06/15/2010 11:00PM

Lenclud will give Saratoga a try


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Freddie Lenclud will try to use the considerable momentum he has built this spring at Churchill Downs to make an impact on an even bigger stage: the Saratoga summer meet that starts July 23.

Lenclud is easily the top apprentice at the Churchill spring meet, having won with 20 of 178 mounts through the first 30 cards here. The 23-year-old Frenchman has impressed horsemen with his saddle skills.

"He has very good hands, but the most important thing is he has been willing to learn," said trainer Ian Wilkes, one of Lenclud's main benefactors. "He listens, he watches the other jocks, and he's a hard worker. He's made great progress."

Lenclud rode his first career winner last summer at Ellis Park for Wilkes and was the leading apprentice this winter at Oaklawn. His apprenticeship will expire Aug. 30, about a week before the Saratoga meet ends.

"I have 20 wins here, so I can't complain," Lenclud said. "I'm riding six or eight horses a day, staying busy. I'm actually quite blessed. At Saratoga, we will ride for some of the people we ride for here, and we will get to know the New York trainers since I have been mostly here in Kentucky."

Heading into the final three-week stretch at Churchill, Lenclud was tied for sixth in the overall jockey standings. At Saratoga, Lenclud will join a half-dozen journeymen who have ridden regularly here this spring: Calvin Borel, Robby Albarado, Julien Leparoux, Shaun Bridgmohan, Alex Solis, and Miguel Mena.

Lenclud is represented by Doc Danner, the former longtime agent for Pat Day.

Derby Alumni program will continue

The Derby Alumni theme that Churchill revived last Saturday for its Stephen Foster program likely will be continued next year, according to track vice president John Asher, who hosted a terrific interview program prior to the races with some of the top Derby luminaries of the 1970s.

"The '70s obviously was a golden decade, a natural place to get started back with the alumni program," Asher said.

Asher said a plan to invite Derby personalities from the 1980s to appear here on Foster Day next year, then Derby connections from the '90s to be here in 2012, "would seem like the way to go, although we haven't set anything definite. We were all just very happy it went as well as it did Saturday."

Among those here last weekend were Ron Turcotte, jockey for Secretariat and Riva Ridge; trainer Billy Turner and jockey Jean Cruguet of Seattle Slew; and Steve Cauthen, jockey of Affirmed.

Penny Chenery, whose family owned Secretariat, was scheduled to appear Saturday but had to cancel.

Churchill first had a Derby Alumni day in 1998 but discontinued it several years later because of the costs involved.

Ready's Rocket wins third race of meet

The suddenly resurgent Ready's Rocket became the first three-time winner at the meet when coasting to a four-length victory Saturday in a starter-allowance sprint.

"We'd like to run him one more time before the meet ends" on July 4, said Tim Glyshaw, who trains the 7-year-old gelding for the Tampa Metro Stable of Joe Corsetti.

Ready's Rocket was badly off form during the winter when Glyshaw saw an opportunity to claim him for $4,000. This is the second tour of duty for Ready's Rocket in the Glyshaw stable.

"He'd had some hock issues that we thought we might be able to take care of, so we thought we'd take another shot with him," Glyshaw said.

Overall, Ready's Rocket has won 8 of 19 starts at Churchill while going 7 for 33 elsewhere.

"He just loves it here," Glyshaw said.

* Six players split $7,500 equally among themselves as the end-game stalemated here Tuesday night in the Texas hold 'em poker tournament. The tournament was held to raise money for a new scholarship fund honoring the late trainer Blackie Huffman.

* The Churchill Entertainment Group has announced another new nonracing event for later this year: a food-and-wine festival set for Sept. 12 at the track. The entertainment division currently is preparing for the first HullabaLOU music festival to be held here July 23-25.