06/15/2012 12:25PM

Churchill Downs: Twinspired long overdue to clear second allowance condition


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jim Shircliff has two daughters. Harvey Diamond has two grown children and three grandkids. These longtime friends and their families would like to share a Father’s Day gift Sunday at their familiar stomping grounds of Churchill Downs: a long overdue victory by Twinspired in one of the co-features of a 10-race card.

Shircliff and Diamond are principals in the entities involved in Twinspired, a gray 4-year-old colt who has tantalized and frustrated his many ownership partners ever since getting beat maybe an inch by Brilliant Speed in the 2011 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.

“We still have visions of grandeur because he always looks like he’s going to right on by,” said Diamond. “Maybe he’s just a herd animal and doesn’t want to be the alpha horse, I don’t know. We put blinkers on him last out and he basically ran the same way he has been.”

Twinspired, with Victor Lebron riding for trainer Mike Maker, will start from post 1 in a field of nine 3-year-olds and upward in the eighth race Sunday, a $62,500, second-level allowance scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The narrow miss in the Blue Grass landed Twinspired in the Kentucky Derby, in which he ran 17th. Eight starts beyond the Derby, Twinspired is still winless, giving him an overall skein of 12, although many of those races have come in rugged company.

“We’ve been at this ‘two other’ level for quite a while,” said Diamond. “Maybe at some point he’ll realize the error of his ways and take a step forward. He’s still a very nice horse, and we’re all coming out Sunday to watch.”

Besides Twinspired, the race also figures to have Ready To Taunt, Pleasant Run, and Versailles Road as prime contenders.

Some 30 minutes later in race 9, an interesting group of seven 3-year-olds will clash in the only other allowance of the day, a $59,800, first-level race at seven furlongs on the main track. Despite their relative inexperience, three of the starters have been tested in stakes – Unbridled’s Note, Johannesbourbon, and King Kid – and it would not be surprising to see at least one of them break loose with a big effort Sunday.

King Kid (post 7, Miguel Mena) has been off since February, when he finished fifth in the Grade 3 Withers at Aqueduct. He was a first-out winner here last fall.

“Had a little setback this winter and we had to stop on him,” said King Kid’s trainer, Dale Romans. “I’ve always thought he was one of my best 3-year-olds, and he’s come back to train extremely well. We’re excited about bringing him back Sunday.”

First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the co-features going at 4:20 and 4:50, and the 10th at 5:20. After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days before another four-day race week resumes Thursday.