February 20, 2024

Cyberknife faces six in Matt Winn

Cyberknife wins the Arkansas Derby (Photo by Coady Photography)

Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Cyberknife will look to rebound in Sunday’s $225,000 Matt Winn (G3) at Churchill Downs. Off as the 14-1 seventh choice in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby, Cyberknife raced up close to a hot pace before weakening to 18th in the final furlongs.

“In the Derby the pace was very fast and something he may never have to experience again,” regular rider Florent Geroux said. “I think the Matt Winn is a good spot for him to get some of his confidence back. He’s been doing well out of the Derby and should have a better pace setup in this race than he had to deal with in the Derby.”

Trained by Brad Cox, Cyberknife had won three of his previous four starts heading into the Kentucky Derby. The Gun Runner colt should be a prohibitive favorite over six three-year-old rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn.

Howling Time looms as the one to catch following a wire-to-wire allowance romp in the slop at Churchill Downs on May 21. That marked the first win for the Dale Romans-trained colt since the 1 1/16-mile Street Sense S. under the Twin Spires last fall, and Howling Time netted a strong 109 Brisnet Late Pace rating. Joe Talamo retains the mount on the son of Not This Time.

Winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) last fall, Rattle N Roll did not move forward as a three-year-old this winter/spring, dropping four consecutive starts, but the late runner does exit an improved runner-up effort to Howling Time in his last outing, just ahead of another Matt Winn rival, Droppin G’s. Whether Rattle N Roll receives the proper setup Sunday remains to be seen, but he must be considered a contender for a top three showing. Brian Hernandez Jr. rides for Kenny McPeek.

Camp David will bring a two-race win streak to his stakes debut, breaking his maiden at Keeneland last fall and recording a one-length triumph over entry-level allowance foes at Horseshoe Indianapolis on May 17. The Rodolphe Brisset-trained colt has raced up close to the pace in the last two, and leading rider Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount.

Tough to Tame, a neck second in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill last September, will return to stakes competition following a 3 1/2-length allowance tally at Hawthorne. Jose Lopez will be in to ride for Chris Davis.

Completing the field is Trafalgar, fifth most recently in the Pat Day Mile (G2).