Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Grade I-winning sprinter Gunite will meet Patricia’s Hope and Mark Farrar’s speedy Conagher for the third time as the headliners in Saturday night’s second running of the $275,000 Harrods Creek at Churchill Downs.
The seven-furlong Harrods Creek will go as Race 8 of 11 with a post time of 9:39 p.m. (all times Eastern). The stakes-laden Downs After Dark program will get underway at 6 p.m. and also features the $275,000 Dogwood (GIII), $275,000 Bourbon Trail and $160,000 Seneca Overnight Stakes.
Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Gunite was defeated 1 ¼ lengths by one of the nation’s best 3-year-olds, Jack Christopher, in the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (GI). Prior to that start, the son of Gun Runner narrowly defeated Accretive in the $200,000 Amsterdam (GII) and My Prankster in the $160,000 Maxfield Stakes. Last season, Gunite stormed home to a 5 ¾-length romp in the $300,000 Hopeful (GI). Gunite has only finished outside the Top 3 once when he was a disappointing fifth in the $500,000 Champagne (GI). Jockey Tyler Gaffalione will retain the mount from post No. 7.
Conagher faced Gunite last out in the Jerkens where he scampered to an early two-length lead from the rail but faded to fourth in deep stretch. The Mike Tomlinson-trained son of Jimmy Creed defeated Gunite four starts ago at Churchill Downs when he scorched seven furlongs in 1:20.62. Tomlinson tested Conagher at two turns following his aforementioned victory against Gunite but he tired late to finish second in the $250,000 Iowa Derby. Following the Iowa Derby, Conagher returned to sprinting and found the winner’s circle in the $100,000 Housebuster Overnight Handicap at Colonial Downs. Jockey Joe Rocco Jr. has been the regular pilot for Conagher for eight of his 10 starts and will have the call from post 4.
Here’s the field for the Harrods Creek from the rail out (with jockey and trainer): Friar Laurence (Mickaelle Michel, Ben Colebrook); Double Thunder (Javier Castellano, Todd Pletcher): Hippodrome (Jon Court, Lynn Cash); Conagher (Rocco, Tomlinson); Editorial Comment (ARG) (Julien Leparoux, Kenny McPeek); Strava (Brian Hernandez Jr., Dallas Stewart); and Gunite (Gaffalione, Asmussen).
Wagering is available on www.TwinSpires.com, the official wagering provider of Churchill Downs Inc. and the Kentucky Derby.