11/11/2011 1:12PM

Churchill: A sharp Cool C Note switches to dirt for allowance route


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – It’s tempting to label Cool C Note as a synthetic or turf horse, considering how well the 5-year-old has fared over those surfaces lately, but trainer Mike Tomlinson said that wouldn’t be fair.

“He’ll run over broken glass,” said Tomlinson. “Maybe he’s a touch better on Poly or grass, but the way he’s worked over the dirt here at Churchill Downs, I just had to give him a shot over it.”

Cool C Note, fresh off a gritty victory in a $40,000 claiming route over the Keeneland Polytrack, is part of a competitive field of nine in the $50,000 feature Sunday at Churchill. The 1 1/16-mile main-track race carries a second-level allowance condition and a $62,500 claiming option – and Cool C Note is one of four whose connections will be risking their horses for that price.

Tomlinson, on behalf of Patricias Hope LLC, claimed Cool C Note for $40,000 in late January at Oaklawn Park and has seen him win 3 of 8 subsequent starts, culminating with that Oct. 8 triumph at Keeneland. Tomlinson said he thought about waiting for a turf race, “but I really have been impressed with the way he’s trained, so we decided to go in this instead.”

Cool C Note comes well drawn in post 2 with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. back to ride.

Like many handicappers trying to decipher the form of this particular field, “I thought it was tough matching them all up,” said Tomlinson. “You’ve got horses that’ve gone through their condition and are coming off alternate surfaces, and you’ve got a couple young horses coming off a race or two that weren’t up to par for them. It’s not a real easy one to try to figure out.”

Among that cast of challengers are Isthmus (post 3, Julien Leparoux), in off sharp races at Hoosier and Hawthorne for trainer Mike Maker, and Scotus (post 6, Manny Cruz), seeking his first win since upsetting the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes here in June.

One other allowance (race 7) also is carded for Sunday, when first post is 12:40 p.m. Eastern. It’s a wide-open turf sprint that drew an oversubscribed field of fillies and mares competing for a $48,000 purse under a first-level condition.

After Sunday, Churchill goes dark for two days before another five-day week commences Wednesday. The highlights of next week will be the lone “Downs After Dark” program of the meet on Friday (4:30 post), with “Animal Kingdom” being the clever theme, while the Grade 3 River City on Saturday is the lone stakes on the schedule.