LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Out of necessity more than anything else, trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. paired jockey Paco Lopez with Arson Squad. So far, it's been a match made in heaven.
For the second time in four weeks, Lopez guided Arson Squad to victory in a graded stakes, this time to a 2 1/4-length score in Friday's Grade 3, $169,650 Alysheba Stakes at Churchill Downs. Flying Private finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Enriched. He was followed in the order of finish by Prom Shoes, Chocolate Candy, Cool Coal Man, Macho Again, Friesan Fire, and Bullsbay.
On April 3, with many higher-profile jocks in Southern California or New York, Dutrow needed someone to ride Arson Squad in the Grade 3 Skip Away at Gulfstream. He chose Lopez, who kept Arson Squad close to the pace en route to a 3 3/4-length victory, the gelding's first win since the Meadowlands Cup in October 2008.
On Friday, Lopez kept Arson Squad within 1 1/2 lengths of the early lead before making a three-wide bid for the lead turning for home. Arson Squad struck the front at the three-sixteenths pole and drew clear under Lopez's encouragement. Arson Squad, a 7-year-old son of Brahms owned by Samantha Siegel's Jay Em Ess Stable, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.28 and returned $9.40 as the second choice.
"This jock just gets along great with this horse," Dutrow said. "Arson Squad usually comes from way off of it, and with this rider he's just run so big his last two times when he's been close the pace."
Dutrow said Arson Squad would remain in Kentucky and point to the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 12. He was beaten 1 1/4 lengths in last year's Stephen Foster, in which he dead-heated for fourth with Bullsbay behind Macho Again.
Kentucky Juvenile: Lou Brissie 2 for 2
The danger of naming a horse after a person is the horse might not exhibit the quality befitting its namesake.
Cot Campbell, president of Dogwood Stable, who named a 2-year-old Limehouse colt after World War II hero and 1949 All Star pitcher Lou Brissie, does not have that worry.
That is because Lou Brissie, the horse, won the Grade 3, $110,300 Kentucky Juvenile on Friday at Churchill Downs, showing the kind of athletic talent a horse carrying the name of Lou Brissie deserves.
Fourth early under John Velazquez, the colt stalked a hot pace set by Twelve Pack Shelly, surged to the lead in midstretch, and drew clear to win by 1 1/2 lengths in the five-furlong dash for 2-year-olds.
Brissie the man, 88, watched the race from the Dogwood Stable office in Aiken, S.C., and said he was overwhelmed watching the performance.
Boys at Tosconovoa, the only first-time starter in the five-horse lineup, rallied for second, edging favorite and third-place finisher Twelve Pack Shelly by a neck.
Neither proved a late danger to Lou Brissie, who raced five furlongs in 57.90 seconds, paying $9.40 as the third betting choice.
Winning trainer Neil Howard said he continues to be impressed by the maturity of the colt.
"He's very ahead of his time," he said.
It was Howard's third victory in the Kentucky Juvenile; he also won in 1988 with Island Escape and 1989 with Summer Squall, the eventual 1990 Kentucky Derby runner-up and Preakness Stakes winner whom he also trained for Dogwood Stable.
"Summer Squall redone," shouted one woman as she celebrated in a winner's circle overflowing with Dogwood Stable owners and supporters.
- Byron King
Turf Sprint: Silver Timber sets course record
When Silver Timber was claimed for $25,000 about a year ago in Florida, his connections hoped they were getting a horse that could make good against fellow New York-breds. What they got instead is a multiple graded-stakes-winning turf sprinter who now holds a Churchill Downs course record.
Silver Timber flew through five furlongs in 55.45 seconds winning the Grade 3, $119,100 Churchill Downs Turf Sprint on Friday. His time eclipsed the old course standard by .09 seconds. Silver Timber ($7.40) held clear the race's 2009 winner, Chamberlain Bridge, by a neck.
"I had a statebred who ran against him a lot, and Silver Timber always was the horse to beat," said Michael Dubb, who owns Silver Timber with the High Grade Racing Stable. "When I saw he was for sale, we hoped he'd be a useful New York-bred. He's far exceeded our expectations."
Silver Timber has four wins and a second in six starts since being claimed, and he finished sixth of 14 last fall in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Friday, employing his typical stalking style under Julien Leparoux, Silver Timber raced three wide in fifth down the backstretch, moving up to third on the turn as longshot Central City and the filly Starfish Bay set quick splits of 21.25 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 43.57 to the half. The leaders started coming back at the top of the stretch as Leparoux went on the attack, moving abreast of the pacesetters in midstretch, and taking the lead inside the eighth pole.
"I got a perfect trip," Leparoux said.
Chamberlain Bridge broke from post 2 but was steered outside before the turn by jockey Jamie Theriot, who had to steady at the three-eighths pole. Chamberlain Bridge cut into the lead, but could not catch the winner, finishing a nose in front of a tenacious Central City.
Silver Timber is trained by Chad Brown, who was not in attendance Friday.
- Marcus Hersh