King's Bishop (gr. I) winner Pomeroy is a mild 4-1 favorite in the $200,000-added Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II), which drew a full field of 12 going seven furlongs Saturday.Pomeroy returned from a layoff with a seventh place finish behind Soaring Free in the 5 ½-furlong Shakertown (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Keeneland.
The Patrick Biancone-trained son of Boundary has a 4-3-1 record in 10 races and earnings of $384,250. He will break from the outside post under Edgar Prado.
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Grand Reward, a regally bred son of Storm Cat out of the great Serena's Song, is the second choice at 9-2 after winning the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) in his most recent start. Jerry Bailey will ride Grand Reward, who launched his career in Ireland but has won two of his last three races for trainer D. Wayne Lukas.
Tracy Farmer's Sir Shackleton, winner of last year's Derby Trial (gr. III) at Churchill Downs and the Richter Scale Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Gulfstream, is the 5-1 third choice for trainer Nick Zito. Regular jockey Rafael Bejarano will ride.
Looking to bounce back from a poor run in Keeneland's Commonwealth Breeders' Cup (gr. II) is Smith and Tabor's Cigar Mile (gr. I) winner Lion Tamer. The Todd Pletcher-trained son of Will's Way has won eight of 17 races and has earned $816,127. "He's doing well and training good," said Pletcher. "Hopefully, the race will set up well for him and we get a fast pace." Pletcher won last year's Churchill Downs Handicap with eventual Eclipse Award sprint champion Speightstown.
Other contenders include California-based graded stakes winners Harvard Avenue and Hasty Kris; Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) winner Level Playingfield; and multiple stakes winner Battle Won. $200,000-added Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II, Race 5, 1:21 p.m.), 4 & up, 7 furlongs
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, ML Odds
1. Lion Tamer (KY), John R. Velazquez, 118, 5/1
2. Trickey Trevor (FL), Robby Albarado, 115, 20/1
3. Gold Storm (KY), Elvis J. Perrodin, 118, 8/1
4. Oceanus (BRZ), Omar A. Berrio, 113, 30/1
5. Battle Won (KY), Ramon A. Dominguez, 112, 15/1
6. Level Playingfield (KY), John McKee, 112, 20/1
7. Harvard Avenue (KY), Patrick A. Valenzuela, 116, 6/1
8. Grand Reward (KY), Jerry D. Bailey, 115, 9/2
9. Hasty Kris (FL), Jorge F. Chavez, 116, 6/1
10. Rushin' to Altar (KY), Gary L. Stevens, 116, 12/1
11. Sir Shackleton (KY), Rafael Bejarano, 118, 5/1
12. Pomeroy (KY), Edgar S. Prado, 118, 4/1