A field of nine will try the Churchill Downs turf Friday in the $100,000 Crown Royal American Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT), the race immediately preceding the headliner on the day, the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).
A trio of colts will share highweight of 123 pounds in the 8 1/2-furlong Crown Royal. Prince Arch will get plenty of action off his daylight score in the Forerunner Stakes at Keeneland April 15. The son of Arch has won three of nine lifetime starts, and will seek to turn the tables on Kitten's Joy, who defeated him in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream in February.
Kitten's Joy is another slotted to carry 123 pounds. The son of El Prado was last seen in the aforementioned Palm Beach, and is a perfect two-for-two this year, having taken the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) at Calder on New Year's Day. Kitten's Joy has won four of six lifetime and earned better than $200,000 for Ken and Sarah Ramsey. He is unbeaten in four turf tries.
Grand Heritage enters the Crown Royal off a fourth-place effort in the Transylvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland April 2. The son of Grand Slam took a Gulfstream allowance contest prior to that, and ran third to Kitten's Joy over yielding Churchill turf last November. He won the Continental Mile Stakes at Monmouth last August, and is conditioned by Bill Mott.
El Prado Rob will be trying grass for the first time in the Crown Royal. The Nick Zito trainee was on the Triple Crown trail, but rolled a trio of fourths in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III), Fountain of Youth (gr. II), and the Rushaway. He was sixth in the Coolmore Lexington (gr. II) in his last outing, and will be looking for his first 2004 win.
The field for the Crown Royal, in post position order with jockeys and weights:
1) Level Playingfield (John McKee, 119)
2) Capo (Edgar Prado, 117)
3) Prince Arch (Brice Blanc, 123)
4) Kitten's Joy (Jerry Bailey, 123)
5) El Prado Rob (Shane Sellers, 117)
6) Grand Heritage (Pat Day, 123)
7) Archie B (Robby Albarado, 115)
8) Knox (Stewart Elliott, 117)
9) Brass Hat (Jason Lumpkins, 117)