05/23/2012 12:31PM

Churchill Downs: Distance a question for Royal Start in Friday allowance

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Chilled (right) tries to bite Zimmer in the stretch run of an allowance race at Churchill Downs on May 18.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One week after the disqualification of Chilled for biting, or at least attempting to bite Zimmer, the wound still runs deep – not for Zimmer, but rather in a metaphoric sense for trainer Paul McGee and his owners, Deerfield Farm Racing and Carl Pascarella.

The stewards disqualified Chilled and placed him second for the incident, a decision McGee called the “wrong call,” pointing to Zimmer seemingly initiating the incident by coming into the path of his horse. Instead of taking the first prize of $34,800, Chilled earned a third of that, $11,600, for second.

That race in the past, McGee will aim for a little better fortune this Friday when he starts Royal Start in a $55,300 first-level allowance going seven furlongs as the 10th and featured race on an 11-race card at Churchill Downs.

Royal Start comes off a competitive performance against similar Derby week, finishing third May 1, beaten 2 3/4 lengths, when racing six furlongs.

“I’m a little concerned about the seven-eighths because she seems to be more of a sprinter-type, but that said, she has been a lot more relaxed than she was earlier in her career,” McGee said. “So maybe seven-eighths will be okay.”

For McGee and those analyzing the race, determining her effectiveness at the distance requires guesswork. Her only win came at 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds this winter, and though she has run well as far as six furlongs, she tired badly the one time she raced beyond that distance, finishing a distant eighth in a mile race here last fall.

Brian Hernandez rides Royal Start, a 4-year-old Jump Start filly owned by Wind and Fire Stables.

Expected to vie for favoritism is Refugio, who finished in front of Royal Start when second May 1, and second-out maiden winners Jamaican Smoke and Totally Tucker, who both earned Beyer Speed Figures in the low 80s in recent victories.

The latter, in particular, could prove a popular choice – closing powerfully to take a maiden race going six furlongs by 4 3/4 lengths for trainer Larry Jones in the race immediately after the May 4 Kentucky Oaks, a race Jones won with Believe You Can.

Calvin Borel picks up the mount on Totally Tucker, with her regular rider, Rosie Napravnik, now riding in New York.

Nicola Giodano More than 1 year ago
Love that horse- he has a lot of spunk and I'll follow him from now on. Love you chilled....go get em..