Fields Filling for Churchill Stakes
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Churchill Downs 2007 Fall Meet comes to a close Nov 24.
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Fields are beginning to take shape for each of the five graded stakes at Churchill Downs Thanksgiving weekend, highlighted by the Nov. 23 $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II).

Also included on the “closing weekend” card at Churchill are the $300,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) to be held on Thanksgiving Day, the $200,000 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 23 and the Golden Rod (gr. II) and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II), both for $250,000 on Nov. 24, the final day of the meet.

Grade I winners Purim and Brass Hat are among the 17 nominees for the 133rd Clark Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-olds and up on the main track. E.J. Sukley’s 5-year-old Purim has won three times this year, including the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Oct. 6 at Keeneland. Fred Bradley’s homebred Brass Hat earned his grade I victory last year in the Donn Handicap.

Other possibilities are A.P. Arrow, Diamond Stripes, Helenski, Fairbanks, Magna Graduate, Going Ballistic, Jonesboro, Plug Me In and 5-year-old Istan, who is expected to make his final start in either the Clark or Aqueduct’s Hill 'n' Dale Cigar Mile (gr. I). The Clark was run as a grade I event last year, but was reduced in status by the American Graded Stakes Committee.

Also on Nov. 23 is the River City, a nine furlong turf event that drew 37 nominations. The marquee name among the entries is Cosmonaut, who was third in the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I).

Glencrest Farm’s Panty Raid, winner of the Oct. 7 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland, tops the list of 16 nominees for the Falls City, a 1 1/8-mile test on the main track for fillies and mares. A winner of five of eight career starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, Panty Raid worked five furlongs in 1:01.63 at Belmont on Nov. 9.

Other Falls City starters could include Rolling Sea, Tessa Blue, High Heels and Delicate Dynamite, who turned a bullet work on Nov. 14 at Churchill on a sloppy track, covering five furlongs in 1:00, which was the best of 17 at that distance.

The closing day “Stars of Tomorrow” program is highlighted by the Golden Rod and Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, which are for juvenile fillies and colts, respectively. The Golden Rod drew 26 nominations and could include Lewis Lakin’s Pure Clan, who won the Pocahontas (gr. III) last month. WinStar Farm’s Court Vision, who triumphed in the Iroquois (gr. III) at Churchill, headlines the Kentucky Jockey Club.

Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner War Pass and Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) runner-up Proud Spell are both nominated for the final day stakes, but neither is expected to run. 

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