Unbeaten Purim, 2 1/2-length winner of the Arlington Classic (gr. IIIT) July 2, puts his three-race win streak on the line against seven rivals in the $250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds on the Arlington Park turf Saturday.
Mark Guidry, who rode Purim to victory last time, returns with the call on the Tom Proctor-trained son of Dynaformer
in the 1 3/16-mile test that serves as the final local prep race for the $400,000 Secretariat (gr. IT) Aug. 13.
Purim sat second behind a hot pace before kicking on in the stretch to win the Classic going away, completing the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:42.65. It was Purim's first stakes race and pushed his bankroll to $131,090 for owner/breeder E.J. Sukley of Plainfield, Ill., who also notched his first stakes victory.
Cosmic Kris, who rallied from the back of the pack to finish third in the Classic, could find that the added distance Saturday will prove to his advantage. Fifth-place Gold Minister also takes another shot at Purim.
The major challenge Saturday figures to come from Gun Salute, who ran third as the 8-5 favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill Downs lawn June 18, finishing two necks behind the winning Rush Bay.
Gun Salute was well placed under Cornelio Velasquez in the Jefferson Cup, ranging into contention between Rush Bay and Big Prairie but coming up short. Velasquez has the return call.
Exceptional Ride, who ran gamely to finish second to English Channel in the Colonial Turf Cup June 25, returns Saturday with jockey James Graham taking over the mount.$250,000 American Derby (gr. IIT, Race 5, 2:56 p.m.), 3-year-olds, 1 3/16 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. General Jumbo (GB), 119, Gary L. Stevens
2. Purim (KY), 121, Mark Guidry
3. Cosmic Kris (KY), 119, E. T. Baird
4. Exceptional Ride (KY), 119, James Graham
5. Earths Vain Shadow (KY), 119, Shane Laviolette
6. Merger (KY), 119, Rene R. Douglas
7. Gun Salute (KY), 121, Cornelio H. Velasquez
8. Gold Minister (KY), 119, Eusebio Razo, Jr.