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Churchill Downs notes: Evening revelers to see Mrs. Revere Stakes
By Marty McGee
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Whether they know it or not, the thousands of novice racing fans who will attend the ever-popular Downs After Dark program Saturday evening at Churchill Downs will be treated to some high-quality racing.
The $175,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes once again promises to live up to its Grade 2 ranking with at least five graded stakes winners expected for the 1 1/16-mile turf race. The Mrs. Revere will anchor a Saturday card that also will include its male counterpart, the Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth Turf.
Centre Court, runner-up to Dayatthespa in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup last month at Keeneland, will have Julien Leparoux in from California as the likely favorite for the Mrs. Revere. The opposition is expected to include graded winners Colonial Flag, Leading Astray, Miz Ida, and Somali Lemonade, with another four or five fillies likely to enter, according to Churchill racing officials.
One prominent 3-year-old turf filly who won’t make the Mrs. Revere is Stephanie’s Kitten, the beaten favorite in the QEII.
“We nominated and wanted to run, but the filly just isn’t 100 percent,” said trainer Wayne Catalano. “We had her checked out and she had a little ulcer, nothing serious. She’s back in training, but we’re just going to take her down to Florida and take our time with her.”
As for the Commonwealth Turf, which also goes at 1 1/16 miles, the lineup will be headed by King David, winner of the Grade 1 Jamaica on the Belmont Park turf in his last start. Other probables include Finale, Lockout, Burn the Mortgage, Excaper, Film Shot, and Kid Sidney.
Saturday entries will be drawn Wednesday.
This will be the first and only Downs After Dark card of the 21-day fall meet. The theme is “The Golden Era,” with patrons encouraged to wear clothing reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties. First post is 4:30 p.m. Eastern, with most of the races being run under the permanent lights system installed in 2010. Depending on weather, upward of 20,000 ontrack fans are expected.
Another Lasix miscue
For at least the third time since the state veterinarian’s office began administering prerace Lasix shots to all starters on the Kentucky circuit, a snafu occurred Sunday at Churchill, this time leading to the subject horse being scratched.
Trainer Mike Lauer said he was informed by chief steward Barbara Borden that Booby Prize, who was supposed to draw into the 10th race off the also-eligibles, was inadvertently given two Lasix shots on race morning. Borden said the mistake meant the horse had to be scratched, since rules require a horse get only one injection.
“I’m not happy about it,” said Lauer. “That might’ve been my only chance to get this horse into a race at this meet.”
The new policy of requiring state (and not private) veterinarians giving Lasix shots went into effect Oct. 5 at Keeneland, where two mix-ups went public. In both of those cases – one horse who wasn’t supposed to get Lasix did get it, and one who was supposed to get Lasix did not – the subject horse did not have to be scratched.
Cardinal timing question
As of Monday, it remained unclear whether the victory by Daisy Devine in the Cardinal Handicap on Saturday will be recognized as a stakes record. A timer malfunction – caused, perhaps, by an unknowing photographer on the turf course prematurely tripping a timing mechanism – led to the race videotape being hand-timed by representatives of Equibase, Trakus, and Churchill.
Daisy Devine, ridden by Calvin Borel and trained by Andrew McKeever, defeated Julia’s Love by a head in the Cardinal in 1:47.29. Since the Cardinal was first run at 1 1/8 miles on turf in 1987, the fastest time had been 1:47.81 – although that, too, comes with an asterisk, since the horse who set the mark in 1996, Bail Out Becky, finished first but was disqualified in favor of Miss Caerleona.
Churchill spokesman Darren Rogers said further consultation will be required before a decision is made about the validity of the record.
Borel, meanwhile, enters this week needing just seven more winners to become the 26th jockey in North American history to reach the 5,000-win milestone.
Breeders’ Cup winners hailed
The parade of Breeders’ Cup champions Sunday at Churchill came off as a nice touch. After the seventh race, Wise Dan (BC Mile), Fort Larned (BC Classic), Little Mike (BC Turf), and Groupie Doll (BC Filly-Mare Sprint) all were led over from the barn area and then paraded in the paddock to respectful applause.
The owner and/or trainer of all those winners were briefly interviewed over the in-house television network, while several other winners with Churchill connections also were recognized, including Royal Delta (BC Ladies’ Classic), Shanghai Bobby (BC Juvenile), Tapizar (BC Dirt Mile), and Hightail (BC Juvenile Sprint).
“It was an unbelievable Breeders’ Cup for Kentucky,” said Dale Romans, trainer of Little Mike.
Churchills Stephen Foster had the most loaded, non-Breeders Cup, field of the year with a purse of only $400,000. They had a Grade 2 that Mucho Macho Man and Fort Larned ran 2nd and 3rd in.
Rumors of the Kentucky horse racings demise are greatly exaggerated. 20,000 are going to show up at Churchill Saturday even though it's going to be in the 30's. In fact, horse racing in Kentucky will never die. Not because we have the best trainers (even though we do), or the best horses (even though our horses are the best too) or best tracks (although we do have the top 2 tracks in the country in Kee and CD). No, it's not because of any of those reasons. The reason racing in Kentucky will never die is, to be honest, we have nothing else. California, New York and Florida have tons of other stuff. Not Kentucky. We have horses, whiskey and basketball and that's it. Something tells me that's the reason so many people go to the Arkansas Derby and Rebel. Because in Arkansas, like in Kentucky, there isn't anything else.
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