08/31/2013 2:09PM

Ellis Park: Big Town will use his speed in Cliff Guilliams Handicap


When Tim Glyshaw was trying to go out on his own as a Thoroughbred trainer in 2004, he caught a break when a racing writer and chart-caller named Cliff Guilliams recommended Glyshaw to horse owners he knew.

“It was my first horse,” said Glyshaw, who until that point had worked for years as an assistant to Bob Holthus. “It didn’t matter that I could outrun the horse. I was in the game because of Cliff.”

Guilliams, a longtime Daily Racing Form and Equibase employee who also worked as a freelance turf columnist in his later years for the Evansville Courier-Press, died in April 2008 at age 52. In his honor, Ellis Park, located just across the state line from Evansville, continues to memorialize his contributions to his hometown racing community with the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Handicap, which will be run Monday on the closing-day program at the western Kentucky track.

Glyshaw will send out one of the top contenders in a fleet 5-year-old gelding named Big Town, whose chances were improved substantially Saturday when one of the opposing speed horses, Whatthecatdrugin, was declared from the race by trainer Tevis McCauley. Now no more than seven older horses will contest the Guilliams, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles on the turf as the eighth of nine races.

“Our horse obviously does his best running on the lead, and we were going to have to see how he could do from off the pace,” said Glyshaw, 44. “But the scratch of the other horse changes things in a big way, and in a good way.”

McCauley said Whatthecatdrugin will run instead in the $250,000 Presque Isle Mile next Sunday, Sept.  8.

Big Town, with C.J. McMahon to ride, earned a 101 Beyer Speed Figure two starts back and comes into the race in good order, Glyshaw said. Among those trying to run him down Monday will be Dreaming Blue, claimed for $62,500 on closing day of the Churchill spring meet by Cecil Borel; Live In Joy, turning back from the 1 1/2-mile Stars and Stripes at Arlington Park; Depeche Chat, a minor stakes winner last September; and Derby Kitten, the leading earner in the field with nearly $400,000 in the bank.

First post Monday is 12:50 p.m. Central.

Live racing on the Kentucky circuit moves Friday to Churchill Downs for a 12-day meet and to Kentucky Downs for a 5-day meet Saturday.