Hot Mail May Join Golden Rod Field

Edited from Churchill reports
Richard, Elaine and Bert Klein's Hot Mail breezed over a "good" track at Churchill Downs on Monday and trainer Steve Flint said the homebred daughter of Souvenir Copy was a strong candidate to run in Saturday's 60th running of the 1 1/16-mile, $200,000 Golden Rod Stakes (gr. II).

Hot Mail was credited with a three furlong breeze in :36.60, but Flint said the pre-dawn move was actually a five-furlong effort.

"They (the clockers) missed the first quarter on her," said Flint. "It's not their fault -- it was dark and there were several horses working. I caught her on my watch in about 1:01."

Hot Mail finished fifth in her most recent outing in the Pocahontas Stakes, but was beaten by only three lengths by Golden Rod contender Stellar Jayne. She lost ground in a wide journey in the Pocahontas and ended up hurdling jockey Corey Lanerie when his mount, Sweet Jo Jo, fell while leading the field in the final furlong of that one-mile race on Nov. 1.

Flint said the filly's owners would make the final decision, but said he would recommend that Hot Mail run in the Golden Rod. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said there had been no final decision on the Golden Rod status of Thomas Van Meter's Be Gentle. She still has a spot reserved on the Tuesday flight from Southern California to Louisville, but Lukas is still shopping for a jockey for the daughter of Tale of the Cat.

Be Gentle finished 11th after a rough start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), but has a 3-1-0 record in six races this year that includes wins in the Debutante (gr. III) at Churchill Downs and the Darley Alcibiades (gr. II) at Keeneland. She also ran second to Ashado in the Spinaway (gr. I) at Saratoga.

Cornelio Velasquez has ridden Be Gentle is all six of her races, but he is committed to ride Stellar Jayne for Lukas in the Golden Rod. Velasquez is unbeaten in three races aboard Stellar Jayne.

Trainer Ken McPeek said he would saddle a pair of horses in the Golden Rod. William A. Carl's Galloping Gal, a daughter of Victory Gallop who won the Jessamine County Stakes on the Keeneland grass, and John and Julie Marker's Sister Star. Brice Blanc will ride Galloping Gal, while Larry Melancon has been named to ride Sister Star, who finished third in the Pocahontas.

Other likely starters in the Golden Rod include America America, Birthday Song, Lotta Kim, Penny's Fortune, and Sheer Luck.