06/21/2013 12:59PM

Churchill Downs notes: Jockeys making plans for summer


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A handful of jockeys who have ridden at Churchill Downs this spring will head to Saratoga when that upstate New York meet begins July 19, while the rest will ride at a combination of Ellis Park, Indiana Downs, and Arlington Park until racing returns here for the September meet.

Shaun Bridgmohan, who appears well on his way to the spring-meet riding title, will be back at Saratoga this summer, along with Rosie Napravnik, Alan Garcia, Joe Rocco Jr., and Robby Albarado.

In the meantime, Corey Lanerie, the leading rider at the 2012 spring and fall meets, said he is content to remain in Louisville with his family while working up a patchwork schedule that revolves primarily around Ellis Park, where the two-month meet will run mostly on a three-day-a-week schedule. Ellis runs July 4 through Sept. 2.

“I imagine we’ll go up to Indiana a little, maybe ride up at Arlington, too,” said Lanerie, who trails only Bridgmohan atop the spring-meet standings. “I might even squeeze in a little golf here and there.”

Other jockeys planning a similar schedule are Calvin Borel, Ricardo Santana Jr., Leandro Goncalves, Dylan Davis, Miguel Mena, Brian Hernandez Jr., Norberto Arroyo Jr., Jesus Castanon, Jon Court, Victor Lebron, and John McKee.

The 38-day Churchill spring meet ends next Sunday, June 30. The first September meet at Churchill will run 12 days, from Sept. 6-29.

Few willing to take on Wise Dan

Wise Dan has been confirmed for the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap here next Saturday night, June 29, which means the Churchill racing office probably will struggle to find worthy opposition for the 2012 Horse of the Year. At this early juncture, Dimension and possibly Corporate Jungle are the only names to be mentioned.

Weight assignments for the one-mile turf race were to be released Saturday, and “I think a lot of trainers with horses nominated are waiting to see what the spreads will be,” Churchill racing secretary Ben Huffman said.

Wise Dan, based at Keeneland, probably will breeze “just a few days out from the race,” trainer Charlie LoPresti said. “Something real easy and real short. He’s ready.”

Entries for the Saturday card will be taken Wednesday.

Wine Princess okay after flop

If a horse were to defeat Royal Delta last weekend in the Fleur de Lis Handicap, it was supposed to be Wine Princess, who was the 7-2 second choice to Royal Delta’s 3-10 favoritism.

Instead, as Funny Proposition won at 5-1 and Royal Delta was second, Wine Princess struggled home last of five.

“She’s fine,” trainer Steve Margolis reported Friday. “She’s gone back to the track and everything is okay. She might’ve gotten a little dehydrated is all. We’re going to stay to our plan and go to Monmouth for the Molly Pitcher” on July 28.

A trip to New Jersey last summer worked out well for Wine Princess when she won the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks. Wine Princess is a 4-year-old filly with the rare parentage of two Horses of the Year, Ghostzapper (2004) and Azeri (2002).

Closer look at mutuel payouts

Churchill senior director of mutuels Rick Smith confirmed through computer printout this week that the boxcar superfecta combination in the 10th race last Sunday had $1.60 sold on it.

Seven winning 10-cent tickets were sold through an Ohio wagering hub; seven through an Oregon hub; one through a Maryland hub; and one through TVG. Each was worth $2,262.

The odds on the top four finishers in the subject race were 64-1, 74-1, 28-1, and 24-1, and with the super pool being just $44,982, there seemed a high improbability of so many perfect tickets. The winning numbers were 2-3-10-7.

Smith also said a minus place pool of $40,658 was caused last Saturday night when Royal Delta finished second. Nearly $250,000 was bet to place on Royal Delta from a pool of $286,512. She paid the minimum $2.10 to place after hanging on to finish three-quarters of a length in front She’s All In.

Smith explained that the net-pool pricing in effect at Churchill since 2010 means the track was responsible for only a small percentage of the minus pool and that sites where the bets originate are where the deficit is made up.

Casse adds five juveniles to barn

Mark Casse has assimilated five newly purchased 2-year-olds into his Churchill string. Casse was very active at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales 2-year-olds in training sales earlier this week, buying eight horses for various clients, including the sale’s leading buyer, Conquest Stables.

Casse said he hopes to have them ready for the September meet, although “one or two could maybe run somewhere else before then.”

Foremost among the new 2-year-olds is the sale-topper, Tracker Jacker, who went for $525,000.

During the summer, Casse typically is in Canada overseeing his main stable, while his son and assistant Norman tends to the Kentucky string.

◗ The annual poker tournament that raises funds for the Blackie Huffman Educational Fund is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the Triple Crown room at Churchill. Buy-in is $100. Spots are available by calling (502) 363-1077.