Tampa Bay Derby (GII) Winner Helium Tries Turf in $150,000 War Chant

Jun 23, 2021 Kevin Kerstein,Churchill Downs Communications

D. J. Stable’s $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (Grade II) winner Helium will attempt turf for the first time as the headliner in Saturday’s $150,000 War Chant Stakes at Churchill Downs.

The one-mile War Chant for 3-year-olds is slated as Race 7 with a post time of 3:50 p.m. (all times Eastern). The first of 12 races will get underway at 12:45 p.m. Saturday is closing day of the 2021 Spring Meet at Churchill Downs and the day features seven stakes events headlined by the $600,000 Stephen Foster (GII). The other supporting stakes are the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (GII), $300,000 Wise Dan (GII), $150,000 Bashford Manor (GIII), $150,000 Debutante (Listed), $150,000 Tepin and War Chant.

Trained by Mark Casse, Helium finished eighth in the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (GI). Helium broke his maiden over the Tapeta surface at Woodbine and won the $100,000 Display Stakes prior to making his first start on dirt in the Tampa Bay Derby. He is by multiple turf graded stakes winner Ironicus and out of the dam Thundering Emilia who ran 17 times on turf with a record of 2-4-2. Helium’s half-sister Mighty Scarlett is Grade III placed on the turf. Churchill Downs leading rider Tyler Gaffalione was named to ride Helium from post No. 7.

The War Chant field also includes Steve Landers Racing’s two-time stakes winner Royal Prince. Trained by Brad Cox, the Cairo Prince colt finished third in his last start in the $150,000 Audubon, the local prep race for the War Chant on May 29. Jockey Florent Geroux has the mount from post 5.

The complete War Chat field from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Accredit (Sophie Doyle, Pavel Matejka); Starrininmydreams (Jose Ortiz, Dallas Stewart); In Effect (Adam Beschizza, Jack Sisterson); Dyn O Mite (Brian Hernandez Jr., Keith Desormeaux); Royal Prince (Geroux, Cox); El Kabong (James Graham, Rusty Arnold II); Helium (Gaffalione, Casse); and Next (John Velazquez, Wesley Ward).

Wagering is available online at www.TwinSpires.com, the official ADW of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

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