Typically trainer Tommy Drury is seen at the Receiving Barn shipping in horses from his main base at the Skylight Training Center, located about 20 minutes from Churchill Downs in Goshen, Ky. However, for the first time this spring, Drury stabled four horses at Churchill Downs and among them is Bruce Lunsford and Lansdon Robbins' Armistice Day, who will switch from the turf to dirt in Saturday's $150,000 Matt Winn (Grade III).
“We thought we could give him a shot to prove if he likes the dirt against straight 3-year-olds,” Drury said. “I know it's a pretty strong field and we really haven't proven ourselves yet. We are hoping that we can do it Saturday.
“(Armistice Day) has been training here at Churchill all spring and really does well over this surface. He's big horse with a long stride.”
The Matt Winn, which goes as Race 5 Saturday with a post time of approximately 8:03 p.m. (all times Eastern), was named in honor of the famed Churchill Downs president that served as the driving force in the development of the Downs and his beloved Kentucky Derby.
Armistice Day, who is the longest shot in the field of seven horses at 20-1 on the morning line, ran at Woodbine as a 2-year-old for trainer Barbara Minshall. The gelded-son of Declaration of War returned as a 3-year-old March and was transferred to Drury's care. Armistice Day finished fourth in the Animal Kingdom Stakes at Turfway and sixth in a first-level allowance on the turf at Churchill Downs on Thurby.
“He's very aggressive and feels good galloping in the mornings,” Drury's Churchill-based assistant and exercise rider Zeke Castro said. “He gives me a good workout every morning when we gallop. He's done awesome working over the dirt and the way he feels underneath me makes me think he'll like running on the dirt.”
The field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Limonite (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 7-2); Signalman (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 4-1); Nolo Contesto (Joel Rosario, John Sadler, 3-1); Knicks Go (Tyler Gaffalione, Ben Colebrook, 5-1); Proverb (Calvin Borel, Ron Moquett, 15-1); Mr. Money (Saez, Calhoun, 2-1); and Armistice Day (Corey Lanerie, Drury, 20-1).
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