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2008 Kentucky Jockey Club and Golden Rod Stakes Results

Beethoven and jockey Calvin Borel after winning the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
Date: 11/29/2008

Saturday closed out the 2008 racing season at historic Churchill Downs in Louisville, with their "Stars of Tomorrow" promotion, consisting of 12 races all restricted to 2-year-olds. The final stakes race of the year is the $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (G2) for juveniles at 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Capt. Candyman Can was sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the field of 9, exiting a 3-length win in the Iroquois Stakes. In to challenge him included 9-2 second choice Stormalory, second in an allowance last out, and 6-1 third choice Beethoven, who defeated Stormalory in the same allowance race in his last start.

Beethoven (inside) takes the lead over Giant Oak with Capt. Candyman Can behind them

Jockey Julien Leparoux sent favorite Capt. Candyman Can to the front and he set fractions of 23.62, 47.26, and 1:12.83 while as many as 3 lengths ahead of 12-1 Jazzandthemagician in second. Turning for home, Capt. Candyman Can broke stride briefly when avoiding shadows across the track, slowing his momentum. Beethoven, who raced in fourth early, found room on the rail to take over the lead with over a furlong remaining. 8-1 Giant Oak, 8th early, closed with a rush 5 wide late, and a 3-horse photo finish ensued. Beethoven held off Giant Oak by a neck, who in turn outfinished the pacesetting favorite Capt. Candyman Can by a neck for second. The trio was 6 lengths ahead of the rest of the field. The running time was 1:44.14 over the fast track.

Also check out the Falls City Handicap (G2) from Thursday afternoon and the Clark Handicap (G2) from Friday afternoon.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place   Show
 3   Beethoven          Borel        14.00    6.00   3.40
10   Giant Oak          Razo                  8.40   4.80
 8   Capt. Candyman Can Leparoux                     2.20

Winning Time:  1:44.14

$2 Exacta 3-10                141.80
$2 Trifecta 3-10-8            490.60
$2 Superfecta 3-10-8-6      2,629.80
Full results chart

Left: Beethoven in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Calvin Borel said, "He broke fair and I put him on the fence and I stayed there the whole way. I just stayed where I was and bided my time. When I turned for home, since I didn't see anything coming I thought I had a heck of a chance to win. About 40 yards from the wire, he tried to pull up a little bit. He hung in there; he run a big race. I've got to give the credit to the owner (John Oxley) and the trainer (John Ward) for the opportunity."

Right: Beethoven heads back to the barn after the race. Winning trainer John Ward said, "I told racing secretary Ben Huffman before this race, one thing they'll have to say about him is that he has had 3 different races over this race track and there is no other horse in the country who is going to get another try before the Derby. He seems to handle it, ran well and Calvin rode well, as usual. It was a good day. The neat thing about this horse is 5 riders have ridden him and they have all done well on him and that is really hard. Now we have to figure out who is going to stay with him. (The Derby) is always on my mind and Mr. Oxley's mind."

Left: Second place finisher Giant Oak in the post parade. His jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. said, "I've always loved this horse from the first time I got on him.  Every time I ride him, he improves.  Chris (Block) told me that the way he's been working, he's improving.  I think this horse has still got more to give." His trainer Chris Block said, "He ran huge.  He ran real big. Maybe we'll head to New Orleans with him.  We'll sit back and see how things develop."

Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Capt. Candyman Can returns after the race. His jockey Julien Leparoux said, "He was a little rank, but he didn't run off, he wasn't crazy.  But it was just a little too much for a 2-turn race.  He's technically a very fast, fast horse and we've got some work to do to help him relax at this distance.  He'll just have to learn." His trainer Ian Wilkes said, "He ran an unbelievable race. But we made too many mistakes.  I thought we would relax a little more when we got the lead.  We didn't.  He just didn't switch leads when he should be doing it.  It was little things, he was just trying to run too hard.  But he showed me that I've got a lot of horse in how he fought on.  He should have gotten beat 5 or 6 lengths today, but he fought all the way down the lane, he even headed Calvin down the stretch.  I'm very proud of him."

The fillies break from the gate for the Golden Rod Stakes

The distaff counterpart to the Kentucky Jockey Club is the $150,000 Golden Rod Stakes (G2) for 2-year-old fillies also going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies runner-up Dream Empress was sent off as the 7-5 favorite in the field of 6 over 8-5 second choice Sara Louise, winner of the Pocahontas last time out. 3-1 Rachel Alexandra, who finished second to Sara Louise in the Pocahontas, was the third choice on the board.

Rachel Alexandra was hustled out of the gate by jockey Calvin Borel and she quickly opened up a 1 1/2 length advantage after an initial 1/4 mile in 23.75. 7-1 fourth choice War Echo, who sat second the whole way, moved up to challenge her down the backstretch after a half in 47.85 but Rachel Alexandra pulled away to a 1 length lead, getting 3/4 in 1:12.55. Sara Louise, who had stalked the pace in third early, passed the tiring War Echo at the 1/4 pole but Rachel Alexandra was long gone, drawing away through the stretch to win by 4 3/4 lengths in 1:43.08. It was a long 7 1/4 lengths back to War Echo third. Favorite Dream Empress was unhurried in 6th early and put in a mild rally of her own but finished a disappointing fourth, 2 1/2 lengths behind War Echo.

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place   Show
 4   Rachel Alexandra   Borel         8.20    4.00   2.80
 1   Sara Louise        Albarado              3.00   2.40
 7   War Echo           Bridgmohan                   3.40

Winning Time:  1:44.08

$2 Exacta 4-1                  20.20
$2 Trifecta 4-1-7              77.20
$2 Superfecta 4-1-7-3         124.40
Full results chart

Left: Rachel Alexandra heads to the winner's circle with her trainer Hal Wiggins by her hip. Wiggins said, "I told Calvin in the paddock that you might find yourself on the lead. I told him, 'If you're on the lead, don't worry about it. Just sit there and let her relax.' He rode a really, really nice race. We don't want to dance every dance because we want to be ready for the (Kentucky) Oaks and maybe the Ashland (at Keeneland) before that. That's what we're planning. We'll give her a little bit of time and get her ready for the spring." Her owner-breeder Dolphus Morrison said, "We knew she could run.  And she's not the end of the story.  We've got an Empire Maker out of this mare (Lotta Kim) that's just getting started. If she can earn her way to (the Oaks) we'll certainly be there."

Right: Rachel Alexandra returns after the race. Winning jockey Calvin Borel said, "I think the farther she goes the better she'll get."

Left: Second place finisher Sara Louise returns after the race. Her jockey Robby Albarado said, "I had no problems.  Rachel Alexandra got bottled up last time or she might have been a little closer.  But she ran big today, take nothing from her." Her trainer Dale Romans said, "There's not much to say.  She ran her race.  We just couldn't catch Rachel Alexandra turning for home. We'll give her a little break and try to start doing something with her at the end of January or early February."

Right: Third place finisher War Echo in the paddock before the race. Her jockey Shaun Bridgmohan said, "She ran as well as can.  It was a tough field.  The horse that just ran fourth won the Alcibiades and ran second in the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile Fillies), and two top-notch fillies finished in front of her.  She ran really hard."

A field of 11 two-year-old fillies went 1 mile on the turf in the $56,000 Caressing Handicap. 117-1 longest shot Yo Eleven set the early pace of 23.99 and 48.69 while 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 12-1 War Tigress. Turning for home, War Tigress and jockey Julio Garcia took over the lead, getting 3/4 in 1:14.45. 6-5 favorite Striking Dancer put in a strong rally from seventh but War Tigress held of her by 3/4 length at the line, completing the trip in 1:38.83 over the firm course. It was just a nose back to 8-1 Abbott Hall third. The Jeffrey Thornbury-trained daughter of War Chant earned her third victory in four starts, with total earnings of $80,818.

Full results chart

Left: War Tigress heads for the winner's circle after the race.

Right: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Striking Dancer in the post parade.

The first stakes race on the card was the $56,000 Grand Canyon Handicap for 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the turf. 51-1 longshot My Boy Jo battled for the lead with 5-2 favorite Jack Spratt through a slow pace of 49.78 and 1:15.35. Jack Spratt took over the lead at the top of the stretch, but 21-1 longshot Proceed Bee and jockey Miguel Mena, fourth early, came on late to prevail by 3/4 length over 5-1 Smart Shot in 1:46.61 over the firm course. It was a head back to Jack Spratt third. The victory was the third in four career starts for the Terry Gestes trainee. The winner's share of $35,794 boosted Proceed Bee's bankroll to $75,334.

Full results chart

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