Owned by A. Stevens Miles Jr. and trained by Ian Wilkes, Warrior’s Reward is the probable favorite in the 1 1/16-mile dirt contest, the second of five graded stakes on the card. Of the field of eight entered, only Parade Clown has notched a black-type win.
Unraced as a juvenile, Warrior's Reward has won two of four starts this season, including his 2 1/4-length allowance win May 1 at Churchill when earning a superb 113 Beyer number. In that race he beat Munnings, who has since returned to take the Woody Stephens (gr. II) at Belmont. Prior to that, the son of Medaglia d'Oro—For All You Do, by Seeking the Gold was a well-beaten eighth in the Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) in his first try in stakes company March 14.
“He didn’t get the best of rides that day and it might have been a blessing for him,” Wilkes said. “He made some noise in that race and had a little throat surgery after that has been good since. Maybe it was not our time yet.”
Warrior's Reward, bred in Kentucky by Jayeff “B” Stables, also finished second to Dunkirk in a Feb. 19 allowance race at Gulfstream Park. Calvin Borel will have the riding assignment and they will break from post 3.
Donamire Farm’s Parade Clown won the WEBN Stakes on Turfway Park’s Polytrack in February but has been winless in four starts since then. The Distorted Humor colt was fourth in the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II), eighth in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland, and most recently, runner-up in a May 13 allowance at Churchill. Miguel Mena will ride for trainer Katherine Ball.
Also coming out of the Lexington is Stonestreet Stables’ Omniscient, one of two starters trained by Steve Asmussen. A $280,000 2-year-old, Omniscient was ninth in the Lexington in his first try over an artificial surface. The Pulpit colt came into that race having won consecutive races, including an allowance on the slop at Fair Grounds. Robby Albarado will ride.
Asmussen’s other starter is Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s Dumar, who will try to build upon a third-place finish in the May 9 Lone Star Derby (gr. III). Off the board in his other three tries in stakes company, Dumar is 2-0-2 from eight starts. Shaun Bridgmohan will be in the irons.
Bringing in a perfect 2-for-2 record is late-blooming gelding Successful Dan. Trained by Charles Lopresti for Morton Fink, Successful Dan broke his maiden at Keeneland April 10, and then romped to a 5 3/4-length allowance score May 10 at Churchill. Julien Leparoux, aboard for the allowance win, will get the return mount on the son of Successful Appeal.