Saturday’s $100,000 Louisville (G3) at Churchill Downs could prove a textbook case of class versus speed when Arklow and Tiz a Slam head the market in the 1 1/2-mile grass test for older horses.
Arklow fell a neck shy of becoming a multiple Grade 1 winner last season, losing the Man o’ War (G1) in May but later winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) in October. Beaten less than three lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), he enters the Louisville off a 4 1/2-month break following a fifth-place effort in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1).
Tiz a Slam, who breaks to Arklow’s immediate right on Saturday, was a front-running winner of the 2019 Louisville and later wired both the Singspiel (G3) and Nijinsky (G2) over a mile and a half at Woodbine. The son of Tiznow was last seen in November finishing up the track in the Red Smith (G3), where stalk-and-pounce tactics were unsuccessfully employed.
Admission Office, who’s lost five graded stakes by a length or less since May 2019, is a logical threat. A strong second to Zulu Alpha in the Mac Diarmida (G2) two back, the son of Point of Entry was most recently fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Sunshine Forever at Gulfstream behind a loose-on-the-lead Halladay.
He’s No Lemon goes for the hot Graham Motion barn. Twice a winner over 1 3/8 miles last season, he was elevated to first in the Sept. 21 Bald Eagle Derby at Laurel over 1 1/2 miles last out when Jais’s Solitude was disqualified for interference.
Grade 3-placed Apreciado and Fearsome both enter in good form, while Ry’s the Guy and Sky Promise are potential improves stretching back out in distance.
Inaugurated in 1895 and run continuously since 1957, the Louisville is one of Churchill’s oldest stakes and will conclude an 11-race program.