Chelokee Clashes With Strong Field in Northern Dancer

Chelokee Clashes With Strong Field in Northern Dancer
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Barbaro Stakes winner Chelokee will try to make it two in a row in the Northern Dancer.
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Trainer Michael Matz hopes Centennial Farm’s Chelokee, winner of the Barbaro Stakes at Pimlico and third in the Florida Derby (gr. I),  can launch the second half of the colt’s 3-year-old campaign with a victory over a strong field of seven 3-year-old rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup (gr. III) at Churchill Downs Saturday.

Matz, who saddled Lael Stable’s Barbaro to win the 2006 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), thinks that the son of Cherokee Run will emerge as one of America’s outstanding 3-year-olds by the end of the season.

“He’s yet to prove it, but if he keeps improving the way he does he could be that type of horse,” said Matz. “He’s been very consistent and I think he’ll try whatever he can do. Whether it’s good enough, we’ll have to find out.”

Ramon Dominguez rides Chelokee, who will carry 120 pounds and break from post seven as the 2-1 morning line favorite.

Chelokee faces a field that includes a pair of horses that competed in the Kentucky Derby. Starlight Stable and Donald Lucarelli’s Sam P. (3-1) finished ninth in the “Run for the Roses” for trainer Todd Pletcher, while Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Zanjero (4-1) checked in 12th for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Another major contender is Patricia Blass’ Prom Shoes, a son of Include   who finished a nose behind Sightseeing in the Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont Park. The William “Jinks” Fires trainee had finished a troubled fourth in his previous outing on the Derby trail.

$200,000 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:17 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Loose Leaf (KY), Robby Albarado, 116, 8/1
2. Zanjero (KY), Shaun Bridgmohan, 116, 4/1
3. Portobello Road (KY), Calvin H. Bore, 15/1l
4. Prom Shoes (KY), Edgar S. Prado, 116, 5/2
5. True Competitor (KY), Rafael Bejarano, 116, 12/1
6. Tsali (KY), Corey S. Nakatani, 116, 20/1
7. Chelokee (KY), Ramon A. Dominguez, 120, 2/1
8. Sam P. (KY), John R. Velazquez, 116, 3/1

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