Trainer Peter Vestal has elected to keep Charles Cella's Crafty Shaw at home for Friday's $500,000-added Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs.Vestal also considered the $350,000 Cigar Mile (gr. I) at Aqueduct on Saturday for the 5-year-old son of Crafty Prospector.
Crafty Shaw ran what may have been the finest race of his career when he dropped a narrow decision to multiple grade I winner Lido Palace in last year's Clark.
"We know he runs well on this racetrack and doesn't have to mess with the shipping issue," Vestal said. "Also, I didn't want to run against (likely Cigar Mile favorite) Congaree going a mile -- anywhere. Just looking at the PP's on both races, I think that -- if my horse will rate like he has in his last couple of races -- this race is more apt to set-up for him to come from off the pace a little than the New York race."
Vestal said that jockey Shane Sellers would replace Craig Perret aboard Crafty Shaw in the Clark. Perret is unbeaten in three races aboard Vestal's horse, including a win in last week's Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park, but Perret had an earlier commitment to ride Michael Bruder's M B Sea in the Clark. Sellers rode Crafty Shaw to a third-place finish behind Perfect Drift and Congaree in the Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park.
"The horse did rate for him and did respond for him," said Vestal. "I'm hoping he'll do the same thing this weekend."