11/05/2009 12:00AM

Ack Ack three have links to Cup


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Beyond its wagering appeal as a Grade 3 stakes race with a well-matched cast of runners, Friday's $100,000, one-mile Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs could provide something more - a barometer as to the merits of some prominent horses running in the Breeders' Cup.

Riley Tucker, Greeley's Conquest, and Jonesboro come off recent starts against horses running in the Breeders' Cup, and if they run well, their performances would reflect positively on those Cup entrants who recently beat them.

Riley Tucker just ran fifth behind Breeders' Cup Sprint starters Gayego and Crown of Thorns in the Grade 1 Ancient Title at Santa Anita. Greeley's Conquest finished sixth in the Grade 3 Phoenix at Keeneland behind Fatal Bullet and Capt. Candyman Can, two other Sprint entrants. Jonesboro was seventh most recently in a muddy renewal of the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup behind Classic starter Awesome Gem and Marathon entrant Nite Light.

All three should benefit from a change in track conditions. Riley Tucker and Greeley's Conquest are moving from a synthetic track to dirt, their preferred surface, and with dry weather forecast for Friday, Jonesboro - a two-time graded winner in 2009 - should catch the fast track he desires.

Greeley's Conquest, winner of the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship in his last dirt start Aug. 22 - his race preceding the Phoenix - likes the surface at Churchill Downs, having run well there in two starts. As a 3-year-old in 2007, he won a six-furlong allowance in 1:09.03, and last year as age 4 he was second in the Ack Ack behind Magna Graduate.

Chris Emigh rides Greeley's Conquest, a 5-year-old son of Mr. Greeley owned by the Millard R. Seldin Revocable Trust and trained by Gary Thomas.

Riley Tucker also is a winner at Churchill, having won a second-level allowance in the slop on Kentucky Derby Day. He followed that race with a close fifth in the Grade 1 Met Mile and a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Tom Fool before going unplaced in his last three races.

He changes trainers from Bob Baffert to Steve Asmussen for Friday's Ack Ack. Aaron Gryder comes in from California for the mount.

Glamour Guy, Demarcation, Let It Rock, Que Paso, and Spotsgone complete the eight-horse field.