IEAH Stables and Resolute Group Stables’ Grade I stakes winner Court Vision hopes that the third time is the charm on Saturday when he faces 13 rivals in the 25th running of the $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (GI), the 1 1/8-mile turf test that traditionally is run immediately prior to the $2 million Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI).
The Turf Classic, one of three Grade I races on the Derby Day card, will be run as the 10th race Saturday at 4:46 p.m. (all times Eastern). This is the 25th running of the race that has become one of the United States’ top grass races for older horses. The 137th running of Kentucky Derby is set for 6:24 p.m.
Purses for the six stakes races on Kentucky Derby Day, annually the richest day of competition at the historic Louisville track, carry total purses of $3.4 million.
Court Vision, an earner of $2,621,521, finished third in the 2009 Turf Classic and fell a neck short in a runner-up finish to General Quarters in last year’s running. A three-time Grade I winner on the turf, Court Vision will be ridden by Robby Albarado and break from post position 12.
Three other Grade I turf winners are in the Turf Classic, including Sullimar Stables’ Get Stormy, winner of last month’s Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland. Ramon Dominguez has the mount on Get Stormy, who will break from post position seven.
The field for the 25th Woodford Reserve, from the inside out, is as follows: Little Mike (Joe Bravo, 120 pounds), Memorial Maniac (James Graham, 120), Teaks North (Jose Valdivia Jr., 124), Moryba (BRZ) (Kent Desormeaux, 120), Prince Will I Am (John Velazquez, 122), Smart Bid (Edgar Prado, 122), Get Stormy (Dominguez, 124), Double Partner (Julien Leparoux, 120), Al Khali (Alan Garcia, 120), Stately Victor (Victor Lebron, 120), Rahystrada (Rafael Bejarano, 120), Court Vision (Albarado, 124), Battle of Hastings (GB) (Joel Rosario, 120), and Expansion (Javier Castellano, 120). Also-eligibles for the race, who could run in the event of scratches from the body of the field, include Caracortado (Joe Talamo, 120), Citrus Kid (Mike Smith, 118) and Riviera Cocktail (Garrett Gomez, 118).
The third Grade I race on the Derby Day card is the 25th running of the $300,000-added Humana Distaff, which drew a field of eight at seven furlongs on the main track.
The Humana Distaff features a rematch of the 1-2 finishers in last month’s Vinery Madison (GI) at Keeneland: C.R. Trout’s Oklahoma-bred Shotgun Gulch and IEAH Stables,Whizway Farm and Robert Teel’s Amen Hallelujah.
Shotgun Gulch, who finished a head in front of Amen Hallelujah at Keeneland, will be making her Churchill Downs debut in the Humana Distaff. Garrett Gomez, who was aboard for that score, has the call Saturday on Shotgun Gulch, who will break from post position five under high weight of 124 pounds.
Amen Hallelujah, who ran sixth in last year’s Kentucky Oaks in her only Churchill Downs appearance, will break from post position four under John Velazquez and carry 118 pounds.
Also returning to Churchill Downs is the Braly Family Trust’s Evening Jewel, a supplemental entry to the Derby Day race. Fourth in the Madison in her most recent start, Evening Jewel ran a narrowly-beaten second to champion Blind Luck in last year’s Kentucky Oaks (GI) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs that was run at the Humana Distaff distance of seven furlongs. Victor Espinoza has the mount on Evening Jewel, who will break from post three under 120 pounds.
The field for the 25th running of the Humana Distaff, from the rail out, is as follows: Sassy Image (Robby Albarado, 118), Stage Magic (James Graham, 118), Evening Jewel (Espinoza, 120), Amen Hallelujah (Velazquez, 118), Shotgun Gulch (Gomez, 124), Twelve Twenty Two (Julien Leparoux, 120), Hilda’s Passion (Javier Castellano, 122) and Tidal Pool(Calvin Borel, 120).
The Humana Distaff is scheduled as Saturday’s seventh race with a 2:08 p.m. post time.
In addition to the three Grade I races on the card, the Derby Day programs features the 77th running of the $300,000-added Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) for sprinters going seven furlongs, the 26th running of the $200,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII) for fillies and the 17th running of the$100,000-added Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE Appliances & Lighting (GIII) at five furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course.
The Churchill Downs drew a field of 12 sprinters, eight of them graded-stakes winners. Scheduled to go as the ninth race with a 3:51 p.m. post time, the race was won last year byAtta Boy Roy.
Four Grade I winners are in the field including two who posted their victories on traditional dirt: Capt. Candyman Can and Here Comes Ben.
Owned by Rosemary Rauch and David Zell, Capt. Candyman Can won the 2009 King’s Bishop at Saratoga and has won two of three starts at Churchill Downs. Calvin Borel has the mount on Capt. Candyman Can, who will break from post position six under a 118-pound impost. Brandon and Marianne
Chase’s Here Comes Ben, winner of the Grade I Forego last summer at Saratoga, will make his first start since finishing 11th as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) at Churchill Downs in November. Julien Leparoux has the mount on Here Comes Ben, who will exit post position 12 under 118 pounds.
Other Grade I winners in the field are Alan Klein and Philip Lebherz’s Smiling Tiger, winner of the Ancient Title on a synthetic surface at Santa Anita last fall, and Chasing Dreams Racing 2008’s Noble’s Promise, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Futurity on Polytrack at Keeneland and fifth-place finisher in last year’s Kentucky Derby.
The field for the Churchill Downs, from the rail out, is as follows: Aikenite (John Velazquez, 122 pounds), Smiling Tiger (Joel Rosario, 122), Apriority (Ramon Dominguez, 118),Captain Cherokee (Robby Albarado, 118), Mythical Power (Martin Garcia, 118), Capt. Candyman Can (Borel, 118), Ibboyee (Garrett Gomez, 118), Chocolate Candy (Corey Nakatani, 118), Delong Road (Gabriel Saez, 118), Noble’s Promise (Alan Garcia, 118), Le Grand Cru (Jamie Theriot, 118) and Here Comes Ben (Leparoux, 118).
Frank Jones’ Tapitsfly, winner of the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, will make her first appearance on the Matt Winn Turf Course when she faces 10 rivals in the $200,000-added Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by American Commercial Lines (GII).
Post time for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, which goes as the eighth race, is 2:59 p.m.
A winner in her most recent start at Gulfstream Park, Tapitsfly will break from post position one under 117 pounds and be ridden by Julien Leparoux.
Sharing top weight of 121 pounds are Flaxman Holdings’ Aruna and Team Block’s Never Retreat.
Winner of the Mrs. Revere (GII) at Churchill Downs last fall, Aruna will be making her 2011 debut for trainer Graham Motion on Saturday. Regular rider Ramon Dominguez has the call Saturday on Aruna, who will break from post position six.
Never Retreat enters Saturday’s race on a two-race win streak with scores in the Jenny Wiley (GII) at Keeneland last month and the Honey Fox (GIII) in March at Gulfstream Park.Shaun Bridgmohan has the mount on Never Retreat, who will break from post position 11.
The field for the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile, from the inside out, is as follows: Tapitsfly (Leparoux, 117 pounds), Upperline (Rosie Napravnik, 117), Zapparition (Javier Castellano, 117), Ice Mist (Alan Garcia, 117), Vivo Per Lei (Calvin Borel, 117), Aruna (Dominguez, 121), Fantasia (GB) (Joel Rosario, 117), Aviate (GB) (Kent Desormeaux, 117), Wild Mia (Garrett Gomez, 117), Kiss Mine (Rajiv Maragh, 117) and Never Retreat (Bridgmohan, 121).
Carl Moore Management’s Chamberlain Bridge, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) at Churchill Downs last fall, tops a field of nine for the $100,000-added Twin Spires Turf Sprint Presented by GE Appliance & Lighting (GIII), a race he won in 2009.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Chamberlain Bridge has won four of five starts on the Matt Winn Turf Course during a career that has featured 17 victories in 33 starts. Jamie Theriot has the mount on Chamberlain Bridge, who will break from post position five under top weight of 124 pounds.
The field for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint that will go as the afternoon’s sixth race with a 1:19 post time, from the inside out, is as follows: Henry’s Time (Calvin Borel, 118 pounds),Regally Ready (Corey Nakatani, 121), Custom for Carlos (Julien Leparoux, 118), Southern Region (Corey Lanerie, 118), Chamberlain Bridge (Theriot, 124), Spectacular Kid (Jesus Castanon, 118), Early Return (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Bridgetown (John Velazquez, 121) and Bergerac (Edgar Prado, 118).