06/13/2013 2:50PM

Churchill Downs: Abstraction getting test in Matt Winn


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – With just three career starts, Abstraction is the least experienced of the 11 3-year-olds who make up a terrific field for the Grade 3, $100,000 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs.

But he might have the most upside. Whether or not that’s true will start revealing itself Saturday night when Abstraction faces his toughest task to date in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn. A son of Pulpit, Abstraction will have Leandro Goncalves aboard when he breaks from post 7 in his first start since he shipped from his Churchill base to win the April 27 Tesio Stakes at Pimlico as an odds-on favorite.

“I’m not sure what he beat in Maryland, but he ran a nice race,” said David Carroll, who trains Abstraction for the My Meadowview Farm of Leonard Riggio.

“That race was a step down the line in the sense of progression. Mr. Riggio and I are of the belief that this horse will keep maturing and get better as the year goes along. We didn’t want to throw him in the deep end by trying him in something like the Preakness or Belmont. But I must say this looks like a very tough race. It’s pretty deep.”

No lie. The Winn is arguably the deepest race on the 11-race Downs After Dark program, with more than half the field owning the kind of credentials that would make victory no surprise.

Treasury Bill (post 6, Shaun Bridgmohan) is one of those logical contenders, having flashed brilliance in Southern California before coming into the care of Wayne Catalano several weeks ago.

“He came to me in great shape,” Catalano said. “He’s trained really well over this racetrack. I really like what I’ve seen so far.”

Others worthy of close scrutiny are Sunbean (post 2, Joel Rosario), a Louisiana-bred with first-time blinkers for the meet’s leading trainer, Mike Maker; Uncaptured (post 3, Miguel Mena), the Canadian champion who was victorious here last fall in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes; Code West (post 5, Rosie Napravnik), who was withheld from the Belmont by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert to enter this race; and Bellarmine (post 10, Julien Leparoux), an improving colt who narrowly defeated Code West in a key allowance race on the May 4 Kentucky Derby undercard.

Rounding out the field are Looking Cool, Dewey Square, Street Spice, Ruler of Love, and Carve.

This is the 16th running of the Matt Winn, which is carded as the seventh race. Post time is 9:05 p.m. Eastern.

The Matt Winn is named for the legendary raconteur who is widely credited for building the Kentucky Derby into what it is today. Winn died in 1949 at age 88.