June 17, 2021

Arklow looms large in Louisville return

Arklow wins the Hollywood Turf Cup in Del Mar stakes-record time © BENOIT PHOTO

Louisville S. (G3) — Race 11 (5:58 p.m. ET)

Although batting only .250 over the Churchill Downs turf course, and having lost last year’s renewal by a head, the venerable seven-year-old Arklow still looms large in Saturday’s $150,000 Louisville S. (G3) over 1 1/2 miles.

After a downturn in form following last year’s Louisville, trainer Brad Cox added blinkers to the Grade 1 veteran’s equipment, and subsequent results proved stellar. The son of Arch looked better than ever late in the year taking both the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) and Hollywood Turf Cup (G2), with a respectable sixth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) sandwiched in between.

Red Knight has tended to fall short in past meetings with Arklow, but can’t be dismissed on his best form. The latter was not on display, though, in his season debut in the April 17 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland, where the seven-year-old produced a sub-par sixth-place finish for Bill Mott, who’s won the Louisville five times.

Crafty Daddy, an even third in the Elkhorn, should receive a good stalking trip here behind likely pacesetter Admiralty Pier, a Grade 3 veteran who should come on from a season-opening second against allowance foes at Keeneland. Another with back class is Spooky Channel, who debuts off an $80,000 claim by new trainer Jason Barkley.

Two former South American mainstays could have a say in the outcome of the Louisville. Fantasioso, a Group 3 winner in Argentina, outran expectations in his U.S. debut when a rallying fourth in the Elkhorn at 33-1 for trainer Ignacio Correas. Imperador, a Group 1 winner in Argentina, stretches out in his second start of the season and narrowly lost his U.S. debut over this course last fall for Paulo Lobo.