Running down the 149th Clark Stakes

Nov 20, 2023 at 10:11 pm by Danny Brewer

  On November 24 the Clark will be run at Churchill Downs for the 149th consecutive year. Always the centerpiece of a spectacular fall meet, this mile and an eighth drive over the Churchill Downs dirt has featured much magnificence. This year should be no different as ten accomplished runners will line up looking for their share of $600,000. Let’s take a peek at the field for this grade 2 event and provide a thought on each.


1 Straight Arrow (8-1)-This son of Arrogate ships in from New York after back-to-back wins at Aqueduct. Local jock Florent Geroux gets the call as this four-year-old looks for his first graded stakes win.


2 First Mission (3-1)- Three wins and a second in four-lifetime starts means this three-year-old son of Street Sense has been right there in every start. Luis Saez has the mount and trainer Brad Cox is looking for his second win in this prestigious race.


3 Il Miracolo (4-1)- A horse with a suitcase, this three-year-old son of Gun Runner has started ten times this year ( two wins, two seconds, one third) at five different tracks. This will be his first start at Churchill and he gets the services of leading rider Tyler Gafflione.



4 Gasoline (5-1)- Trainer Todd Pletcher is looking for a record-tying third win in the Clark with this four-year-old son of Curlin. Coming in off two consecutive wins beneath these twin spires, the octane level is high, and Flavien Prat rides.


5 Trademark (6-1) Beaten a head in the Lukas Classic at Churchill in September, this Vickie Oliver-trained son of Upstart hopes to pick up his second win of the year in what will be his ninth start.


6 Film Star (5-1) Can it be lights, camera, action for this Linda Rice-trained four-year-old as he makes his twelfth start of 2023? Three wins and six seconds means he has been right there this year and Jose Lezcano rides the New York-based son of Flatter.


7 Giant Game (12-1) Louisville training icon Dale Romans sends this son of Giant’s Causeway to post in search of a second Clark win. Rider Martin Garcia is a great gate jockey and the break could be the key to pulling a Giant upset.


8 Happy American (20-1) This son of Runhappy may be the longest shot in the field, but he has been in the money in five of seven lifetime starts at Churchill with three wins. Declan Cannon gets the call in the saddle for trainer Neil Pessin.


9 Stage Raider (12-1) Trainer Cherie DeVaux hopes to see a rebound from her son of Pioneerof the Nile after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile on November 4. Churchill riding staple Brian Hernandez Jr. gets the call in the irons.


10 Blue Devil (10-1) Last seen running third in the Lukas Classic on September 30, this son of Uncle Mo has two wins, two seconds, and a third in seven starts this year. This will be his second start in stakes company and trainer Jeff Hiles has Javier Castellano riding.   

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