Good field assembled for Cliff Guilliams Memorial at Ellis Park
September 04, 2016 11:57am

Ellis Park came up with a very good field for the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams Memorial for Monday’s closing-day card, even amid stiff competition for horses from Kentucky Downs and Indiana Grand in the same week.

Pleuven, winner of Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 Wise Dan, heads the field of seven older horses racing 1 1/16 miles on turf.  After that victory, the Phil Sims-trained 5-year-old gelding was seventh in the $100,000 Warrior Veterans at Indiana, but he only lost by 4 1/2 lengths and had an excuse: hitting the gate that took him out of his game. After that, he was a closing third in Mountaineer’s $100,000 West Virginia Speakers Cup, only 1 1/2 lengths behind the surging Watchyourownbobber, who also won the Warrior Veterans.

Louisville-based trainer Brad Cox has two strong contenders in Allied Air Raid and Financial Modeling. Allied Air Raid, who has never run on turf, has yet to win a stakes but has been second or third in six such races. Cox won the first stakes of the meet, the Ellis Park Turf with Sweet Acclaim, who came into that race in similar fashion.

Financial Modeling, the 7-2 second choice, hasn’t raced since he stopped and was distanced in the Oaklawn Park Handicap. But before that he won Aqueduct’s $100,000 Queens County for fun and was a close fifth in Gulfstream Park’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap after setting the pace, after which he was sold to Ten Strike Racing and turned over to Cox.

The Arkansas-bred Trace Creek, the 4-1 third choice, rallied from far back to take Arlington’s Grade 3 Harshen at 44-1 odds, then was sixth in his next two starts.

One Touch was second in last year’s Cliff Guilliams and comes into Ellis off victory in an Indiana Grand allowance race in good time. The lightly raced Naval Gazer makes his turf and stakes debut, though he won an allowance race for fun over the Turfway Park Polytrack.

Flashlight, who has placed in multiple stakes, was claimed three races back by Tim Glyshaw. The trainer was a close friend of Guilliams, Equibase’s Kentucky chart-caller and turf writer for the Evansville Courier & Press until his unexpected death in 2008 at age 52, hours after writing his usual meticulous chart footnotes and writing about Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Ladies handicapping session before Monday’s closing card

Ellis paddock analyst Megan Devine is staging a Ladies Handicapping Seminar — men are welcome, but encouraged to come with a female — beginning at 10:30 a.m. Central Monday in the open-air beer garden near the paddock. The closing-day program also is Fan Appreciation Day, with drawings for prizes after each race.

Ellis horses have big day at Kentucky Downs

Ellis long has produced high-quality horses out of its 2-year-old program, but the expectations were even more so this year with the enhanced purses. At that was on display in Saturday’s opening-day card at Kentucky Downs.

Horses whose last start was at Ellis won four of 10 races, with three seconds and three thirds. Horses coming out of Ellis Park maiden races finished 1-2 in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, with All Right — a good second in his debut at Ellis — winning at 44-1 by a neck over Parlor, a winner at the Pea Patch in his only prior start. Caroline Test, who won her debut and then was an excellent second in the Ellis Park Juvenile against boys, finished second in the $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies won by the highly-regarded Lull.

MacCorleot, second in an off-turf maiden race, captured a $130,000 maiden race at Kentucky Downs. Linda, an Ellis Park maiden winner, won right back in a $140,000 allowance, while Sugar Cube and Bandi’s Gal again were the exacta in a starter-allowance.

Source: Ellis Park (Jennie Rees)


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