05/05/2011 1:45PM

Churchill Downs: Chamberlain Bridge back on favorite course in Turf Sprint


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Chamberlain Bridge returns to his favorite turf course when he heads a field of nine entered in the Grade 3, $100,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint, a five-furlong race that kicks off the stakes action on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby card.

Chamberlain Bridge is 4 for 5 at Churchill Downs, with a win in this race in 2009 and a victory in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. His trainer, Bret Calhoun, believes his horse should be perfect here if not for a troubled trip when beaten a neck by Silver Timber in this race last year.

Chamberlain Bridge enters the race off a fourth-place finish in the Shakertown at Keeneland. It is the third straight year that Chamberlain Bridge comes into this race off a loss in the Shakertown.

“He never runs his best race at Keeneland, I don’t guess that’s one of his favorite tracks,” Calhoun said. “He does seem to run his best race here; this is his favorite track. We’re expecting him to come over here and redeem himself. He’s changed his style a little bit as he’s gotten older. He’s settled back a lot more. Last time, he was up on it, but that course was a bog.”

The two major threats to Chamberlain Bridge figure to be Bridgetown and Regally Ready. Bridgetown, who finished fourth to Chamberlain Bridge in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, is 2 for 2 since being transferred to trainer Todd Pletcher, winning a stakes at Tampa and an allowance race at Gulfstream.

“The horse is in great form, last two races we’ve been really pleased with,” Pletcher said. “My only apprehension would be the condition of the turf course and whether it’ll be on the softish side and how he’ll handle it.”

Regally Ready, trained by Steve Asmussen, went 3 for 4 in 6 1/2-furlong races down the hill at Santa Anita and won a second-level allowance race over this course by 7 3/4 lengths last November.