WinStar Farm, China Horse Club International and SF Racing's multiple graded stakes winner Quip will take on Winchell Thoroughbreds' four-time winner Tenfold and eight other rivals under the lights in Saturday's seventh running of the $250,000 Lukas Classic Presented by Budweiser (Grade III) – one of three stakes events on an action-packed 11-race card for the final Downs After Dark of 2019 at Churchill Downs.
The 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic, named in honor of Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, is the featured event of the night in Race 9 with a post time of 10:11 p.m. The first post is 6 p.m. The evening also features the $150,000 Ack Ack Presented by GE Appliances (GIII) and the $125,000 Jefferson Cup (Listed).
Trained by Rodolphe Brisset, Quip (10-4-2-1—$1,054,451) was the narrow runner-up finisher behind Seeking the Soul in the $600,000 Stephen Foster (GII) during the Spring Meet at Churchill Downs prior to his nonplused ninth in the $1 million Pacific Classic (GI) at Del Mar. Quip began his 4-year-old campaign with a third-place effort in the $100,000 Hal's Hope (GIII) at Gulfstream Park prior to the biggest win in his career in the $750,000 Oaklawn Handicap (GII) in mid-April.
The son of Distorted Humor was on the Triple Crown trail in 2018 after winning the $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII) but following his defeat against Justify in the $1.5 million Preakness (GI), Brisset gave the Kentucky-bred colt more than nine months on the sidelines before he returned in 2019.
Regular rider Florent Geroux has the mount on Quip, who drew post position No. 4.
Joining Quip in the starting gate is multiple graded stakes-winning Tenfold (12-4-0-1—$961,890) for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The 4-year-old son of Curlin most recently finished fourth in the Pacific Classic and hopes to secure his first victory since winning the $300,000 Pimlico Special (GIII) in May.
Like Quip, Tenfold ran in some of the top 3-year-old races in 2019. The colt did not qualify for the Kentucky Derby but instead rerouted to a third-place effort in the Preakness prior to winning the $600,000 Jim Dandy (GII) at Saratoga.
Regular pilot Ricardo Santana Jr. will be in the irons from post 6.
Also entered in the Lukas Classic is Steve Landers Racing's $100,000 Schaefer Memorial winner Pioneer Spirit, who is slated to return from a two-month layoff in search of his first graded stakes score.
Trained by Brad Cox, Pioneer Spirit (25-9-4-7—$587,450) was a former $35,000 claim in 2017 and has since won six races including back-to-back editions of the Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Grand.
Shaun Bridgmohan has the return call and will break from post 7.
Another top challenger in the Lukas Classic is $200,000 West Virginia Governors Stakes (GIII) winner Silver Dust (23-5-6-2—$594,777), who will attempt to turn the tables on Pioneer Spirit after finishing a head back of him in the Schaefer Memorial.
Trained by Bret Calhoun, Silver Dust will be piloted by regular rider Jack Gilligan out of post 9.
Another entrant in the race who has been facing the likes of Pioneer Spirit and Silver Dust is Mexican-bred Kukulkan. A multiple Grade I winner in his native country, Kukulkan (18-15-1-1—$613,200) finished a length behind Pioneer Spirit and Silver Dust in the Schaefer Memorial and was a half-length behind Silver Dust in the West Virginia Governors Stakes.
Corey Lanerie has the call on the Fausto Gutierrez-trainee from post 8.
The complete 10-horse Lukas Classic field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and weight): Hawaakom (Miguel Mena, Wes Hawley, 121 pounds); Blueridge Traveler (Julien Leparoux, Kenny McPeek, 121); Big Dollar Bill (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes, 121); Quip (Geroux, Brisset, 125); Sir Anthony (James Graham, Anthony Mitchell, 123); Tenfold (Santana, Asmussen, 123); Pioneer Spirit (Bridgmohan, Cox, 121); Kukulkan (MEX) (Lanerie, Gutierrez, 121); and Silver Dust (Gilligan, Calhoun, 123)
Presented by Budweiser, the theme for Saturday night's Downs After Downs event is “Bourbon & Beats.” Guests are encouraged to wear shades of purple and stay on trend with autumn fashion as they celebrate a pairing of Kentucky sounds and spirits. Admission gates open Saturday at 5 p.m. and the final race of the evening is scheduled for 11:10 p.m. General admission is $12 and reserved seat packages start at $27, which are available for purchase on www.ChurchillDowns.com.
The National Weather Service forecast for Louisville calls for mostly sunny skies with a high near 90.
Saturday is the penultimate day of Churchill Downs' 11-date September Meet. Closing day is Sunday.
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