(Mystik Dan returns to training at Churchill Downs on Thursday / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:


Kentucky Derby 150 hero Mystik Dan has resumed training at Churchill Downs following his victory in Saturday’s “Run for the Roses” with trainer Kenny McPeek monitoring his progress before he decides if he’ll compete in the second jewel of racing’s Triple Crown, the May 18 Preakness Stakes (GI).

          Mystik Dan galloped about 1 3/8 miles Thursday at 7:30 a.m. with retired jockey Robby Albarado in the saddle. It was his second day back on the track following a one-mile jog and gallop Wednesday morning.

          “We’re just following our normal training routine,” McPeek said. “That’s really going to be the sign for me if we’ll run in the Preakness. We won’t do anything special, just let him show us he’s back to his normal self going through our training routines. We’ll probably make a decision on the Preakness later this weekend.”

          Entries for the Preakness will be taken Monday.

          McPeek also noted Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) winner Thorpedo Anna emerged from her victory in fine shape and her long-term goal would be the Alabama (GI) at Saratoga.

          “Personality wise, Mystik Dan and Thorpedo Anna are two completely different horses,” McPeek added. “Mystik Dan has a very calm demeaner while Thorpedo Anna is typically on the muscle and ready to go at all times. We’ll probably ship her up to Saratoga soon and could use the (June 7) Acorn (GI) as a prep for the Alabama.”

          Mystik Dan is likely to continue his 7:30 a.m. training schedule, according to the McPeek barn.

(First Mission /Photos by Holly M. Smith)


Godolphin’s Alysheba Stakes (Grade II) winner First Mission is expected to target the $1 million Stephen Foster (GI) on Saturday, June 29 at Churchill Downs, according to his owner.

          In Friday’s 1 1/8-mile Alysheba Stakes, First Mission powered clear late for a four-length victory, earning a stout 106 Brisnet Speed Rating.

          “He ran a huge race,” trainer Brad Cox said. “We’re very proud of his effort. Down the lane it seemed that he was getting stronger as he got closer to the wire.”

          The 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster is a “Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In” Challenge Series race for the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) at Del Mar. The winning horse will receive an entry-fees paid berth to the race plus a travel stipend.

(Nice as Pie / Coady Media)


Dede McGehee’s talented homebred Nice as Pie was tabbed as the 9-5 favorite against an oversubscribed field of 14 3-year-old fillies and four also-eligibles that entered Saturday’s fifth running of the $225,000 Mamzelle Stakes (Listed) at Churchill Downs.

          Run at 5 ½ furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course, the Mamzelle is the 10th and featured event on the card with a post time of 5:27 p.m. (all times Eastern). The first of 11 races will get underway at 12:45 p.m. The temporary rail on the turf course is scheduled to be in Lane 2, 12 ft. from the inside.

          Nice as Pie, trained by Kelsey Danner, dominated her competition this winter at Turfway Park, winning her last four races over the Tapeta surface. Among her victories at Turfway were the Valdale Stakes and Serena’s Song Stakes. Jockey Adam Beschizza, who’s been aboard Nice as Pie in all four wins, has the return call from post No. 2.

          The body of the Mamzelle is ultra-competitive with stakes winners Honey Dijon, Let Them Watch, Pipit, Toupie and Twirling Queen. Should two late scratches occur, Limestone Stakes winner Hot Beachcould draw into the field.

          While several fillies already have black-type placings, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ undefeated Imaboutago (IRE) will be seeking her first stakes victory. Trained by Wesley Ward, Imaboutago debuted Dec. 8 at Gulfstream Park where she cruised to a 2 ½-length score in a maiden special weight contest and followed that win 14 weeks later with a convincing allowance victory at Fair Grounds. Tyler Gaffalione will have the call from post 12.

          Here is the complete field for the Mamzelle from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Let Them Watch (Jareth Loveberry, Mike Maker, 20-1); Nice as Pie (Beschizza, Danner, 9-5); Big Trouble (Brian Hernandez Jr., Greg Foley, 20-1); Pipit (Axel Concepcion, Brendan Walsh, 20-1); Cloudwalker (Cristian Torres, Brendan Walsh, 8-1); Tipsy Runner (Julien Leparoux, Tom Amoss, 15-1); Parola Sicura(Jaime Torres, Joe Sharp, 30-1); Twirling Queen (Francisco Arrieta, Jose D’Angelo, 12-1); Toupie (Jorge Ruiz, Graham Motion, 12-1); Twirl Around (Jose Ortiz, Greg Foley, 12-1); Niki Nine Doors (Abel Cedillo, Chris Davis, 8-1); Imaboutago (IRE) (Gaffalione, Ward, 7-2); Rhapsody (Florent Geroux, Jonathan Thomas, 30-1) and Honey Dijon (Ricardo Santana Jr., Joe Sharp, 15-1). Also Eligibles: Tipsy Tammy (Mitchell Murrill, Phil Bauer, 10-1); Hot Beach (Jose Ortiz, Brian Lynch, 20-1); Moonlit Lady (Ricardo Santana Jr., 30-1); and Fibber (Mitchell Murrill, Bret Calhoun, 20-1).

DOWN THE STRETCH – Twilight Thursday kicked off the four-day racing week at Churchill Downs with a special post of 5 p.m. The eight-race program featured $2 select domestic beer, live music from Sweet Lady and local food trucks Red TopGourmet Hot Dogs, Smok’n Cantina – “Nachordinary” Tacos, Eatz – Vietnamese Restaurant, Flavaville and Annie Up Pizza. Happy Hour beer specials will be served in the new East Bar in the Paddock. … Racing Friday-Sunday will have first posts of 12:45 p.m. … The temporary rail on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be set in Lane 4, 36 ft. from the inside for racing Thursday and Friday. The rail will move to Lane 2, 12 ft. from the inside for racing Saturday and Sunday. … JockeyEdgar Morales is scheduled to return to the saddle in a week following a left wrist injury that left him sidelined for nearly a month. … Jockey Joe Talamo reported he will shift his tack from Kentucky to California. He will be represented by former Peter Miller assistant trainer Rene Amescua. … Jockey ChrisLanderos is back in Kentucky following a three-week stay in Florida. The journeyman rider will be represented by retired jockey Robby Albarado and plans to ride at Churchill Downs and Horseshoe Indianapolis. … “Inside Churchill Downs” resumes Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour show will recap Kentucky Derby weekend with hosts Darren Rogers, Kevin Kerstein and Churchill Downs Racing Analyst Kaitlin Free. … For more information about the Churchill Downs Spring Meet, visitwww.churchilldowns.com.