After a solid effort in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1), O Besos will stay at Churchill Downs for his racing return as trainer Greg Foley likes the idea of competing at the track where they’re based.
O Besos rallied from 11th early, splitting foes to reach the wire fifth in this year’s Derby. While the Triple Crown series will wrap up with the 1 1/2-mile Belmont Stakes (G1) June 5 at Belmont Park, Foley said the $150,000 Matt Winn Stakes (G3) May 29 at Churchill makes sense for the son of Derby winner Orb as the 1 1/16-mile test is a good fit schedule-wise heading into summer.
“We love running at Churchill and this race gives us plenty of options going forward,” Foley said. “He worked an easy half-mile (in :49, May 24) Monday morning and is doing well from the Derby. We can lead him over for the race right from Barn 11.”
Campaigned by Bernard Racing, Tagg Team Racing, West Point Thoroughbreds, and Terry Stephens, O Besos wintered at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots, where he finished fourth in the Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford (G2) and third in the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) ahead of his Derby run.
Marcelino Pedroza is scheduled to ride Saturday after guiding O Besos in his past three races. O Besos will try to nail down the first stakes win of his career in the Matt Winn.
O Besos isn’t the only horse among the eight 3-year-olds entered for Saturday’s test making his first start since the Derby as D. J. Stable’s Helium races for the first time since finishing eighth in the 1 1/4-mile classic.
Trained by Mark Casse, that Derby effort marked the first loss for the son of Ironicus , who capped a three-race win streak to start his career with a rallying victory in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2) March 6 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Jockey Julien Leparoux, who was aboard Helium for the first time in the Derby, has the mount Saturday.
On the same day as the Derby, Juddmonte Farms homebred Fulsome drew off in the stretch to post a clear victory in the $300,000 Oaklawn Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Trained by Brad Cox, the son of Into Mischief started his career racing on the turf but will enter Saturday’s race off back-to-back wins on dirt as he won an off-the-turf allowance race April 10 at Keeneland ahead of his stakes win at Oaklawn.
An intriguing runner in Saturday’s field is Ready to Pounce , who drew the rail with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. In an off-the-turf maiden race April 21 at Keeneland, Lothenbach Stables’ homebred Ready to Pounce used an inside trip on his way to a 4 3/4-length victory in that one-mile test.
Churchill Downs, Saturday, May 29, 2021, Race 9
- Grade III
- 1 1/16m
- 3 yo
- 4:55 PM (local)