Villandry won the 2014 River City Handicap.

Villandry won the 2014 River City Handicap.

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Catalano Looks to Topple Villandry in Bradley

Trainer brings in pair of Highball, Infinite Magic Jan. 17 at Fair Grounds.

by Paul Mazur

In the Nov. 8 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs, Gainesway Stable's Villandry finally notched a graded win for trainer Charles LoPresti. Following a move to the barn of David Carroll, the 6-year-old son of Mr. Greeley, with assigned pilot Florent Geroux, looms as a force to capture the $125,000 Colonel E. R. Bradley Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the lawn at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots.

The 1 1/16-mile Bradley is part of Fair Grounds' "Road to the Derby Kickoff Day" program that sees the New Orleans oval present a quintet of stakes, including the Lecomte (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.

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Trainer Wayne Catalano will seek to prevent a second straight graded score for Villandry—the 120-pound highweight who breaks from the outside in a field of nine—when he brings in the pair of Highball and Infinite Magic to tackle the last-out River City winner.

Gary and Mary West's Highball was second last time out in an off-the-turf edition of the Woodchopper Stakes against 3-year-olds on the local dirt, and will have Shaun Bridgmohan to ride. Catalano said the 4-year-old Lemon Drop Kid  colt is "training well and has matured better, and ran a good race off the turf" last time out. A first-level allowance winner during the fall at Kentucky Downs, he was third in the American Derby (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on the sod during the summer at Arlington International Racecourse.

Infinite Magic, owned by Team Valor, is best known for a 13-1 upset win in the 2013 American Derby. The son of More Than Ready  is winless since that July 2013 stakes score, but did finish third in an allowance optional claimer at Churchill in November. Catalano said Infinite Magic "ran a big sheets number" in the Churchill race and he likes the way he's coming to the Bradley as a newly turned 5-year-old. Robby Albarado will ride.

The first-, third-, and fourth-place finishers of the Dec. 19th Diliberto Memorial Stakes at Fair Grounds also regather for this graded event. While the Diliberto was washed off the turf to the main track, it saw Maggi Moss's Grand Contender get back on the beam after a third-place finish on the Delta Jackpot undercard. Winner of the Texas Mile (gr. III) and Lone Star Handicap (gr. III) during the summer at Lone Star, this Tom Amoss trainee is slated to have Gerald Melancon in the irons for his grass debut.

Charles Fipke's Golden Soul, runner-up in the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), cleared the first-level and third-level allowance conditions at Churchill on the grass and enters the Bradley off an evenly run fourth in the washed-off Diliberto Memorial. Brian Hernandez, Jr. is named to ride.

All Stormy, third in the Diliberto for trainer Greg Geier and the late Jim Tafel, will have Kerwin Clark in the irons. His last victory came in a third-level allowance/optional claimer over the Fair Grounds turf last March.

Charles Smith's Louisiana-bred String King, Ken & Sarah Ramsey's homebred Gentleman's Kitten, and Al & Bill Ulwelling's Pumpkin Rumble complete the field.

Entries: Colonel E. R. Bradley H. (G3T)

Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, Saturday, January 17, 2015, Race 8

  • Grade IIIT
  • About 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $125,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 3:55 PM (local)
11Gentleman's Kitten (KY)Mike E. Smith116Michael J. Maker-
22Pumpkin Rumble (PA)Miguel Mena113Gary M. Scherer-
33Highball (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateShaun Bridgmohan113Wayne M. Catalano-
44Infinite Magic (KY)Robby Albarado114Wayne M. Catalano-
55String King (LA)James Graham116Charles Craig Smith-
66Grand Contender (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateGerard Melancon117Thomas M. Amoss-
77Golden Soul (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.115Dallas Stewart-
88All Stormy (KY)Kerwin D. Clark112Greg Geier-
99Villandry (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlorent Geroux120David M. Carroll-