Trainer Pat Byrne took a look at weather forecasts for the next few days and decided that Nov. 21 was the best shot at good conditions for the final pre-race work for Chuck and Maribeth Sandford's Almost Famous, a contender for the Nov. 30 running of the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs on the Stars of Tomorrow II closing day card.
The 2-year-old son of Unbridled's Song headed to the fast main track at the Louisville oval just after the morning maintenance break, breezing three furlongs in :36 2/5 under jockey Corey Lanerie.
"The weather looked like it was going to be a little rough for the weekend and our track was in super shape this morning, so I took advantage of it," Byrne said. "We had a good morning and we got all we wanted. He's all set for next Saturday."
Almost Famous will enter the Kentucky Jockey Club off an impressive six-length victory in a Nov. 9 allowance event at Churchill going the Kentucky Jockey Club distance of 1 1/16 miles. All three of his career races have come at Churchill, including a maiden victory in September followed by a fourth-place run behind Delta Jackpot (gr. III) morning-line favorite Coastline in the $60,000-added Street Sense overnight stakes on Oct. 27.
Also working toward a possible Kentucky Jockey Club bid on Thursday was Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Ichiban Warrior, who breezed a bullet four furlongs in :47 4/5. The move was the second-fastest of 27 at the distance; the Todd Pletcher-trained son of First Samurai was runner-up in the Street Sense in his most recent outing.
A sharp Thursday morning work by Hidden Brook Fam's Canaryinacoalmine has put the 2-year-old daughter of Birdstone in the picture for the 70th running of the $150,000-added Golden Rod (gr. II), a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies on Nov. 30.
The Steve Margolis-trained filly, a 3 1/2-length winner in a six-furlong maiden race on the Stars of Tomorrow I program on Oct. 27, zipped five furlongs over a fast track in 1:00 4/5. The move ranked as second-fastest of 15 on the day.
Margolis spoke with Hidden Brook's Dan Hall after the work, and said the Golden Rod is now a possibility for the filly.
"It is going to be a tough race, but she is improving and she's got a pedigree that says she'll run long." Margolis said. "There's also an allowance the same day and we've got a few days to think about it. But right now we're leaning towards the Golden Rod."