January 21, 2022

Mind Your Biscuits heads eight-horse Lukas Classic; seven set for Ack Ack

Mind Your Biscuits exercising over the track in advance of the Lukas Classic (G3) (c) Coady Photo

Mind Your Biscuits can enhance his Breeders’ Cup credentials in the $200,000 Lukas Classic (G3) at Churchill Downs. Runner-up in the Whitney (G1) and Metropolitan Handicap (G1), the New York-bred has been under consideration for multiple races on the November 3 Breeders’ Cup card at Churchill Downs and a victory Saturday will likely send him to the $6 million Classic (G1).

Scheduled for 10:11 p.m. (ET), the 1 1/8-mile Lukas Classic is one of four stakes on the 11-race Downs After Dark program.

Mind Your Biscuits still needs to prove himself at a two-turn distance. A non-threatening second most recently to Diversify in the Whitney, the five-year-old son of Posse has won back-to-back editions of the six-furlong Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1) and finished third in the last two runnings of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) (elevated to second via post-race disqualification in 2016). None of his seven career wins have come past seven furlongs, but trainer and co-owner Chad Summers remains confident in chestnut’s ability to handle 10 furlongs this fall.

The one-turn Dirt Mile (G1) becomes a viable option if the Mine Your Biscuits doesn’t perform up to expectations. He will face seven rivals with new rider Tyler Gaffalione.

Toast of New York, a nose second in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic, has shipped from England for the race. The seven-year-old gelding returned from a 37-month layoff with a Polytrack win at Lingfield last December but hasn’t been seen under silks since a last-place effort in the Pegasus World Cup (G1) in late January. Julien Leparoux picks up the mount for Jamie Osborne.

Honorable Duty will make a title defense after posting a convincing victory last year as the 3-5 favorite. The six-year-old gelding can be classified as a Churchill Downs specialist, recording four wins and three seconds under the Twin Spires, and the Brendan Walsh trainee will make his first appearance since a non-threatening second in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) 3 1/2 months ago. Corey Lanerie retains the assignment.

Other runners include Cornhusker (G3) winner Remembering Rita; Grade 3 victor Rated R Superstar; and Stephen Foster third-placer Breaking Lucky, who finished second in the 2016 Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill.

C Z Rocket crushed foes in the Kelly’s Landing on the closing-day of the Churchill Downs spring meet, registering a whopping 108 BRIS Speed rating for the four-length decision, and will take some beating in the $100,000 Ack Ack (G3) at a one-turn mile. Al Stall Jr. trains and Shaun Bridgmohan will be up in the Dirt Mile prep.

His rivals include defending champion Awesome Slew, who has dropped six straight since recording a one-length victory 12 months ago; Grade 2 scorer Giant Expectations, who invades from California for Peter Eurton; Grade 3 winner Warrior’s Club, second in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) two starts previously; and 2017 Clark winner Seeking the Soul, who cuts back to a one-turn distance after an unplaced effort in the Woodward (G1).

The $100,000 Jefferson Cup kicks off the stakes action with 10 sophomores competing over 1 1/8 miles on turf. American Derby (G3) second Captivating Moon, Kent (G3) runner-up Hot Springs and Del Mar Derby (G2) fourth-placer Majestic Eagle rate as possible major players.

The $100,000 President of the UAE Cup (G1), a 1 1/16-mile test for purebred Arabians, will also be offered.