05/28/2010 11:00PM

Ailalea, Riley Tucker take Churchill stakes


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Once again, a horse wearing saddlecloth No. 4, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Calvin Borel won the Saturday feature at Churchill Downs.

Indeed, four weeks after Super Saver did all that in the 136th Kentucky Derby, it was Ailalea racing to victory under considerably less dramatic circumstances Saturday in the at Churchill Downs.

"Lightning struck a second time today, huh?" joked Pletcher assistant Michael McCarthy.

Always poised to strike when racing in third down the backstretch, Ailalea took over for a pair of tiring leaders, Helen Belen and Visavis, near the quarter pole. She then repelled a bid from Fuzzy Britches leaving the eighth pole and safely held off a belated run by Tap Tap Tapping, the longest shot in the field at 31-1, to capture the Dogwood by a length. Fuzzy Britches wound up third, another three lengths back among eight 3-year-old fillies.

Ailalea, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit, returned $4 as the favorite after finishing in 1:35.89 over a fast track. She earned $66,274, lifting her career total to $186,525.

Owned by the Starlight Partners of Jack Wolf and Don Lucarelli, Ailalea was winning a graded stakes for the second time, having captured the Grade 3 Tempted last fall at Aqueduct. She was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks. Wolf said Ailalea likely would run next at Belmont Park "in one of those fancy races," presumably the Grade 1, $250,000 Mother Goose on June 26.

Ailalea appeared on the verge of having heat stroke for about 20 minutes after the race, but ultimately the filly was "all good," McCarthy reported.

The 4-1 exacta paid $70.60 for $2, and the 4-1-3 trifecta paid $383.60 for $2.

Aristides: Riley Tucker takes advantage

Riley Tucker capitalized on a wicked speed duel when driving to victory Saturday under an artful ride from Shaun Bridgmohan in the 22nd running of the at Churchill Downs.

After Atta Boy Roy broke a step slowly in the six-furlong race, he went up to join Chief of Affairs through an opening quarter-mile in 21.33 seconds. Cash Refund, the 6-5 favorite in a field of six older horses, held perfect position behind those two, but he failed to run on, while Atta Boy Roy kept churning and Chief of Affairs began to tire following a half-mile in 44.19.

Down the stretch, Riley Tucker, running fourth most of the way, launched a steady rail run, collaring Atta Boy Roy, who was ridden by Calvin Borel, just inside the eighth pole and edging away to win by two lengths. Cash Refund was another 2 3/4 lengths back in third.

"He ran hard the whole way," Bridgmohan said. "He ran such a beautiful race. Even though he was in behind, he in the bridle the whole time and was just traveling real good."

Riley Tucker, trained by Steve Asmussen for Zayat Stables LLC, returned $11.80 as third choice. A 5-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Harlan's Holiday, he has won 5 of 23 starts, with the Aristides marking his first stakes triumph. He earned $66,229, lifting his total to $440,805, after finishing in 1:08.34 over a fast track, the fastest time of the 2010 spring meet for the distance but well off the 2007 mark of 1:07.55 held by Indian Chant.

"The horse is definitely getting better," Asmussen assistant Scott Blasi said. "He beat a tough bunch of horses here."

The Aristides triumph was the second for Asmussen, who won in 2003 with Mountain General.