Heiligbrodt Racing Stable’s homebred Crider ran a good second in the May 8 Lone Star Derby (gr. III) last out, which should set him up well for the $125,000 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs June 12.
The Northern Dancer is the third of five graded stakes on the Churchill program headlined by the $600,000 Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I). The 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds is set for a 4:29 p.m. EST post.
Crider, by Closing Argument and out of the Meadowlake mare Frankie’s Lady, is trained by Steve Asmussen, who has saddled the Northern Dancer winner twice: Compendium in 2001 and Pyro in 2008. Shaun Bridgmohan has the call on Crider and they will break from post 2.
The bay colt was 4 1/2 lengths back of Game On Dude in the Lone Star Derby, his second graded stakes try. Game On Dude went on to finish a solid fourth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) last weekend. Crider is winless in four starts this season. Overall, he is 2-2-0 from seven starts.
Donegal Racing’s Vow to Wager, winner via disqualification of the John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway Park in February, will carry top weight of 120 pounds and be ridden by Miguel Mena for trainer Dale Romans. Fourth in his most recent start in the seven-furlong Matt Winn on May 15, Vow to Wager has two wins in eight starts. The son of Broken Vow is the top earner in the field.
Wertheimer and Frere’s Colizeo is a highly-regarded 3-year-old from the barn of Todd Pletcher who makes his stakes debut and should be the controlling speed. He enters off a wire-to-wire first-level allowance win at Churchill on May 9. The son of Distorted Humor was ridden to victory in that race by Garrett Gomez, who will be back aboard once again.
Also in the mix are Prince Will I Am, who was fifth in the Lexington Stakes (gr. II) and runner-up last out to Colizeo; Max Silverhammer, a romping eight-length winner on May 7 in an allowance contest at Churchill for trainer Bill Denzik; and Worldly, a son of A.P. Indy who was third to eventual Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Super Saver in last year’s Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) over the Churchill main track. Worldly also broke his maiden in Louisville and last out was runner-up in an allowance race there.
Rounding out the field of seven is Spoon River Lew, a 10 1/2-length winner in a maiden claimer on the sloppy Churchill going May 16.
$125,000 Northern Dancer Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:29 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Worldly (KY), Albarado 116 P J McGee
2. Crider (FL), S Bridgmohan 116 S M Asmussen
3. Spoon River Lew (KY), J Theriot 116 D Stewart
4. Colizeo (KY), G K Gomez 116 T A Pletcher
5. Vow to Wager (KY), M Mena 120 D L Romans
6. Prince Will I Am (KY), C H Borel 116 M Nihei
7. Max Silverhammer (KY), F C Torres 118 W J Denzi, Jr.