Veteran sprint star Semaphore Man heads the 21st running of the Aristides (GIII) and Ohio invader Slides Choice could emerge as the favorite in the 35th running of the Dogwood (GIII) as Churchill Downs offers a pair of major stakes events on its racing menu for Saturday, May 30. .
The $100,000-added Dogwood, which drew a field of nine 3-year-old fillies, will go as the eighth race on the 11-race card. The $100,000-added Artistides, which drew a field of 11 older sprinters, is scheduled as the as the day’s 10th event. First post time for the Saturday card is 12:45 p.m. EDT.
Mary Crawford and Gerald Brown’s Slides Choice, a winner of five of six career starts with four of the victories coming in Ohio-bred stakes, will carry top weight of 119 pounds in the Dogwood that is run at a mile on the main track. Trained by Tim Hamm, Slides Choice will step out of stakes-bed races to face open company for the first time. She will break from post position six under jockey Corey Lanerie.
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who has saddled a record five Dogwood winners, will send out Tweeter for the Marylou Whitney Stable. The chestnut daughter of Unbridled’s Song finished seventh in the Kentucky Oaks (Grade I) behind Rachel Alexandra in her most recent start. Tweeter will break from post position seven under Miguel Mena.
The field for the Dogwood, from the rail out, is as follows: Walloon (Jesus Castanon, 117 pounds), Hightap (Shaun Bridgmohan, 117), Affirmed Truth (Calvin Borel, 117), Dave’s Revenge (Tony Farina, 117), Luster (Jamie Theriot, 117), Slides Choice (Corey Lanerie, 119), Tweeter (Miguel Mena, 117), Perfect for You (Jon Court, 117) and Lady’s Laughter (Robby Albarado, 117).
Helen Alexander and Helen Groves’ Acoma won the 2008 Dogwood. The David Carroll trainee established the stakes record for a mile with a 1:34.56 clocking.
Double Bogey Stable’s veteran Semaphore Man, a two-time winner of the Grade III Count Fleet Sprint Handicap at Oaklawn Park, will make his Churchill Downs debut in the six-furlong Aristides. Trained by Kelly Von Hemel, Semaphore Man is a five-time stakes winner who has compiled earnings of $530,210 with a record of 9-6-5 from 27 starts. All nine of his victories have come at Saturday’s six –furlong distance. Jesus Castanon has the riding call on Semaphore Man, who will carry high weight of 122 pounds and break from post position six.
Four other stakes winners are in field, including a pair trained by Steve Asmussen, who won the 2003 Aristides with Mountain General. Asmussen will send out four-time stakes winner Sok Sok for Savorthetime Stables and Gallant Bob Handicap winner Premium Wine for the Zayat Stables.
Sok Sok’s won the Duncan F. Kenner at Fair Grounds two starts back and was fifth to Accredit in the Churchill Downs (GII) on Kentucky Derby Day. Premimum Wine will make his season debut in the Aristides following a 2008 campaign in which he finished a close third to Bustin Stones in the Carter Handicap (GI) at Aqueduct. The son of Prime Timber last raced in October.
Other stakes winners in the Aristides are David Holloway Racing’s Success Success and Lawrence Carroll’s Bold Start. Success Success, winner of the Forego at Turfway Park, races for the team of owner David Holloway and trainer Paul McGee, who won the race in 2000 and 2001 with Bet on Sunshine. McGee won the inaugural running of the Aristides in 1989 with Bet the Pot. Bold Start won last summer’s Don Bernhardt Memorial for trainer Ken McPeek.
Indian Chant won the 2008 Aristides for owner Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss.
The field for the Aristides, from the rail out, is as follows: Early Return (Brian Hernandez Jr., 118 pounds), Cassoulet (Jamie Theriot, 118), Vicarian (Calvin Borel, 118), Garifine (Miguel Mena, 118), Sok Sok (Shaun Bridgmohan, 118), Semaphore Man (Jesus Castanon, 122), Premium Wine (Larry Sterling Jr., 118), Success Success (Jon Court, 118), Bold Start (Robby Albarado, 118), Knights Cross (Corey Lanerie, 118) and Grand Sensation (Tim Doocy, 120).
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