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Barn Notes: Wednesday, May 21, 2014

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/21/2014 #
  • Bold Kitten returns in Thursday allowance. (Four Footed Fotos)

In Today’s Notes: Bold Kitten Returns in Thursday Allowance; Lightly Raced Pass the Dice Primed for Hanshin; Illinois Blueblood Afortable in Arlington Classic; Lassie Winner She’s Offlee Good Returns vs. Olczyk Filly

BOLD KITTEN RETURNS IN THURSDAY ALLOWANCE
Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Bold Kitten returns to Arlington International Racecourse, the site of arguably her best performances, in a Thursday allowance for trainer Mike Maker.  Last year, under the guidance of conditioner Wayne Catalano, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy won the restricted Purple Violet over multiple Illinois champion My Option before finishing fourth behind that charge in the Grade III Arlington Oaks and a good second behind multiple stakes winner and then-stablemate I’m Already Sexy in the Hatoof Stakes on Million Day. |

“She’s a really cool horse and training really well,” reported Jessica Howell, assistant to Maker.  “She should run well tomorrow in the allowance.  She was a stakes horse last year and that’s what I am trying to see tomorrow – if she is going to return to form over the Polytrack.  She had a great work last week in company where she just drew away and was really into it.”  Bold Kitten’s lone stakes win in the aforementioned Purple Violet was over the Arlington Polytrack going a one-turn mile.

“We have her going 1 1/16-miles and will have Florent (Geroux) on her.  He actually called about her before she ever shipped up to Arlington and is happy to get on her again,” continued Howell. 

In her three starts for Maker, the filly has yet to win, but did finish a good third in February at Gulfstream Park – losing by a length after showing more speed than usual in a turf allowance.  That race resulted in a career-high 105 Equibase Speed Figure.  Last out, though, the Illinois-bred emblazoned chestnut was a disappointing sixth of 12 in a Keeneland allowance after a slightly wide trip.

“I certainly hope for a repeat of last year’s success with her here at Arlington,” said Howell.  “We would love to get her to the Lincoln Heritage (Handicap) if she does well in this race.”  The Illinois-restricted Lincoln Heritage is at a grassy 1 1/16-miles on June 21.  Thursday’s homecoming for Bold Kitten goes as the fourth of nine races.

LIGHTLY RACED PASS THE DICE PRIMED FOR HANSHIN
Gary and Mary West’s homebred 6-year-old Pass the Dice might be lightly raced, but when his connections have rolled the proverbial dice, he has been aces half the time.  With only 10 career starts, with five wins and three seconds, the son of Lemon Drop Kid has been judiciously spotted and rewarded his connections accordingly. 

One thing that will be new for the charge is a race within a month of another – something he has not done since his first two races in the summer of 2011.  Pass the Dice was entered in the Grade III $150,000 Hanshin Cup on May 24, drawing post six of 14 in the Arlington International Racecourse fixture, after previously racing April 30 at Churchill Downs.

“He came out of his last race and his work very good.  He is definitely going in the Hanshin,” trainer Wayne Catalano said.  “He just came off a layoff and worked good on the Polytrack.”  Pass the Dice, who has never raced on a synthetic course, worked five furlongs in 1:01 – third-best of 32 works on the morning of May 16.

In his 2014 debut, the dark bay horse finished a solid second to multiple graded stakes winner Departing in an allowance, despite going five-wide.  Previous to that, he had a 361-day layoff after finishing second in the 2013 Grade II Churchill Downs Handicap.  “He’s had his little hiccups here and there, of course, but he’s good right now,” Catalano explained.  “He’s as good as he has been.  That was a good work and should set him for the Hanshin.”  The Hanshin, like his allowance debut, is run at a mile – a distance at which Pass the Dice has only been beaten once in four attempts.

ILLINOIS BLUEBLOOD AFORTABLE IN ARLINGTON CLASSIC
Team Block’s Afortable will be carrying the 119 lbs. of Julien Leparoux, plus the home team hopes in Saturday’s kickoff to Arlington International Racecourse’s Mid-America Triple, the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Classic.  The lightly raced Illinois-bred is from the first crop of Illinois Horse of the Year and exceptionally versatile Fort Prado out of arguably the best mare in Illinois breeding, Taxable Deduction (a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized).

“Afortable is doing really well.  He breezed (May 17) and he looked good,” trainer Chris Block said of the half-brother to stakes winners Leading Astray, Suntracer, Corrupt and Free Fighter.  “I think there’s a lot left for him to develop.  He’s young and only raced three times.  I think there should be improvement with every race.”

After breaking his maiden on debut over the Arlington grass Sept. 13, the gray colt finished a faltering fifth in a Keeneland allowance to cap his 2013 season.  In his 2014 debut, he drew the outside post 12 in a Keeneland allowance going an ambitious nine furlongs over the grass, but still won despite going six-wide under Jose Lezcano.  Leparoux will be the fourth rider in as many starts.

LASSIE WINNER SHE’S OFFLEE GOOD RETURNS VS. OLCZYK FILLY
As if the graded stakes tripleheader on May 24 at Arlington International Racecourse was not enough for sports fans, the supporting card will include the 2014 debut of 2013 Listed Arlington-Washington Lassie winner She’s Offlee Good facing Lavender Patch, a filly owned by Chicago Blackhawks favorite Eddie Olczyk. 

She’s Offlee Good, a sophomore taking on her elders for trainer Richie Scherer and owner Holmark Stables II, will be looking to improve off two subpar races to close out her juvenile year.  Four-year-old Lavender Patch, on the other hand, is a recent claim by Olczyk’s Eddie O. Racing in the care of Tammy Domenosky who impressively won an allowance on Arlington’s Opening Day (May 2).  Saturday’s allowance will be a five-furlong turf sprint, with She’s Offlee Good on the rail under James Graham and Lavender Patch adjacent in stall two under Emmanuel Esquivel.