10/31/2011 1:08PM

Churchill Downs: Top jocks in town as Breeders' Cup week starts


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There’s only so much as one allowance on a 10-race Wednesday card at Churchill Downs, but what’s this? Jockeys such as John Velazquez, Rafael Bejarano, Rajiv Maragh, Jose Lezcano, and Paco Lopez will join an already deep cast of Churchill regulars in accepting mounts here Wednesday, a surefire sign that this is no ordinary week.

Indeed, with 15 Breeders’ Cup races to be run here Friday and Saturday, what normally would be a so-so Wednesday will have a decidedly more upbeat feel to it. The nominal feature on the second of 21 fall programs is a $48,000 first-level allowance scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf, with Velazquez and Lezcano taking calls on two of the prime contenders, an uncoupled pair of homebred 3-year-olds trained by Bill Mott.

Clear Attempt, with Lezcano riding from post 1, and Reach a Decision, starting right alongside with Velazquez aboard in post 2, are among the nine 3-year-olds and upward in the ninth-race feature. Other logical players include Quantity and Get a Grip.

Clear Attempt, an A.P. Indy colt carrying the light blue Pam and Marty Wygod silks, might be the better of the Mott duo, especially if his last-place finish as the favorite in a similar race Sept. 29 over the Belmont Park turf can be forgiven. That race came after a nearly 10-week layoff, with the colt perhaps being too keen in the early stages to sustain the solid string of performances he had reeled off from March through July.

Reach a Decision, a gray Aptitude colt toting the green-and-pink Juddmonte Farms colors, also may have a legitimate excuse for his last race Oct. 14, having popped in the air just as the latch was sprung on the Keeneland starting gate. Otherwise, the colt has flashed promise on grass, having won his only other turf try, a July 29 maiden race at Saratoga.

As for the challengers to the Mott pair, Quantity (post 3) gets hot jockey Julien Leparoux after showing a willingness to close in his prior races for Tom Proctor, while Get a Grip (post 5, Maragh) was a good second in the Oct. 14 race won by Versailles Road when making his first start since being claimed by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker.

Rounding out the feature lineup are Smokin Star, Ritual, Why Pretend, Dont Poke the Bear, and Rivendell.

Stakes action resumes here Thursday with the Grade 3, $100,000 Commonwealth Turf for 3-year-olds. First post both days is 12:40 p.m. Eastern, while the BC first posts are 2 p.m. Friday and 12:05 p.m. Saturday.