06/26/2012 3:19PM

Churchill Downs notes: Bashford Manor looking tough

Barbara D. Livingston
Fort Larned is headed for the Cornhusker Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Three of the more impressive winners of 2-year-old maiden races at the Churchill Downs spring meet will convene Saturday night in what is shaping up as an outstanding renewal of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bashford Manor Stakes.

Positively, Roman’s Avenue, and Special Jo all won maiden races by daylight and figure among the favorites in their stakes debuts in the six-furlong Bashford Manor. All three had final tune-ups in recent days at Churchill: Positively went three furlongs Sunday in 35.20 seconds, Roman’s Avenue breezed five furlongs Sunday in 1:00.80, and Special Jo went a half-mile Monday in 49.60 seconds.

Positively, trained by Pat Byrne, was making his second career start when he won a June 8 race by 1 3/4 lengths. “This looks like a tough race, but the colt’s on his game,” said Byrne.

Other likely starters include Circle Unbroken, Go Jack Go, Good Tickled, I’m Boundtoscore, Praetorian Perfect, and either of the D. Wayne Lukas duo of Hightail and Red Wings.

The Bashford Manor will highlight the fourth and final Downs After Dark program of the meet, with first post set for 6 p.m. Eastern. The Saturday card also will include the Roxelana, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares. Entries were to be drawn Wednesday.

Fort Larned going at Prairie Meadows

Fort Larned, last of eight here in June 16 Stephen Foster Handicap, will be running back in just two weeks, shipping to Iowa for the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap on Saturday night.

Trainer Ian Wilkes said he believes Fort Larned was severely compromised by the opening quarter-mile or so of the Foster, when the horse was crowded and bumped repeatedly. “He didn’t really get to run and didn’t finish up,” said Wilkes. Fort Larned, who earned 108 Beyer Speed Figures in each of his two races before the Foster, tuned up for the Cornhusker by breezing a half-mile Tuesday at Churchill in 48.20 seconds.

Successful Dan, the solid favorite for the Cornhusker, also breezed Tuesday at Keeneland for Lopresti, going three furlongs in 36 seconds. Entries for the Cornhusker were to be drawn Wednesday.

◗ Blueeyesintherein, winner of the Grade 3 Debutante Stakes here Saturday as the even-money favorite, could run next in either the Schuylerville Stakes on the July 20 opening-day card at Saratoga or wait for the Aug. 4 Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies, said trainer Garry Simms. “She came out of the race real well,” said Simms.

◗ Karlovy Vary, winner of a turf allowance here Saturday in her first start since finishing 12th in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks, will go next in the Grade 3, $150,000 Virginia Oaks on July 21 on the Colonial Downs turf, said trainer Rusty Arnold. Karlovy Vary, by Dynaformer, won the Grade 1 Ashland Stakes on the Keeneland Polytrack in April.

◗ My Miss Aurelia had her third workout in an 11-day period when she breezed a half-mile Monday in 51 seconds at Churchill. My Miss Aurelia, the 2-year-old filly champion of 2011, is working toward a comeback after having been sidelined with a shin injury shortly after she won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies here last fall. She also breezed June 15 and June 20.

◗ One of the more laudable training jobs of the meet came to light here last Friday when Cielo Classic won a $25,000 turf sprint in his first start in more than 2 1/2 years. Cielo Classic, a 6-year-old gelding, is based at the High Pointe training center near LaGrange, Ky., with owner-trainer Donnie Grego.

◗ It would not be surprising if the attendance here Saturday night is less than the 20,000-plus that has become customary for night racing. First, the daytime temperature is supposed to be about 100, and second, many local sports fans are planning to attend the Quaker State 400, a NASCAR Sprint event the same night at the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, Ky.

◗ Back-to-back allowances will highlight an 11-race Friday twilight card at Churchill, where first post will be 2:45 p.m. Race 9 is a second-level turf sprint, and race 10 is a first-level, one-turn mile on the main track.