Santana Ready to Showcase Skelly’s Speed in Aristides

May 31, 2024

Skelly wins the Count Fleet Sprint Handicap (G3) April 13 at Oaklawn Park (Coady Media)

Churchill Downs Press Release

LOUISVILLE, Ky.— Red Lane Thoroughbreds’ ultra-talented sprinter Skelly is poised to showcase his scintillating early turn of foot against seven rivals in Saturday’s $275,000 Aristides Stakes (Listed) at Churchill Downs.

“He’s such a nice horse,” jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. said. “(Trainer) Steve (Asmussen) and his team have done such a nice job with him. He’s so fast early that really no other sprinters have done well going with him. I’m sure if he really wanted to he could go a half-mile in 42 seconds; he’s that fast. I obviously don’t think we’ll be going that fast Saturday but he’ll be quick early.”

Skelly, who boasts a record of 15-10-4-0—$1,574,163, is tabbed as the 4-5 morning line favorite in the Aristides. The crack sprinter enters the race following his second-consecutive victory in the Count Fleet Handicap (GIII) at Oaklawn and, most recently, a 2 ¼-length score in the Lake Hamilton Stakes.

Asmussen has won the Aristides a record five times including last year’s race with future Breeders’ Cup Sprint (GI) runner-up Gunite. His other victories were from Volatile (2020), Rothko (2012), Riley Tucker (2010) and Mountain General (2003).

The Aristides is one of six stakes events on Saturday’s “Stephen Foster Preview Day” program. The stellar 11-race card will begin at 12:45 p.m. with the Aristides going in Race 7 at 3:51 p.m. All six stakes events, led by the $275,000 Blame (GIII), are local preps to the June 29 Stephen Foster Day.

Here is the field for the Aristides Stakes from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds):

  • Tejano Twist (Rafael Bejarano, Chris Hartman, 5-1)
  • Closethegame Sugar (Irad Ortiz Jr., Adam Rice, 10-1)
  • Skelly (Santana, Asmussen, 4-5)
  • Angkor (Martin Garcia, Phil Bauer, 4-1)
  • Payne (Keith Asmussen, Steve Asmussen, 30-1)
  • Bourbon Heist (Luis Saez, Ian Wilkes, 10-1)
  • Surly Furious (Abel Cedillo, Glenn Wismer, 30-1)
  • Here Mi Song (Tyler Gaffalione, Billy Stinson Jr., 6-1)

Louis & @ItsMeGinoB talk next w/@jonathanstettin about today’s races & the amazing Ruffian piece he wrote this week. twitter.com/PastTheWire/st…

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