Churchill Downs notes: Afleeting Lady can contribute to holiday celebration
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Afleeting Lady will try to give Dale Romans his 19th graded stakes victory of the year while making for a memorable Thanksgiving holiday when she starts as a major contender Thursday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Afleeting Lady is in peak form, having won the first two stakes of her 19-race career coming into the Falls City: the Sept. 3 Lady’s Secret at Monmouth Park, and the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.
“She’s trained right along since the Belmont race,” said Romans. “We’d love to have a stakes win to go with our turkey Thursday.”
Afleeting Lady, a 5-year-old mare, will have Joel Rosario in from New York to ride. They will start from the outside post in the 1 1/8-mile race, for which entries were drawn Sunday.
Brushed by a Star will be the 122-pound highweight when she makes her first start for new connections. The 4-year-old filly was purchased earlier this month for $400,000 by a group called Volt Inc. at the Keeneland sale. Eddie Kenneally is her new trainer.
From the rail, this is the field for the 97th Falls City, the 11th of 12 Thursday races: Joyful Victory, 119, Robby Albarado to ride; Arena Elvira, 118, Junior Alvarado; Aint She a Saint, 113, Malcolm Franklin; Sea Level Drive, 114, Brian Hernandez Jr.; Maristar, 114, David Cohen; Brushed by a Star, 122, Corey Lanerie; and Afleeting Lady, 119, Rosario.
First post Thursday is 11:30 a.m., with the last race set for 4:50 p.m. First post for the three ensuing days of the meet reverts to 12:40 p.m.
Noble’s Promise done racing
Noble’s Promise was officially retired after narrowly missing in his 27th start here Friday. A runner-up finish in the one-mile turf allowance brought his earnings to $1,193,376 in a career that included a win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity and a fifth-place finish after taking the lead in the upper stretch of the 2010 Kentucky Derby.
“It would’ve been nice to have him go out on a winning note, but he’s had a great career,” said Ken McPeek, who trained Noble’s Promise throughout his career for the JCM Racing partnership.
Borel nearing win 5,000
Three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey Calvin Borel stands just four victories away from becoming just the 26th rider in North American racing history to hit the 5,000-win milestone. Borel notched win No. 4,996 on Sunday aboard Nicklaus Way for Ian Wilkes.
“We’d love to have him get the 5,000th here,” said his longtime agent, Jerry Hissam.
Borel is named on four mounts Thursday and six on Friday.
Friday night’s all right
The Saturday night attendance of 15,926 for the only Downs After Dark card of the fall meet was up marginally from last year. Not counting Breeders’ Cup races, this was the fourth year that Churchill has had a single night date in the fall, and all have drawn similar numbers.
Meanwhile, Centre Court, the winner of the richest race Saturday night, came out of her race in fine shape, said trainer Rusty Arnold. Centre Court posted a clear-cut victory as the favorite in the Grade 2 Mrs. Revere Stakes.
“We’re leaving Nov. 30 for Palm Meadows with about 30 head,” said Arnold. “Centre Court will get a little time off. I was really impressed with her. As good as she’s been, I honestly thought that might’ve been the best race she’s ever run. She beat an awfully nice field pretty handily.”
Simms gets appropriate win
Garry Simms won two races here Sunday, including one that was quite appropriate: the “Horses and Hope” event which raises funds for breast-cancer awareness and was carded as race 5. Simms, who won the race with Statesboro Blues ($16.60), remains a cancer survivor as he continues to fight multiple myeloma.
“How ’bout that, huh?” said Simms, who later won the ninth-race allowance feature with Next Right Thing ($23.40).
Simms will head soon to Fair Grounds with about 16 horses, including his pair of stakes-winning 2-year-olds, Circle Unbroken and Blueeyesintherein.
* When Kitten’s Queen ($15.60) won the sixth race Sunday, and Sayler’s Creek ($16.80) followed with a victory two races later, they continued a remarkably strong trend established at this meet: also-eligibles drawing into a race and into the winner’s circle at nice mutuels.
Through Sunday, 8 of 29 also-eligibles have won at the fall meet for a return on investment of $120.40 had you bet $2 on each of them. Even more impressive is that the first 11 also-eligibles were losers, meaning the streak is actually 8 for the last 18.
◗ With Excellence will try to become the first three-time winner of the meet when she starts Wednesday in the fourth race, a seven-furlong starter-allowance for fillies and mares. Jon Court will have the mount back for veteran trainer Phil Thomas Jr.
* It might look like just another $52,000 allowance, but the 10th of 12 Thursday races will mark a notable milestone in the 139-year history of Churchill Downs: It will be the track’s 50,000th race.
* Although the race had to be hand-timed because of a timer malfunction, the Nov. 10 Cardinal Handicap will in fact be recognized as a stakes record for Daisy Devine, said Churchill officials. The 4-year-old filly finished the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.29 over the turf course, lowering the mark set in 1996.
* Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux said he has hired prominent south Florida agent Cory Moran for the upcoming Gulfstream Park meet. “I’m going down there intent on getting back on top,” said Desormeaux.
* Nice autumn weather is forecast for closing week, with sunny skies prevalent and high temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to mid-60s.
* The Saturday card will be the second of two Stars of Tomorrow programs, highlighted the twin Grade 2 races, the Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod. The Grade 3 River City anchors the meet finale Sunday.
Can someone explain the sub-headline in this article, "Friday night's alright"? Everything after that was about the SATURDAY night program...