Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
The field for the first running of Churchill Downs’ $175,000-added Homecoming Classic a week from Saturday still has Janis Whitham’s reigning Breeders’
Cup Classic (Grade I) and Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) winner Fort Larned at the top, with the rest of the field still taking shape.
One horse listed as “possible” for the Homecoming Classic is Magic City Thoroughbred Partners’ Golden Ticket, the dead-heat winner of the 2012 Travers (GI) and runner-up to Fort Larned in the Foster.
The Ken McPeek
trainee breezed a half-mile in :49.80 over a sloppy track Saturday
morning at Churchill Downs. The work by the 4-year-old son of
Speightstown ranked 14th
among the day’s 28 moves at the distance.
possible option for Golden Ticket is the $250,000 Awesome Again (GI) at
Santa Anita, which shares the Homecoming Classic’s Sept. 28 running
“He’s not definite
for the Homecoming Classic,” McPeek said. “We’re still looking at the
California race, but we’re leaning this way.”
McPeek said the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita remains the long-term goal for Golden Ticket.
McPeek’s star has earned $896,323 and has fashioned a career record of 5-5-3 in 18 races.
Meanwhile, trainer Charlie LoPresti
has taken Mort Fink
’s homebred Successful Dan
out of consideration for the Homecoming Classic, but said that the Estate of Elaine Klein
and Bertram Klein
will be in the starting gate for the 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up.
LoPresti said he would probably point Successful Dan, a 7-year-old half-brother to reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan
, toward the Hagyard Fayette Stakes (GII) over the synthetic Polytrack surface
at Keeneland on Oct. 28, the the closing day of the Lexington track’s fall meet.
But LoPresti sees
the Churchill Downs race as a grand opportunity to Windswept, a
5-year-old homebred son of Arch who is coming off an impressive 9
¼-length allowance victory at Saratoga. Windswept’s only
previous stakes experience was a fourth-place run behind Wilburn
in the 2011 Indiana Derby (GII) at Hoosier Park.
Windswept has a
2-0-1 record in four starts since he moved to LoPresti’s barn, and the
Saratoga win was preceded by an allowance victory at Churchill Downs,
where he has won two-of-three career starts.
“He’s awful good
right now,” LoPresti said via telephone from his training base at
Keeneland. “I don’t know if he’s good enough to beat Fort Larned, but
we’re going to find out.”
The career record of the Klein homebred stands at 3-1-1 in eight races with earnings of $167,296.
Others considered “likely” or “possible” for the Homecoming Classic include William Farish Jr.
’s 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap winner Pool Play
, Zayat Stables LLC
’s multiple graded stakes
winner Prayer for Relief
and Jay Em Ess Stable
Entries for the Homecoming Classic will be drawn Sunday.