February 27, 2024

Rattle N Roll headlines Lukas Classic; BC Dirt Mile berth up for grabs in Ack Ack

Rattle N Roll wins the Blame Stakes (Photo by Coady Photography)

Rattle N Roll proved a bit out of tune earlier this month in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Saratoga, finishing sixth as the 8-5 favorite. On Saturday, the Kenny McPeek trainee will look to get back on key in the $500,000 Lukas Classic (G2) at Churchill Downs.

Contested over 1 1/8 miles, the Lukas Classic is joined on the program by another stakes for older horses, the $400,000 Ack Ack (G3), which serves as a Breeders’ Cup Challenge prep for the Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita in November.

Rattle N Roll had enjoyed a string of solid performances leading up to the Gold Cup, winning the Ben Ali (G3), Pimlico Special (G3), and Blame (G3) before missing by a half-length in the Stephen Foster (G1). Rattle N Roll has never finished out of the money in six previous runs under the Twin Spires.

Grade 3 winner Happy American, who has finished behind Rattle N Roll in three consecutive outings, returns from a three-month break for trainer Neil Pessin. Clapton, also a winner at Grade 3 level, finished two places ahead of Rattle N Roll in the Sept. 2 Gold Cup.

Trademark, who owns a 3-for-4 mark at Churchill, enters off a close second to Whelan Springs in the Philip H. Iselin (G3) at Monmouth, while Warrant won his only previous start at the Louisville track in the 1 1/2-mile Isaac Murphy Marathon in early May.

Others of note are recent Longacres Mile winner Five Star General; Blue Devil, who garnered a 108 Brisnet Speed rating beating second-level allowance foes at Saratoga last time; and Grade 1 veteran Americanrevolution, whose only run over the past year was a fourth in the Aug. 11 Evan Shipman H. versus New York-breds at Saratoga.

The one-mile Ack Ack features Zozos, who looks to rebound off a loss as the odds-on Iselin favorite, and Three Technique, easy winner of the July 1 John A. Nerud (G2) at Belmont. Other potential players include O Besos, Stage Raider, Seize the Night, and Skyro.

Headlining a field of 11 three-year-olds in the $200,000 Jefferson Cup over one mile on the turf is More Than Looks, winner of the Manila (G3) and third in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) in New York over the summer.