Black Hawk Stable’s 7-year-old millionaire Alsvid grabbed a narrow lead at the head of the stretch and gamely held on to beat 4-5 favorite Limousine Liberal by a head to win Saturday’s $100,000 Aristides (Grade III) at Churchill Downs for a second year in a row. Pacesetter Union Jackson was another half-length back in third in his stakes debut.
Alsvid ran six furlongs on a fast track in a swift 1:08.26, which was the third fastest Aristides at the distance only behind Kelly’s Landing’s 1:07.59 in 2005 and Fabulous Strike’s 1:07.64 in 2007. Chris Landeros rode the winner for owner James Rogers and trainer Chris Hartman.
Alsvid joins Bet On Sunshine (2000-01) as a repeat winner in 28 runnings of the Aristides, the annual Spring Meet sprint that pays tribute to the inaugural Kentucky Derby winner of 1875.
For the veteran Alsvid, it was his 14th victory from 42 starts and the $61,380 winner’s share boosted his career earnings to $1,233,998. Ten of Alsvid’s wins have come in stakes races, and Saturday’s triumph snapped an 11-race winless streak that started after he beat 2014 champion sprinter Work All Week by two lengths in last year’s Aristides.
Alsvid broke fastest from the gate in post 4, but Union Jackson soon took over from the inside to lead the field through fractions of :22.08 and :45.10 with Alsvid about a half-length back on his outside. Alsvid drew even when they exited the turn for home and gained a narrow advantage from Union Jackson with Limousine Liberal ranging into contention on the far outside.
The trio engaged determinedly in a long drive down the stretch with Alsvid prevailing in the final stages and denying the 4-year-old Limousine Liberal his first stakes victory.
"He’s got it, man,” Landeros said. “Honestly though, 1:08 and 1/5, I can’t say he lost a step. He’s pretty incredible. … He beat some real nice horses today.”
Alsvid paid $8.80, $3.20 and $2.60 as the 3-1 third betting choice in the field of six 3-year-olds and up. Limousine Liberal, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $2.60 and $2.10. Union Jackson, under Ricardo Santana Jr., paid $2.10 to show.
Barbados, Schivarelli and Grande Basin completed the order of finish. Toews On Ice was scratched.
Alsvid is a son of Officer out of the Afternoon Deelites mare Reagle Mary and was bred in Kentucky by Yanagawa Stud LTD.
Prior to the Aristides, Alsvid finished second to Rocket Heat in the $150,000 Twin Spires Turf Sprint (GIII) on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.
Earlier on the 11-race program, Steve Vanovich, Steve Andriot, Brad Cain and P.J. Herald’s 4-year-old colt Latent Revenge broke alertly from the starting gate and led every step of the way to hold off fast-closing Rivers Run Deep, Bucchero and 3-2 favorite Hogy and win the inaugural $63,920 Mighty Beau Overnight Stakes by a half-length. Latent Revenge, trained by Greg Foley, ran five furlongs over a firm Matt Winn Turf Course in :57.52 under Francisco Torres to collect his fourth win in 12 starts. The Kentucky-bred son of Latent Heat paid $16.20 to win as the fourth betting choice in the field of nine 3-year-olds and up, and banked $41,220 to push his career earnings to $144,551. This was Latent Revenge’s first stakes win.
Racing at Churchill Downs resumes Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 12:45 p.m. EDT. There is a $502,670 in the Single 6 Jackpot, which covers Races 5-10.
CHRIS LANDEROS, jockey of ALSVID (winner): “He’s got it, man. Honestly though, 1:08 and 1/5, I can’t say he lost a step. He’s pretty incredible. I’m kind of speechless today more than anything. He beat some real nice horses today. He’s the best I’ve ridden, he’s the highlight and I always tell my wife Shelby that he paid for my house so I owe him a lot. He put me in some good spots. He ran great all year and we went to the Breeders’ Cup last year which is pretty tough. I’m just really happy for the connections and for the owners. They didn’t lose faith in him, gave him a little time and all the credit goes to them.”
CHRIS HARTMAN, trainer of ALSVID (winner): “He’s the gift for sure. He did a good job. Chris put a beautiful ride on him so it was a perfect trip, perfect ride and everything went smooth. That’s a perfect race for that horse, it was a good race. I don’t really have any plans for a next start, nothing is penciled in. I’ll just see how he comes out and look around and find a spot for him.”
BEN COLEBROOK, trainer of LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (runner-up) – “He just didn’t quite get there, and that’s been a little bit of a habit for him here at Churchill Downs. Turns might be a little tight for him. He had to go wide anyway to get by those other horses, but he’s kind of going a little wider than he has to. He lost a little ground there and when you only get beat that far, it can make the difference. But hats off to Alsvid – he ran a monster race. I thought we had a beautiful trip behind him. I thought they were going plenty fast enough and I thought we were going to get by them and almost did, but just didn’t quite get there. But he’s only a 4-year-old and we’re still excited about the future. We’re licking our wounds now and I don’t know what he’s going to have to do to win a graded stake. He runs 1:08 and gets beat and gets beat in a Grade I going that fast. He’s probably one of the most-accomplished non-stakes winners that there’s ever been.
Q: Any thoughts on the next stop for Limousine Liberal? – “Because of the turn situation and he’s such a big horse and might benefit from wide turns, Belmont Park’s always been kind of an idea to go up there. You’ve got the Belmont Sprint Championship up there on the 9th of July at seven-eighths. I know that he didn’t run one of his better races at seven-eighths (in the Churchill Downs) here on Derby Day, but I think the pace scenario kind of cooked us that day. I think 6 ½ or seven (furlongs) is maybe a little better than six – I don’t know. We’re still kind of figuring this horse out. He hasn’t run very many times. But we’re looking at Belmont and Saratoga, he ran big up there last year.”
COREY LANERIE, jockey on LIMOUSINE LIBERAL (runner-up) – “He broke a step tardy, and to be honest I didn’t know what to expect leaving the gate. I thought me or Union Jackson would be in front, and when he left like that I was going to sit right on Union Jackson’s outside. I actually loved the position with the 5-horse (Alsvid) putting pressure on him, but the sleeper caught me. Alsvid ran a hell of a race today and Chris (trainer Chris Hartman) did a great job. We were second-best today, but I was loving my spot in the middle of the turn and we just weren’t good enough.”
MIGHTY BEAU QUOTES
FRANCISCO TORRES, jockey of LATENT REVENGE (winner): “He’s a rapid horse and going five-eighths of a mile, it would take a really good horse to beat him. He loves the grass. We had everything going our way and he prevailed.”
GREG FOLEY, trainer of LATENT REVENGE (winner): “This was a big win. Anytime you win a race at Churchill is nice, much less a stake like this one. It was much easier company than what he’s been in with the last two times going up against the best turf sprinters in the country. There were a lot less horses in today. He’s a nice horse. He’s very fast and we really liked him. We thought we had a shot at Keeneland – we weren’t just going there to run him – but we went ridiculous fractions and got beat. Derby Day we were disappointed in his race, he gave it up, too. The same horse (Rocket Heat) he went head-to-head with at Keeneland ended up winning the race and we stopped. This race came up so we pointed back for it and we got the job done today. It’s a good thing the rain held off.”