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Updated on 09/16/2011 7:16AM
Shippers abound in Woodford field
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The $400,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on Saturday will have a distinctly international flavor.
A shipper from Ireland and horses from throughout the United States, including several whose careers started overseas, are expected to run in the richest running of the Woodford Reserve, the race scheduled immediately before the Kentucky Derby.
Beat Hollow, third in the 2000 English Derby, may be favored but is still searching for his first stakes win in the United States.
A 5-year-old trained by Bobby Frankel, Beat Hollow faces the Irish shipper Bach, who is trained by Aidan O'Brien; defending champion White Heart, as well as Baptize, Climate, Hap, Quiet Resolve, Sligo Bay, Touch of the Blues, and With Anticipation.
Beat Hollow has made two starts in this country, winning an allowance race at Santa Anita and finishing second in the Explosive Bid Handicap at Fair Grounds as a strong favorite on March 24.
"He bled a little in that race," Frankel said. "It wasn't too bad."
A 5-year-old, Beat Hollow may be favored in the Woodford Reserve, run over 1 1/8 miles.
White Heart has not started since finishing unplaced in the Japan Cup in November. Trained by Neil Drysdale, White Heart won the 2001 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic in his first start of the year.
A 7-year-old, White Heart was scheduled to arrive on Tuesday, having been based in Southern California in recent weeks.
Drysdale dismissed the loss in the Japan Cup because of the the distance.
"A mile and a half was too far," Drysdale said. "I think he's very effective up to a mile and a quarter."
Spinaway winner returns Thursday
There are 14 stakes at Churchill Downs Thursday through Saturday.
Thursday's three stakes are the $100,000 Mamzelle for females at five furlongs on turf, the $100,000 La Troienne Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs, and the $100,000 Hard Scuffle for novice hurdlers at 2 1/16 miles.
Cashier's Dream, the winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway Stakes last August at Saratoga, makes her 3-year-old debut in the La Troienne Stakes. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Cashier's Dream was second in the Frizette Stakes last fall to You, a probable for Friday's Kentucky Oaks.
Other top contenders for the La Troienne are Colonial Glitter, winner of the Bourbonette Stakes at Turfway Park, and You'llbeinmyheart, who is unbeaten in four starts, including two stakes at Fair Grounds this year.
The Mamzelle drew 12 runners, led by Penny Marie, who was second in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas Handicap on the hillside turf course at Santa Anita last month. The Mamzelle has drawn fillies and mares from throughout the nation, including Elvi Gamble and Fair Apache, who were second and third, respectively, in the Marshua River Stakes at Gulfstream Park on April 14.
The Hard Scuffle drew eight entrants, including Najjm, the winner of a Group 3 hurdle at Atlanta on April 13, and McDynamo, a winner of his last two starts.
Oaks one of five stakes on Friday
Friday's five stakes range in value and distance from the $100,000 Aegon Turf Sprint over five furlongs on turf to the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks over 1 1/8 miles.
The Aegon Turf Sprint is expected to attract a strong field, including defending champion Morluc. A 6-year-old, Morluc will face a full field led by Orientate, the winner of the Commonwealth Breeders' Cup Handicap on April 14, and Texas Glitter, the veteran turf sprinter trained by Todd Pletcher.
Other probables include Dancing Missile, Gallant Frolic, Golden Dragon, Gone Fishin, Grangeville, Knave, Loving, Red Lightning, and Testify. In past years, the race was restricted to 10 starters for safety reasons, but will be expanded to 12 this year, if necessary.
Descapate out of Louisville BC
Trainer Steve Asmussen had more to worry about Monday morning than merely how his two Kentucky Derby hopefuls, Private Emblem and Windward Passage, worked.
Descapate, Asmussen's stakes-winning 4-year-old filly, came down with a temperature over the weekend, and will miss Friday's $300,000 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap. In light of the death of Tempera because of laminitis on Sunday - her problems began when she spiked a fever late Friday - Asmussen was not taking the situation lightly.
"That makes it more important than running those two in the Derby," Asmussen said. "She [Descapate] was sick, but she seems to be doing better. But you got to be careful. My most important job is getting her healthy."
Descapate, a daughter of Dehere, has won four of seven starts, including the Chou Croute at Fair Grounds in February. Most recently, she finished third as the even-money favorite in the Oaklawn Park Breeders' Cup Handicap on March 16.
Among horses expected to run in the Grade 2 Louisville Breeders' Cup are Forest Secrets, Happily Unbridled, Mystic Lady, and Trip. On Monday, Trip worked five furlongs in 1:00.60.
Ethan Man's chip removed
Ethan Man, the Swale Stakes winner who finished fifth as the favorite in the Lexington Stakes on April 20, had a chip taken out of his left front ankle on Friday, trainer Patrick Byrne said.
Dr. Bill Baker performed the operation at the Woodford Veterinarian Clinic in Versailles, Ky. Byrne said Ethan Man would do rehabilitation at the Noel Murphy's Castle Park Farm.
Byrne said he hopes to get Ethan Man back in training by July and, in a perfect world, would try to have him ready for the Grade 1 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga at the end of August.
"That would be the plan, [but] I don't know if he'd make it," Byrne said. "We'll see how it goes, but the surgery was successful."
Paddock Pavilion limits its hours
When longtime Churchill patron Al Hardesty and several of his friends walked into the track's only after-the-races simulcast facility, the Paddock Pavilion, to watch and wager on the California Gold Rush races Sunday from Hollywood Park, they were in for an unpleasant surprise.
The Pavilion was closed.
"I thought it was ridiculous," said Hardesty.
Churchill officials say Derby week is too hectic for the Pavilion to stay open after the final races have been run at East Coast tracks such as Pimlico, Calder, and Woodbine.
Although Churchill will accept advance wagering on the entire Hollywood card on Wednesday and Thursday until the close of regular business, the Paddock Pavilion will be closed for simulcast viewing and any subsequent wagering after Hollywood's third race.
Moreover, there are no imported simulcasts at Churchill on Oaks and Derby Days. However, the nearby Trackside simulcast annex will be open Friday and Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. Eastern, and on Sunday (a Churchill dark day) at noon. Imported simulcasts will be available all three days at Trackside.
Lopez, Borel, Guidry enjoy 3-win days
The first two days of racing at the meet produced some notable results for a handful of jockeys and trainers.
James Lopez was the standout of Saturday's opening-day card, riding three winners in the steady rain that blanketed the track most of the day. Two of his winners came for trainer Mark Danner - Earth Shaking, a 10-1 shot, and Thunderpumper, who captured an allowance race at 5-1.
Danner, a Louisville resident who is stabled at Oaklawn Park in the winter, was so ecstatic after his second winner that when he was standing outside without an umbrella, he told one of his clients: "Oh, you mean it's raining?"
On Sunday, veteran jockeys Mark Guidry and Calvin Borel each rode three winners.
Langoureuse on Wednesday card
With 14 stakes to be run here Thursday through Saturday, the two highlights of the 10-race Wednesday card are turf allowance races, both of which drew full fields.
The seventh race, for fillies and mares, attracted Langoureuse, trained by Bobby Frankel, and Casual Feat, who won the Edgewood Stakes in an upset here last spring for Steve Penrod.
The ninth race, for older male horses, could have Even the Score as the slight favorite for Dallas Stewart and Pat Day. Even the Score finished a strong third in the Grade 2 Explosive Bid at Fair Grounds in March before fading as the pacesetter in the recent Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland.
First post for the fourth of 52 programs is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.
- additional reporting by David Grening and Marty McGee