LOUISVILLE, KY – Phoenix Thoroughbred and Three Chimneys Farm’s Volatile gave the world a taste of his talent as he flew home by a country mile to win Saturday’s $100,000 Aristides Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Breaking from the far outside post 6 as the 1/2 heavy favorite under Ricardo Santana, Jr., Volatile along the outside of Bobby’s Wicked One and Seven Nation Army as they dueled through opening fractions of :21.48 and :44.36. Honest Mischief and Heartwood stalked close behind while Manny Wah was a handful of lengths further back.
Midway through the far turn, Seven Nation Army ranged up to take the lead, but Volatile and Honest Mischief were coming hot on either side of him. At the top of the stretch, Volatile got the green light, and the race was over from there.
Displaying an explosive turn of foot possessed by only the sharpest of runners, Volatile was gone in the blink of an eye. Despite running on the wrong lead until inside the 1/16 pole, the Steve Asmussen trainee crossed 8 lengths clear in a final time of 1:07.57 for the fast 6-furlong dirt sprint.
The Churchill Downs 6-furlong dirt track record is 1:07.55, set by Indian Chant on July 8, 2007.
“This horse has incredible talent,” said Santana, Jr. “To go that fast as he did today shows he is extremely talented. He did that so easily.”
Honest Mischief was no match for the runaway bettors’ choice, but he did hold second by 3/4 of a length over Manny Wah, who rallied to steal third by a neck from Seven Nation Army. Heartwood and Bobby’s Wicked One completed the order of finish.
Volatile’s win came in his stakes debut and was his third straight overall, bringing his record to 5-4-1-0 with $203,540 earned. The 4-year-old Violence colt’s effort drew strong comparisons to another former Asmussen trainee – the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) champion Mitole.
“He is a tremendous talent,” Asmussen said. “His family means a lot to me, with his second dam Lady Tak, who we trained and won the Test (G1). We’re hoping this horse shows the same kind of affinity toward races like that as she did. It wasn’t a graded stakes, but it was still a stakes win.”
Volatile returned $3 to win, $2.40 to place, and $2.10 to show. Honest Mischief brought back $3.60 to place and $2.40 to show, while Manny Wah paid $2.60 to show.