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Louisville Preview: Tiz a Slam Back to Defend Title
Tiz a Slam winning the 2019 Louisville (Credit: Coady Photography)

Louisville Preview: Tiz a Slam Back to Defend Title

LOUISVILLE, KY – Chiefswood Stables homebred Tiz a Slam is back at Churchill Downs to defend his title in Saturday’s $100,000 Louisville Stakes (G3), a 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.

Tiz a Slam’s victory in last year’s event begat a three-race win streak, all at this extended distance on turf while facing graded foes. The headlining event on Saturday’s card attracted a dozen males ages 4 and up who will turn three times before the race ends.

Here is a look at the full field for Saturday’s Louisville Stakes:

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1. Perfect Tapatino (20/1) – Bred in France by owner Charles Fipke, he will make his first North American start after racing overseas in the last three years. His 4 wins from 9 starts at this distance tie Tiz a Slam for most among this field, but he has gone unraced since late November and will need to make the tricky transition to this continent’s different style of racing.

2. Sky Promise (20/1) – He won a pair of western Canada Grade 3 dirt routes late in 2018 at distances of 1 1/8 and 1 3/8 miles, and his most recent victory came two back in the 1 1/2-mile Temperence Hill Stakes over a sloppy Oaklawn Park course. The question is not whether he can handle the distance; it is his paltry 12-1-1-2 record on the lawn.

3. Apreciado (12/1) – He has steadily improved since Mike Maker claimed him for $16k in early 2019, winning 3 times and hitting the board in the 1 1/2-mile W. L. McKnight (G3) in his most recent start. He has tactical speed and can set or sit well off the pace with equal success, giving jockey Martin Garcia plenty of options out of the gate.

4. He’s No Lemon (15/1) – He broke his maiden going 1 3/8 miles in early 2019 and has not raced any shorter than that since, putting together a 5-3-1-1 record in marathon turf events. He is unraced since being placed first via disqualification in the 1 1/2-mile Bald Eagle Derby last September, but trainer Graham Motion has a 24% win rate with horses returning from layoffs of 180+ days.

5. Arklow (8/5) – The morning line favorite makes his first start since finishing fifth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) after playing bumper cars in the early running. Prior to that, he won the 1 1/2-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) before finishing eighth (beaten just 2 3/4 lengths) in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at the same distance.

6. Tiz a Slam (7/2) – Along with his Roger Attfield stablemate Perfect Tapatino, his 4 wins in 9 starts at this distance lead the field, which also happens to match his running style. This will be his 27th straight time facing stakes company after defeating maidens and allowance foes in his first 2 career appearances.

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7. Lombo (30/1) – Making the ultimate equipment change helped end his 6-race skid in a 1 1/8-mile optional claiming event at Oaklawn Park in March. This will be his first time routing on turf after finishing off the board in a pair of lawn sprints earlier in his career.

8. Jais’s Solitude (20/1) – Though he crossed the wire first in last September’s Bald Eagle Derby, his late drifting action caused him to be disqualified and placed sixth behind common rival He’s No Lemon. He has 1 victory from 3 starts this year, but his 2 defeats were well behind the winners while facing lesser competition than what he sees here.

9. Golden Dragon (30/1) – After running for owner/breeder Mikhail Yanakov in his first 3 seasons, he transferred to the Mike Maker barn for 2020 and showed great improvement from a Beyer speed figure standpoint. That said, he has failed to hit the board in his 9 prior stakes attempts, so he will need to take another big step forward if he wants to make an impact here.

10. Fearsome (15/1) – Rarely does a European stayer ship stateside for a hurdles race, but Fearsome’s first American turf race was a victorious effort in the New Jersey Hunt Cup while traveling 1 1/2 miles last October. The British-bred 6-year-old has 8 wins from 29 lifetime starts, but 6 of those came going 1 1/2 miles on synthetic surfaces.

11. Ry’s the Guy (20/1) – He returns to a marathon distance after running second by a 1/2-length in the 1 5/16-mile Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs last September. He failed to hit the board in 3 starts this season, but perhaps stretching back out will change that trend.

12. Admission Office (3/1) – He has been knocking on the door against graded stakes rivals for over a year, finishing within a 1/2-length of victory on 4 separate occasions. Trainer Brian Lynch wins 16% with a healthy $2.50 ROI when his runners make their second starts returning from layoffs of 45-180 days, which is the case for this 5-year-old Point of Entry offspring.

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