06/27/2006 11:00PM

Miesque's Approval arrives for Firecracker


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - A field of seven turf milers has been entered for Saturday's $250,000 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap, the highlight of the long Fourth of July weekend at Churchill Downs.

Miesque's Approval, the resurgent 7-year-old who upset Artie Schiller in the Grade 2 Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland on April 14, arrived here Wednesday from Florida. Miesque's Approval will be ridden in the Firecracker, a one-mile turf race, by his regular jockey, Eddie Castro.

Miesque's Approval, trained by Marty Wolfson, drew the rail in the Firecracker. Also in the field are Place Cowboy, Free Thinking, Gigawatt, On the Border, Therecomesatiger, and Thunder Mission.

Miesque's Approval will be the starting highweight at 120 pounds. He has posted his two greatest victories - the Maker's Mark and the Sunshine Millions Turf - since Wolfson assumed his training last fall.

The Firecracker is the lone stakes scheduled this weekend at Churchill.

Borel will take a rare break

For the first time since he began riding at age 16, jockey Calvin Borel is planning a summer vacation. Borel, 39, said he will not be riding at the Ellis Park meet that begins July 19, with the exception of a stakes race or two.

"It seemed like the perfect opportunity for us to finally get some time off," said Borel's agent, Jerry Hissam. "This is the first time in the 16 years I've been with Calvin that he's done this."

Borel is enjoying a banner Churchill spring meet. Not only is he third in the standings behind dueling leaders Rafael Bejarano and Julien Leparoux, but he also rode Seek Gold to a 91-1 upset in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap on June 17. Borel rode summers at Louisiana Downs before moving to the Kentucky circuit in 1993.

Several options for Rush Bay

Trainer Tom Amoss said he has one of three races in mind for his blossoming turf star, Rush Bay, whose latest start resulted in a victory in the June 3 Opening Verse Handicap at Churchill. Those races are the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth Park on July 8, the Grade 2 Bowling Green at Belmont on July 15, or the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap on July 22.

"It all pretty much depends on how the particular races shape up," said Amoss.

* The return of jockey Greta Kuntzweiler has been delayed at least several weeks after her attorney, Bob Stallings, met behind closed doors Monday with members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority. Kuntzweiler is attempting to be licensed after having been exonerated of drug charges in January.

* Jockey Danny Coa is scheduled to return to the Kentucky circuit for the final week of the meet, July 12-16. Coa, who has been riding at Calder, will then move to Ellis and Turfway Park. Coa will be represented by agent Tony King.

* In conjunction with the 18th annual Jockeys Across America Day, Churchill is hosting several special events Saturday, including a jockey autograph session from noon to 3 p.m. Eastern in the Paddock Pavilion. Also, as much as $22,000 in prize money will be given away through random drawings.

* Churchill Downs Inc. announced Wednesday the promotions of Julie Koenig Loignon and Ted Gay within the corporate structure. Koenig Loignon, a former newscaster who has been employed by CDI since 1999, has been named vice president of communications, while Gay, a CDI employee since 2003, is now the vice president of business development.