05/31/2013 1:21PM

Churchill: Positively drops back in allowance feature

Tom Keyser
Positively, who finished eighth most recently in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill, tops a field of 11 in an allowance race Sunday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The 3-year-old colt Positively is out of the Mr. Prospector mare Macoumba, which gives him an impressive pedigree but does nothing for his race record.

Macoumba, now 21, is the dam of Malibu Moon, the sire of Kentucky Derby winner Orb and one of the hottest sires in North America these days.

Yet in the case of Positively, as the saying goes, he’s been a half-brother to the A.P. Indy horse Malibu Moon since the day he was born. The son of Distorted Humor has to make his own way in the racing world.

“I’ve always thought a lot of the colt,” said Pat Byrne, who trains Positively for Chuck and Maribeth Sandford. “He was second in a couple of graded stakes last year [the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and Grade 3 Iroquois]. I still think he’s a stakes horse, although for now I’d be happy just to get him through his first allowance condition.”

Toward that end, Positively will drop back in class Sunday in the ninth-race feature at Churchill Downs, a $52,000, main-track allowance that drew an excellent field of 11 3-year-olds. First post is 12:45 p.m. Eastern, with the one-mile feature set for 4:59.

“The race came up a lot tougher than you would have thought,” Byrne said. “But that’s fine. It’s another good test for us.”

In his two starts this year, both on turf with Rosie Napravnik aboard, Positively ran second in a Keeneland allowance, then eighth in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill. Napravnik was aboard for a three-furlong breeze last Sunday.

“Rosie really liked how he went,” Byrne said. “I think we’re set up just fine for going back to the dirt.”

Positively and Napravnik were assigned post 5 for this, the only allowance race of the program.

As for the opposition Sunday, Byrne said he most fears Betweenhereandcool, trained by Steve Asmussen, and For Greater Glory, trained by Steve Hobby.

Betweenhereandcool (post 3, Ricardo Santana Jr.) comes off a maiden romp on the final weekend of the Oaklawn Park meet. For Greater Glory (post 6, Robby Albarado) adds blinkers when turning back in distance after three straight stakes outings.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for three days until racing resumes Thursday.

◗ The Sandfords have standout older horse Take Charge Indy in Byrne’s care. Early Friday, Take Charge Indy took another step toward the June 15, Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap when breezing an easy five furlongs in 1:03.80 with Napravnik up.

“He’ll have one last blowout next weekend,” Byrne said.