ELMONT, NY - JUNE 11: Jose Valdivia, Jr. rides Ruler on Ice to victory during the 143rd running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 11, 2011 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
A large and competitive field of thirteen horses will line up to contest Friday's Grade 1 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs (post time 5:42 Eastern; TV: HRTV). Flat Out, the post time favorite for the Breeders' Cup Classic (where he finished a fairly dull 5th), seeks to close out 2011 with his second Grade 1 win of the season and his first victory in three lifetime starts at Churchill Downs. Among the contenders for Friday's Clark Handicap:
- Ruler On Ice will look to improve on his 3rd place finish in the Breeders' Cup Classic and could make a strong case for the honor of champion three-year-old of 2011 if he were to finish on top.
- Wise Dan will attempt to become a graded stakes winner on turf, synthetic and dirt with a win in the Clark. He won the G2-Fayette on the Poly at Keeneland in his last start and he won the G2-Firecracker on Churchill's turf course this past July. He also won the G2-Pheonix at Keeneland in the fall of 2010.
- Prayer for Relief missed the Breeders' Cup Classic due to an illness but will attempt to capture his first Grade 1 win in the Clark. He won the G2-Super Derby, G2-West Virginia Derby and G3-Iowa Derby this year.
- Headache looks to rebound from his rough trip in the Classic, where he finished last of twelve. He's 8-3-1-1 all-time at Churchill Downs.
- The last time General Quarters won a race it came at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately, that was back on Derby Day in 2010 and it was a race over the turf. Since the race, General Quarters is 8-0-2-1.
- Will's Wildcat is taking a big step up in class as he looks for his first win against graded stakes company, but he loves the Churchill Downs main track (3-3-0-0).
- Mister Marti Gras has quietly put together a pretty nice run of races in 2011. Overall he's 8-4-1-1 with wins in the G3-Washington Park Handicap and G3-Ack Ack. He finished 2nd in the G3-Arlington Handicap and 3rd in the G3-Ben Ali. Not a bad year at all.
- After starting year off in decent form, Mission Impazzible has struggled mightily in his last three efforts. He finished a well-beaten 6th in the Whitney, came up empty at the top of the lane in the Woodward, and faded late in the Fayette.
Below are the entries, post positions and morning line odds for Friday's Grade 1 Clark Handicap.
|1||Ruler On Ice||G. Gomez||K. Breen||4/1|
|2||Alma d'Oro||J. Castanon||T. Pletcher||20/1|
|3||Demarcation||C. Lanerie||P. McGee||15/1|
|4||Stately Victor||V. Lebron||M. Maker||30/1|
|5||Mission Impazzible||J. Castellano||T. Pletcher||12/1|
|6||Flat Out||A. Solis||C. Dickey||5/2|
|7||Pleasant Prince||J. Garcia||W. Ward||20/1|
|8||Headache||E. Prado||M. Maker||12/1|
|9||Mister Marti Gras||R. Maragh||C. Block||12/1|
|10||Will's Wildcat||C. Borel||J. Baker||30/1|
|11||Wise Dan||J. Velazquez||C. Lopresti||4/1|
|12||Prayer for Relief||R. Bejarano||B. Baffert||5/1|
|13||General Quarters||J. Court||T. McCarthy||20/1|