In the $150,000 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT)(VIDEO
) at Churchill Downs, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider’s homebred Lattice got an extension to the 1 1/2-mile distance, a confident ride from jockey Robby Albarado, and a soft pace to run at courtesy of Transduction Gold. Those factors were all he needed to put together a winning run.
Sent off as the 5-2 second choice in a field of 11, Lattice entered the May 24 event off a tough loss to fellow Louisville contender Pickapocket, having closed late in a 1 1/8-mile allowance race over the Keeneland turf course April 12. That half-length loss, paired with a similar late run and third-place finish by 1 3/4 lengths in Fair Grounds’ one-mile Allen LaCombe Memorial Handicap March 13, seemed to indicate that the 4-year-old son of Arch would excel at longer routes.
But Lattice had already attempted a 1 1/4-mile trek in the 2007 Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington Park. There, after prompting the pace four wide, he faded to seventh for trainer Bill Mott. The colt was given a layup following that race and was transferred to Al Stall Jr.’s barn for his 2008 campaign.
Apparently, the 12 3/4-length loss in the Secretariat did not mean Lattice couldn’t handle the distance, because he did that and more in the 1 1/2-mile Louisville. He definitely benefited from the soft early fractions of :26.25 and :52.08 that were set by Transduction Gold, who was nursed along on the front end by jockey Miguel Mena. Save Big Money ran second, but Lattice was right there as they went three-quarters in 1:17.21. Although he dropped briefly back to fourth through a mile in 1:42.38, it was only to rev up again rounding the far turn.
While Transduction Gold cranked up the pace a notch for 1 1/4-miles in 2:07.27, Albarado sent Lattice to chase down the leader. The Stall trainee did so willingly, taking over in midstretch and pulling off to a three-quarters of length victory in a final time of 2:31.13.
Birdbirdistheword, who raced seventh for a mile before making his move, got up for third. It was 1 1/4-lengths behind that one to 2-1 wagering choice Brass Hat, who trailed the field throughout and was forced to swing five wide heading for home, losing much chance at the victory in spite of a game late run.
The winner paid $7.40, $4.60, and $4.20 under Albarado, who rode his fourth winner of the day, while Transduction Gold paid $23.80 and $13 and Birdbirdistheword returned $13.20. The $2 trifecta paid $3,702.
Lattice, bred in Kentucky out of the Rahy mare Lateral, now has a 4-2-1 record from 9 starts. His earnings amount to $345,233. He is a grade II winner, having captured Arlington Park’s 2007 American Derby (gr. IIT) while under Mott’s care.