O'Neill enters first timer Menace the Dennis in Spendthrift Stallion

O'Neill enters first timer Menace the Dennis in Spendthrift Stallion
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

California invader Menace the Dennis enters Sunday’s inaugural running of the $300,000 Spendthrift Stallion Stakes without a single start under his belt, but two-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Doug O’Neill believes his 2-year-old colt will run a big race if he’s anything like his relatives.

“His half-sibling (Denman’s Call) won first time out and his mother (Maggie McGowan) won her first start as well, so obviously there is a lot of first-time-out wins in that family and we’re just hoping to continue that trend,” O’Neill said by phone from his Southern California base.

Menace the Dennis is one of nine offspring of Spendthrift’s leading stallion Into Mischief entered in the Spendthrift Stallion Stakes, which drew a full field of 14 juveniles. O’Neill has been eyeing this race since its formation in September.

“We’re so excited and what a cool concept this race is,” O’Neill said.

“We’re very grateful that Mr. (B. Wayne) Hughes and Churchill Downs put this together. We knew that we got this son of Into Mischief so we had this race circled a few months ago for the horse. He’s been doing really well and training great. He had a couple of race-like works in him out here. The sky is the limit for this horse. We’re hoping to see a good effort out of him.”

The complete Spendthrift Stallion Stakes field from the rail out (with jockeys, sire and morning line odds): On Probation (Sophie Doyle, Into Mischief, 30-1), Lawton (Robby Albarado, Archarcharch, 12-1), Chocolateicecream (Corey Lanerie, Wilburn, 30-1), Warrior’s Club (Miguel Mena, Warrior’s Reward, 5-1), South Sea (Joel Rosario, Into Mischief, 5-1), All Right (Channing Hill, Dominus, 6-1), Sister Nation (Tyler Gaffalione, Into Mischief, 20-1), Tiz Trevor (Ty Kennedy, Tizway, 30-1), Hunka Burning Love (Florent Geroux, Into Mischief, 12-1), Menace the Dennis (Ricardo Santana Jr., Into Mischief, 6-1), Candy Snatcher (Orlando Mojica, Into Mischief, 15-1), Cool Arrow (Brian Hernandez Jr., Into Mischief, 4-1), Hollow Point (Julien Leparoux, Into Mischief, 10-1) and Theoryintopractice (Colby Hernandez, Into Mischief, 12-1).  


Trainer Pat Byrne has always had confidence in his promising 2-year-old Silent Decree and hopes that the son of Bodemeister can step up when he faces winners for the first time in Sunday’s $80,000-added Street Sense, a one-mile event on the main track for 2-year-olds.

“I’m backing up a mile from two turns but I like horses dropping back off of distance,” Byrne said. “I love horses on the turn back just like I love horses going from turf to dirt. The fitness level is there. Silent Decree has a lot of speed, he’s not slouched. I just like him kind of sitting in the pocket and letting something go out there and then just running them down late. That’s how I visualize it. We’re going to catch a speedier group but I think that his last two races here he’s kind of loafed around, got to the front and kind of goofed off a little bit so I’m thinking that a steeper competition will give him something to run at. It’s probably a better test for him.”

Owned by Chuck and Maribeth Sandford, Silent Decree began his racing career on the Polytrack at Arlington Park with a third and second-place effort at 5 ½ furlongs, but found success when shipping to Churchill Downs where he broke his maiden last time out on Oct. 1. Byrne admitted that the horse was a bit green in this race.

“I don’t know what that was about. He’s never showed that in the morning,” Byrne said. “I think it’s just that he does stuff so easily that he gets to the front and starts looking around for competition. The steeper it gets, the better off we’ll be. He’s done nothing different; we got two works in him since that race. They were just maintenance halves, nothing fancy.”

The $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (Grade II) on Nov. 26 has been on Byrne’s mind for Silent Decree even before the horse broke his maiden and that’s where he’ll likely be headed if he puts in a good effort on Sunday afternoon.

“He’s still a (Kentucky) Jockey Club horse and he’ll run forever,” Byrne said. “My other horse (Just Move On) is going to run on Nov. 10 here. He should have won at Keeneland last time out but got in a lot of trouble. They’re both on track for the Jockey Club so we’ll see. I just hope that they keep improving and try to get a little luck here.”

Jockey Jose Valdivia, Jr. has the mount for Sunday’s race.

The field for the Street Sense, from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Perro Rojo (Ricardo Santana Jr., 20-1), McCracken (Brian Hernandez, 8-1), Senor Guitar (Calvin Borel, 30-1), Guest Suite (Robby Albarado, 6-1), Speedmeister (Julien Leparoux, 7-5) Singing Bullet (Corey Lanerie, 5-1), Unbridled Eagle (Florent Geroux, 12-1), Silent Decree (Jose Valdivia Jr., 10-1), General Obvious (Tyler Gaffalione, 15-1) and Balandeen (Channing Hill, 6-1).


Elm Racing LLC’s Holiday’s Angel enters Sunday’s $80,000-added Rags to Riches off of a solid maiden effort at Churchill Downs on Sept. 30, which she won in wire-to-wire fashion by 5 ¼ lengths.

“She didn’t get a big figure out the race, but we really liked her,” said trainer Brad Cox. “She had kind of a weird trip down on the inside, sitting off a horse down on the inside and showed a lot of courage and grit to fight off those fillies that day. I think the track was playing a shade biased. It looked like the inside part of the track was really good that day. We’re really excited about her; it was either this or wait another nine days for a first-level allowance going 1 1/16 miles. I think that a mile is good for her since she’s proven at the distance.”

The daughter of Harlan’s Holiday’s maiden win was only her second start, the first of which she encountered some traffic trouble throughout the race.

“She broke from the outside that day,” Cox said. “The plan was to teach her something and (jockey) Robby (Albarado) did a good job of schooling her and sitting in behind horses. He dropped her down on the inside, brought her back out, split horses and got bumped and still ran on and ran a big race. Once again it wasn’t one that showed much of a figure but it showed that she wants to be a racehorse so it was a positive move.”

The field for the Rags to Riches from the rail out (with jockey and morning line odds): Lovely Bernadette (Robby Albarado, 3-1), Maluku (Joel Rosario, 10-1), China Grove (Julien Leparoux, 9-2), Sailor’s Valentine (Corey Lanerie, 3-1), Holiday’s Angel (Brian Hernandez Jr., 8-1), My Sweet Stella (Florent Geroux, 4-1), Farrell (Channing Hill, 6-1) and Naughty Little Nun (James Graham, 12-1).

Source: Churchill Downs

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