Aristomaches wins Don K. Memorial Starter Handicap
Most people would have been a little worried coming out of the gate sluggishly, but the connections of Aristomaches know his style. The eight-year-old son of Wando always saves his best stride for last and he displayed those talents Wednesday, June 6 in the $30,000 Don K. Memorial Starter Handicap at Indiana Grand.
Beginning from the outside post eight, Aristomaches was in no hurry out of the gate and was several steps behind the field and they headed down the front straightaway for the first time. Impassable Canyon and Rodney Prescott used the inside post to their advantage and grabbed the lead early on in the seven and one-half mile furlong turf race. Wagon Boss and Jesus Castanon sat close in second on the inside while Mount Calvary followed directions from jockey Alex Canchari to sit along the outside in a relaxing stalking position.
The order of the top three didn’t waiver through the first half of the race, but when the field entered the final turn, things began to shake up. Bourbon N Lime and Eddie Perez made a big bid for the lead and had perfect positioning for the stretch drive. Horses began to battle on the front end with Bourbon N Lime having little success putting away Impassable Canyon and Wagon Boss. The three battled almost all the way to the wire before a streak came into focus from the back of the pack. After sitting last nearly the entire race, Aristomaches had a huge stride going and ran down the opponents, picking up the win in the very last stride by one-half length in a time of 1:30.32. Bourbon N Lime won the tight photo for second, just a head in front of Impassable Canyon.
“He (Aristomaches) is a fun horse to ride,” said Cannon. “I was able to get him to relax in the race and he covered the ground really well. He knew where the wire was. He really laid down and kicked in for the win.”
Owned by Alese Dunn, Aristomaches win in the Don K. Memorial Starter Handicap was his fifth career win. Trained by Stephen Dunn, the chestnut gelding boosted his career tally over the $150,000 for the Dunns. Aristomaches has spent his entire career in the Dunn Stable.
“Grass only horses are tough to have sometimes, but when they try like this one does, it is easier,” said trainer Stephen Dunn. “He really gets on his belly and gives you everything he’s got.”
Slated as the second of 11 legs during the 2018 racing season, the Don K. Memorial Starter Handicap is named for former executive director of the Indiana Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association (HBPA) Don Kubovchik. The series is now in its 10th season and began at Hoosier Park and was transferred to Indiana Grand when all Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing shifted to the Shelbyville, Ind. track.