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Barn Notes: Saturday, May 18, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/18/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: A Sound Cherokee Lord Chops Down Feature Allowance; Torres and Castro Escalate Already Excellent Jockey Colony

 A SOUND CHEROKEE LORD CHOPS DOWN FEATURE ALLOWANCE
A stout and determined Cherokee Lord displayed admirable grit when beating a stakes-quality field Friday in the featured allowance.  In a field that included stakes winners Suntracer, Workin for Hops, Mr. Mischief and Tazz, the Charlie Livesay-trained 6-year-old gelding wore down the latter to win by a nose.

Ridden cleverly under Inosencio Diego, the Millard Seldin Revocable Trust and Estate of Hoss Inman homebred son of Arkansas Derby winner Sir Cherokee stalked a steady pace before collaring Tazz and holding off fellow 6-year-old warrior gelding Workin for Hops.  The dark bay finished his final quarter in just under :23.8 to win his first race since his lone stakes win – the Listed $125,000 Remington Green Stakes at Remington Park in October of 2011. 

“I think he’ll be better this year,” remarked trainer Livesay.  “We have had our ups and downs with him.  He’s had bad legs – two splints at the same time and some ankle problems – but he’s straightened up, now.”

A solid performer from eight to 10 furlongs on the turf, Cherokee Lord has consistently competed in stakes races – many of them graded.  As a sophomore, he hit the board with a pace-setting performance in the Grade I Secretariat behind Paddy O’Prado.  As a 4-year-old, he ran a good second in the Grade III Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park in addition to two impressive Arlington allowance wins and his aforementioned Remington Green Stakes victory.

Cherokee Lord’s 5-year-old season was as disappointing as his previous year was fulfilling.  While racing against some of the best, including a respectable fifth in the Grade III Arlington Handicap and an unplaced finish in the Grade I Arlington Million, Cherokee Lord struggled to return to form because of his chronic maladies.

With those troubles hopefully behind him, he should be a force with which to reckon at Arlington this season.  Nothing is more indicative of this turnaround than the fact that in his single victory yesterday, he earned almost exactly ($26,740) what he earned in seven unplaced starts in 2012 ($27,485). 

“The main idea is to stay right here until a suitable race comes up.  We’ll look at the (Arlington Handicap).  He came out fine, as far as I can see,” Livesay explained.  “Those races can be tough – but he’s sound now.  He’s always had those little problems, but if he’s sound he can hold his own and run with the big boys.  I’m proud of him.”

TORRES AND CASTRO ESCALATE ALREADY EXCELLENT JOCKEY COLONY      Defending Arlington jockey champion Francisco Torres has returned to the jockey colony for 2013.  A winner of 100 races in 2012, Torres will have his book handled by Dennis Cooper.  Eclipse Award-winning jockey Eddie Castro has also joined the already flush with talent rider rolodex and will have his book handled by the same agent.