05/18/2009 11:00PM

Tizdejavu makes successful return


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Everyone should have their plans come together so well. After nine months of waiting, hoping, and plotting, trainer Greg Fox watched with delight Sunday at Churchill Downs as Tizdejavu made his first start since surgery a successful one by capturing a $57,780 turf allowance under Julien Leparoux.

"I'm thrilled," Fox, a former practicing equine veterinarian who turned to training four years ago, said Tuesday. "The colt came out of the race in perfect shape."

Bred and owned by Michael Cooper and Pamela Ziebarth, Tizdejavu will run next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Firecracker Handicap, a one-mile turf race July 4 at Churchill, Fox said.

"We're not thinking about anything like the Arlington Million," which is run at 1 1/4 miles, Fox said. "We'll try to keep him at a mile, maybe a tad farther. The Firecracker had been our goal all through his rehabilitation and training. The race Sunday was an ideal prep for him."

Tizdejavu showed a willingness to rate in his Sunday victory, tracking the pace in the 1 1/16-mile race before going on to win by three-quarters of a length over Jazz In the Park. Tizdejavu, a front-running winner of three graded turf stakes last year at 3, was making his first start since being injured in a workout leading up to the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland last October. The 4-year-old Tiznow colt underwent surgery for a non-displaced fracture in a front ankle at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic shortly afterward.

The Firecracker, like five other post-Kentucky Derby stakes at the spring meet, has had its purse reduced. The purse originally was to be $200,000.

Mambo Meister, a 4 3/4-length winner of the Big Bubble Stakes last weekend at Calder for trainer Phil Gleaves, is another recent winner likely to run back in the Firecracker.

Borel returns with a win

Jockey Calvin Borel topped off an unforgettable weekend by winning with his first mount here Sunday after returning earlier that day from Baltimore, where he had won the Preakness the previous afternoon aboard Rachel Alexandra.

Riding for trainer Buff Bradley, Borel guided Sun Button to a five-length victory in the fourth race Sunday, a never-won-two race for $7,500 claiming. True to his wildly popular standing with the local fans, Borel returned to the winner's circle to raucous cheering and applause.

Borel and Bradley have a lengthy history together. When Borel posted his first major victory by riding Free Spirit's Joy to an upset win in the 1991 Super Derby at Louisiana Downs, Bradley was the assistant trainer for the winning trainer, the late Clarence Picou.

"These are the people who got me where I am today," Borel said.

Capt. Candyman Can getting a break

Capt. Candyman Can, a gutsy winner over Cash Refund here Saturday in the seven-furlong Matt Winn Stakes, most likely will not race again until back-to-back graded sprint stakes at Saratoga in August, trainer Ian Wilkes said.

Capt. Candyman Can, now a winner of four stakes from eight career starts, will go next in the Grade 2, $150,000 Amsterdam at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 3, followed by the Grade 1, $300,000 King's Bishop at seven furlongs on the Aug. 29 Travers Stakes undercard.

Spice Route tops Louisville Handicap

Churchill stakes coordinator Alison DeLuca was expecting at least nine older horses, and maybe a couple more, for Saturday's Louisville Handicap, one of two Grade 3, $100,000 stakes to be run here this weekend.

The Louisville, a 1 1/2-mile turf race, is the Saturday feature. Spice Route, winner of the Elkhorn Stakes last month at Keeneland, is the probable starting highweight in a field also expected to include Always First, Brass Hat, Dominican, Gangbuster, My Happiness, Thabazimbi, Transduction Gold, and Why Tonto.

The Winning Colors, for fillies and mares at six furlongs, will anchor the Monday card.

* Notable career milestones could fall this week for several Churchill horsemen. Into Thursday action, jockey Robby Albarado was just five wins away from hitting the 4,000-win mark, while trainers Ken McPeek and Bill Connelly are two wins away from hitting 1,000.

* With Churchill having eliminated Wednesdays from the spring schedule, the Thursday card will start what normally would have been a four-day week - but with racing here Monday because of the Memorial Day holiday, it starts a five-day week. The schedule then balances itself with a dark day on Thursday, May 28, followed by a three-day race week (May 29-31).