Shotgun Kowboy has a shot to win his fourth race in a row in Friday’s $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI), where he will carry 113 pounds.
The son of Kodiak Kowboy will be facing off against six graded stakes winners and has yet to face such a competitive field. While he may appear to be a David amongst Goliaths in Friday’s race, Trout has faith that the horse can be competitive in what has turned out to be a deep Clark Handicap field.
“My colt just keeps improving with every start and he deserves a shot,” Trout said. “He’s settled in well – he’s just been skipping across the track in the morning and we are tickled to death with the way he’s been doing everything. I am confident. I know that this colt will lay it down out there. He’ll give us 110 percent; he always does.”
Trout’s last Clark Handicap contender, Maysville Slew, ran third in the 2000 edition of the race, finishing 5 ¼ lengths behind eventual winner Surfside.
“I always wanted to come back and run in the Clark again after Maysville Slew ran third awhile back,” he said. “I never had a horse that was capable of doing that until now and I think he’s very capable even though it appears to be a highly-contentious field. One of the other reasons we’re doing this is because of his mother [Shotgun Jane]. He’s a gelding, so if he can do this that would greatly improve her value as a broodmare. If he’s not as good as we think he is then so be it, but right now we’re absolutely thrilled with him.”
Trout has high ambitions for the son of Kodiak Kowboy, who has never finished off the board in eight career starts.
“We’re thinking about next year, we’re having visions of sugar plums,” he said. “We’d like to go to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup if we can, so we’ll just see how everything plays out.”
Cliff Berry, the pilot in Shotgun Kowboy’s last two outings, will return to the saddle in Friday’s race.
The Clark Handicap field (with jockey and odds) from rail out: Keen Ice (Corey Lanerie; 3-1), Looks to Spare (Victor Lebron; 30-1), Mr. Z (Ricardo Santana, Jr.; 15-1), Frivolous (Jon Court; 15-1), Protonico (Julien Leparoux; 8-1), Hoppertunity (Martin Garcia; 7-2), Shotgun Kowboy (Berry; 20-1), Effinex (Mike Smith; 5-2), Race Day (John Velazquez; 7-2).
Source: Churchill Downs Incorporated