Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Sunday, June 8, 2014

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/08/2014 #
  • Countess Cashmere (outside) overtakes Richies Sweetheart in the final yards to win the Purple Violet Stakes (Four Footed Fotos)

In Today’s Notes: Purple Violet Winner Countess Cashmere Exits Well; Impressive Juvenile Winner Creaky Cricket Canada-Bound; Locally Based Good Bye Greg Taking His Act to Saratoga

John Carver’s Countess Cashmere, who outran her 6-1 odds and wore down favorite Richies Sweetheart en route to victory in Saturday’s Illinois-restricted $100,000 Purple Violet Stakes, came out of the win very well on Sunday morning.  The Tom Swearingen-trained charge was making only the fourth start of her career and first one out of maiden special ranks. 

"She’s doing really well right now and came out wonderfully,” Swearingen remarked.  “We haven’t decided what to do with her yet, but it’s very early.” 

One thing for certain is that the Illinois-bred daughter of Bellamy Road will stay local.  “We’re pretty much going to do what we always try to do and that is look at running in the Illinois program,” Swearingen continued.  “If she happens to get a little stronger or better, we might look at tougher company.”

While an allowance race in the next few weeks is most likely the next target, the petite chestnut filly’s connections haven’t ruled out an attempt at open stakes company – namely the Grade III $100,000 Arlington Oaks on July 19.  While the Purple Violet was at a flat mile, the Oaks would be a furlong farther and a first attempt at two turns.  “The distance and  two turns wouldn’t be a problem,” Swearingen said.  “But, I would like to think she needs a little more seasoning to get to that point.  A little more experience will help her develop into that type of horse.” 

Countess Cashmere is a sister to last year’s Illinois-restricted $100,000 Springfield Stakes winner Reigning Catfish and was the second Illinois stakes winner in as many Saturdays for her trainer, who scored with I Got It All in this year’s edition of the Springfield on May 31.  “We’ve been really fortunate with these horses,” Swearingen concluded.  “The Illinois program has been a real asset to us and we hope it continues and that we continue being a part of it.”

Ballybrit Stable’s Creaky Cricket wowed many when winning his debut on June 6 in a swift :52.50 for 4½ furlongs and may be headed for the big leagues, according to his connections.  The son of seven-time stakes-winning sprinter Yesbyjimminy broke swiftly from the gate and then was hand-ridden to a facile 11½-length victory under Constantino Roman for trainer Mike Dini. 

Going off as the slight 2-1 favorite in the field of seven – mostly on the merits of a strong :47 half-mile breeze (second of 58) June 1 – Creak Cricket had impressed his connections all along.  “We knew he was good, but we didn’t know how good he could be.  We still don’t know.” Dini said.  “I thought he would win, but not that easily.  I had worked him in :47 and out in :59 a few days prior, not thinking the race would go.”

From a deep and successful Arthur Appleton Florida family, including a granddam full sister to the great Serena’s Song, the almost black colt is bred to embody precocity.  His grandsire Yes It’s True was the best juvenile sprinter of his generation, while his damsire Meadowlake was renowned as a sire of early developers and romped in the 1985 Grade I Arlington-Washington Futurity by nearly nine lengths. 

“I got him in Florida for $33,000 after he worked three furlongs in :33 and galloped out in :46.  He was very fast and it’s not often you can buy a horse you know will be ready to race in six weeks,” Dini explained.  “I’d love to take him to Woodbine next for a stakes up there.  I would like to stay on the Polytrack.  When I bought him at Ocala in April when he was training on the Poly and I don’t want to risk running him on the dirt right now.  I would love for Arlington to have a small stakes he could run in on Million Day and then we’ll hopefully shoot for the (Grade III Arlington-Washington) Futurity (on Sept. 6).”  The race under consideration for the Florida-bred rocket’s pending Canadian invasion is the $125,000 Colin Stakes on July 26.

Patricia’s Hope LLC’s Good Bye Greg, who turned many heads when winning a Kentucky Derby Day maiden special weight at Arlington International Racecourse for trainer Larry Rivelli, returned just as impressively in an allowance optional claiming event at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday afternoon.  This time running a furlong farther, the son of Teuflesberg navigated the seven furlongs with ease under regular jockey E. T. Baird and won by a widening 5¼ lengths. 

Previously under serious consideration for Saturday’s Grade II Woody Stephens, the connections decided to take a more conservative route and were rewarded accordingly.  “He traveled well and came home in good order.  He’s a monster,” Rivelli said via text.  Next out, the talented bay may venture Saratoga Racecourse.  According to Rivelli, the Grade II $200,000 Amsterdam Stakes on July 26 is the aim.