Beau's Town Invades Aristides for Norman

(from track report)
Saturday's $100,000-added Aristides Handicap (gr. III) shapes up like an old-fashioned shootout, with the lightning fast Louisiana-based gunslinger Beau's Town invading Churchill Downs to take on a strong group of determined local stars.

Beau's Town, a son of Beau Genius owned by Daniel Hulkewicz and Coast to Coast Racing, has compiled a 9-2-0 record in 12 career starts and earned $357,600 for trainer Cole Norman. He is a perfect 3-for-3 in his 2003 campaign and Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia has installed him as a 5-2 favorite to stretch his winning streak to four.

He heads a field of seven in the 6 1/2-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up.

Beau's Town has won three consecutive stakes races since he turned in the only poor outing of a his career, a fifth-place finish to eventual 2002 Eclipse Award sprint champion Orientate in the A.G. Vanderbilt (gr. II) in August. Those wins include the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (gr. III) and the King Cotton at Oaklawn and the Pelleteri Breeders' Cup at the Fair Grounds.

The Norman trainee has been assigned high weight of 123 pounds and must concede from five to 10 pounds to his rivals. Regular jockey Jamie Theriot will ride.

Donamire Farm's Twilight Road, winner of the $100,000-added Ack Ack (gr. III) in November, is among those hoping to knock off the favorite. Pat Day will ride the 6-year-old son of Cahill Road for trainer Paul J. McGee, whose three wins in the Aristides are good for a tie with D. Wayne Lukas for all-time wins in the race. Day has not lost in three starts aboard Twilight Road.

"He's a hard-trying horse and very consistent," said McGee. "He likes this track, too." Twilight Road overcame a rough start to defeat Aristides rival Strength and Honor by a head in a 6 1/2-furlong prep on May 23. He has a 7-9-1 record in 33 races with earnings of $378,442.

Strength and Honor, a 4-year-old Carson City colt owned by Requiem Racing, makes his stakes debut in the Aristides. Leading jockey Cornelio Velasquez will ride Strength and Honor, who has won three of six races.

Another contender is Michael Tabor's Pass Rush, the runner-up in the seven-furlong Churchill Downs Handicap (gr. II). The Indiana-bred son of Crown Ambassador won the San Fernando Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at Santa Anita and has earned $439,880.

Billy Hays' Slider, a scratch from last week's Stephen Foster, entered the Aristides and is 5-1 in the morning line.

$100,000 Aristides Handicap (gr. III), 3 & up, 6 1/2 furlongs

PP. Horse (Weight), Jockey, ML Odds
1. Pass Rush (118), Larry Melancon, 3-1
2. Mountain General (116), Corey Lanerie, 8-1
3. Beau's Town (123), Jamie Theriot, 5-2
4. Strength and Honor (113), Cornelio Velasquez, 4-1
5. Trion Georgia (114), Calvin Borel, 15-1
6. Twilight Road (116), Pat Day, 7-2
7. Slider (113), Jon Court, 5-1