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Culprit's Star on the Rise for Donegal

Trainer Dale Romans, whose barn is filled with promising 2-year-olds that include Grade III Iroquois 1-2 finishers Cleburne and Smart Cover and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) participant Medal Count, will be looking for stakes success for another rising star when he sends Donegal Racing’s Culprit into the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) on the Nov. 30 “Stars of Tomorrow II” program the concludes Churchill Downs’s 25-day Fall Meet.

Culprit breezed five furlongs Saturday in 1:03 over a fast Churchill Downs track in preparation for next Saturday’s race.

The son of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense rallied in his most recent start to score a half-length victory in a one-mile maiden race at Churchill Downs on the Oct. 27 “Stars of Tomorrow I” program that opened the meet. Among the colts he defeated that day was Ron Winchell’s Tapiture, who was narrowly beaten in a three-horse photo finish in the Iroquois on Sept. 7. He finished third to Anita Cauley’s highly-regarded Wry in his Sept. 7 racing debut at Churchill Downs, then ran seventh behind Poker Player on turf in the $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (GIII) at Keeneland.

Known probable starters for the 87th running of the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII), (with trainers): Almost Famous (Pat Byrne), Awesome Sky (Mark Casse), Culprit (Romans), Dobra Historia (Bill Mott) and Laddie Boy (Chuck Peery). Possible: All Cash (D. Wayne Lukas) Bro Rodrigeaux (Lukas), Financial Mogul (Rick Violette Jr.), Ichiban Warrior (Todd Pletcher) and Sheikinator (Ken McPeek).

Trainer Ian Wilkes lost the star of his stable when 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned departed after a fourth-place run in this year’s Classic for a new career as a stallion at Adena Springs Farm. But Wilkes has other good horses in his barn that could assume the stable’s top spot, including a pair of 2-year-old fillies that worked Saturday in preparation for a run in next Saturday’s 70th running of the $150,000-added Golden Rod Stakes (GII).

Marylou Whitney Stable
’s Bird Maker and Narola Racing’s Playful Love worked five furlongs in-company on Saturday in their final major training moves for the 1 1/16-mile Golden Rod.

Bird Maker, ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, and Playful Love, under exercise rider Kate Merritt, finished together in an official clocking of 1:02.80. They recorded internal fractions of :25 and :37.60 and galloped-out six furlongs in 1:16.

"I moved the works up because I don’t know what to expect from the weather tomorrow or the next day,” Wilkes said. “I’m happy with both fillies. They’re both doing well, so I’m ready for them to step up to the next level.”

Bird Maker, a daughter of Empire Maker, comes into the Golden Rod off a 2 ¾-length victory in a seven-furlong maiden race on Nov. 7 at Churchill Downs. Playful Love, a daughter of Tapit, won the opening race of the Fall Meet: a one-mile maiden race on Oct. 27’s “Stars of Tomorrow I” program. Both fillies won in their second career starts.

Daddy’s Memory, listed a “possible” for the Golden Rod, breezed five furlongs in 1:01.20 for trainer Cecil Borel. The move was the fifth-fastest of 39 on the day.

Known probable starters for the Golden Rod (with trainers) include: Bird Maker (Wilkes), Canaryinacoalmine (Steve Margolis), Madly Truly (Mark Casse), Naïve Enough (Ignacio Correas IV), Playful Love (Wilkes), Stonetastic (Kelly Breen), Streethomealabama (Kenny McPeek) and Vexed (Al Stall Jr.). Possible: Daddy’s Memory (Borel), Room Service (Wayne Catalano) and Spangled Banner (Eoin Harty).



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