Steve Landers Racing's Fayette Stakes (Grade 2) winner Leofric has not finished worse than fourth throughout his 13-race career but the flashy gray son of Candy Ride (ARG) is hoping to breakthrough for his first Grade I victory in Friday's G1 Clark Handicap – the premier race of the Fall Meet at Churchill Downs.
“He's just been so consistent throughout his career,” trainer Brad Cox said. “He's gotten better with age. He tries hard every time and gives you everything he's got. He's the type of horse that can be tactically placed wherever you need him in the race.”
Leofric (13-7-1-3—$650,340) rallied from just off of Prime Attraction in the Fayette to prevail by a head. The 5-year-old led wire-to-wire in the West Virginia Governor's Cup (G3) in early August at Mountaineer before his third-place finish in the Woodword Stakes (G1) – his first attempt at a Grade I victory.
Leofric was made the 3-1 co-second choice on Mike Battaglia's morning line odds for the Clark Handicap along with Fayette third Prime Attraction. Seeking the Soul, the defending Clark champion, was slated at 8-5 on the morning line.
The 1 1/8-mile Clark heads a duo of stakes races on the 12-race “Black Friday” card on the day after Thanksgiving that is traditionally the most popular racing day of Churchill Downs' Fall Meet. The main event is scheduled as the 11th race on the Friday program at 5:56 p.m. (all times Eastern) that also features the 28th running of the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (G2) for 3-year-old fillies on turf. Post time for Friday's first race is 1 p.m.
The complete Clark Handicap field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): Prime Attraction (Kent Desormeaux, James Cassidy, 120 pounds, 3-1); Hence (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 118, 12-1); Seeking the Soul (John Velazquez, Dallas Stewart, 123, 8-5); Hawaakom (Joe Rocco Jr., Wes Hawley, 116, 15-1); Leofric (Florent Geroux, Cox, 121, 3-1); Bravazo (Joel Rosario, D. Wayne Lukas, 118, 9-2);Storm Advisory (Albin Jiminez, Anthony Quartarolo, 114, 30-1); and Sightforsoreeyes (Tyler Gaffalione, Quartarolo, 115, 30-1).
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