Green Lantern Stables’ Karelian will attempt to become the third repeat winner of the $100,000-added River City Handicap (Grade III) when he faces nine rivals in Friday’s 32nd running of 1 1/8-mile test over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course.
The River City goes as the ninth race on the 12-race Friday card that is headlined by the $400,000-added Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GII). Approximate post time for the River City is 3:29 p.m. (ET).
Karelian finished in a dead heat with Demarcation to win last year’s race. Rajiv Maragh will be aboard Karelian as the 7-year-old gelding attempts to join Same Old Wish (1996-97) and Dr. Kashnikow (2001-02) as repeat River City winners.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, Karelian will carry high weight of 122 pounds and concede 1-8 pounds to his River City rivals in his third start of 2009. Karelian will break from post position nine. The 7-year-old homebred son of Bertrando has been installed as a narrow 2-1 favorite in oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.
After his River City triumph last November, Karelian did not race again until the Shadwell Turf Mile (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 10 in which he was beaten a nose by Court Vision. That earned him a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GI) on Nov. 7 at Santa Anita when he ran sixth behind two-time winner Goldikova, beaten only 3 ¾ lengths.
Second high weight at 121 pounds is Canadian-based Rahy’s Attorney, the 5-2 second choice in the morning line odds for the River City.
Owned by Elle Boje Farm, Dean Read, Mitch Peters and Jean and Jim MacLellan, Rahy’s Attorney is the leading money earner in the field with a bankroll of $1,527,723. Trained by Ian Black, Rahy’s Attorney is a two-time Grade II winner this year and in 2008 won the Grade I Woodbine Mile. Robert Landry will ride Rahy’s Attorney and break from post position four.
The field for the River City Handicap, from the hedge out, is as follows: Banrock (K. Desormeaux, 119 pounds, 6-1), Wheels Up At Noon (C. Borel, 115, 20-1), Wicked Style (R. Albarado, 116, 5-1), Rahy’s Attorney (R. Landry, 121, 5-2), Simmard (S. Bridgmohan, 115, 15-1), Rahystrada (L. Goncalves, 114, 30-1), Pleasant Strike (C. DeCarlo, 116, 8-1), Brave Tin Soldier (A. Garcia, 117, 8-1), Karelian (R. Maragh, 122, 2-1) and Cryptolight (P. Tolentino, 114, 50-1).