J. Keeler Johnson handicaps the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) and Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III). read blog
Carve, riding a three-race winning streak, is the main danger in the $100,000 Ack Ack Handicap Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs. The one-turn mile race for older horses drew only five runners.
Code West, responding to strong handling from jockey Cliff Berry in the stretch, got up in time to win the $176,050 Governor's Cup Stakes the night of Aug. 16 at Remington Park for his first victory since June 2013.
Michael Langford's Carve, third in the grade II Oaklawn Handicap in April, worked out a nice trip to win the $300,000 Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap (gr. II) at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino the evening of June 28.
Golden Ticket, who dead-heated for the victory in the 2012 Travers Stakes at Saratoga and who won last year at Prairie Meadows, returns to Iowa and is the 3-1 morning-line choice in the nine-furlong Cornhusker Handicap.
Will Take Charge won the 3-year-old championship, but speedster Moreno was surprisingly right there with him in the summer months before going to the sidelines after the Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
Multiple stakes winner Taptowne, preparing for a likely start in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) in a month's time, was assigned top weight of 117 pounds for the $200,000 Razorback Handicap (gr. III) March 15 at Oaklawn Park.
After a fifth-place finish in the June 5 RTN True North Handicap (gr. III) at Belmont Park, Sage Valley looks to get back to winning ways in the $100,000 James Marvin Handicap (gr. III) July 19 at Saratoga.
Cyber Secret has not won on the dirt at Churchill Downs, but fresh off a 5 3/4-length victory in the April 13 Oaklawn Handicap, trainer Lynn Whiting is willing to put his unbeaten season on the line.
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.
Following a bullet work May 7, trainer Larry Jones had Mark Valeski ready to go in the Peter Pan. After a stalking trip while wide into the lane he put away pacesetter Right to Vote for his first stakes victory May 12.
The Jerome drew a field of seven, four of them entering off failed Derby prep efforts. Trainer Bob Baffert, a two-time winner of this event, will send out of a pair including Sunland Derby third-place finisher Stirred Up.
Unbeaten Union Rags, forced to wait for room in traffic, slipped past pacesetter Right to Vote on the outside in mid-stretch and drew off to capture the $300,000 Champagne Stakes in dominating style at Belmont Park Oct. 8.
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