Bruce Lunsford’s 2020 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) winner Art Collector makes his 4-year-old debut against eight rivals in the $110,000 Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes at Churchill Downs June 25, the penultimate card of the track’s 38-day spring meet.
The Kelly’s Landing is the tenth race on an 11-race card with a post time of 5:26 p.m. ET.
A homebred, Art Collector (Bernardini ), returns following a layoff of more than seven months after last finishing eighth in the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Keeneland Nov. 7. Trained by Tommy Drury Jr., Art Collector has been regularly training with Drury’s string of horses at Churchill and will once again be ridden by Brian Hernandez Jr.
“We’ve done everything we can right now for his first race back,” Drury said. “He worked a really good half-mile (June 19 in :47 3/5). He’s ready to go and we’re excited to get him back to the races.”
After winning the Blue Grass and later the Ellis Park Derby last summer, both by open lengths, Art Collector was considered one of the early favorites leading up to last year’s COVID-19-postponed Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) in September. But he never entered the classic after a minor foot issue developed the day before the draw for post positions.
He soon recovered and raced in the Oct. 3 Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico, finishing fourth, well behind victorious Swiss Skydiver and runner-up Authentic , but just a head behind show finisher Jesus’ Team .
The five-time winner drew post the outside post in the Kelly’s Landing, which is run over seven furlongs on the main track. Art Collector won at the distance in May of last year in his first start at 3.
The Kelly’s Landing presents a challenging test, having also lured last-out Aristides Stakes winner Bango , owned by Tamaroak Partners and trained by Greg Foley, and Aristides runner-up Long Range Toddy , who could become a millionaire for owner Willis Horton Racing and trainer Dallas Stewart with a victory. The latter raced in the 2019 Derby, placed 16th after encountering interference from disqualified Maximum Security leaving the second turn.
Three others exit graded stakes company: Strike Power and Mucho —second and fourth, respectively, last out in the Maryland Sprint Stakes (G3) at Pimlico, and Bourbon Calling , eighth in last year’s Clark Stakes Presented By Norton Healthcare (G1) at Churchill Downs. Strike Power races for Courtland Farms, Mucho for WSS Racing and 4 G Racing, and Bourbon Calling for Bourbon Lane Stable and Six Column Stables.
Churchill Downs, Friday, June 25, 2021, Race 10
- 3 yo’s & up
- 5:26 PM (local)