Maggi Moss’s Indian Chant set his sights on a victory in the $125,000 Aristides Stakes (gr. III)(VIDEO
) at Churchill Downs and would not be denied, holding off a bid from the late-closing Noonmark to win the May 31 event by a nose.
Sent out by trainer Tom Amoss to the six-furlong test, Indian Chant, a California-bred son of Suggest, covered the distance in a sparkling 1:08.40, turning in a performance that finally stamped him as a talented sprinter in the public eye. The score was his first in graded company, although he owns victories in last year’s Karl Boyes Memorial Northwestern Pennsylvania Stakes at Presque Isle Downs and in the 2007 edition of the Prairie Meadows Sprint Stakes.
A former claimer, Indian Chant laid it all on the line in the Aristides to defeat a grade I winner and two grade II victors. First at the start under Jamie Theriot, he battled with Esperamos, who went the opening quarter in :21.10 while taking a half-length lead. By the half in :43.78, Indian Chant had regained the advantage and was sprinting for home through five-eighths in :55.69. As Noonmark got going after angling in and then moving out again under jockey Shaun Bridgmohan, Indian Chant was hard-pressed for the lead and was actually headed in the final strides. But he fought back gamely to claim the win on a head-bob, getting his ninth score from 23 starts.
Indian Chant returned $6.40, $3.40, and $2.60. Noonmark brought $4 and $2.60, while Elite Squadron paid $2.20. Kelly’s Landing and Esperamos completed the order of finish. Caranacks Choice was pulled up shortly after the start and did not finish.
Bred in California by Triple Crown Bloodstock out of the Ice Age mare Icy Luck, Indian Chant ran third in his maiden debut and was a $25,000 claim for Moss by trainer Ted West in his next start, a 5 ½-furlong sprint at Del Mar which he won by 3 ¼ lengths in August of 2006. West lost the gelding to Dare to Dream stable when he dropped him into the claiming ranks a few starts later, but Moss and West claimed him back for $50,000 in November of 2006 and kept him in allowance company, eventually moving him up the ladder to stakes events. He now has a solid 9-9-2 record, with earnings of $471,823.