LOUISVILLE, KY – Katherine Ball’s homebred Limousine Liberal collected his second straight stakes win at Churchill Downs in Saturday’s 29th running of the Grade 3, $100,000 Aristides.
Trained by Ben Colebrook, the 5-year-old gelding clocked 6 furlongs over a fast course in 1:09.12 to give the Spring Meet’s leading rider, Corey Lanerie, his fifth win of the day.
Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the field of six older horses, Limousine Liberal was rated in fourth and in the clear from the outside just off of pacesetter Union Jackson, who ran the first quarter mile in :21.83 and the half in :45.17. Wilbo put his nose in front of Union Jackson at the top of the stretch, but Limousine Liberal was a looming presence while racing three-wide. He drew even at the 1/8 pole and spurted clear inside the final 1/16 for the comfortable win, 2 1/2 lengths ahead of Wilbo and a late-closing The Truth or Else.
Union Jackson faded to fourth and was followed by Schivarelli and Abbaa. Recount and Wabel were scratched.
Prior to the Aristides, Limousine Liberal scored a breakout win in the Grade 2, $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes Presented by TwinSpires.com on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
By avenging his head defeat in last year’s Aristides by the now-retired millionaire Alsvid, Limousine Liberal is only the second horse to sweep Churchill Downs’ pair of premier Spring Meet sprint stakes for older horses. D.B. Davidson’s Beau Genius, ridden by Ricardo Lopez and trained by Gerald Bennett, won both the Churchill Downs and Aristides in 1990.
“Last year in the Aristides, we came up just a bit short,” Lanerie said. “It was nice to rebound this year. Ben has done a great job getting him ready. I think he relaxed more today and had a better kick in the stretch.”
Limousine Liberal, who carried four pounds more than his rivals at 124 pounds, banked $61,380 for the win, his fifth in 15 starts, and his earnings now stand at $832,500. He is a son of Successful Appeal out of the In Excess mare Gift of Gab and was bred in Kentucky by Mike and Katherine Ball.
Coming into 2017, Limousine Liberal was known for running fast against top competition but often coming up short. At age 3, he was second to eventual 2015 champion sprinter Runhappy in the Grade 1, $500,000 King’s Bishop at Saratoga, then was beaten a neck in the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob at Parx. Last year, the he was second in a trio of graded stakes: the Aristides, the Grade 2, $250,000 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park, and the Grade 3, $250,000 Phoenix at Keeneland. He’s also competed in the last two renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, finishing 11th at Keeneland in 2015 and fourth at Santa Anita last year.
The Aristides is named in honor of the inaugural Kentucky Derby winner in 1875.
Limousine Liberal returned $3.20, $2.40, and $2.10. Wilbo brought back $5.80 and $3.20, while The Truth or Else paid $3.
Additional Race Quotes
Trainer Ben Colebrook, Limousine Liberal: “It was an easy decision to stay home and run again in the Aristides. He ran a tough race on Derby day, and the race in New York (the Grade 2 True North Handicap) was coming up tough. Corey (Lanerie) gave a great ride this afternoon. We’ll look at the (Grade 2) Belmont Sprint Championship (on July 8) and races at Saratoga next.”
Trainer Chris Hartman, Wilbo: “I thought he run his eyeballs out – he run a hell of a race. I’m super-stoked about the way he ran. He just got outrun by a better horse.”
“Let me tell you something, me and (owner) Chris Wilkins just said at the top of the lane, ‘Maybe we’ve got this guy.’ But he dashed him. He had to ride him to get past us, and then, once he got by, he went ahead and stretched us out. We gave him a solid run, anyways, but at the top of the lane, I thought we might have him. But Colebrook had a better horse, and that’s the way it is with horse racing. But it was fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. He ran a hell of race and ran as good as he could. He just ran second.
“This horse ran big. I’m super happy with the way he ran, and he got beat by a horse that just won a big-money race. I’m a fan of that horse (Limousine Liberal), too. I’d like to take him down, but you don’t always get everything. But our horse ran good, and that’s all you can expect.”
Jockey Albin Jimenez, Wilbo: “He ran well. I expected him to run from behind, but he broke good, and I put him right there. The winner was just very strong. He ran good.”
Jockey Channing Hill, The Truth or Else: “I’ll tell you what – at the top of the lane, I really did think he was going to win. Then they just didn’t come back. They’re obviously good horses and they don’t (come back). I give a lot of credit to the winner (Limousine Liberal). He ran a fantastic race, being six-wide the whole way. He just never really had great position, but he just drew away. I mean, when Corey (Lanerie) actually asked him from the 1/8 pole, he just stepped away from us – and we were running, too. I give him a lot of credit.”