The Thanksgiving Special – 2022 Edition

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Rich Strike, 80-1 upset winner of the Kentucky Derby in May, returns to Churchill Downs for Friday’s Grade 1 Clark Handicap. Coady Photography.

We’re back and just in time for the start of the holiday season.

Thanksgiving, a day to celebrate with family and friends and of course to give thanks for all of the year’s blessings. We’re thankful for another solid Saratoga season, and all that goes into making that happen from advertisers to supporters, fans and even critics.

Thanksgiving also means a smorgasbord of racing across the country, with holiday cards at Churchill Downs, Del Mar, Fair Grounds, Laurel Park and Woodbine (they already celebrated their Thanksgiving, of course). We’ll dig into those and some others for Friday to provide ample distraction from football and futbol if you need it.

Here’s The Thanksgiving Special for 2022, have a great one.

Names of the Day
Bluegrass Parkway. Race 3. Churchill Downs. Perhaps we’ve included Mike Ryan’s gelding in the Name of the Day before…he’s by Quality Road. 

Vow. Race 6. Churchill Downs. MyRacehorse’s 3-year-old filly is out of Diamond Ring. 

Stray Cat. Race 9. Churchill Downs. Holy Cow Stable’s 2-year-old is by Into Mischief. 

Bank Card. Race 1. Charles Town. Crystal Pickett’s homebred is out of Where’s My Money. 

Handicapper’s Report
We need to catch up a bit on our Breeders’ Cup handicapping results. Our team fared well at Keeneland Nov. 4-5, coming up with winners Friday and Saturday.

Joe Clancy and Jessica Paquette led the way with five winners apiece. Joe enjoyed a strong day Saturday with correct selections of Cody’s Wish in the Dirt Mile, Modern Games in the Mile, Malathaat in the Distaff and Flightline in the Classic. Speaking of Flightline, only three of our eight handicappers picked the Horse of the Year lock on top. That’s pretty weak.

Jessica came up with Cody’s Wish, Modern Games and Malathaat for her five spot.

Five of our handicappers – Sean Clancy, Tom Law, Rob Whitlock, Charles Bedard and John Shapazian – finished the weekend with four winners. Paul Halloran picked two winners to complete the group.

By the Numbers
3.6 million: Dollars awarded as grants to 81 accredited Thoroughbred aftercare organizations by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.

27: Starts so far in 2022 for 12-time winner Beverly Park, who is entered in a starter allowance Monday at Mahoning Valley Race Course.

125: Horses entered on the Nov. 12 Claiming Crown card at Churchill Downs.

32: Degrees when The Special’s Tom Law walked out of Churchill after the Claiming Crown.

4.6 million: Dollars spent on a 2.5 percent interest in Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Flightline at a special auction Monday at Keeneland.

200,000: Stud fee in dollars for Flightline’s first season at Lane’s End Farm.

140,000: Dollars raised for the New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program through its Breeders’ Cup Pledge program.

202: Live racing dates scheduled for New York Racing Association tracks in 2023, including the traditional 40-day stand at Saratoga Race Course from July 13 to Sept. 4.

Worth Repeating
“I always say, ‘If I’m going to lead one over, I’ll lead two over.’ ”
Trainer David Donk, who will run Thin White Duke and Yes And Yes in Friday’s $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship

“After the Breeders’ Cup we weren’t originally thinking the Clark but he came out of the race so good.”
Trainer Eric Reed on Kentucky Derby winner Rich Strike running back in 27 days in Friday’s Grade 1 Clark at Churchill Downs

“(The buyer) just called and said, ‘I really want to make a big splash and get involved a little more in the business.’ I did not expect it to go that high. It was pretty exciting. When you’re dealing with top quality, you’ve got to pay. He did not give me that kind of figure going in. I could tell once (the bidding) started maybe we were going to keep going. I was a little more nervous than he was. He and his family were watching. I think they were having a really good time.”
Brookdale Farm’s Freddy Seitz, who bought the 2.5 percent interest in Flightline for an undisclosed client

“This is surreal to watch (Goldblooded) go on to win like that. In the World Series with two outs in the ninth inning you’re not as nervous as this. Being a player is just sort of what you do. Here you’re watching your horse run, freaking out, sweating and hearts beating. This is what it’s all about. This is my first time here at Churchill and it’s unbelievable.”
Two-time World Series winning shortstop Alex Bregman of the Houston Astros after watching his 2-year-old filly win her third start Nov. 17 at Churchill

Recipe Time
The Churchill Downs publicity team caught up with Wayne Catalano for a fun feature on what the trainer planned to whip up for Thanksgiving dinner back home in Chicago. Check it out:

Cookin’ with Cat: Trainer, chief Catalano shares favorite Thanksgiving Day recipe

Trainer Wayne Catalano has gained many fans on his Twitter page (@Catracingstable) by sharing his daily cooking adventures. Catalano offered his favorite Thanksgiving Day recipe – Oyster Stuffing.

“Thanksgiving is always a special time when you get to spend it with family,” Catalano said. “I think I’m going to go back home for a few days to Chicago. I haven’t been home in a long time and it will be good to go see my wife, Renee, and the rest of my family. We always have the usual stuff but the key dishes are the oyster stuffing, baked mac and cheese and sweet potato casserole.”

Catalano’s oyster stuffing starts with mixing carrots, celery and onions along with seasoned ground chuck.

“You start with the usual ‘trinity’ as they call it and combine it all together to cook down,” Catalano said. “I usually get some regular ground chuck and cook that and combine it with all of the carrots, onions and celery. You don’t need sirloin or anything special, just some good chuck.

“Then, of the key things I like to do is take stale bread and soak it in the oyster juices. Next, you mix in the oysters with the ground chuck, carrots, celery and onions. Finally, add the bread and mix it all together before baking in the oven.”

Catalano shared one final thought on cooking for the holiday seasons, “You always know going into the holidays cooking is going to be a lot of work but it’s all worth it in the end when you’re sitting around the table with your family.”

As for the races …

Thurles. Race 3. 8:35. a.m. Start off in Ireland for a solid card of jump races. Favori De Champdou, Harry Des Ongrais and Jack In The Box aim to build their careers in this novice hurdle. 

Taunton. Race 5. 9:50. Itso Fury aims to make it three in a row for Jonjo O’Neill and his son Jonjo Jr. in this salty handicap hurdle. 

Thurles. Race 7. 10:40. There is nothing like have an amateur son in the barn. Willie Mullins plucks a perfect return for Il Etait Temps, a Grade 1-placed 4-year-old for Patrick Mullins in this amateur maiden. 

Laurel Park. Race 8. 3:07. p.m Big field for the day’s feature, a 1 1/16-mile optional worth $62,000. Amando R comes off win in off-the-turf Japan Turf Cup and runs for the $55,000 tag, while Vance Scholars tries to improve off second in Maryland Million Classic.

Churchill Downs. Race 10. 3:53. Field of six fillies and mares for Grade 3 Falls City. Played Hard, third behind Malathaat and Army Wife in the Grade 3 Juddmonte Spinster last time, is deserving favorite with good record in Louisville and in top form. Leader Of The Band, Bellamore and Moon Swag won’t make it a layup.

Churchill. Race 11. 4:22. Here’s hoping for favorable weather to keep the Grade 3 Cardinal on the grass. Dalika didn’t fire in the Fall Harvest to close the Breeders’ Cup Saturday card and looks to bounce back against Adventuring and others.

Del Mar. Race 6. 4:29. More fillies and mares on the grass here, and going 11 furlongs in the Grade 3 Red Carpet. Graham Motion ships Sister Otoole, winner of a small stakes at Del Mar in August, from his base at Fair Hill. She’ll be tough against the other eight entered.

Woodbine. Race 6. 7:20. Remember Shekky Shebaz? Previously trained by Jason Servis, the 7-year-old is still going and looking for first win here in $119,700 optional at 6 furlongs.

Aqueduct. Race 4. 1:46.
The first of four stakes, the $100,000 Notebook for 2-year-old New York-breds. Originally slated for Nov. 20, 6-furlong event drew six led by two-time Finger Lakes stakes winner Acoustic Ave.

Aqueduct. Race 6. 2:44. Fillies and mares stretch out in the Grade 3 Long Island. Temple City Terror ships in for the 11-furlong turf test, off a win going 12 in the Grade 3 Rood & Riddle Dowager late in the Keeneland fall meet for Brendan Walsh.

Laurel Park. Race 7. 3:09. Whereshetoldmetogo, 8-for-11 at Laurel, is the one to beat as Maryland-bred 3-year-olds go 7 furlongs in the Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial.

Aqueduct. Race 7. 3:14. Skratch Kat, part of trainer Phil Bauer’s haul at Saratoga this summer, returns to New York for the Grade 3 Comely. She meets fellow shippers Pistol Liz Ablazen, Sixtythreecaliber and Morning Matcha, along with multiple graded stakes winner Kathleen O. in her first start since the Kentucky Oaks.

Laurel. Race 8. 3:39. Tough to go against Fille d’Espirit, the winner of 11 of 22 in her career and in the money in nine of 11 this year, in the $75,000 Politely for Maryland-bred fillies and mares.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 3:43. Full field of 12 plus an AE and some MTOs for the $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship.

Churchill Downs. Race 9. 4:57. The Grade 2 Mrs. Revere, named for the best horse campaigned by our late, great friend and supporter Dr. David “Doc” Richardson. California Angel looks to get in the win column after good tries at Keeneland in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and Grade 3 Valley View 13 days apart last month.

Churchill. Race 11. 5:56. Maybe not the strongest renewal but they all can’t be the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Speaking of which, classic winner Rich Strike runs back after finishing a not-so-terrible fourth behind runaway winner Flightline. He’s 2-1 on the line, and 2-for-3 in Louisville. The 80-1 Kentucky Derby winner will get a good test from Brad Cox’s duo of West Will Power and Fulsome and Mike Stidham’s Proxy.  

Del Mar. Race 7. 6:30. Pretty even group of seven for the Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup going 12 furlongs.