By My Standards Returns to Churchill Downs
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $500,000 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs on Friday is the premier event in the country this holiday weekend, which is a nod to the depth of the field with 15 graded stakes races taking place between Thursday and Sunday. The nine-furlong contest drew 15 of the best older horses still in training, including the likes of Code of Honor, Owendale, Mr Freeze, and By My Standards. Watch and wager on the Clark with TVG.com.
By My Standards, a son of Goldencents, returns to Churchill Downs where he won the Grade 2 Alysheba in September. He did not run again until the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), where he finished eighth, but the Bret Calhoun-trainee is better than that with 10 top two finishes in 13 tries and earnings over $1.8 million. Gabriel Saez will be reunited with the four-year-old, who was a Grade 2 winner at Oaklawn Park in May.
Taking him on is recent Fayette (G2) winner Mr Freeze, as well as the second and third place runners in that race: Aurelius Maximus and Title Ready. Millionaire Mr Freeze hails from the Dale Romans outfit, and was third in this race last year as a 15-1 shot. He has six wins in 17 tries and two wins in four tries on the course. He was most recently sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
Also wheeling back from the Mile is Owendale, who was fifth. Brad Cox trains the son of hot sire Into Mischief, who was second in the Alysheba here and then second in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. The Rupp Racing runner was second in this race last year behind the since retired Tom’s d’Etat. Florent Geroux will ride.
The enigmatic Bodexpress drew just to his inside. The son of Bodemeister, best known for unseating rider John Velazquez in the 2019 Preakness Stakes and running loose, is coming off a crushing win at Gulfstream Park West, over 11 lengths clear of the runner up. He was second here in an allowance race on the Kentucky Derby undercard in September behind Aurelius Maximus.
That royally-bred son of Pioneerof the Nile is out of graded stakes winning mare La Reina, by A. P. Indy. He was second by a neck in the Fayette for trainer Steve Asmussen after winning two allowance events in a row. He was in the Chad Brown barn until a year ago, and will be piloted by Ricardo Santana, Jr.
They all have to beat dual Grade 1 winning, $2.5 million-earning Code of Honor. The son of Noble Mission (GB) was the winner of the Travers (G1) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) last year, but has only raced in fits and starts this year. He won the Grade 3 Westchester, than finished third in a hotly contested Met Mile (G1). He was fourth in the Whitney (G1), then second in the Grade 2 Kelso over a mile last out. The step up in trip should help, and John Velazquez will be back aboard.
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