Churchill Downs’ Barn Notes: Stakes Previews for Closing Saturday

From the Media Team at Churchill Downs:

(Shanghaied Rood winning at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Keeneland)

G3 Bashford Manor Stakes at Churchill Downs:

An intriguing field of 13 2-year-olds, led by swift maiden winners Tales of Chaucer, Shanghaied Roo and Toothless Wonder, along with upset Kentucky Juvenile winner Weiland, have been entered in Saturday’s 117th renewal of the $100,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) – the anchor of a stakes tripleheader that highlights closing day of the 38-day Spring Meet at Churchill Downs.

The six-furlong Bashford Manor – one of Churchill Downs’ most storied races – is the last of three stakes races on a 12-race program and goes as Race 11 at approximately 5:56 p.m. (all times eastern). The $100,000 Debutante, a listed six-furlong event for 2-year-old fillies, goes as Race 7 at 3:50 p.m. The $75,000-added Kelly’s Landing, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds and up, is scheduled as Race 10 at 5:26 p.m. Post time for Saturday’s first race is 12:45 p.m.

Tales of Chaucer, a half-brother to New York-bred stakes-winning fillies Filibustin and Indy’s Lady, led every step of the way in his June 1 debut and was a strong 3 ½-length winner in the slop at Belmont Park over five furlongs.

The New York-bred son of Forty Tales, who was purchased for $58,000 at the OBS March Sale, will attempt to give 34-year-old Norm Casse his first stakes win as a first-year trainer. The colt’s ownership group includes Michael and Jules Iavarone, Becky ThomasSequel Racing, Samuel R. Freeman, Dorsey Jackson and Casse’s Cardinal Hill Racing.

Chief among Tales of Chaucer’s rivals is Tom Durant’s homebred Shanghaied Roo, who was one of the favorites to win the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile on May 3 at Churchill Downs but was scratched by the state veterinarian just minutes before the race.

“It was just a freak incident of him tying up (mild cramping) before the Kentucky Juvenile,” said trainer Bret Calhoun, who won the 2015 Bashford Manor with He’s Comin in Hot. “I was so confident in him that day, I thought we could win for fun.”

In his April 6 debut at Keeneland, Shanghaied Roo broke from post 3 and found room along the rail to run down pacesetters Myhotrodlincoln and No Bang No Boom (IRE) to win by 2 ¼ lengths. The runner-up would go on to finish second, a head back of the John Ellis-owned and trained Weiland, in the Kentucky Juvenile.

Another interesting entrant is ERJ Racing LLC and Reddam Racing LLC’s California invader Toothless Wonder, trained by Doug O’Neill and to be ridden by Mario Guiterrez– the same tandem who successfully raided the $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on June 17 with Pavel.

Toothless Wonder, a half-brother to 2017 William Walker winner The Money Monster, ran down the filly Data Storm Kitty to beat five rivals in his second start at Santa Anita on May 27 and scored a one-length win over 4 ½ furlongs.

Hall of trainer Steve Asmussen has a pair of chances to win the Bashford Manor for an impressive fifth time. Asmussen began the week as the Spring Meet’s leading trainer, which included six wins with 2-year-olds.

Whispering Oaks Farm LLC’s Sir Truebadour, a half-brother to $1.8 million-earner and 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (GII) champ Regally Ready, impressively won by four lengths at first asking on May 17 at Churchill Downs and then finished fourth in the $150,000 Tremont at Belmont Park on June 8, two lengths behind winner Our Braintrust.

Erv Woolsey and Keith Asmussen’s Cat Addiction, a half-brother to Risen Star (GII) runner-up Snapper Sinclair, broke okay from the rail in a $50,000 maiden claiming event over five furlongs on the slop on May 31 at Churchill Downs but was shuffled back to seventh before entering the turn for home. Once in the clear, he swung wide and rallied to drive past the leaders in the stretch and win by 2 ¼ lengths.

Asmussen previously won the Bashford Manor with Lunarpal (2004), Kodiak Kowboy(2007), Kantharos (2010) and Cinco Charlie (2014) and another victory would equal Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ record for the race.

The Bashford Manor field also includes Indiana Grand maiden winners Overanalyze, The Song of John and Baytown Glory; a pair of Presque Isle winners Dalliance and Mr. Granite; Belterra Park winner Mr Chocolate Chip; and Evangeline Downs’ invader Eye Cloud.

The complete Bashford Manor field from the rail out (with jockeys, trainers and assigned weight): Shanghaied Roo (Gabriel Saez, Bret Calhoun, 120 pounds); Weiland (Carlos Villasana, John Ennis, 122); Baytown Glory (Jack Gilligan, Paul McEntee, 120); Sir Truebadour (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 120); Mr Chocolate Chip (Euclyn Prentice Jr., Cory Davidson, 120); The Song of John (Sonny Leon, Rey Hernandez, 120); Eye Cloud (Rogelio Miranda, Tracy Norris, 120); Mr. Granite (Nathan Vickers, Wayne Rice, 120); Tales of Chaucer (Julien Leparoux, Norm Casse, 120); Dalliance (Arienne Cox, Wayne Rice, 122); Toothless Wonder (Mario Gutierrez, Doug O’Neill, 120); Cat Addiction (C.J. McMahon, Steve Asmussen, 118); and Overanalyzer (Andres Ulloa, Michelle Elliott, 120).

First run in 1902, the Bashford Manor is named for the former Louisville Thoroughbred breeding and racing farm that dominated the American racing scene in the early 1900s. George J. Long, a wealthy foundry owner, purchased Bashford Manor Farm in 1887 and developed his Thoroughbred operation that provided him two Derby wins as an owner, 1892 (Azra) and 1906 (Sir Huon), and three as a breeder, 1892 (Azra), 1899 (Manuel) and 1906 (Sir Huon). In addition, Bashford Manor also won the Kentucky Oaks in 1894 (Selika) and 1915 (Kathleen). The original Wilder family owned Bashford Manor. The Wilders were direct descendants of Lord Baltimore, whose English home was also called Bashford Manor. Long died in 1930 and the farm was eventually sold in 1973 to make way for the development of a mall complex, fittingly named Bashford Manor, that formally closed in 2003.

General admission to Churchill Downs is $3 on Saturday and admission gates open at 11:30 a.m. Box seats are $10 and reserved dining packages are $39. They can be purchased online at www.ChurchillDowns.com/Tickets. Because it’s closing day, there will be a mandatory payout in Churchill Downs’ 20-cent minimum Single 6 Jackpot.

(Shanghai Rain wins at Churchill Downs / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Churchill Downs)

Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs:

Recent maiden winners Shanghai Rain and Restless Rider headline the field of nine 2-year-old fillies in Saturday’s 118th running of the $100,000 Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The six-furlong Debutante is one of three stakes events on Churchill Downs’ 12-race closing day card. The Debutante will go as Race 7 at 3:50 p.m. (all times Eastern). Also on the card is the $100,000 Bashford Manor (Grade III) for 2-year-olds and the $75,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes.

Shanghai Rain, owned and bred by Tom Durant, broke her maiden in her second-career start on May 18 at Churchill Downs under jockey Gabriel Saez for trainer Bret Calhoun. The daughter of Shanghai Bobby defeated eight rivals including next-out winners Blame the Frog and Lady Lucy.

“That was a tough race Shanghai Rain is exiting,” Calhoun said. “The runner-up (Blame the Frog) just came back to win and (trainer) Bill Connelly’s horse (Lady Lucy) came back to win impressively.”

Saez will once again pick up the mount on Shanghai Rain and break from post nine.

Chief among Shanghai Rain’s rivals is Fern Circle Stables and Three Chimney Farm’s debut maiden winner Restless Rider for trainer Kenny McPeek. The $150,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale purchase won a 5 ½-furlong maiden special weight by 2 ¾ lengths under Churchill Downs’ leading rider Brian Hernandez Jr. at odds of 8-1.

McPeek is seeking his second straight Debutante Stakes victory after winning last year’s renewal with Sunny Skies. Hernandez has the call on Restless Rider and will break from post five.

Also entered in the Debutant is Chicago-based O’Keeffe for owner Carolyn Wilson and trainer Larry Rivelli. O’Keeffe was highly regarded to bettors at odds of 2-5 when she broke her maiden on May 27 at Arlington Park. The daughter of Munnings will be ridden by veteran Jose Valdivia Jr. and break from post four.

The Debutante field from the rail out: Miss Mission (ridden by Nathan Vickers, trained by Kevin Rice); My Wynter Rose (Rayan Gazader, Tommy Short); Payntermaniac (Carlos Villasana, John Ennis); O’Keefe (Valdivia, Rivelli); Restless Rider (Hernandez, McPeek); War Ballad (Marcelino Pedroza Jr., James Chapman); Beach Getaway (Joe Rocco Jr., Ben Colebrook); Hay Dilly (James Graham, Kelly Rubley) and Shanghai Rain (Saez, Calhoun). All horses will carry 120 pounds.

(Warrior’s Club wins the G3 Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland / Photo Courtesy of Coady Photography & Keeneland)

Kelly’s Landing Stakes at Churchill Downs:

Churchill Downs Racing Club’s Commonwealth Stakes (Grade III) winner Warrior’s Clubwill face off against impressive Aristides (GIII) winner Chief Cicatriz in Saturday’s $75,000-added Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs

The Kelly’s Landing, which attracted a field of 10 sprinters, is one of three stakes races on Churchill Downs’ 12-race closing day card. The seven-furlong Kelly’s Landing will go as Race 10 at 5:26 p.m. (all times Eastern).

Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Warrior’s Club (24-5-5-4—$614,504) has taken his 200-member club on a memorable journey with 24 starts spanning racetracks in Kentucky, Arkansas and New York. The colt won the April 7 Commonwealth at Keeneland, arguably the biggest victory in his career.

“It’s such a thrill for all of these people involved,” Lukas said. “This horse is very special and has brought these great people together from all around the country.”

The 4-year-old by Warrior’s Reward was one of the first horses purchased when the Churchill Downs Racing Club was inaugurated in 2016. The club gives fans a chance to go behind the scenes in Thoroughbred ownership with exclusive club events for morning training, access to the paddock area for the horse’s races and complimentary admission to Churchill Downs. More than 40 people have gone on to join other Thoroughbred ownership groups, according to Churchill Downs Racing Club Manager Gary Palmisano.

Warrior’s Club will break from post 6 under jockey Gabriel Saez in Saturday’s Kelly’s Landing.

Warrior’s Club could have his work cut out for him with striking Aristides Stakes winner Chief Cicatriz for owner Roy Evans and trainer Shawn Davis. The gelded-son of Munnings stormed home to a 6 ¼-length triumph in the Aristides under jockey James Graham in a final time of 1:08.44 for six furlongs.

Chief Cicatriz (11-8-0-0—$286,881) was previously based in New Mexico with Davis’ string of horses but has been in the care of locally-based trainer Mike Johnson since April.

Graham has the call on Chief Cicatriz and will break from post position 10.

The field for the Kelly’s Landing from the rail out: Awesome Saturday (ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr., trained by Bret Calhoun, 121 pounds); Lookin for a Kiss (Jon Court, Mike Tomlinson, 121); Mr. Crow (Joe Rocco Jr., Ben Colebrook, 121); Harmac (Jose Valdivia Jr., Grant Forster, 121); Cool Arrow (Adam Beschizza, Joe Sharp, 121); Warrior’s Club (Saez, Lukas, 123); Requite (Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes, 121); Storm Advisory (Ricardo Santana Jr., Brian Williamson, 121); C Z Rocket (Shaun Bridgmohan, Al Stall Jr., 121) and Chief Cicatriz (Graham, Davis, 123).

The race is named in honor of Summerplace Farm’s Kelly’s Landing, who earned $1,853,831 from a record of 10-3-2 in 27 starts for trainer Eddie Kenneally between 2004-09. The gelding won the six-furlong Aristides Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs in 2005 by stopping the teletimer in a track record 1:07.55 (since eclipsed). His biggest victory came in the 2007 Dubai Golden Shaheen at Nad Al Sheba in the United Arab Emirates. Kelly’s Landing also won the 2006 Phoenix (GIII) at Keeneland and 2007 Mr. Prospector Handicap (GIII) at Gulfstream Park.

He broke a bit slow,” said jockey Jose Ortiz aboard Gronkowski, who was making his American debut. “He’s a horse from England. After that, I didn’t have any choice. I had to drop in and save all the ground. He handled the dirt. I worked him twice and he handled it, so I was optimistic. We got a good trip, it worked out well. He broke a bit slow. I wish he would have broke a little bit better.”

Jose Ortiz, Rider of Gronkowski

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