Orientate took an early lead and pulled away down the stretch to win the $107,500 Aristides Handicap (gr. III) by 4 1/2 lengths Saturday at Churchill Downs. Orientate's victory foiled Bet On Sunshine's attempt to win the stakes race for the third straight year, as the 10-year-old checked home a non-threatening fourth.
Bob and Beverly Lewis' Orientate, a 4-year-old son of Mt. Livermore with Robby Albarado riding, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs on the fast track in a stakes record time of 1:14.41. The time was just .07 off the track record of 1:14.34 set by Love At Noon last year.
"He's a fast horse and he loves to sprint," said Mike Maker, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "When I saw that he had his ears pinned when they were in the backstretch, I knew he was going to be tough to beat. He's every bit as talented as any sprinter. We're pointing him to Calder's Summit of Speed."
Orientate paid $5.40, $3.40, and $2.20. Binthebest, with Jon Court aboard, rallied late to take the place spot, and paid $4.80 and $2.40. No Armistice, the 3-2 favorite, paid $2.10 to show in the race for 3-year-olds and up. Bet On Sunshine defeated only longshot U.S. Jets.
Orientate earned $66,650 for the win, his sixth in 15 career starts. He has now won two main track sprint stakes races this year, with two turf attempts sandwiched between the victories. His lone turf stakes win came late last year in the listed Sir Beaufort Stakes. The $250,000 yearling purchase was bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd. (Chart, Equibase