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Opening day review at Churchill.

Churchill's fall meet opened on Sunday with blue skies, temperatures in the high fifties, a fast track and a turf course labelled "good".

The 11 race card was devoted to two-year-olds and the first race was a six and a half furlong claiming event.  Cover Photo, who was the Brisnet Prime Power Pick and returned $7.40, was close to the pace throughout off the inside before taking the lead late to win by half a length.

Brothers Cecil and Calvin Borel teamed up to take the second, a six furlong maiden with the first time starter, Touch For A Shock. Gunned to the lead from the 11 hole, Touch For A Shock led all the way and was never threatened. The son of Touch Gold is clearly one to keep an eye out for.

The heavy favorite in the third, a mile and a sixteenth allowance, Stately Victor through in a clunker when never threatening but maybe given another chance if returned to the turf over which surface he broke his maiden. The race went to Callide Valley who initiated a training double for Eddie Kenneally.

The fourth race was a six furlong maiden for fillies and was won by Aqualane Shores who was making her third start for Robert Holthus. Shawnee Moon, trained by Kenneally made a promising debut finishing second, and should be watched closely next time as the barn's runners tend to improve in their second start.

Tiz Chrome, a debuting son of Tiznow, wired a field of maidens over six furlongs to take the fifth race by three and a quarter lengths. Since the offspring of Tiznow improve with age and racing improvement, Tiz Chrome, who is trained by Alan Crupper, maybe one to watch for in the future.

The sixth race was a mile and a sixteenth maiden of the turf. Here Roman's Reward led from start to finish and continued the strong showing of the offspring of his sire, Kitten's Joy, on the turf. Indeed, runners by the first year stallion are winning at a high rate of 24 percent on the grass accoring to the pedigree statistics found in the Ultimate Past Performances.

Race seven, a six furlong maiden for fillies was won by Kenneally's Autumn Eyes who was making her fourth start and was rated second on Prime Power. Always close to the pace, Autumn Eyes drew off to win by four and a quarter lengths and returned $13.00.

The first stake of the afternoon was the Pocahontas S. (G3) over one mile. Here, Sassy Image was the first closer to win on the card when coming from behind to give Albarado his third success of the day.

Speed was the key once again in the ninth, a seven furlong allowance, when Dryfly led all the way on the inside  to provide Calvin Borel with a double. The Lynn Whiting trained son of Jump Start defeated Flatter Than Me by a length and a half.

The Iroquois S. (G3), which was run as the tenth race over a mile, drew a full field of colts. The heavy favorite, Dublin, disappointed but Thiskyhasnolimit proved an overlay when closing from off the pace to win by a length at odds of 13.10/1. The son of Sky Mesa, who is closely related to the Preakness S. (G1) winner, Bernardini, defeated the Remington Park invader, Uh Oh Bango by a length.

The finale, a mile maiden for fillies on the turf, was won by Cactus Cadillac who was making his grass debut. Second ranked on Prime Power, Cactus Cadillac, who returned $13.20 is by Cactus Ridge whose offspring have been winning at 16 percent when making their first starts on the grass.

Tim Holland 11-2-09.

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