Lukas, In Search Of Third Clark Triumph, Hoping Bravazo Still On Improve

Calumet Farm’s multiple graded stakes-placed Bravazo has danced in all of the major dances of 2018 including all three legs of the Triple Crown, the Haskell Invitational (Grade I), Travers Stakes (GI) and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI). But Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas believes the 3-year-old colt could be improving at the right time ahead of Friday’s $500,000 Clark Handicap Presented by Norton Healthcare (GI) at Churchill Downs.

“Believe it or not, I think this horse is actually getting better with each start,” Lukas said. “I don’t think the one-mile distance was his best in the Breeders’ Cup but I thought the (Dirt Mile) was the better option instead of the Classic. I think the extra distance in the Clark will suit him great.

“We plan on running him next year as a 4-year-old. Let’s get this one under our belt and move on to next year. Maybe this is his turn. He shows up every single time we run him.”
The 3-year-old colt by Awesome Again will attempt to give Lukas a record-tying third win in the race after previously winning with Will Take Charge (2013) and Surfside (2000). Both of Lukas’ previous winners were 3-year-olds that cemented year-end divisional championship honors.

Bravazo finished third in the Nov. 3 Dirt Mile, 2 ½ lengths behind runner-up Seeking the Soul, who is listed as the 8-5 morning line favorite in the Clark. The Calumet homebred’s campaign was highlighted by runner-up finishes in the Preakness (GI) and Haskell and a third-place effort in the Travers.

The three-time winner will have the riding services of Joel Rosario in the Clark Handicap, who was assigned 118 pounds and is 9-2 on Mike Battaglia’s morning line odds.

The complete Clark Handicap field from the rail out (with jockey, trainer, assigned weight and morning line odds): Prime Attraction (Kent Desormeaux, James Cassidy, 120 pounds, 3-1); Hence (Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen, 118, 12-1); Seeking the Soul (John Velazquez, Dallas Stewart, 123, 8-5); Hawaakom (Joe Rocco Jr., Wes Hawley, 116, 15-1); Leofric (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 121, 3-1); Bravazo (Rosario, Lukas, 118, 9-2); Storm Advisory (Albin Jiminez, Anthony Quartarolo, 114, 30-1); and Sightforsoreeyes (Tyler Gaffalione, Quartarolo, 115, 30-1).

Like the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) and the Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI), the Clark Handicap was run for the first time in 1875’s inaugural racing meet at Churchill Downs, which was then known as the Louisville Jockey Club. The Clark, the Derby and the Oaks have been run each year without interruption since their debuts.

One race prior to the Clark, Pebbles Stakes winner Stella di Camelot (IRE) was made the 2-1 morning line favorite for the 28th running of the $200,000 Mrs. Revere (GII).

Stella di Camelot previously ran in France with Gianluca Bietolini prior to her being transferred to trainer Chad Brown’s care in the spring.

The complete field for the Mrs. Revere, run at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, from the rail out (with jockey, trainer and morning line odds): Lessons From Avery (Edgar Morales, Charlie LoPresti, 30-1); High Tech (Chris Landeros, Ian Wilkes, 15-1); Angel of Mischief (Tyler Gaffalione, Norm Casse, 15-1); Kabella (Declan Cannon, Danny Peitz, 20-1); Cool Beans (Florent Geroux, Brad Cox, 4-1); Princess Warrior (Brian Hernandez Jr., Kenny McPeek, 7-2); Over Thinking (Corey Lanerie, Vicki Oliver, 20-1); Get Explicit (Ricardo Santana Jr., Barbara Minshall, 6-1); Divine Queen (Calvin Borel, Buff Bradley, 20-1); Stella di Camelot (IRE) (Joel Rosario, Brown, 2-1); Arabella Bella (Albin Jiminez, Mikhail Yanakov, 50-1); and Dark Artist (Trevor McCarthy, Jane Cibell, 8-1).

All jockeys are assigned 118 pounds.

The race is named as a tribute to the highly competitive filly Mrs. Revere, who collected a total of four Churchill Downs stakes during a two-year local reign from 1984-85. Mrs. Revere collected three of those stakes during her 3-year-old season, thus providing the appropriate name for this stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the turf. Mrs. Revere was owned by the partnership of Dr. Hiram Polk and Dr. David Richardson.

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