Churchill Racing (Continued)

Churchill brought down the curtain on its fall meeting Nov. 25, but that wasn't the only thing coming down. A steady rain turned the track sloppy for the pair of grade II races for 2-year-olds, the Golden Rod and the Brown & Williamson Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, both run at 1 1/16 miles. Despite flaming out by 49 lengths after going to her knees at the start of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Cash Deal, another Overbrook/Lukas collaboration, went off as the 9-5 favorite in the $223,200 Golden Rod.

However, it was another eventful departure from the gate for the Danzig filly, who swerved into neighbor Miss Pickums before making the lead into the first turn. Allowed to crawl along on the lead under Marlon St. Julien, Cash Run looked like she would run to her odds. But the troubling start and the deep racetrack took their toll, and she ran into a brick wall spinning for home. Nasty Storm, the Spinaway (gr. I) and Alcibiades (gr. II) runner-up who likewise disappointed in the Juvenile Fillies, gained the lead at the top of the lane and looked home free.

But leaving tight quarters at the rail, Justin Vitek rallied Miss Pickums well wide, and the 9-1 shot flew past Nasty Storm, through the nasty rain, and cleared them by three lengths in the end, stopping the timer at a modest 1:48.84. Vitek, who inherited the ride when Charlie Woods took off his mounts with a knee injury, said, "I got a little worried when I had to wait on that hole, but I picked her up, she grabbed the bit, and I was confident then I had 'em."

Miss Pickums (Afternoon Deelites, out of the Manila mare Manila Rain), who also won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies at Turfway Park for trainer Paul McGee and owners Jan, Mace, and Samantha Siegel, earned $138,384 for her Golden Rod effort, upping her career intake to $255,119. McGee wasn't as surprised as most. "I thought she ran big in the (Walmac International) Alcibiades, and in the Pocahontas here she ran into a heck of a horse (Unbridled Elaine). In fact, when Unbridled Elaine didn't show up for this race it had a lot to do with us entering."

Miss Pickums was bred in Kentucky by Ted Shapiro and Burt Bacharach. Composer/musician Bacharach also bred and raced sire Afternoon Deelites.

Two races later, hunch bet Holiday Thunder, who had been knocking heads with Point Given and Arabian Light in his prior pair of starts, was sent off at 6-5. Spotting Percy Hope and Vroom Vroom four lengths, jockey Shane Sellers and Holiday Thunder made a mid-race move up the backstretch, and the John Ward trainee grabbed the lead on the last bend. But second-choice Dollar Bill, 10th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I), found a lane he liked well out in the middle of the slop, and powerhoused home by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:47.18 under Calvin Borel, who was winning his third race on the card.

Owned by Gary and Mary West, Dollar Bill marked up his first stakes win, good for $135,656, kicking his lifetime earnings to $258,696. Dollar Bill (Peaks and Valleys, out of the Saratoga Six mare Saratoga Dame) was bred by longtime Lexington breeders Mr. and Mrs. Robert Courtney and is conditioned by Dallas Stewart.

"I thought we were gonna get that patented Borel move sneaking through on the rail," said Stewart, "but he went wide, kicked on nicely, and finished up well. He can go all day. I don't know why he ran terrible in the Breeders' Cup. It's one of those mysteries. He's worked well in the mud and I thought the rain today would help him. He's done for the year. We're going down to New Orleans, eat some crawfish, and hopefully wind up back here later on." That would be, of course, the first Saturday in May.

The turkey day feature, the grade III Falls City Handicap, proved to be a Kodak moment when Bordelaise nosed out Spain on the wire. The pair were in their own match race for the final three furlongs of the nine-furlong contest, each alternating on the lead. Pat Day, pumping with a left-handed stick, carried the moment in 1:50.01. On a Soapbox was third. Espinoza, aboard Spain, said, "She didn't change leads and that cost us the race."

Bordelaise, an Argentine-bred, came through the South America-Ron McAnally pipeline. Since winning last New Year's Day, she had been 0-8, all in graded stakes, against the likes of Manistique and Riboletta. Before the Falls City, she was transferred to another Hall of Famer, Bill Mott. Bordelaise (Espacial, out of the Keats mare Maconnaisse) picked up $168,020 for owners Haras Santa Maria de Araras, running her lifetime earnings to $568,529.