05/30/2012 3:32PM

Churchill Downs: Calhoun has three stakes fillies for card

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Gleaming, with Cliff Berry riding, wins the Spring Fever Stakes at Oaklawn.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bret Calhoun has a total of three horses entered in the three Grade 3, $100,000 stakes that Churchill Downs has carded for Saturday night, the first of three Downs After Dark programs in June.

One horse for each stakes, right? Uh, not quite. Calhoun has entered three of the eight filly-mares sprinters in the first of those races, the Winning Colors Stakes, and said Wednesday after entries were drawn that he fully intends to run all three: Gleaming, Beat the Blues, and Speedacious.

“Absolutely,” said Calhoun. “I’ve been looking forward to this race for all of them. I do wish there were other spots for them, but I’d like to get a graded win for any of them, and I think they all have earned their way. I think any of them could win under the right circumstances.”

Here is a brief look at the three stakes that anchor the 11-race Saturday card:

◗ Winning Colors (six furlongs, race 6): Besides the Calhoun trio of 5-year-old mares, two fleet 3-year-olds, Good Deed and Page Springs, loom solid threats when challenging older rivals.

◗ Aristides (six furlongs, race 7): Noble’s Promise, the defending champion, will try to snap a six-race losing skein when facing the likes of Rothko, Riley Tucker, and Cash Refund in the male counterpart to the Winning Colors.

◗ Mint Julep (1 1/16 miles, turf, race 8): Bizzy Caroline, Tapitsfly, Heavenly Landing, and Snow Top Mountain are principals in a terrific lineup of nine fillies and mares.

First post Saturday is 6 p.m. Eastern, with the features going around 8:30, 9, and 9:30. The other Downs After Dark cards are set for June 16 (Stephen Foster night) and June 30.

Oxley stable shining

John Oxley has known a far greater glory at Churchill Downs, having won the 2001 Kentucky Derby with Monarchos, but this spring is becoming a memorable one, too. Oxley has had his gold and blue silks visit the Churchill winner’s circle six times from his first 15 starters, just one time fewer than what the meet leader, the Midwest Thoroughbreds, has had. The latest was the promising 3-year-old colt, Dynamical, an easy maiden winner here Monday.

Oxley employed John T. Ward Jr. as his primary trainer for many years, including with Monarchos, but began branching out a few years ago and now has most of his horses with Mark Casse. Ward began his tenure as executive director of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission on April 1.

Gelding earns big figure

The biggest Beyer Speed Figure recorded here over the last few weeks was not in a stakes race, but in a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs. Golden Frontier, a 4-year-old gelding owned by George Fister, earned a 107 Beyer in winning May 24 by 11 1/4 lengths.

“We’re going to go next in the Kelly’s Landing,” an overnight stakes here the weekend of June 23, said trainer Jim Dodgen. “We’ve gotten a lot of offers on the horse ever since he broke his maiden at Oaklawn [on March 31], but I don’t think George is interested in selling.”

Woodard heating up

Joe Woodard had an inauspicious start to the spring meet by winning with just 1 of his first 30 starters, but like the weather, things started getting a little warmer last week for Woodard and his longtime clients, Billy, Donna, and Justin Hays. Woodard won with 3 of his next 10 starters, including a May 24 score with Cape Hatchet, a remarkable 7-year-old gelding who now has won 19 of 40 career starts. Thirteen of those wins have come for Woodard and the Hayses.

Stephanie’s Kitten works

Stephanie’s Kitten had her second work since capturing the Edgewood Stakes on the May 4 Kentucky Oaks undercard when she breezed five furlongs in 1:00.60 Wednesday morning over the Churchill dirt. The Ken Ramsey homebred remains on target for a run in the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at the prestigious Royal Ascot meet in England on June 22.

◗ Sabercat had his first workout since finishing 18th in the May 5 Kentucky Derby when breezing five furlongs here Monday in 1:02.60 for trainer Steve Asmussen.