Riley Tucker, who raced close to the pace during the early part of the May 29 Aristides Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs, found clear sailing along the rail entering the stretch on his way to two-length score over Atta Boy Roy in the six-furlong race.
The victory in the $107,900 Aristides was the second of the year from six starts for the 5-year-old Harlan's Holiday runner, who races for owner Zayat Stables. His previous win in 2010 came in an optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park in February.
The Aristides victory came about a half-hour after Zayat Stables won the $250,000 My Juliet Stakes with Heart Ashley at Philadelphia Park. Both Riley Tucker and Heart Ashley are trained by Steve Asmussen.
Atta Boy Roy, the 8-5 second choice behind 6-5 Cash Refund, did well to get up for second after breaking in the air. But he quickly caught up with pacesetter Chief of Affairs, and the two ran as a team before Atta Boy Roy forged ahead entering the stretch. He remained in front before being passed by Riley Tucker in the final furlong.
“He ran hard the whole way,” said winning rider Shaun Bridgmohan. “I rode him a couple times, and he’s an honest horse and gives you what he’s got. The fence opened up for him. He ran such a beautiful race. He broke sharp and I had to get a hold of him and got him to settle back behind some horses. Even though he was in behind, he was on the bridle the whole time and was just traveling real good.”
“The race set up perfect for us,” said Asmussen assistant Scott Blasi. “It looked like a lot of speed on paper in here, and the race set up perfect for him. The horse is definitely getting better. He beat a tough bunch of horses here.”
The winner paid $11.80, $4.20, and $2.60. Atta Boy Roy rewarded his backers with $3.40 and $2.20, and Cash Refund paid the minimum $2.10.
Formal Gold is the breeder of Kentucky-bred Riley Tucker, who is out of the Bold Ruckus mare My Sweet Country.
Riley Tucker earned $66,229 for his fifth lifetime win in 24 starts. He has banked $440,805 in his career.