Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®
Daily Cup Update: Sprint, Wednesday, Nov. 3
Atta Boy Roy – The Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint contender galloped at Trackside Training Center on Wednesday morning, then took the short van ride to Churchill Downs and was settled down in Barn 9A.
Trainer Valorie Lund said her 5yo son of Tribunal would gallop Thursday and jog Friday before his start on Saturday.
“He galloped brilliantly,” said Lund.
Atta Boy Roy most recently completed his final prep for the Sprint on Saturday, working 5f in 48 2/5 under jockey Calvin Borel. The move was fifth best of 36 at the distance.
Big Drama – Trainer David Fawkes sent his contender for the Sprint out for a 1m gallop on Wednesday morning and pronounced the 4yo colt in fine order for race day.
Yet Fawkes know that the field is highly competitive and having the disadvantage of the far inside post won’t make things any easier.
“It’s tough. This will be his toughest race yet, but I think he’s doing super,” he said.
Big Drama raced last on Sept. 4 in the Forego Stakes at Saratoga, when after stumbling at the gate, he led into deep stretch and the dug in for the place. In 15 career starts he has competed at seven different tracks and amassed more than $1.5 million in earnings. The Sprint will be his first time racing on the Churchill Downs surface but his trainer isn’t concerned.
“He doesn’t need to take his track with him,” Fawkes said before watching some of Big Drama’s competition train on the racing strip. “He runs over anything.”
Cash Refund – The 4yo Petionville gelding galloped 1 ½ m on Wednesday at 9 a.m. as he prepared for his first race since June in the Sprint. Trainer Steve Margolis is unconcerned with the long layoff.
“With sprints, you can usually run a horse fresh and get a good race out of them,” said Margolis. “He’s also a horse that has shown he can run well fresh.”
In his last race, Cash Refund was third in the Iowa Sprint on June 25 and exited that race with a slight injury.
“He popped a split in Iowa and had a few other little nagging things,” said Margolis. “He had also run hard in Louisiana over the winter (winning three races, including two stakes), so we just decided to give him all the time he needed. He came back and was training so good that (owner) Richard (Klein) and his father (Bertram Klein), got to talking about how they’d like to try and to make this race. We’re not running just to be running. We think both our horses have good chances.”
The Kleins and Margolis will also start Due Date in the Turf Sprint.
Girolamo – The Sprint contender went to the track along with Dirt Mile runner Gayego early Wednesday morning around 6 a.m. for his first trip over Churchill’s dirt surface. He took a brisk 1m jog along with his stablemate and the pony and then broke off to complete a solid 1 1/4m gallop.
The 4yo son of A.P. Indy shipped in from Belmont Park via van on Monday and had turned in his final pre-race preparations in New York, where he breezed 5f on Oct. 30 in 1:00 flat, fastest of 16 at the distance. Girolamo was last seen winning the Oct. 23 Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont.
“He’s a horse that always does impress the most (in training), so we’ve come to expect that of him,” said Rick Mettee, the U.S. assistant to Godolphin Stable’s trainer, Saeed bin Suroor.
“He was left in training this year to try and punch out a Grade 1 and he did, so this was kind of a logical next spot for him. We got a little bit of a tough draw down there with post two, but he seems to have taken that race really well and his work the other day at Belmont was as good as he’s worked all year. We’re just expecting another good race from him Saturday.”
Hamazing Destiny – It was another day of galloping for the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Sprint candidate Hamazing Destiny, with the 4yo colt going 1 ½ m for the Hall of Fame horseman who makes his home base at Churchill Downs.
The son of Salt Lake has two wins in four starts at Churchill Downs, but got the Sprint nod from Lukas by winning an optional claiming race at Delaware Park in his most recent outing. He’s winless in seven tries in stakes company. He drew post position 4 for Saturday’s race, a spot with which Lukas was happy.
Kinsale King – The 5yo gelding was out at 6 a.m. Wednesday for a 1m jog around the Churchill Downs track with trainer Carl O’Callaghan doubling as exercise rider.
“You get one-stop shopping with me,” O’Callaghan said later in the morning at his Barn 24 headquarters.
The trainer will give rider Martin Garcia a leg up Saturday in the Sprint, then watch them break from post 7 in the 12-horse field.
“That post is a real good one for him,” the Irish conditioner said. “All the heavy rollers (front-running speed horses) are inside and we can get a good look at them from there. He won’t be far behind. He’s a hyper horse and he’ll be breathing down the necks of the leaders. I like where we’re spotted and I like my chances.”
Garcia, who’ll be in from California for the Breeders’ Cup cards, has three wins in three previous mounts on the son of Yankee Victor.
O’Callaghan will school Kinsale King in the paddock Wednesday afternoon with the horses for the day’s eighth race.
Pashito the Che – Tuna Stable LLC and Off the Hook LLC’s Pashito the Che has yet to run in a Graded stake, but trainer Scott Lake is confident that he will hold his own in Saturday’s Sprint.
“My wife and accountant thought I was nuts when I said I wanted to take this horse to the Breeders’ Cup,” Lake admitted, “but people looked at me like I was crazy when I brought Thunderello to Arlington (second at 48-1 in 2002), too.”
The 4yo son of Flatter has won eight times from 17 starts en route to banking $522,670, and he hasn’t missed the board since April of 2009.
“Other than Thunderello, he’s as talented as any horse I’ve ever had,” said Lake, who also finished third in the 2003 edition of the Sprint with the 7-2 shot Shake You Down.
Pashito the Che has run at eight different tracks, but he’s yet to perform at Churchill.
“Traveling is second nature to him,” Lake said. “He never misses an oat."
Riley Tucker – With two wins from three starts over the Churchill main track, Zayat Stables LLC’s Sprint contender Riley Tucker could be considered a horse for the course.
“He had success here in the spring,” said trainer Steve Asmussen. “When he won the Aristides (May 29), I thought it was a very strong race.”
Atta Boy Roy and Cash Refund finished second and third respectively behind Riley Tucker in the Aristides, and the trio are slated to renew acquaintances on Saturday.
Riley Tucker has run four times since, most recently finishing second behind Giorlamo in the Vosburgh at Saratoga.
“Up to that point (Aristides), I thought that he had a lot of racing, so he got a little break in the summer,” Asmussen said. “We tried to time our best race for when it matters most, which is where we have him now.”
Smiling Tiger – A trip to stand in the gate and a 1 1/2m gallop around the Churchill track were the orders of the day for the California-based sprinter trained by Jeff Bonde.
“He’s doing really well and from my vantage point it looks like he’s handling the track really well,” Bonde said.
“He’ll school in the paddock Thursday in the first race,” he continued. “He’s never been a problem in the paddock, but you don’t want to take a chance.”
Of post position 5, Bonde said, “It’s a great draw, right in the middle of the gate. He doesn’t have any trouble getting away from the gate. I expect him to be forwardly placed and make a nice run at the end. It’s an interesting race – we have horses with good pace, stalkers and deep closers, so it should be quite a race.”
Supreme Summit – The Kentucky-bred son of Cactus Ridge stretched his legs for 1 ½ m Wednesday morning, galloping at 6:30 under the watchful eye on California-based trainer Mike Puype.
“I like what I saw out there today,” Puype said. “He’s doing well and I like my chances coming up to this race. I know it is a tough, wide-open heat, but I think I’m sitting on a big one. I’m fine with my post (9). I’d like to be inside maybe a little bit more, but I’m glad I’m not in the 1 or the 2 like the big shooters (favorites Big Drama and Girolamo). There you’ve got no room for error.
“On top of it, I’ve got Garrett (Gomez) to ride. He’s a champion rider and I couldn’t want a better one for a championship race.”
Gomez has ridden Supreme Summit three times previously, winning twice and finishing second the other time.
Puype indicated that he would school his 4yo colt in the paddock during the races Wednesday afternoon.
Warrior's Reward – The Ian Wilkes trainee walked the shedrow in on Wednesday morning, taking it easy after his 4f Monday working in 49 flat. Leading up to the Sprint, Wilkes said, he hasn’t had to push Warrior’s Reward to get him ready.
“I haven’t had to push on him at all, it’s all been just floating along and adjusting little things,” the trainer explained. “I used that race at Keeneland (the Oct. 8 Phoenix Stakes) to get him ready, so he’s fit. He’s all sharp now and he’s right on cue.”
The 4yo son of Medaglia d’Oro ran third in the Phoenix at Keeneland, last out. Wilkes said he will gallop Thursday morning.
Wise Dan – The Phoenix Stakes winner had his final exercise at his home track of Keeneland on Wednesday and then traveled the 90 minutes to Churchill Downs, arriving just before 10 a.m. Wise Dan and his stablemate, Here Comes Ben, entered in the Dirt Mile, both galloped 1 ½ m while being allowed to pick things up through the lane “to put some wind in their lungs.”
“Everything has gone as planned,” said trainer Charles Lopresti. “They did really well this morning. They were coming down the lane and hitting 12s all the way.”
Wise Dan and Here Comes Ben will both school in the paddock on Wednesday with the horses running in the third race.