Phipps Stable’s Boisterous, winner of the Red Smith Handicap (Grade II) and Knickerbocker (GIII) in his last two starts, will carry the top weight of 124 pounds when he faces 11 rivals in Sunday’s 35th running of the $100,000-added River City Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill Downs.
The River City highlights the 11-race closing-day program of the Fall Meet and is carded as Race 10 at 5:15 p.m. (all times Eastern). Post time for the first race Sunday is 12:40 p.m.
A dark bay or brown son of Distorted Humor, Boisterous also recorded triumphs in the Red Smith and Knickerbocker in the final two starts of his 4-year-old campaign. The other graded stakes victory for the Shug McGaughey-trained Boisterous came in the Fort Marcy (GIII) at Belmont Park in May.
Boisterous will seek his sixth graded-stakes win in the River City when he breaks from post two under Jose Lezcano.
The main rival for Boisterous could be Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward, who is weighted at 118 pounds and won the Firecracker Handicap (GII) and Opening Verse on the Matt Winn Turf Course in the spring. A 5-year-old dark bay or brown son of Grand Reward, the Dale Romans-trained Guys Reward has recorded five of his seven career wins on the grass at Churchill Downs. He will seek his sixth victory on the Matt Winn Turf Course when he breaks from post seven under the Spring Meet’s leading rider Corey Lanerie.
Other top contenders in the River City include G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm LLC’s Middie, winner of the Washington Park Handicap (GIII); Stormy Lord, winner of last year’s Connaught Cup (GII) at Woodbine; and Bluegrass Hall LLC’s homebred Optimizer, who won the Kent (GIII) at Delaware Park prior to finishing 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI).
The field for the River City Handicap, from the rail out (with jockey and assigned weight): Global Power (Joe Rocco Jr., 118), Boisterous (Lezcano, 124), Skyring (Victor Lebron, 114), Middie (Francisco Torres, 116), Optimizer (Jon Court, 114), Stormy Lord (James McAleney, 119), Guys Reward (Lanerie, 118), Temeraine (Jesus Castonon, 112), Swift Warrior (Jose Espinoza, 115), Keep Up (Miguel Mena, 114), Miami Deco (Shaun Bridgmohan, 116) and Depeche Chat (Brian Hernandez Jr., 116).
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