08/30/2013 1:06PM

Churchill Downs notes: Pants On Fire due in for Ack Ack

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Pants On Fire, with Paco Lopez up for his Monmouth Cup victory, has earned more than $1.1 million.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Pants On Fire, winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup in his last start, is among the notable shippers expected next weekend for stakes that help open the new 12-day September meet at Churchill Downs.

Trainer Kelly Breen confirmed Friday that Paco Lopez will be in to ride Pants On Fire in the Ack Ack Handicap, one of four graded stakes set for the night card of Saturday, Sept. 7.

Pants On Fire, an earner of more than $1.1 million, will be joined by his 2-year-old stablemate, Jimmy Connors, for the trip from New Jersey. Jimmy Connors, with Elvis Trujillo to ride, figures as one of the top contenders in the Iroquois Stakes after winning his first and only start by 4 1/4 lengths at Monmouth Park.

The Iroquois and its sister race, the Pocahontas Stakes for juvenile fillies, both have been reformatted after being opening-day mainstays in the fall. Both have been lengthened from a one-turn mile to 1 1/16 miles and now carry lucrative Win and You’re In designations toward the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, the Iroquois for the Juvenile and the Pocahontas for the Juvenile Fillies.

According to Churchill’s racing secretary Ben Huffman, here are some of the known prospects for all four Sept. 7 stakes, with more expected by entry time:

** Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois: Honorable Judge, Jimmy Connors, Laddie Boy, Rise Up, Ride On Curlin.

** Grade 2, $150,000 Pocahontas: Divergent View, Stonetastic, Untapable, Milan, Paulownia, and maybe one of the Dale Romans pair of Little Alexis and Whomping Willow.

** Grade 3, $100,000 Ack Ack: Good Morning Diva, Moe Man, Pants On Fire, Point Finish, Right to Vote, Taptowne.

** Grade 3, $100,000 Locust Grove: Ciguaraya, Magic Hour, Molly Morgan, Wine Princess.

Wine Princess has had three breezes, the latest coming Friday at Churchill, since she finished second to Joyful Victory in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth in late July. The Locust Grove, a longtime turf route, has been switched to 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

The meet opens Friday at 1:45 p.m. Eastern, with entries for that 10-race card to be drawn Tuesday. Entries for the Saturday card, the first of two Downs After Dark (6 p.m. post) programs at the meet, will be drawn Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Kentucky Downs also will draw Tuesday for its Saturday opener, a 10-race card that will include three $150,000 stakes. The turf-only track in south-central Kentucky will conduct a five-day meet with record-level purses.

Mylute plans on hold

Trainer Tom Amoss said he still has no firm plans for Mylute in the wake of the colt’s distant eighth-place finish in the Jim Dandy at Saratoga. Fifth in the Kentucky Derby and third in the Preakness, Mylute, in training at Churchill, has breezed just once since the July 27 Jim Dandy when going a half-mile in 49.60 seconds on Aug. 16.

Amoss said he is waiting on word as to the next move from the principals at Gold Mark Farm, which co-owns Mylute with Whisper Hill Farm.

Amoss also said he is considering a start for the standout sprinter Delaunay perhaps in October, as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, and that So Many Ways, fourth in the Grade 1 Test last weekend at Saratoga, is possible for the Grade 3, $100,000 Dogwood, a seven-furlong race on Sept. 21 at Churchill.

On Fire Baby back home

On Fire Baby exited her fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga in good order and is back at Churchill with her next race yet to be decided, according to trainer Gary Hartlage.

On Fire Baby was making her first start since recovering from an illness that required her to be hospitalized for about a week, forcing her to miss the June 15 Fleur de Lis at Churchill. In the Personal Ensign, she chased the pace set by the victorious Royal Delta before finishing 11 lengths back.

Green out for three straight

Veteran trainer Shirley Greene will go for a natural hat trick at the Ellis meet when he saddles Embellished Gold in the second race Sunday. Embellished Gold, a 7-year-old mare, won $4,000 races on July 19 and Aug. 3 and runs back Sunday on the raise to $5,000.

Greene, 75, has won 48 races since 1993, with 20 of those coming at Ellis, his home base. Retired from a career at the local Alcoa plant, Greene has trained part-time since 1962, the same year he married his wife, Renee.

Fund-raiser at Kentucky Downs

Kentucky Downs is hosting a fund-raising event on behalf of the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund featuring six Hall of Fame jockeys on Sept. 11, the first of three Wednesday cards at the meet. Those scheduled to appear are active jockeys Calvin Borel and Gary Stevens, as well as Pat Day, Eddie Maple, Chris McCarron, and Randy Romero, all retired. The schedule includes an autograph session and trophy presentations following races named in honor of the riders.

Kentucky Downs will host a Breeders’ Cup betting challenge on its second Wednesday, Sept. 18, with the winner receiving an expenses-paid trip to the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup or a $5,000 cash prize.

Flores bringing his tack

David Flores, a successful jockey for many years in southern California, intends to ride this fall on the Kentucky circuit, according to his new agent, Jay Fedor.

“We’ll ride Churchill and Kentucky Downs, then stay for Keeneland in October and Churchill in November,” Fedor said.

** The 29-day Ellis Park meet concludes Monday with the fifth running of the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Memorial Handicap for older horses at 1 1/16 miles on turf.