09/16/2013 3:32PM

Churchill Downs notes: Nine entered for Dogwood Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Grade 1 winner So Many Ways, who won the Eight Belles at Churchill in May, will try for her second win of the year against eight others in the Dogwood on Saturday.

A field of nine 3-year-old fillies has been entered for the weekend feature at Churchill Downs, the Grade 3, $100,000 Dogwood Stakes on Saturday. Sky Girl, a recent private purchase for the Alpha Delta Stables, will make her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott when breaking from post 1 in the seven-furlong race.

So Many Ways, winner of the Grade 3 Eight Belles and most recently fourth in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga, is the likely Dogwood favorite. She will be ridden by Miguel Mena from post 4.

First post Saturday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, meaning a fair portion of the card will overlap with the Florida International-Louisville college football game at nearby Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, which carries a noon kickoff.

A 10-race Friday card starts at 1:45 p.m.

On Fire Baby to Spinster

On Fire Baby most likely will make her next start in the Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland after having her first workout since finishing fourth in the Aug. 25 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

On Fire Baby breezed seven furlongs Sunday at Churchill in 1:27.80 and probably will have “just one more work,” said trainer Gary Hartlage, leading up to the Oct. 6 Spinster, which is run at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack.

“She’s fit, she’s ready,” Hartlage said. “I don’t think she’ll need more than one more work.”

Pure Fun preps for comeback

Pure Fun, unraced since finishing sixth in the May 3 Kentucky Oaks, is nearing her comeback after having four workouts at Churchill since late last month, including a bullet half-mile Friday.

Trained by Ken McPeek for Magdalena Racing, Pure Fun won the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet last December and was one of the more closely watched 3-year-old fillies during the early months of this year. McPeek said the Pure Prize filly is fully recovered from a minor issue and is likely to return in the $200,000 Indiana Oaks on Oct. 5.

Kitchingman makes rare appearance

Conspicuous among trainers with horses entered Friday at Churchill is Adam Kitchingman, who has rarely ventured from his longtime base in Southern California since winning his first race in 2003. Kitchingman will be represented by Cook Inlet in the seventh race, a 1 1/16-mile starter allowance. Kitchingman said Monday from the Keeneland September yearling sale that he also intends to run Miceli in the Jefferson Cup on Sept. 28 on the Churchill turf. Miceli most recently ran second to Sayaad in the Aug. 21 Dance of Life on the Saratoga turf.

“I like it back East and thought these spots would fit these two,” said Kitchingman, a 39-year-old native of Australia. “We’ll go back home after this, but hopefully in the future I’ll be sending more horses this way.”

Splash Landing injured in claim

There was a crowd at the claim box for the last race Sunday at Churchill, with five of the 12 starters being haltered for $5,000. Among those going to new homes was Splash Landing, who was vanned off after being pulled up at the three-eighths pole.

Unlike in other jurisdictions, most notably California, there is no provision for a horse deemed unsound afterward to be returned to its original owner. The new owners in this case are John and Joseph McCord and Linda Settle.

Memorial service for trainer Ford

A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday at noon in the backside chapel at Churchill for veteran trainer Bill Ford, who died early Sunday at age 58 after a long battle with cancer.

Based at the Trackside training center in his later years, Ford had 153 wins and stable earnings of $2.1 million since 1976, the last year for available figures.