Champali, June's winner of the Northern Dancer stakes at Churchill Downs, emerges as the slight favorite in Saturday's fifth running of the $250,000 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.
The 1 1/16-mile Iowa Derby for 3-year-olds is scheduled to go off at 8:45 p.m. (CT).
Jockey Cornelio Velasquez comes in from Churchill Downs to ride Champali, the son of Glitterman, for trainer Gregory Foley. The horse and jockey will leave the starting gate from the outside post position in the field of six.
So far this year, Champali has earned $276,962, including with the Northern Dancer win, a second place finish in the $150,000 Derby Trial Stakes (gr. III) and a third place finish in the $500,000 Lanes End (gr. II).
Champali is the co-high weight in The Iowa Derby with the program's second favorite, Excessivepleasure, trained by Doug O'Neill. Both horses will carry 122 pounds and are expected to hook up as the early speed.
Back in March, the California-bred Excessivepleasure won the $500,000 WinStar Derby at Sunland Park in New Mexico and, before that, ran second in the statebred Snow Chief. In his last out, Excessivepleasure hooked going 4-wide entering the top of the stretch, fading to finish eighth under jockey Patrick Valenzuela. In seven races, the son of In Excess has accumulated earnings nearing the $500,000 mark. On Saturday, veteran jockey Jon Court will have his first ride atop Excessivepleasure for owners Ty and Leroy Leatherman and Genevive Sutalo.
Craig Perret rides Churchill Downs allowance winner Saint Liam, who was seventh earlier this year in the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) for trainer Anthony Reinstedler. The Iowa Derby will be the sixth start for the son of Saint Ballado.
Iowa gelding Iams Bound will be ridden by jockey Perry Compton, starting from the first post position off the rail at morning line odds of 12-1 for trainer Tim Martin. While the horse has had seven outs already this year, it may be too soon to know just how much talent the son of champion Iowa Thoroughbred stallion, Sharkey, has. Iams Bound is the full brotherof Sharky's Review, Iowa's fourth leading money earner.
Mick, a Prairie Meadows based entry hitting the board five times in as many outs this year, was a close second in his last out in the openly contested $50,000 Prairie Mile on May 31. Luis Quinonez rides Mick at 8-1 odds for trainer William Pogue.
Lightly raced Absent Friend comes from the barn of Illinois trainer Eoin Harty, making a big step up in conditions in search of his third straight win. Ray Sibille rides the colt for owner Darley Stud Management.$250,000 Iowa Derby, 3-year-olds, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt., ML Odds
1. Iams Bound (IA), Perry Compton, 117, 12/1
2. Mick (OK), Luis S. Quinonez, 117, 8/1
3. Excessivepleasure (CA), Jon Kenton Court, 122, 2/1
4. Absent Friend (KY), Ray Sibille, 117, 4/1
5. Saint Liam (KY), Craig Perret, 117, 7/2
6. Champali (KY), Cornelio H. Velasquez, 122, 9/5