Tajaaweed, winner of the Arlington Handicap (Grade III) in July, will carry top weight of 119 pounds when he faces seven rivals in Saturday’s 34th 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, which was won last year by Mike House’s Battle of Hastings-GB, will go as the ninth race on Saturday’s 10-race program with a 4:37 p.m. EST post time. Post time for the first race Saturday is 12:40 p.m.
The River City will be the second appearance on the Matt Winn Turf Course this year for Shadwell Stable’s Tajaaweed. His other start came in the Opening Verse in June where he was second to eventual TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) runner-up Turallure. A five-time winner with $301,915 in career earnings, Tajaaweed finished sixth in the Shadwell Turf Mile in his most recent start. Trained by Daniel Peitz, Tajaaweed will break from post 8 under Jesus Castanon, who won the 2008 River City aboard Demarcation, who dead-heated with Karelian for the win.
The next high weight in the field is Anstu Stables Inc.’s Blues Street, winner of the 2010 Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (GII) at Fair Grounds. A 7-year-old gelded son of Street Cry-IRE, the Eddie Kenneally-trained Blues Street will shoulder 116 pounds and break from post six under Robby Albarado, a three-time winning jockey of the River City.
Breaking from post three under Corey Lanerie at 115 pounds is Gleam of Hope. A 4-year-old gelded son of City Zip, Gleam of Hope captured the Jefferson Cup (GIII) over the Matt Winn Turf Course in June of 2010. He will enter the River City off a second-place finish in the Robert F. Carey Memorial at Hawthorne.
The field for the River City, from the rail out, is as follows: Plutonium (Victor Lebron, 114 pounds), Cherokee Lord (Mark Guidry, 115), Gleam of Hope (Lanerie, 115), Bergerac (Manny Cruz, 114), Zimmer (Calvin Borel, 112), Blues Street (Albarado, 116), Allie’s Event (Leandro Goncalves, 113) and Tajaaweed (Castanon, 119).