11/20/2008 12:00AM

Indygo Mountain flashes potential


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - It has been 20 years since Alysheba, owned by the family of Clarence Scharbauer Jr., capped his sensational racing career by winning the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs.

Scharbauer hasn't come close to catching that sort of lightning in a bottle a second time. But when a 2-year-old colt named Indygo Mountain ran off to a huge triumph for Scharbauer and trainer Bret Calhoun in the last race Wednesday at Churchill, it was difficult not to think back to Alysheba, whose other historic victory under the Twin Spires came in the 1987 Kentucky Derby.

For years, Scharbauer and his late wife, Dorothy, operated a small-scale Thoroughbred breeding operation, Valor Farm, in Pilot Point, Texas. After his wife died several years ago, Scharbauer decided to get back into racing in a bigger way, and it was at the 2007 Keeneland yearling sales that he paid $600,000 for Indygo Mountain, a son of A.P. Indy.

"I guess you could say Mr. Scharbauer is looking for the next Alysheba," said Calhoun.

Indygo Mountain, ridden by Jamie Theriot, earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure in finishing the one-mile maiden race in 1:35.54. The race was just the second of his career.

"We're pretty excited about him," said Calhoun. "We'd been pointing him for the fall all along. Everything about him suggested later and longer. There's a two-turn allowance for him at the Fair Grounds, but it's a mile, and I'd like to get him going a little farther. The main thing is I don't want to rush him."

Scharbauer and Calhoun also have another nice prospect in Silver City, an Unbridled's Song colt that cost $700,000 at the same 2007 sale. Silver City, winner of an Oct. 24 maiden race at Keeneland, could run Nov. 29, on the second Stars of Tomorrow program of the Churchill fall meet.

Maker targets 30 wins

After a while it became inevitable, and on Wednesday it became official. Mike Maker broke the record for most wins by a trainer at a Churchill fall meet when One Eyed Joker captured the eighth race, giving Maker 21 victories with eight days left at the 26-day meet. He won three more races Thursday, getting him to 24 with seven days left.

Maker said he hopes to get as many as 30 wins by the time the meet ends Nov. 29.

"We're going to keep running as many as we can at Churchill, keep being aggressive," he said. "Provided most of the races we enter end up filling, I'd like to think we could hit 30."

One Eyed Joker, a 10-year-old gelding, was making his first start in nearly a year when he overcame a sluggish start to easily win a one-mile starter-allowance on the turf.

"Nice horses like him will overcome all kinds of issues," said Maker. "That win was a tribute to his class."

Maker broke the record of 20 wins set at the 2003 fall meet by Dale Romans. Maker's main client, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, already have broken the track mark for most wins at a fall meet, while the jockey they regularly employ, Julien Leparoux, is on pace to break the riding record of 55, set by Pat Day in 1985.

Four-win day for Albarado

Robby Albarado rode four winners on the Wednesday card, piling on to what has been a spectacular year. Albarado swept the first three races, winning aboard Regal Bird ($14.60), Shekinah ($4.40), and Anaguska ($17.60), then added a fourth aboard Danger to Society ($8.20) in the sixth race.

With more than $16.7 million in mount earnings this year, Albarado is second in the nation only to Garrett Gomez ($22.2 million). After the Churchill meet, Albarado will ride at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

Albarado, the leading rider at Keeneland last month, trailed Leparoux by a 40-31 count going into Thursday's card.

Half-sister to Monarchos wins maiden

Empiress, a half-sister to 2001 Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, got a textbook ride from Leparoux in capturing a 1 1/16-mile turf route Wednesday. Trained by Michelle Nehei for Rocinante Racing, Empiress earned an 80 Beyer with her first win from five starts.

Empiress is a 3-year-old filly by Empire Maker out of Regal Band, a Dixieland Band mare who now has produced six winners, most notably Monarchos, a 1998 foal by the deceased Maria's Mon.