06/03/2011 1:12PM

Churchill Downs: Meistersinger looks live in route


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Kentucky Derby history can come in all degrees, and two of the six 3-year-olds in the Sunday feature at Churchill Downs can claim tiny ones to the 2011 running.

Meistersinger owns something of an ignominious stake – he was part of a botched workout at Keeneland with Animal Kingdom two Saturdays before his Team Valor International stablemate captured the Derby.

Gentle Tap had a tangential part in Derby lore, too, by running off to a 2 1/4-length triumph at 4-1 in the 13th and final race of the May 7 card, perhaps saving the wagering day for players who didn’t hit the Derby.

No such chronicling is likely to follow either horse after they resurface Sunday, when they will take part in the only allowance on a 10-race program, a $51,000, first-level route. Nonetheless, Churchill fans will take keen interest, if only because both are live prospects in the ninth race, always a critical leg in the multi-race wagers that wind down a card.

Meistersinger, trained by Graham Motion, last raced at Gulfstream Park, winning a maiden event going a one-turn mile at 11-1. The son of Yes It’s True has had five recorded workouts in the interim, starting with the April 23 Keeneland snafu that was scripted to be a team work with Animal Kingdom but wound up being a solo breeze.

Julien Leparoux will ride Meistersinger when breaking from post 3.

Gentle Tap, trained by Steve Asmussen, moved along with authority in the Derby Day nightcap, hustling from far back after breaking from post 1 to win going away. A $250,000 yearling purchase for Mike McCarthy, Gentle Tap will return to the rail slot Sunday when having Robby Albarado aboard.

Of course, both Motion and Asmussen will be on the national racing stage next Saturday when they send out the respective Derby exacta of Animal Kingdom and Nehro in the 143rd Belmont Stakes in New York.

Others in the Sunday feature are the uncoupled Ken McPeek duo of Pleasant Run and Scotus; Supreme Ruler, making his third start of this spring meet; and Alstom, looking to return to form for D. Wayne Lukas.

Earlier on the Sunday card, Dark Cove looks like a standout in the third race, a starter-allowance turf route with a $28,000 purse, even when returning on just five days’ rest for McPeek. Screenplay, holding form, looks like the main threat in a field of eight.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days before live action resumes Thursday. First post both days is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.