Changing Weather Holds Off 'Folly in Matt Winn

(from Churchill Downs report)
Changing Weather, with Robby Albarado aboard, rallied from sixth and held off Court Folly in a duel of stretch runners to score a head victory in Saturday's $109,800 Matt Winn for 3-year-olds at Churchill Downs.

The Eoin Harty-trained son of Storm Boot covered six furlongs on fast track in 1:09.86 and paid $12, $5.20 and $3.60. Court Folly, trained by Ian Wilkes and ridden by Calvin Borel, rallied from last to take the place spot and paid $6 and $3.80. Previously unbeaten He's Got Grit, the favorite with Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons for trainer Steve Asmussen, set the quick early pace and finished three-quarters of a length back in third. He paid $2.80.

Owned by Darley Stable, the California-based Changing Weather won for the second time in seven races and pocketed $66,304 to increase his lifetime bankroll to $215,703. The victory was one of four on the 10-race Churchill Downs program for Albarado, who scored his 36th career stakes win at the track.

"I give a lot of credit to Robby," said Harty, who earned his second stakes victory at Churchill Downs. "Robby was in the zone today and that really kind of moves you up a few lengths when you get a rider like that on your horse."

"When I leveled off in the stretch I figured I had a shot, but then (Court Folly) come on late," said Albarado. "He's run against some really nice horses in California. Today's longer stretch, I knew he'd like it. He ran hard, he held off that horse late."

Favored He's Got Grit, making his first start since early October after undergoing surgery to remove a small bone chip in his ankle, broke sharply and grabbed a clear lead before being challenged heading into the turn by long shots Chief What It Is and El Nino. After rapid fractions of :21.48 for the first quarter and :44.86 for the half-mile, He's Got Grit turned back his pace challengers and opened a clear lead in upper stretch as Changing Weather and Court Folly circled the field and launched their rallies in the center of the track. He's Got Grit still led by 1 ½ lengths with an eighth of a mile to run, but Changing Weather collared the tiring leader in the final yards and held off the onrushing Court Folly at the finish.

"The race set up good and when I called on him, he came running," said Borel of Court Folly. "He ran his tail off. We had no excuses."

(Chart, Equibase)