Multiple stakes winner Bobby’s Wicked One was made the 9-5 favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Aristides presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade III) and when he leaves the gate, 33-year-old Miguel Mena will be in the saddle. Mena, a native of Lima, Peru, is perennially one of the top riders at Churchill Downs but with the competitive nature of the opening two weeks of the Spring Meet, he has not been able to get many of the opportunities to ride as in previous years.
“It’s been tough with all of those guys who came here from New York,” said Mena, who has three wins in the first 13 days of the meet. “We’re getting our opportunities back and working hard. Horses like (Bobby’s Wicked One) get me excited to do what I do.”
Mena has ridden Bobby’s Wicked One in 12 of 16 starts. His last race, a puzzling 11th-place finish in the $350,000 Count Fleet Sprint (GIII), had both Mena and trainer Al Stall Jr. scratching their heads on what went wrong.
“I still don’t know what happened in his last race,” Mena said. “It was his first time at Oaklawn and he was there for a month without his normal routine that he had at Fair Grounds. When he came back here he seems like himself again.”
The Aristides is carded as Race 8 of 11 with a post time of 4:46 p.m. Saturday’s program at Churchill Downs also will feature the $100,000 Dogwood presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade III), which is a prep race on the Road to the Longines Kentucky Oaks. First post is 1 p.m.
The Aristides field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Manny Wah (Corey Lanerie, Wayne Catalano, 8-1); Honest Mischief (Tyler Gaffalione, Chad Brown, 5-2); Heartwood (David Cohen, James Chapman, 6-1); Bobby’s Wicked One (Mena, Stall, 9-5); Seven Nation Army (Joe Talamo, Ron Moquett, 12-1); and Volatile (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 2-1).
Two races after the Aristides, eight 3-year-old fillies are scheduled to head to post in the Dogwood. Recent allowance winner Four Graces leads the field for the Dogwood. Owned by Whitham Thoroughbreds and trained by Ian Wilkes, Four Graces sports the highest last race Brisnet Speed Figure with a 97.
The complete field for the Dogwood (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Clivetty (Martin Garcia, Don Chatlos, 15-1); Four Graces (Leparoux, Wilkes, 5-2); Bayerness (Florent Geroux, Cherie DeVaux, 6-1); Ain’t No Elmers (Adam Beschizza, Bret Calhoun, 5-1); Magic Dance (Ricardo Santana, Steve Asmussen, 7-2); Lady Glamour (Rafael Bejarano, Larry Demeritte, 20-1); Naughty Thoughts (Tyler Gaffalione, Jonathan Maldonado, 8-1); and Edgeway (Tyler Baze, John Salder 3-1).
The National Weather Service forecast for Saturday in Louisville calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 90 degrees.
Racing from Churchill Downs on Saturday will air on FS2 from 2:30-3 p.m. and FS1 from 3-8 p.m. as part of FOX Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races” coverage. It also will be broadcast on MSG+ from 1-7 p.m. and FOX Sports Ohio from 3-7 p.m.
For complimentary Brisnet past performances, visit www.churchilldowns.com/handicapping.
TWO-TIME GRADE I WINNER GUARANA EARNS 91 BRISNET SPEED RATING FOR THURSDAY ALLOWANCE VICTORY – Three Chimneys Farm and Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings’ two-time Grade I-winning filly Guarana made her seasonal debut in style Thursday with an emphatic 5 ¼-length victory which earned a 91 Brisnet speed rating.
Trained by Chad Brown, Guarana stopped the clock in 1:22.58 for seven furlongs over the sloppy main track. About a half-hour before Guarana walked over to the frontside for her race, a massive rainstorm hit South Louisville and caused the main track to turn sloppy within minutes.
“The good news was she won her debut over the slop so we weren’t really worried,” Brown’s assistant Whit Beckman said. “She’s just a nice filly no matter how you put it. She’ll always give you her best and is pure class.”
One of the options for Guarana’s next start could be the seven furlong, $250,000 Madison (GI) on July 11 at Keeneland, according to Brown.
CHURCHILL DOWNS PARTNERS WITH NYRA FOR CROSS COUNTRY PICK 5 ON SATURDAY – Churchill Downs, in conjunction with the New York Racing Association, will feature a cross-country Pick 5 on Saturday with three races from Belmont Park and two from Churchill.
The 50-cent bet, with a low 15 percent takeout, will be hosted by NYRA and feature the following races:
-Leg A: Belmont, Race 7 (4:32 p.m.)
-Leg B: Belmont, Race 8 (5:04 p.m.)
-Leg C: Churchill, Race 9 (5:18 p.m.)
-Leg D: Belmont, Race 9 (5:36 p.m.)
-Leg E: Churchill, Race 10 (5:50 p.m.)
The kickoff leg of the bet is the $100,000 Westchester for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles. The race features multiple Grade I winner Code of Honor who is set for his 4-year-old debut following a disappointing seventh-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI).
Race 8 at Belmont is the $100,000 Intercontinental (GIII) for fillies and mares 4-year-olds and up at seven furlongs on the turf. The field of 12 features a quartet of Chad Brown-trained horses led by multiple graded stakes winner Newspaperofrecord.
The ninth race at Churchill Downs is a wide-open first-level allowance event sprinting 5 ½ furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course. The race drew a field of 10 horses in the body and four also eligible entrants topped by 7-2 morning line favorite High Crime.
Race 9 at Belmont is the seven furlong, $250,000 Carter (GI), which showcases multiple graded stakes winner Mind Control and the seasonal debut of last year’s Discovery (GIII) winner Performer.
The final leg of the wager is the 44th running of the $100,000 Dogwood (GIII). The seven-furlong event features a competitive field of eight fillies led by recent allowance winner Four Graces.
TWENTY-TWO 3-YEAR-OLDS MADE ELIGIBLE FOR TRIPLE CROWN – Twenty-two 3-year-old Thoroughbreds were made eligible to compete in the 2020 Triple Crown with a late $3,000 payment that was due Wednesday.
The nominees (with owner and trainer):
• Alex Joon (Zayat Stables LLC via “Receiver”) (Steve Asmussen)
• American Piper (Long Valley Stables LLC) (Rick Buckley)
• Bear Alley (West Point Thoroughbreds and Albaugh Family Stables) (Dale Romans)
• Casino Grande (Calumet Farm) (Christophe Clement)
• Cezanne (Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and St. Elias Stable) (Bob Baffert)
• Collusion Illusion (Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider and John Xitco) (Mark Glatt)
• Edge of Fire (Chiefswood Stables Limited) (Jimmy Jerkens)
• Established (Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC and Mt. Brilliant Farm LLC) (Mike Stidham)
• High Cruise (Calumet Farm) (Jack Sisterson)
• Hunt the Front (Dream Walkin Farm Inc.) (Nick Zito)
• King Guillermo (Victoria’s Ranch) (Juan Avila)
• Lebda (Euro Stable) (Claudio Gonzalez)
• Mystic Guide (Godolphin LLC) (Mike Stidham)
• Pneumatic (Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC) (Steve Asmussen)
• Shooters Shoot (Exline-Border Racing, ERJ Racing and Dan Hudock) (Peter Eurton)
• Superfecto (Irv Cowen) (Ralph Nicks)
• Swiss Skydiver (Peter J. Callahan) (Kenny McPeek)
• Uncle Chuck (Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram and Paul Weitman) (Bob Baffert)
• Well Connected (Michael Dubb and David Simon) (Mike Maker)
• Winners Laugh (Barry Schwartz) (Linda Rice)
• Winning Impression (West Point Thoroughbreds and Pearl Racing) (Dallas Stewart)
• Winning Moment (Gary and Mary West) (Bob Baffert)
With 22 late nominees during the extended late nomination phase (pending late mail), there are now 369 horses eligible to participate in the Triple Crown’s revised three race series: the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes (Grade I) at 1 1/8 miles at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y.; the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) at 1 ¼ miles on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.; and the 145th running of the Preakness Stakes (GI) at 1 3/16 miles on Oct. 3 at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Md.
The early nomination total was 347 at $600 per horse when it closed Jan. 25.
TV SCHEDULE THIS WEEK – The racing action from Churchill Downs Racetrack throughout the 2020 Spring Meet will be broadcast on FOX Sports’ “America’s Day at the Races,” which will air every race day on either FS1 or FS2.
Friday, June 5
1:00 – 2:20 p.m. (FS2)
4:30 – 6:30 p.m. (FS2)
1:00 – 6:30 p.m. (MSG+)
2:00 – 6:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)
Saturday, June 6
2:30 – 3:00 p.m. (FS2)
3:00 – 8:00 p.m. (FS1)
1:00 – 7:00 p.m. (MSG+)
3:00 – 7:00 p.m. (FOX Sports Ohio)
Sunday, June 7
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. (FS2)
2:00 – 6:00 p.m. (FS1)
1:00 – 6:00 p.m. (MSG+)
DOWN THE STRETCH – Racing continued Friday at Churchill Downs with a first post of 1 p.m. There was a $170,608 carryover in the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot in Races 4-9. … Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen was two wins behind Dale Romans for the all-time leading trainer at Churchill Downs, 737-735 wins. Asmussen had six horses entered while Romans’ had one. … At the start of racing on Friday, Bill Mott remained three wins away from 5,000 in his career. Mott had five entrants in New York and one at Churchill Downs. … “Inside Churchill Downs” airs Friday at 6 p.m. on ESPN 680/105.7. The one-hour program will preview Saturday’s racing at Churchill Downs with expert selections and insight. Those outside the Louisville area can listen on www.espnlouisville.com. … For racing this week at Churchill Downs, the rail setting on the Matt Winn Turf Course will be in Lane 2, 15 feet from the hedge.