04/15/2010 11:00PM

Eight Belles next for Hot Dixie Chick


Hot Dixie Chick, an easy winner of her lone start at 3, is being pointed to the Grade 3, $100,000 Eight Belles Stakes on the May 1 Kentucky Derby undercard.

Hot Dixie Chick has been working on the same mornings as Rachel Alexandra for Asmussen. Hot Dixie Chick, a daughter of Dixie Union, won the Grade 3 Schuylerville and Grade 1 Spinaway last summer at Saratoga before a minor injury forced her on a 6 1/2-month layoff that ended with a 5 3/4-length score in the March 20 Prima Donna at Oaklawn Park.

Two options for General Quarters

General Quarters, the 2009 Blue Grass Stakes winner, will make his next start in the Grade 1, $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Derby undercard or in the Grade 3, $150,000 Alysheba Stakes on the Oaks undercard, said trainer Tom McCarthy.

General Quarters was scheduled to work this weekend, marking his second Churchill work since he returned from a winter campaign at Fair Grounds, where he ran second in all four starts.

Ward filly wins fast maiden race

Continuing a trend seen here in the spring of recent years, trainer Wesley Ward kept up his 2-year-old winning ways when Final Mesa ($4.60) won Friday's opener by 7 1/2 lengths, covering 4 1/2 furlongs in a maiden race on Polytrack in a meet-best time of 51.11 seconds.

Final Mesa, a New York-bred daughter of Sky Mesa owned by Ward, eclipsed the previous fastest juvenile race of the meet, established by Nina Fever, who raced the same distance 51.19 seconds when she won April 3, also for Ward.

The trainer has won eight spring juvenile races at Keeneland since the track added its Polytrack surface in the fall of 2006, including with One Hot Wish, who set a world record for the distance when she ran 4 1/2 furlongs at Keeneland in 48.87 seconds in 2007.

Only Steve Asmussen has won more spring juvenile dashes at Keeneland in the Polytrack era, taking 11 such events.

Last year two of Ward's spring juvenile winners at Keeneland, Aegean and Jealous Again, subsequently ran first and second in the Grade 3 Kentucky Juvenile Derby week at Churchill Downs - which again this year is the first major stakes test for 2-year-olds in the region.

Derby museum reopens

The Kentucky Derby Museum will reopen Sunday afternoon to great fanfare after being closed since early August, when severe flooding caused extensive damage and hastened a massive renovation that already had been planned.

A 2 p.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony that will be attended by Hall of Fame trainers D. Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, and Nick Zito will be part of a daylong schedule of festivities.

ESPN analyst to speak at benefit

Avery Johnson, the former NBA player and coach who now works as a studio analyst for ESPN, will be the featured at the annual "Race for Grace" on April 26 at 6 p.m. at Churchill.

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day also will address the dinner, which is sponsored by IEAH Stables and WinStar Farm and benefits the Kentucky Racetrack Chaplaincy.

Tickets and further information are available at kychaplaincy.org or by calling (502) 366-6860.

* Flamin' Hot ($8.20) pushed his record to 3 for 3 on the turf with an eye-catching victory in Friday's sixth race, an open allowance for 3-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs. Under confident handling from Alan Garcia, Flamin' Hot stalked favored Henshin Hero early before kicking away in the lane to win in 1:02.24.

- additional reporting by Byron King