11/20/2009 12:00AM

Custom for Carlos already targeting 2010 Sprint

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Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Custom for Carlos may be a good candidate for next year's BC Sprint at Churchill Downs.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - In hindsight, Custom for Carlos might have fit nicely a couple of weeks ago in the Breeders' Cup Sprint. Not given to second-guessing, however, trainer Eddie Kenneally would gladly settle for a spot for Custom for Carlos in the Sprint next year, when the Breeders' Cup returns to Churchill Downs.

Custom for Carlos begins his unofficial quest for the 2010 Breeders' Cup by running Saturday in the $60,000 Bet on Sunshine Stakes at Churchill. In his last race, the 3-year-old Custom for Carlos earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure when beaten a nose in the $250,000 Gallant Bob Handicap at Philadelphia Park.

"I know the Sprint ended up being wide open," said Kenneally, referring to the four-horse photo that included three longshots in the Nov. 7 BC Sprint at Santa Anita. "But this colt is still 3, and there was some question about synthetics, so we thought we'd better take a pass. I'd absolutely love to have him in the race here next year, though."

Custom for Carlos, with Jose Lezcano to ride, is one of nine entered in the Bet on Sunshine, a six-furlong overnight stakes. Besides his terrific effort in the Oct. 10 Gallant Bob, Custom for Carlos has flashed big potential on several other occasions, including an easy allowance win here in the spring and a romp in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore at Monmouth Park in July.

"There aren't a lot of graded stakes for sprinters at this time of year, so we thought we'd just try him in this before we take him down to Palm Meadows for the winter," said Kenneally. "He's an improving horse all the time. Hopefully we'll have him back here next fall for the big one."

Custom for Carlos looks like a solid favorite in the Bet on Sunshine, with Accredit the likely second choice. Accredit appears to have gone off form lately but was good enough to win the Grade 2 Churchill Downs Handicap on the Kentucky Derby undercard in May.

Fringe players include a pair of last-out Keeneland winners, Grand Traverse and Golden Country, along with Wild L and Due Date.

Warrior's Reward returns in allowance

Besides the Cardinal and Bet on Sunshine, the Saturday card also includes two allowances, including the last race, a $50,000 sprint that drew 14 horses, including favorite Warrior's Reward.

Warrior's Reward returns to action after giving his connections a scare in the aftermath of his last race, the Perryville Stakes. Jockey Calvin Borel got off shortly after finishing fifth aboard Warrior's Reward, who was vanned off the track - normally an ominous sign.

But to the delight of trainer Ian Wilkes, nothing was wrong with Warrior's Reward - Borel told Keeneland publicity he might have been being overly cautious - and since that race five weeks ago, Warrior's Reward has posted three breezes at Churchill.

Earlier Saturday, Sorrentino should attract considerable attention when he makes his Northern Hemisphere debut in the fourth race, a $56,000 turf allowance. Sorrentino was all the rage last year in his native Brazil, where he won three Group 1 races by open lengths.

Away from the races for more than a year, Sorrentino has been training steadily at Belmont Park for Paulo Lobo, whose biggest win by far at Churchill came with Farda Amiga in the 2002 Kentucky Oaks. Sorrentino will be racing on the diuretic Lasix for the first time Saturday.

Denis of Cork not yet ready to race

Denis of Cork, laid up since running third in the 2008 Kentucky Derby and second in the Belmont Stakes, has had two recent breezes and probably will have a couple more before leaving to winter in New Orleans.

Trained by David Carroll, Denis of Cork went an easy three furlongs in 38 seconds Nov. 9, then worked a half-mile Monday in 50.40 seconds.

"No plans at the moment," said Carroll. "He's a long way from the races. He does look great, though."

Denis of Cork is returning from injuries to a hind ankle and a suspensory ligament.

Borel in spotlight all weekend

Borel will be the center of attention all weekend at Churchill. Bobbleheads depicting his likeness are to be given away Saturday to the first 7,500 fans in attendance, and he will be available to autograph the bobbleheads and other items Sunday at a time to be announced. Borel also will appear at the "Get In the Game" seminar with Jill Byrne before the races Saturday at 11:50 a.m.

After the races Sunday, Borel will be the subject of a roast, with proceeds going to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. The roast is set for 5:30 to 9 in the Triple Crown Room.

Night racing during summer?

Here's one possibility regarding the new Churchill lighting system that has gone largely unmentioned. If Ellis Park ever folds, Churchill might now be more interested in picking up some of the vacated dates.

Daytime racing in the heat of summer is a major reason Churchill has rarely sought to extend its spring meet much beyond July 4, but with the cooler temperatures that come with night racing, it seems a more approachable idea.

Churchill unveiled its plans for a permanent lighting system Tuesday with a target completion date of March 31. Six night programs (four spring, two fall) are on the 2010 schedule.

Ellis, which runs from early to mid-July through Labor Day, has been under financial duress in recent years.

Rare Tuesday card

Churchill will host a Tuesday card to start off the final week of the meet.

Traditionally, racing has been conducted on one Tuesday at the fall meet. Last year, it was Veterans Day, when Julien Leparoux won seven races; in prior years, it had been Election Day.

Business-wise, however, Tuesdays are notoriously slow, and when Churchill applied for (and received) its fall dates for 2010, it was a 20-day meet with no Tuesdays.