Aikenite Edges Apriority at the Wire to Win Churchill Downs

May 14, 2011 John Asher

Dogwood Stable’s Aikenite, rallying in the middle of the track, caught Apriority in the final jump to win the 77th running of the $348,900 Churchill Downs Presented by Navistar (GII) by a nose on Saturday afternoon at Churchill Downs.

Ridden by John Velazquez and trained by Todd Pletcher, Aikenite claimed his second consecutive Grade II victory having annexed the Commonwealth at Keeneland three weeks ago.

Velazquez kept Aikenite well of the pace as Captain Cherokee led the field of 12 through pressured fractions of :22.56 and :45. Capt. Candyman Can, ridden by Calvin Borel, took over for Captain Cherokee after six furlongs in 1:08.84 but was soon tackled by Apriority, ridden by Ramon Dominguez, who squeezed between two horses to take over but just failed to last.

Aikenite, a 4-year-old Florida-bred son of Yes It’s True out of the Saint Ballado mare Silverlado, winner ran the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:21.40.

The win was worth $201,176 and improved Aikenite’s career earnings to $688,636.  His record improved to 5-3-2 in 18 races.

Aikenite returned $28.60, $12.60 and $8.40. Apriority returned $7.80 and $6.20 with Ibboyee, ridden by Garrett Gomez, finishing a half-length back in third and paying $12.40 to show.

Capt. Candyman Can finished a nose back in fourth and was followed in order by Noble’s Promise, Smiling Tiger, Here Comes Ben, Captain Cherokee, Mythical Power, Delong Road, Le Grand Cru and Chocolate Candy.

                               CHURCHILL DOWNS QUOTES

JOHN VELAZQUEZ (Jockey, Aikenite, winner) — 'Post position one with him is a tough thing to get along with him. He doesn't like it very much. He gets excited inside so I worked my way out going to the half-mile pole. I took him out where he was comfortable so when the quarter-pole came I went around the horses and got him in the clear and he started running. When he got the lead he was hanging a little bit and the other horse came on the outside and that was just enough to get him to run another jump and get him to the wire. I definitely thought I got there but it was hard work to get there, let me tell you.”

TODD PLETCHER (Trainer, Aikenite, first) – “He's been doing really well lately and we were expecting a big effort today. The inside post was our main concern. We were afraid of getting stuck down inside there, but the race worked out where there was enough speed for John (Velasquez) to maneuver and get out. This horse likes it outside and Johnny got him there. With the Breeders ' Cup here in the fall, I think we have some options with this horse. We ran him in the Breeders' Cup Mile last year and we could run him there again. (The Breeders' Cup) Sprint (at six furlongs) is also possible. It might be that this distance (seven furlongs) may be his best, so we'll see which way we go.” 

RAMON DOMINGUEZ (Jockey, Apriority, second) – “He ran good and everything went good, except we just didn't win. We had a good trip.”

GARRETT GOMEZ (Jockey, Ibboyee, third) – “The trip was good and he came home good the last part. It was a good solid race, but they just didn’t come back to us as much as I thought they would. But that’s his style and he ran a very good race.”

  • Ticket Info

    Sign up for race updates and more


Thank You To Our Sponsors


Missed something? Catch up on past Churchill Downs news