Neck ’n Neck, the late-blooming 3-year-old who would have been one of the favorites Friday in the Clark, underwent successful surgery for a fractured sesamoid Wednesday at the Woodford Equine Hospital in Versailles, Ky., according to trainer Ian Wilkes.

“The doctors said everything went very well,” said Wilkes. “Now we’ll wait and see how he does for the next six months or so.”

Neck ’n Neck, a 3-year-old colt by Flower Alley, won the Indiana Derby and Ack Ack Handicap in his last two starts before incurring the injury in a routine workout Sunday.

Big Thanksgiving for Sims

Phil Sims enjoyed a terrific Thanksgiving Day, sending out back-to-back winners on the Thursday card, and almost winning with another horse at big odds. Sims, based throughout his 32-year career in Lexington, won the seventh with Surprise Surprise ($22.20) and the eighth with Don’t Tell Sophia ($5.40) before Paroled was beaten just a head at 24-1 in the 10th, a turf allowance.

Don’t Tell Sophia has been a star-in-waiting for Sims, who will take a 16-horse stable to Oaklawn Park this winter. The 4-year-old filly was turning back in distance and changing surfaces when capturing the 6 1/2-furlong dirt allowance.

“It just kind of happened because I really wanted to get a race in her and this was the only thing that filled for her,” said Sims.

For added measure, Sims came back with another winner Friday when Ready for More ($12) took the fourth race, a $56,000 allowance.

* Jockey and trainer races were still close as the 21-day fall meet entered its final three-day stretch Friday. Corey Lanerie, the runaway leader at the spring meet, held a 25-22 lead over Shaun Bridgmohan atop the rider standings, while the trainers’ race was even tighter. Stall led with 11 wins but had far fewer entries over the last three days, meaning Dale Romans and Ken McPeek (10 wins each after Thursday) likely would be battling it out for the title.

* Because Sunday ends a race meet, there will be mandatory payoffs in all jackpot wagers, even in the case of no perfect tickets. Those wagers are the $2 pick six, the 50-cent pick five, and the $1 super high five.