Richard Davis’ Master Rick, far back in the one-turn Peter Pan Stakes (gr. II) in his last start May 12, returns to two turns at Churchill Downs June 16 in the $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.
The Matt Winn, run at 1 1/16 miles, is one of four graded stakes on a Churchill program that begins at 6 p.m. EDT. The main feature is the $400,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles.
The Matt Winn attracted only five horses, all of which appear legitimate. The morning-line favorite is Right to Vote, who finished second in the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan behind Mark Valeski after leading most of the way.
Master Rick, one of two horses in the Matt Winn trained by Steve Asmussen, won two in a row after he was transferred from the Bret Calhoun barn. The Florida-bred Master Command colt won a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight event and then the one-mile Northern Spur Stakes, both around two turns at Oaklawn Park.
Master Rick then shipped to Belmont Park, where he had a troubled start and never got near the lead, where he likes to run. Quick fractions also killed his chances.
It seems doubtful Master Rick will get the lead from the speedy Right to Vote, who was third in last year’s Champagne Stakes (gr. I) behind eventual Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner Union Rags , but he figures to have a much better early spot. Master Rick is the 120-pound high weight with Corey Nakatani named to ride from post 5.
Right to Vote, owned by Casner Racing Stable and Sam Polioc, will be ridden by Javier Castellano at 118 pounds from post 3. The Kentucky-bred gelding by Political Force will make his first start around two turns for trainer Eoin Harty.
Others in the field won entry-level allowance races in their last starts, all at Churchill: Macho Macho, Stealcase, and Neck 'n Neck. Stealcase, two starts back, finished third in the grade III The Cliff's Edge Derby Trial at Churchill; he was only a neck behind second-place finisher Paynter, who went on to finish second in the Belmont Stakes.
$100,000 Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III, Race 5, 7:57 p.m. EDT), 3YOs, 1 1/16 Miles
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Odds
1. Macho Macho (KY), J R Leparoux, 118, S M Asmussen, 7/2
2. Stealcase (KY), S Bridgmohan, 118, M E Casse, 3/1
3. Right to Vote (KY), J Castellano, 118, E G Harty, 5/2
4. Neck 'n Neck (KY), L R Goncalves, 118, I R Wilkes, 7/2
5. Master Rick (FL), C S Nakatani, 120, S M Asmussen, 3/1