A strong field of eight accomplished sprinters headed by Grade I stakes winners Capt Candyman Can and Here Comes Ben and defending winner Riley Tucker has been entered to compete in Saturday’s 23rd running of the $100,000-added Aristides (Grade III) at Churchill Downs.
This year’s running of the Aristides looms as an important prep for important early prep for the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI), which will be run over main track at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Nov. 5.
The six furlong race for 3-year-olds and up is one of a pair of Grade III events on Saturday’s 11-race program, which is set to begin with the first race at 12:45 p.m. (all times EDT). The Aristides is scheduled as the tenth race with a post time of 5:29 p.m. The co-featured $100,000-added Dogwood Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile immediately precedes the Aristides.
Each member of the Aristides field boasts at least one victory over the main track at Churchill Downs, but Capt. Candyman Can and Here Comes Ben possess the strongest career accomplishments.
Rosemary Rauch and David Zell’s Capt. Candyman Can, winner via disqualification of the 2009 King’s Bishop (GI) at Saratoga, did not race in 2010 because of injury, but has returned in 2011 with three strong races coming into the Aristides. The 5-year-old Candy Ride gelding won non-graded stakes races at Tampa Bay Downs and Gulfstream Park over the winter and finished fourth, beaten just three-quarters of a length by Aikenite, in the $300,000-added Churchill Downs (GII) on Kentucky Derby Day. It was the first time in four races at Churchill Downs, which include wins in the Iroquois (GIII) and Matt Winn, in which Capt Candyman Can had finished worse than third.
Calvin Borel will ride Capt. Candyman Can from post three for trainer Ian Wilkes.
Marianne and Brandon Chase’s Here Comes Ben, winner of last year’s Forego (GI) at Saratoga, will make his second start of the year after a stellar 2010 during which he won four of six races. His wins included the Kelly’s Landing overnight stakes at Churchill Downs before son of Street Cry finished the year with an 11th-place finish as the favorite in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI). Here Comes Ben finished seventh to Aikenite in the Churchill Downs in his 2011 debut.
Julien Leparoux will ride the Charles Lopresti-trained Here Comes Ben, who breaks from the rail post in the Aristides as the veteran sprinter bids for a fourth career victory at Churchill Downs.
Zayat Stables’ Riley Tucker, searching for his first stakes victory since his mild surprise in last year’s renewal of the Aristides, will be sandwiched between his Grade I-winning opponents on Saturday when he breaks from post two for trainer Steve Asmussen. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard the 6-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday who is coming off a runner-up finish to Aristides rival Cash Refund in a six-furlong allowance prep on May 15.
Eligible to improve in the Aristides in Chasing Dreams Racing’s Noble’s Promise, who finished a fast-closing fifth in Aikenite’s Churchill Downs in his first start of 2011. The Ken McPeek-trained son of Cuvee finished fifth to Super Saver in last year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) and narrowly lost the Rebel (GII) at Oaklawn Park in a runner-up finish to eventual Preakness (GI) winner and 3-year-old champion Lookin At Lucky. Noble’s Promise, who won the Jimmy V. Stakes at Churchill Downs on Breeders’ Cup Weekend, will break from post eight with Alan Garcia aboard.
R.E.V. Racing’s Atta Boy Roy, the runner-up in the 2010 Aristides, is back for another try at Churchill Downs for trainer Valorie Lund. Jesus Castanon will ride Atta Boy Roy, who scored the greatest victory of his career when he took the 2010 Churchill Downs over a sloppy track. He starts from post seven.
Cash Refund, a homebred Petionville gelding who finished third in the 2010 Aristides, carries the hopes of Louisville-based owners Richard, Elaine and Bert Klein in Saturday’s renewal. The Steve Margolis trainee notched his second career victory at Churchill Downs when he turned back Riley Tucker in the track’s May 15 allowance prep for the Aristides. Shaun Bridgmohan will ride Cash Refund, who drew post five.
Dawn and Ike Thrash’s Hurricane Ike, winner of the 2010 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial (GIII) at Churchill Downs, will attempt to snap a four-race losing streak when he runs in the Aristides. Formerly trained by John Sadler, the 4-year-old son of Graeme Hall will be saddled in the Aristides by Jeff Thornbury and Robby Albarado will be the saddle as Hurricane Ike breaks from post four.
Thomas Shank and Stan Young’s Good Lord, an impressive winner of a seven-furlong allowance winner on Kentucky Derby Day, will make his stakes debut beneath the Twin Spires in his bid for the Aristides. Trained by veteran Forrest Kaelin, the 4-year-old gelded son of Greatness has a record of 2-2-2 record in eight races at Churchill Downs. Leading jockey Corey Lanerie will ride Good Lord from post six.
The field from the 23rd running of the Aristides includes (from the rail out, with jockey): Here Comes Ben (Leparoux), Riley Tucker (Desormeaux), Capt. Candyman Can (Borel), Hurricane Ike (Albarado), Cash Refund (Bridgmohan), Good Lord (Lanerie), Atta Boy Roy (Castanon), Noble’s Promise (Garcia).
All starters in the Aristides will carry 118 pounds.