Friesan Fire won the Louisiana Handicap in January.

Friesan Fire won the Louisiana Handicap in January.

Hodges Photography/Lou Hodges, Jr.

Friesan Fire Returns to CD for the Alysheba

Friesan Fire, favored in the 2009 Derby, returns to Churchill for the Alysheba

The Alysheba Stakes (gr. III) April 30 at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is a homecoming of sorts for some former Kentucky Derby contestants. Leading the way is Friesan Fire , last year’s Derby favorite who encountered trouble during the race and finished 18th behind winner Mine That Bird. Things didn’t get much better in the BlackBerry Preakness Stakes (gr. I) as he finished 10th of 13.

But following a lengthy layoff, Freisan Fire has shown some renewed spark under new jockey Shaun Bridgmohan. Racing at Fair Grounds, the Steve Asmussen trainee ran third in an optional claimer in December, won the Louisiana Handicap on the lead in January, and ran a decent fourth in the Mineshaft (gr. III) in February. The son of A.P. Indy again will have the services of Bridgmohan in the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba, which is named after the 1987 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Chocolate Candy and Flying Private also contested the 2009 Derby without much luck. Chocolate Candy ran fifth, and then ninth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). He hasn’t run since an unplaced effort in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (gr. I) in November. The Candy Ride  colt, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, breaks from the inside post and has the jockey services of Rafael Bejarano.

Flying Private, who redeemed himself with a fourth in the Preakness after finishing 19th in the Run for the Roses, has run twice this year. He won an allowance race at Oaklawn and ran a close second in the Fifth Season Stakes (gr. II) at the Arkansas oval. Jockey T.L. Thompson gets a return call aboard the son of 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus  from trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Cool Coal Man is another former Derby contender in the race. He finished unplaced in Big Brown’s 2008 romp. Cool Coal Man has started twice this year, winning an optional claiming race at Gulfstream and then running second in the Gulfsteam Park Handicap (gr. II). The son of Mineshaft  is trained by Nick Zito and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.

The Alysheba also has attracted millionaires Arson Squad and Macho Again, and Bullsbay, the 2009 Alysheba winner. Bullsbay (by Tiznow ) and Macho Again (by Macho Uno ) were grade I winners last year but haven’t been out this year. In the 2009 Whitney Handicap (gr. I), Bullsbay defeated Macho Again. The latter’s grade I win came in the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill, with Bullsbay finishing fourth.

Bullsbay is trained by H. Graham Motion and will be ridden by Jeremy Rose for the 10th straight time. Macho Again is conditioned by Dallas Stewart. Robby Albarado will ride him for the eighth consecutive time.

Arson Squad, a son of Brahms trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., sports a triumph in the April 3 Skip Away Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream in the last of his three starts this year. The 7-year-old gelding will be ridden by Paco Lopez for the second straight time.

Enriched (by High Brite) and Prom Shoes (by Include ) round out the nine-horse field.

Alysheba Stakes (gr. III), April 30, $150,000, 3-year-olds and up,  1 1/16 miles, Churchill Downs, Race 9, Post 3:54 p.m.

Post  Horse  Weight Jockey
1. Chocolate Candy   118   Rafael Bejarano
2. Friesan Fire  118  Shaun Bridgmohan
3. Macho Again  118  Robby Albarado
4. Cool Coal Man  118  Jose Lezcano
5. Prom Shoes  118  C.H. Borel
6. Bullsbay  118  Jeremy Rose
7. Arson Squad  122  Paco Lopez
8. Flying Private  118  T.J. Thompson
9. Enriched  118  Joel Rosario