06/04/2011 1:10PM

Churchill Downs: Stall revisits old times


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When Quartermaster flashed under the wire an easy winner of the first race Friday at Churchill Downs, he brought back a fleeting memory for his trainer, Al Stall Jr., of what he was doing two decades ago.

Although he was claimed for $40,000 from the maiden-claiming race, Quartermaster was carrying the green and gold silks of Lazy Lane Farms, the Virginia racing stable owned by media mogul Joe Allbritton.

It was 20 years ago Wednesday, on June 8, 1991, that Stall was an assistant to Frankie Brothers and was watching the Belmont Stakes on television in the Silks Room at Arlington Park. Brothers trained Hansel for Lazy Lane, and in one of the more memorable rematches of the winners of the first two legs of the Triple Crown, Preakness winner Hansel barely held off Kentucky Derby winner Strike the Gold to capture a thrilling 123rd running of the Belmont by a head.

The 143rd Belmont on Saturday is expected to feature a rematch of Derby winner Animal Kingdom versus Preakness winner Shackleford.

“Frankie had me and his assistant, Pam Fitzgerald, stay behind in Chicago with the rest of the stable,” recalled Stall, who since has become a trainer of prominence as the conditioner of 2010 handicap champion Blame and other top runners. “That was a good time for all of us. That was my last summer with Frankie before I went out on my own.”

Brothers retired from training in March 2009 while remaining in racing as a consultant to Keeneland and Starlight Stables. His Preakness and Belmont wins with Hansel represent the apex of an outstanding career in which his horses won 2,290 races and earned more than $48.6 million.

One of the enduring memories for Stall, now 49, was how proud everyone at Arlington and its chairman, Richard Duchossois, were to have Hansel stabled there.

“The next day there’s this humongous banner on our barn saying, ‘Home of Hansel, Preakness and Belmont winner,’” said Stall. “You know Mr. D. and how he did everything up right.”

Meanwhile, Stall said Bind, the promising 3-year-old who was narrowly beaten as the odds-on favorite in a Derby Day allowance, will run next in the $125,000 Matt Winn Stakes, part of the undercard on the June 18 program featuring the Grade 1, $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap.

The Matt Winn, formerly the Northern Dancer, is one of three Grade 3 races on the Foster undercard, along with the $125,000 Regret and $100,000 Jefferson Cup.

Nominations for all Foster Day races were due Saturday.

◗ Dublin, unraced since finishing fifth in the 2010 Preakness, continued to work toward his return to action when going a bullet half-mile in 47.20 seconds here Friday morning. It was the third Churchill work for Dublin, trained by D. Wayne Lukas.

◗ New to Churchill this spring is 38-year-old jockey Nathaniel Puello, who has ridden a handful of mounts for trainer Benard Chatters. They teamed to win their respective first races at Churchill last Monday with a 4-year-old filly named Slew of Medals.

◗ The upcoming Friday card will be the last of five straight Fridays with a twilight first post of 2:45 p.m. Eastern. Night racing, with a first post of 6 p.m., runs the last three Fridays of the meet: June 17, June 24, and July 1. The meet ends July 4.