Mico Margarita won the 2013 Carry Back Stakes.

Mico Margarita won the 2013 Carry Back Stakes.

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Mico Margarita Looks to Step Up in Aristides

Eight in May 31 test are stakes winners; field includes top two from last year.

J. Kirk and Judy Robison's Mico Margarita, an 8 3/4-length winner of the Oak Hall at Evangeline Downs in his last start, headlines a field of nine 3-year-olds and up for the May 31 running of the $100,000 Aristides (gr. III) at Churchill Downs

Eight of the entrants are stakes winners, and the field of sprinters includes the top two finishers in last year's Aristides—Scatman and Jasizzle—and eight-time stakes-winning gelding Delaunay.

The six-furlong Aristides, which honors the inaugural Kentucky Derby winner of 1875, is one of two stakes on Saturday's 10-race card at Churchill, and has been carded as the ninth race at approximately 4:49 p.m. EDT. The $65,000 Opening Verse, an overnight stakes for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles on turf headed by Regally Ready and the Charlie LoPresti-trained duo of Villandry and Set the Sail, goes as race 10 at around 5:20 p.m.

Mico Margarita is conditioned by three-time Aristides-winning trainer Steve Asmussen and is to be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. from post 4. He enters the race off an ultra-fast performance in the Oak Hall, clocking six furlongs in 1:08.37 for his first win since capturing the $150,000 Carry Back (gr. III) at Calder Casino & Race Course last July. Overall, the 4-year-old Run Away and Hide  colt has won four of 16 starts and earned $310,675, but Saturday's competition will be much stiffer. 

Maggi Moss' Delaunay, the durable 7-year-old who has banked $917,593, exits the May 3 Churchill Downs (gr. II) in which he tired inside the final furlong to finish fifth after setting the pace. Claimed for $40,000 in May 2012, the Maryland-bred trained by Tom Amoss hasn't missed a check in 13 subsequent races.

At one point, he won six consecutive stakes capped by the 2013 edition of the Churchill Downs. Earlier this year, Delaunay won the F.W. Gaudin Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Overall, he's taken 15 of 44 starts with 10 seconds and a trio of thirds. Rosie Napravnik will ride from the 6 hole.

Joseph Bucci's Scatman returns to defend his Aristides title from post 7 with Julien Leparoux in the irons. Formerly trained by Bill Mott, the 5-year-old resurfaced under the care of Eddie Kenneally after a 335-day break to finish fourth in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (gr. IIIT) May 3—his first race since beating Jasizzle by a neck in last year's Aristides over a sloppy track. Overall, the son of Scat Daddy sports a record of 17-5-2-3 and earnings of $322,981.

The Aristides field also includes sophomore Brewing, Mountaineer stakes winners Voodoo Storm and Captain GeniusPrairie Meadows stakes winner Jake Mo, and Charles Town stakes winner Take It Like a Man. All but Brewing carry 120 pounds.

Brewing, a 3-year-old late supplement by Zayat Stables and three-time Aristides-winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, will receive a two-pound weight break for his first try against elders.

 $100,000 Aristides Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, approximate post time 4:49 p.m. EDT), 3YOs & Up, six furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Brewing (FL), C.J. Lanerie, 118, D W Lukas
2. Jasizzle (KY), R. Albarado, 120, T R Mills
3. Voodoo Storm (KY), M. Pedroza, 120, T Glyshaw
4. Mico Margarita (KY), R. Santana, Jr., 120, S M Asmussen
5. Jake Mo (KY), M. Mena, 120, W B Calhoun
6. Delaunay (MD), R. Napravnik, 120, T M Amoss
7. Scatman (KY), J.R. Leparoux, 120, E Kenneally
8. Captain Genius (FL), L.R. Goncalves, 120, B H Cox
9. Take It Like a Man (KY), J. Rocco, Jr., 120, K Gorder