Racing & Wagering

Barn Notes: Thursday, May 30, 2013

| Churchill Downs Communications | 05/30/2013 #

In Today’s Notes: Meafara Stakes Adds to Solid Saturday Card; “Racehorse” Video Series to Focus on Owners and their Horses

In addition to the state-bred restricted $100,000 Purple Violet Stakes and $100,000 Springfield Stakes, Saturday’s 11-race card includes a third stakes offering, the $65,000 Meafara Stakes.  The Meafara, for sprinting sophomore distaffers at six furlongs on Polytrack, is the first of seven overnight stakes races slated for the 2013 racing season.

Topping the field of eight fillies entered in the Meafara, which goes as the fifth race, is Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbreds’ Chortle.  The Brian Williamson-trained daughter of Posse had a three-race win skein snapped when she faded to 11th in the Grade III Eight Belles at Churchill Downs.  She won her only start on Polytrack when capturing a first-level allowance race at Keeneland in April.  Constantino Roman has been named to ride the 3-1 morning line favorite.

The red-hot team of trainer Wayne Catalano and jockey Channing Hill team up with 7-2 second choice Hit The Board Stables’ I’m Already Sexy.  Unraced since finishing fifth in the $75,000 Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park on New Year’s Day, the daughter of Ready’s Image has rattled off a string of impressive workouts including a 47-second bullet half-mile drill on Tuesday. She is one for two over Polytrack, breaking her maiden at Keeneland in October after finishing fourth in her career debut here in August.

Catalano also sends out James Miller’s Gold Edge, last year’s Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie winner when owned by Dolphus Morrison and trained by Lon Wiggins.  In her first start for Catalano, the Eddington filly bobbled at the start and ended up fifth in the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes at Presque Isle on May 12.  Chris Emigh has the mount.

Another in with a chance is Dare To Dream Stables and Little Bear Stables’ Flower Spell, a winner in three of 10 starts for trainer Ingrid Mason.  The daughter of Flower Alley is two for four this year with victories in a starter allowance at Oaklawn Park on dirt and in a first-level allowance race here on turf.  She is winless in two efforts on Polytrack.  Rosemary Homeister Jr. has the call.

The remainder of the field for the Meafara (with jockeys named) are: WinStar Farm’s Awesome Mama (James Graham); Richard Santulli’s Cash Is Queen (E. T. Baird); Hinkle Farms’ Hit Girl (Emmanuel Esquivel); and Burkolder Stables’ Ghost Flower (Ronnie Allen Jr.).

Following the success of last year's web series “Behind the Silks,” a weekly show chronicling the life of Arlington International Racecourse jockey Timothy Thornton, Arlington racing analyst Jessica Pacheco is back as the producer of a new series for the 2013 season, “Racehorse.”

“Racehorse” will follow five different Thoroughbreds throughout the Arlington meet with special attention paid to their owners and the relationships between owner and horse. Pacheco took a different angle with this year's series, but a common theme remains

“After doing the show with Tim last year, it was all about getting people invested in him as a person, not just as a rider,” Pacheco said. “I wanted to do the same thing with these horses, because they're so much more than just names on paper. From eating hay, working out, and heading to the gate for a race, there is so much more to these horses – and there is something very special in the relationship between horse and owner. Trainers have a barn full of horses, jockeys ride for multiple trainers and owners, but it's these owners who can't sleep the night before a race. That's a special attachment, and I wanted to share that with people.”

The human and equine cast members of “Racehorse” are a diverse group, offering multiple perspectives on ownership and racing. The cast includes: Workin for Hops, owned in a family affair by Red Rabbit Racing, best known locally for campaigning 17-time winner General Charley; Magna Fortuna, Rescue Me Racing's only racehorse, also a main subject of a well-publicized rescue story; Sugar Kate, a homebred racing in the colors of Steven Connolly's Crown and Thistle Stables, and a recent maiden winner over Arlington International's world famous turf course; Broken Bow, racing for Homer Schafer Stables, owned by 35-year veteran owner Homer Schafer; and Givenchi, owned and trained by Alnaz Ali, racing under the moniker Ali's Racing Stable.

Pacheco said the intent of the series was to bring fans closer to the game. “I wanted people to be able to know who these owners are, to be invested in them and in the horses, and to share this journey through the meet with them. I am thrilled with the cast we've got, because we have such a wide array of perspectives. We've got ownership groups like Red Rabbit Racing and Rescue Me Racing, the breeder/owner perspective of Crown and Thistle Stables, the owner/trainer perspective of Ali's Racing Stable, and the longtime horse owner who started in the harness game in Homer Schafer.

“We're going to see where these horses and their owners take us throughout the meet. This isn't the kind of show that can be scripted, and our entire cast has been great for allowing us to tag along for the ride with them. I think we're all excited to see what happens!”