Out To Rebound At Churchill
OUT TO REBOUND AT CHURCHILL
There doesn't seem to be much room for error atop the national handicap ranks this year. Mission Impazible went from a division leader to just one of the gang when six opponents finished ahead of him in the Alysheba Stakes last month at Churchill Downs.
Six weeks after he finished seventh, beaten less than four lengths by victorious First Dude in the May 7 Alysheba, Mission Impazible will try to recapture some of his status when part of a sizable field Saturday in the Grade 1, $500,000 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill.
"I don't really know if we have an excuse for that last race," said Michael McCarthy, the locally based assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. "Maybe he didn't like the track, but I don't know. Probably just an 'off' day. The good news is he really worked well over the track Sunday, and he's in good order. Let's hope he can pick it back up Saturday."
Mission Impazible won a rugged edition of the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap in late March to become a major player in the division. Two of his Foster opponents, Apart and Giant Oak, were among those trailing him in that Fair Grounds race, while Birdrun, winner of the Brooklyn last weekend at Belmont Park, ran fifth behind them.
Javier Castellano will be in from New York to ride Mission Impazible, a gray Unbridled's Song colt who is assigned 118 pounds, four fewer than highweighted Giant Oak.
Besides the Foster, the customary assortment of graded undercard events also is on tap for Saturday. Top names in those races include Diva Ash, Bouquet Booth, and Gaya for the Grade 3, $125,000 Regret; Joe Vann, Wilburn, and possibly Dominus for the Grade 3, $125,000 Matt Winn; and Banned, Chinglish, and Derby Kitten for the Grade 3, $100,000 Jefferson Cup.
The Matt Winn, formerly known as the Northern Dancer, lost a top candidate Monday when Bind suffered a condylar fracture in a workout at Keeneland. The injury required surgery but is not expected to be career-ending for the Claiborne Farm 3-year-old.
The Foster program also will include the first race in track history for Arabian horses. The $50,000 race is being sponsored by the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi and will be run at 1 1/4 miles.
by Marty McGee
On the Kentucky worktab
Multiple Grade 3 queen KEERTANA (Johar), who exits a victory over males in the Louisville H. (G3), breezed four furlongs in :50 1/5 over the firm turf at Churchill Downs on Tuesday.
LITTLE POLKA DOT (Orientate), who stretched her win streak to three in the May 14 Unbridled Sidney S., covered the same ground in :48 4/5.
American Turf S. (G2) winner BANNED (Kitten's Joy) completed five grassy furlongs in 1:04 2/5 in advance of Saturday's Jefferson Cup (G3).
Multiple stakes runner-up HOLIDAYSATTHEFARM (Smarty Jones), readying for Saturday's Regret S. (G3), was timed in 1:05 2/5.
Multiple stakes victor COUNTRY DAY (Speightstown), unraced since an allowance win at Keeneland last October, stepped in 1:02 1/5.
HAMAZING DESTINY (Salt Lake), unraced since his runner-up in the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1), drilled a half-mile in a bullet :47 1/5 on the fast main track.
Grade 3 winner DECELERATOR (Dehere), unplaced in her last two outings, clocked :51 4/5.
Grade 3 vixen BUCKLEUPBUTTERCUP (Najran), unraced since an unplaced finish in the 2010 Test S. (G1), posted five furlongs in a bullet 1:01 1/5.
Grade 1 winner HERE COMES BEN (Street Cry [Ire]), sixth in the recent Aristides S. (G3), breezed four furlongs in :49 on the Keeneland Polytrack
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