11/08/2011 2:53PM

Churchill: Newsdad coming off record outing


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Bill Mott can’t win the feature race at Churchill Downs every day, can he? The Hall of Fame trainer who swept the Breeders’ Cup anchors last weekend with Royal Delta in the Ladies’ Classic and Drosselmeyer in the Classic was back Sunday to win the Cardinal Handicap with Deluxe, adding an almost absurd layer of overkill to his phenomenal weekend.

Now comes a regular ol’ Thursday card at Churchill, and darned if Mott doesn’t loom large again. Newsdad, off a record-setting performance over the Polytrack surface at Keeneland, is one of the top contenders in the featured ninth of 10 races, a second-level, $50,000 allowance at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Newsdad, bred and owned by Jim Karp, was one of six horses at the 17-day Keeneland fall meet to lower a Poly mark, having completed the rarely run distance of 1 1/4 miles in 2:00.61 in an Oct. 19 first-level allowance. That race was his first outside a stakes since Newsdad, a 3-year-old Arch colt, won a Gulfstream Park maiden race in late January, and it is noteworthy that not only is Newsdad still remaining within the allowance ranks Thursday, but that he also is returning to his preferred surface, having been competitive in such turf stakes as the Grade 3 Palm Beach, Grade 2 Virginia Derby, and Grade 1 Secretariat.

Newsdad, with Jesus Castanon back to ride, was assigned post 8 in an oversubscribed field of 3-year-olds and upward. In all, 15 were entered, but only as many as 10 will start.

Among the top challengers to Newsdad are two 5-year-old geldings also coming off sharp efforts at Keeneland: Tahoe Lake (post 1, Manny Cruz), a fast-closing second in the Grade 3 Sycamore on Poly, and Versailles Road (post 10, Robby Albarado), who broke a 10-race losing streak with a gate-to-wire turf score on Oct. 14.

Tahoe Lake, a Brazilian-bred, “has really come around this fall,” said trainer Ken McPeek. “His two races at Keeneland were outstanding, so hopefully he’ll have another big effort for us Thursday.”


One other allowance is carded much earlier in the day as race 2. It’s a first-level, $48,000 sprint for fillies and mares, with Arabian Song and Deborah’s Moment the likely favorites in a field of eight. Eden Star, with Rosemary Homeister Jr. aboard in what is scheduled to be the jockey’s second race of a comeback, drew farthest outside as a fringe contender.

First post Thursday is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.