Like the King returns in Audubon Stakes
Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) winner #2 Like the King (7-2) headlines a well-matched field in Saturday’s $150,000 Audubon S. at Churchill Downs. The 1 1/8-mile turf endeavor attracted a cast of eight well-meant three-year-olds, and I will side with the Wesley Ward trainee to get back to his winning ways.
Like the King has only run on the turf on one occasion, but he left quite the impression with a seven-length romp at Belterra Park as a juvenile. The chestnut son of Palace Malice was sharp in his first pair of outings in 2021, with a close second in the John Battaglia Memorial S. prior to his fine tally in the Jeff Ruby to earn his initial graded score.
The Kentucky-bred had little chance in the Run for the Roses from an inside post but comes in with a pair of solid turf drills on the Churchill lawn since, and a major step forward is expected in his local grass debut. Colt has won from on the lead, as well as from off the early pace, and I expect him to be in striking range throughout on Saturday. Chris Landeros will be in the stirrups aboard the top selection.
#1 Palazzi (7-2) possesses a strong late kick and will benefit from being drawn on the rail for Casse. A fast-closing second in the Transylvania S. (G3) two back, the bay son of Pioneerof the Nile is a prime exotics contender with Gaffalione in the silks if he finds room inside the final furlong.
The Rusty Arnold-conditioned #6 Cellist (8-1) has good value with Leparoux in the controls. Big Blue Kitten colt was a fine maiden graduate at Gulfstream Park two back, prior to finishing a big second in an allowance event at Keeneland most recently. His versatile running style makes him dangerous from the opening bell.
Audubon S. Wagers
- $6 exacta key box 2 with 1,6 ($24)
- $1 trifecta 2 with 1,6 with all ($12)
- 50-cent trifecta 1,6 with 2 with all ($6)
- 50-cent superfecta 2 with 1,6 with 1,6 with all ($5)