Champali Answers Aristides Bell

Champali benefited from a blistering pace in Saturday's $162,150 Aristides Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III), overcoming a poor start to post a convincing 3 1/4-length triumph.

Ridden by Rafale Bejarano for trainer Gregory Foley, Champali completed the six furlongs in 1:09. Beau's Town, the 5-2 choice in a field of six, was second by a neck over late running Battle Won. The Aristides was shortened by a half-furlong this year.

"I loved him," said Foley. "This is a good horse. He isn't just a so-so horse. This is a good horse. The best one I ever had."

Champali, a 4-year-old son of Glitterman–Radioactivity (by Dixieland Band), launched a five-wide bid on the turn and swept by the leaders in upper stretch, driving clear under brisk handling. Reluctant to load, he bumped coming away from the gate and then brushed with Great Notion shortly after that. He settled five wide down the backstretch while moving into contention behind the pacesetting Beau's Town, who battled Cloud Walker through fractions of :21 and :44. Champali completed five furlongs in :56 1/5.

"A couple or three horses went for the lead so I just sat there and waited," said Bejarano. "When I go to moving at the three-eighths (pole) he was moving good."

Beau's Town, ridden by Calvin Borel, broke inward and bumped Cloud Walker at the start and the two battled for the lead through the opening half-mile. Beau's Town was briefly clear after Cloud Walker tired on the turn, but was no match for Champali. Battle Won, ridden by John McKee, broke outward and was slow to settle, but finished well.

Mountain General finished fourth, followed by Cloud Walker and Great Notion.

Champali, owned by Lloyd Madison Frams IV, was a $75,000 Keeneland September yearling sale in 2001. He was third in last year's Lane's End (gr. II) and second in the Derby Trial (gr. III) last year. He registered his first stakes win since taking the Northern Dancer at Churchill a year ago. He also won the Iroquois (gr. III) as a 2-year-old. Coming off an allowance victory May 26 at Churchill, he improved to 9-2-3 in 17 lifetime starts.

Named for former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, Champail earned $100,533 Saturday, pushing his career bankroll to $595,119.

The fourth choice, he paid $10.20, $4.60 and $3.20. Beau's Town returned $3.80 and $2.80. Battle Won's show was $4.20. the $2 exacta was worth $39.20.

(Chart, Equibase)