ELLIS PARK RECAP
Sir Douglas rolls to 4-1/2-length score;
Warrior's Club loses photo for second
HENDERSON, Ky. (July 10, 2016) — Warrior's Club, the 2-year-old colt owned by the 200-member Churchill Downs Racing Club, finished third in his second start Sunday, losing the photo for second in Ellis Park's seventh race.
In other news, the actual winner of the maiden special-weight race was Sir Douglas, who battled with B Rod Maclean through a stern pace before shaking off the field for a 4 1/2-length victory over B Rod Maclean while running greenly through the stretch. After fractions of 22.08 seconds for the quarter-mile and 44.92 for the half, Sir Douglas covered the last eighth mile in an excellent 12.29 to finish five-eighths of a mile in 57.21 — or .76 of a second off the 5-year-old Hoho Tow's 2006 track record.
"That's running," said trainer Jinks Fires.
Sir Douglas, a son of More Than Ready, was purchased by Fires for owner Dwight Pruett for $175,000 at the March sale of 2-year-olds in Ocala, Fla. He was seventh in his debut June 11 at Churchill Downs. Fires added blinkers and the anti-bleeder medication popularly known as Lasix.
The colt still ducked around a bit in the stretch, possibly shying from the whip.
"He was like that the only time I worked him," said Chris Landeros, who picked up the mount for Sir Douglas' second race after previous rider, Jon Court, was sidelined with cracked ribs. "Mr. Jinks said, 'I'm going to put a little blinker on him.' He worked well, but it was kind of early in the morning and some shadows were out and he was jumping all over the place.
"He is a little bit green. When he figures it out, I think he'll be a little better horse even going longer. It was an impressive run today. I wanted him to switch over to his right (lead), and he didn't do it, so I had to play with him a little bit. But I was impressed."
Fires said that Sir Douglas is possible for the Ellis Park Juvenile on Aug. 6.
Sir Douglas paid $7.60 to win as the second choice, a pretty low price considering that Warrior's Club — the tepid 7-2 favorite in the morning line — was bet down to 9-5. Which was hardly surprising.
Warrior's Club has been the story when he's run, with his owners putting up $500 apiece as part of a Churchill Downs' promotion to let fans experience horse ownership without a big investment, the upfront money going toward the bills. Because the Warrior's Club partnership filled up so quickly, the 2-year-old filly Dial Me also was purchased to allow another 200 people to participate. Both horses are trained by D. Wayne Lukas, who was not at Ellis.
One of Warrior's Club owners got the experience of being in the winner's circle anyway, as he's friendly with one of Fires' clients. Andrew Warren of Louisville works for General Electric but also for years has worked seasonly for Churchill Downs in jobs such as being a mutuel clerk or security.
"I've worked at Churchill since I was 18," said the 46-year-old Warren as he purchased a winner's circle photo of Sir Douglas. "I've always been intrigued with horse racing. My father took me to the track as a kid. I thought that was a bucket-list thing I'd like to do some day, just being a partial owner of a horse. When this opportunity of being in the Racing Club came open, I thought that's just something I've always wanted to do. It's not high risk or high cost. I thought that's great to be a part-owner and go through the experiences like a full-time owner. I thought that was excellent."
Warren, who was at Ellis with wife Lynn, said he "loved" Sunday's race. "When he was fifth at Churchill, he looked so dead-tired I'm surprised he came in fifth," he said of Warrior's Club's June 16 debut, where the colt was up close early but faded to lose by eight lengths. "… He looked like he was getting stronger there at the end — almost second."
Ridden for the first time by James Graham, Warrior's Club stalked the swift pace, fanning wide on the turn. He looked like he might not get anything before coming back on to lose second by neck to B Rod Maclean and jockey Cory Orm.
"He galloped out good and strong," Graham said of Warrior's Club. "He ran a good race today. He'll be all right in time."