Country House returns to Churchill Downs

Friday, May 17, Churchill Downs barn notes by Kevin Kerstein

Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I) winner Country House returned to Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott’s Barn 19 at Churchill Downs Wednesday after an examination at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky.

Country House (middle) at the top of the stretch of the Kentucky Derby. Coady Photography

“He looks good and I think the plan is to start him back with some light training,” assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy said. “We’ll start him off lightly jogging and go from there.”

No immediate plans have been made for Country House’s next start.

LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS WINNER SERENGETI EMPRESS RETURNS TO WORK TAB WITH HALF-MILE MOVE IN :48Joel Politi’s Longines Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) winner Serengeti Empress returned to the Churchill Downs work tab Friday with a half-mile move in :48.

Trained by Tom Amoss, Serengeti Empress worked just prior to the track’s first renovation break at 6:50 a.m. ET through splits of :12.40, :24.20 and :36.40 before galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.80 and completing her work with a six-furlong gallop out of 1:14, according to Churchill Downs’ clocker John Nichols.

“I thought she really looked super this morning,” said Amoss, who reported last week that Serengeti Empress could make her next start in the June 8 Acorn (GI) at Belmont Park. “We’re still on target and letting her tell us what to do next.”

The Acorn is expected to attract the 1-2 finishers of the Kentucky Oaks, Serengeti Empress and Liora.

PAT DAY MILE HERO MR. MONEY WORKS FOR THE MATT WINN Allied Racing Stable’s Pat Day Mile (Grade III) winner Mr. Money resumed his work pattern for the June 15 Matt Winn (GIII) with a half-mile breeze in :48.20 Thursday morning at Churchill Downs.

“It was a really good work first back,” trainer Bret Calhoun said. “I think the 1 1/16-mile distance in the Matt Winn will fit him well and, if all things go well, we’ll look at the (July 13) Indiana Derby (GIII) that’ll be at the same distance.

“Once (Louisiana Derby winner) By My Standards gets back to training we’ll have to sort through the races and see who fits where. It’s a good problem to have.”

Mr. Money is a 3-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) winnerGoldencents out of the Tiznow mare Plenty O’Toole.

SOGLIO MADE TEPID 5-2 MORNING LINE FAVORITE FOR SATURDAY’S LOUISVILLEKen and Sarah Ramsey’s Soglio was made the slight 5-2 morning line favorite in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisville Stakes (Grade III), a 1 ½-mile turf marathon at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Mike Maker, Soglio was a former $50,000 claim and has since banked $294,950. The 5-year-old Scat Daddy gelding was the runner-up in the Jan. 26 W.L. McKnight Stakes (GII) at Gulfstream Park.

Among the competition for Soglio is defending Louisville champion Vettori Kin(BRZ). Trained by five-time Louisville winner Kenny McPeek, Vettori Kin is slated as the co-third choice on the morning line at 7-2.

The Louisville is carded as Race 9 at 4:55 p.m. (all times Eastern) on the 11-race program that also includes a simulcast of Preakness Day action from Baltimore’s PimlicoRace Course. Churchill Downs’ first race is 12:45 p.m.

The Louisville field from the rail out (with jockeys, trainers and morning line odds):Tiz a Slam (Steve Bahen, Roger Attfield, 3-1); Nessy (Julien Leparoux, Ian Wilkes, 4-1); Soglio (Shaun Bridgmohan, Maker, 5-2); Shahroze (IRE) (Chris Landeros, Graham Motion, 7-2); Strike the Flag (Channing Hill, Neil Howard, 20-1); Vettori Kin (BRZ) (James Graham, McPeek, 7-2); and Royal Artillery (Robby Albarado, Ignacio Correas IV, 20-1).

DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continued Friday at Churchill Downs with a first post of 12:45 p.m. There was a $269,472 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot which covers Races 4-9. Advance wagering on Saturday’s Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course near Baltimore will be offered all day Friday at Churchill Downs. Friday’s feature race atPimlico is the $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (GII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. It goes as Race 11 at approximately 4:48 p.m. Similar to the Oaks/Derby Double, Pimlico will offer the Black-Eyed Susan/Preakness double, which requires bettors to pick the winners of both races. … Jockey James Graham took off his mounts Friday due to a right ankle injury. He is scheduled to resume riding Saturday, according to his agent Frank Bernis. … “Inside Churchill Downs” will air Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour horse racing radio show is co-hosted by Churchill Downs Racetrack’s Darren Rogers and Kevin Kerstein and delivers a wide-ranging list of interesting guests, from jockeys, trainers, owners to well-informed handicappers and other industry insiders. Those outside the Louisville radio market can listen live online at http://www.espnlouisville.com/ or via podcast on the station’s website or https://soundcloud.com/. … Sunday is Family Adventure Day presented by Kroger with more than 20 fun activities for kids 12 and under in the Plaza. This Sunday’s theme is “Play Sports!” and Louisville City FC stars will be in the Plaza to meet young fans: Napo Matsoso, Paco Craig and Chris Hubbard from 1-3 p.m. and Sunny Jane, George Davis, Tim Dobrowolski and Oscar Jiminez from 3-5 p.m. The day will also feature cheer and dance performances, yoga demonstrations and tennis lessons by the U.S. Tennis Association. Stick horse races, a petting zoo, mini pony rides, face painting, bounce houses, corn hole, and special area for children under 3 also will be featured. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 Sunday (children age 2 and under are free). Family Adventure Day special ticket packages include $48 for a Family Four Pack that includes four general admission tickets, four family meals or $64 for four box seats and four family meals. For more information, visit www.churchilldowns.com.

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Jennie Rees