Cathy and Bob Zollars' Daddy Nose Best will attempt to notch his fourth consecutive victory when facing a full field of 13 other rivals in the Nov. 23 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
The ninth race on the card, the 1 1/8-mile turf contest for 3-year-olds and up is slated to start at 4:37 p.m.
The Steve Asmussen-trained Daddy Nose Best, a 4-year-old son of Scat Daddy , enters the River City off a pair of come-from-behind stakes scores at Remington Park, one of which was at the River City distance. Daddy Nose Best, a versatile runner that has won on dirt, turf, and synthetic surfaces, experienced a big year in 2012 when winning the Sunland Derby (gr. III) and El Camino Derby (gr. III). He finished off the board in that year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Bred in Kentucky by Patricia Ann Ella Trust, Daddy Nose Best is out of the Thunder Gulch mare Follow Your Bliss. In his three previous attempts over Churchill's turf course, he won a 2011 allowance contest, finished sixth in that year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT), and fourth in the June 29 Firecracker Handicap (gr. IIT), all at a mile.
Overall, Daddy Nose Best holds a record of 7-3-2 from 21 starts, for earnings of $181,989.
Daddy Nose Best, who carries top weight of 118 pounds, will break from post 9 in the River City under Ricardo Santana Jr.
Mill Ridge Farm's Keep Up is looking to defend his title in this year's River City. The son of Unbridled's Song—Keeper Hill, by Deputy Minister, who captured the 2012 running of the race in come-from-behind fashion, has won two starts since then: the June 8 Swoons Song at 1 1/16 miles on the Arlington Park turf, and a 1 1/8-mile allowance contest over Keeneland's course Oct. 24.
Six-year-old Keep Up is trained by Alex Clarkson and enters the River City with a career record of 7-1-4 from 17 starts, for earnings of $299,382. Bred in Kentucky by John A. Chandler, Jamm LTD., Shug McGaughey III, and Mill Ridge Farm, he will be ridden for the first time by jockey Corey Lanerie and will break from post 3.
"He's doing great," said Clarkson. "He's a cold-weather horse, basically. He's in great shape. Last time he ran I loved the way he was ready and on ball. We'll have a month since his last race and he has never been better, so I'm delighted for him."
Looking to improve his third-place finish from last year's River City is Calumet Farm's 4-year-old colt Skyring. The son of English Channel will also attempt to snap a four-race losing streak in the race, as his latest victory came in the May 18 Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) over 1 1/8 miles at Pimlico Race Course.
Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Skyring, an earner of nearly $450,000, was assigned the outside 14 post with jockey Joe Johnson in the irons. The bay colt was bred in Kentucky by Bluegrass Hall.
If 14 horses start, it will be the largest River City Handicap field in the race that dates back to 1978 (it's been on the turf since 1987). A record 13 horses participated in the 1998 renewal won by Wild Event.
$100,000 River City Handicap (gr. III, approximate post time 4:37 p.m. EDT), 3YOs and up, 1 1/8 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Villandry (KY), J R Leparoux, 116, C LoPresti
2. Olympic Thunder (BRZ), L V Lebron, 116, K G McPeek
3. Set the Sail (KY), J K Court, 115, C LoPresti
4. Keep Up (KY), L C J Lanerie, 117, A Clarkson
5. Kalamos (KY), L F C Torres, 114, W I Mott
6. Exothermic (KY), J Rocco, Jr., 116, G R Arnold, II
7. Coalport (IL), L C Hill, 117, W M Catalano
8. Seruni (KY), L N Arroyo, Jr., 115, P J Oliver
9. Daddy Nose Best (KY), L R Santana, Jr., 118, S M Asmussen
10. Tahoe Lake (BRZ), L D Davis, 113, G Carwood
11. Ol Army (KY), J L Castanon, 114, C Peery
12. Grand Arch (KY), L A Garcia, 117, B A Lynch
13. Potomac River (KY), L J P Vargas, 114, S Baez
14. Skyring (KY), L J M Johnson, 117, D W Lukas
15. Star Channel (FL) (AE), L D Davis, 113, G Carwood