Ellis Park Barn Notes: Sunday’s ‘Turf Fest’ is coming
(Photo: Tobys Heart won the $500,000 Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey Music City at Kentucky Downs last year. Coady Photography)
Jockey Adam Beschizza reunites with Tobys Heart for the first time in 14 races, when the now 4-year-old filly won on her debut by 6 1/4 lengths. Coached by Brian Lynch, Tobys Heart is the 2-1 favorite in a field of 10 for the $100,000 Laguna Distaff Turf Sprint. She is seeking her fifth appearance, having won Churchill Downs’ Derby Week Unbridled Sidney and Nelson’s $500,000 Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey Music City Stakes last fall at Kentucky Downs, where Lynch hopes to return next month.
“There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since I last sat on it a few years ago,” Beschizza said. “She was a very fast and sharp 2 year old. She took her first victory at Churchill and won very impressively. She kept doing it. She is a very strong and generous mare. They experimented with her back and forth with distances. She’s bred to go a little further. But she’s always been a strong filly in the lead and she just needs races to play in her favor and bring her head down and she usually puts her best foot forward. What makes her shine is her tenacity and courage to win. She is 4 years old now and shows no signs of stopping.
Tobys Heart is 5-1-2 in 14 starts, his $649,995 leading the pack. She finished eighth in her last start, the Grade 3 Caress in Saratoga, but Lynch pretty much kicks that non-performance.
Beschizza took the mount on Call Me Midnight, a 3-year-old who takes on older horses in the $100,000 Twin Spiers Turf Sprint. Call Me Midnight won the 1 1/16-mile Grade 3 Lecomte, a Kentucky Derby prep in New Orleans, but was turned into a sprinter. Coach Keith Desormeaux had hoped to race him on grass for the first time in the Dade Park Dash, but the race was taken off the turf. He lost by a header to All in Sync, who also returns in the Twin Spiers Turf Sprint.
“Very short loss here, beaten by one of Mr. (Steve) Asmussen’s fine horses,” Beschizza said. “Look, I’m sure in his mind the horse probably thought he won, it was so close. Very privileged and excited to ride him.
Beschizza also rides Cupid’s Claws, making his first start for coach Mark Casse in the $100,000 Henderson Turf Mile, with the stakes receiving a name change to honor the host community of Ellis Park.
Lynch has a horse entered in all four stakes, including favorite Merci Mr. Eidson in the Twin Spiers Turf Sprint, regular Take Charge Ro in the Centennial Distaff Turf Mile and the opening verse winner of Churchill Downs Gray’s Fable in the Henderson Turf Mile.
“Thank you Mr. Eidson, I thought he looked great winning the stakes in Indiana the other day,” Lynch said of William Garrett. “It was a good springboard to this issue. Take Charge Ro ran a good fourth there with wide travel. Gray’s Fable was a little disappointing after replacing him with Roger Attfield, but we hope to have him back on track. And Tobys Heart just didn’t seem to shoot Saratoga and didn’t really get involved in the running. But she got away with it, so I think I’ll give her a chance.