11/07/2012 3:02PM

Churchill Downs: Freshman Dorm climbing ladder for Maker


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Freshman Dorm hasn’t quite made the leap that a few of his stablemates have, but he might well be on his way. Claimed in August at Saratoga for $35,000, the 5-year-old horse won a second-level allowance at first asking before finishing a close second last month at Keeneland as the favorite on the raise into a third-level race.

Freshman Dorm now returns in a similar spot Friday in the $56,000 feature at Churchill Downs, a race that trainer Mike Maker hopes will further propel the horse up the class ladder. Maker has had a remarkable recent record in just this type of endeavor, with claims such as Papaw Bodie, King David, and Kindergarden Kid having won or placed in major stakes this year.

Freshman Dorm, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, will be ridden by Corey Lanerie when part of an oversubscribed field in the ninth of 10 Friday races, a one-mile turf allowance. They will break from post 6 in a race that will be carded with 14 horses, although only as many as 10 can start.

“He’s been a good claim,” Maker said. “It seems like he gives 100 percent every race. I’d like to use this as a prep for the Claiming Crown and then hopefully go from there,” a reference to the $125,000 Claiming Crown Emerald on Dec. 1 at Gulfstream Park.

Meanwhile, two of the chief threats to Freshman Dorm are 8-year-old geldings who both can claim tangential connections to major Kentucky-based stars from the Breeders’ Cup last weekend.

One is Dubious Miss (post 2, Marcelino Pedroza), who shares the same sire, E Dubai, with the BC Classic winner, Fort Larned. The curiously named Dubious Miss is a graded stakes winner with earnings of nearly $575,000 for owner-breeder David Holloway and trainer Paul McGee.

The other is Strike Impact (post 4, Shaun Bridgmohan), who finished a decent third in the 2011 Firecracker Handicap at Churchill behind Wise Dan, the BC Mile winner and the heavy favorite to be voted the 2012 Horse of the Year. Strike Impact, trained by Pat Dupuy, will be making his 68th career start when looking to add to his bankroll of $612,103.

Both Dubious Miss and Strike Impact are in for the $80,000 claiming option that is part of the race conditions.

One other allowance, a $54,000, second-level turf sprint (race 7), is part of the Friday card, which carries the usual first post of 12:40  p.m. Eastern.