Departing, who has been successful on turf and dirt at Churchill Downs, returns to Louisville to contest the newly minted $175,000 Lukas Classic Stakes (formerly the Homecoming Stakes) for older horses going nine furlongs on the main track Sept. 26.
Last year Departing took a $100,000 allowance/optional claiming heat at Churchill, and this year he returned to Louisville and won the Firecracker Stakes (gr. IIT) on the lawn. He also placed in last year's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) under the Twin Spires. The stalker should be placed forwardly in a field lacking speed.
finished immediately behind Departing in last year's Foster and has struggled to find the winner's circle lately, other than an allowance/optional claiming victory in May. He was most recently fifth in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I), but the deep closer will not be helped by slow fractions.
has hit the board in all five of his starts on Churchill's main track. He will be up close early but will be tested for class coming off a stakes win at Indiana Downs
. Irish You Well
has been performing OK in allowance/optional claiming company, but has yet to win in four tries in Louisville and needs to step up to grab the win here.
finished a nose back of Ulbanator in Indiana last out but has run well at Churchill. He too needs to prove he belongs with the top trio here. Smack Smack
has been running at Prairie Meadows
and Remington Park
primarily and is a stakes winner at Remington, most recently in the Governor's Cup last out in August. Again, the lack of pace could thwart his late kick.
is the most likely pacesetter and could get brave on the lead. He was a gate-to-wire winner at nine furlongs at Saratoga Race Course
in 2014 in allowance/optional claiming company. Hesinfront
hasn't visited the winner's circle in more than a year and has been doing all his running on the turf lately.
Churchill Downs, Saturday, September 26, 2015, Race 10
- 1 1/8m
- 3 yo's & up
- 5:20 PM (local)