05/17/2013 12:53PM

Churchill Downs: No Distinction comes off triple-digit Beyer at Oaklawn


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Some of the first-level allowance races held so far at the Churchill Downs spring meet have been thin, both in numbers and talent. Happily for horseplayers, the exact opposite is the case with a $52,000 sprint that goes as the ninth of 10 Sunday races.

“It looks a lot tougher than the way they’ve been coming up,” said Randy Morse.

One major reason is that No Distinction, trained by Morse, is among the field of 11 colts and geldings. No Distinction earned an eye-popping 100 Beyer Speed Figure in winning a maiden race on the Arkansas Derby undercard at Oaklawn Park.

“The [bloodstock] agents started calling, and I actually thought we had him sold for a pretty big number,” said Morse, who has 20 horses stabled at Churchill and another 25 at Prairie Meadows. “But they never even vetted him out, so that was the end of that.”

No Distinction, a 3-year-old colt owned by the Iron Horse Racing Ltd. Partnership, will have Robby Albarado back aboard when breaking from the middle of the pack in post 6 in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

“From everything he’s shown me, he’s the real deal,” said Morse. “His first race was a throwout when he was rushed up the inside where the track was unbelievably deep. His last work here” – a bullet half-mile in 46.80 seconds on May 1 – “was something. If they can beat him Sunday, I’d be surprised.”

Even with those credentials, No Distinction is still just a lukewarm 3-1 morning-line favorite, which says something about the depth of the opposition.

Among those threats are Cold Facts (post 1, Calvin Borel), a just-miss second for this same condition Derby week as a 9-5 favorite; Special Jo (post 2, Rosie Napravnik), graded stakes-placed last year at 2; Ouimet (post 4, Corey Lanerie), making his dirt debut after two sharp efforts to start his career; Googleado (post 9, Shaun Bridgmohan), second at Keeneland at this same level; and Title Contender (post 11, Ricardo Santana Jr.), whose last four starts include two Grade 1 races and a Grade 2.

The Sunday program also includes a $54,000, second-level allowance that was carded as race 4 as a less compelling wagering event. Only as many as six fillies and mares will start, assuming the 1 1/8-mile race stays on grass as expected.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days before Thursday commences a five-day race week that runs through Memorial Day, May 27.

First post Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern.