06/14/2013 2:50PM

Churchill Downs: Quittin Time more than a Father's Day hunch horse


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Some dads might say a bad day at the track beats a good day anywhere else. That optimistic outlook is a virtual requirement when a card doesn’t look all that appealing, as might be the case Sunday when Churchill Downs hosts a 10-race program.

Just one allowance race is on tap Sunday, when the fare otherwise comprises maiden or claiming events, some of them with rather short fields. Nonetheless, families will turn out en masse in the hopes that dad can cash a few tickets and make Father’s Day 2013 a memorable one.

Samantha Siegel, who owns one of the contenders in the eighth-race feature, Quittin Time, will be watching the Churchill action from California. Quittin Time, a 3-year-old gelding by Scat Daddy, was named in honor of her father, Mace, who died at age 86 in October 2011 after a fabulous career in business and racing.

“He would say ‘quittin time’ at the end of a gathering, meal, or party that had gone on too long,” said Siegel, whose horses continue to run under the name Jay Em Ess Stable. “It was one of his many signature sayings. He was one of a kind. I’m sure I’m like many other people who’ve lost their father. I miss him every day, especially on a day like Father’s Day.”

Quittin Time is a last-out winner, having rallied down the center of the Churchill turf course to capture a May 27 maiden turf-sprint. A repeat effort would make him a threat when he squares off against winners for the first time in a $52,000 first-level allowance race scheduled for five furlongs on the turf. Jesus Castanon has the return mount on Quittin Time for trainer Paul McGee.

Quite a few of his 10 opponents sport a similarly capable look, with Ouimet perhaps being the most prominent. Trained by Greg Foley, Ouimet owns the rare distinction of having raced on different surfaces – synthetic, turf, dirt – in each of his three career starts, and he figures to loom a major danger and favorably drawn in the outside post with Corey Lanerie aboard.

The race also drew Titletown Five in his first appearance since the May 18 Preakness, in which he was badly overmatched when finishing 47 lengths behind his victorious D. Wayne Lukas stablemate, Oxbow. Jon Court has the mount.

First post Sunday is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the nominal feature set for 4:27.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days, with action resuming Thursday for another four-day race week.