04/29/2013 3:40PM

Churchill Downs: Fort Larned to skip Alysheba Stakes

Tom Keyser
Fort Larned will skip Friday's Grade 2 Alysheba and target the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 15 at Churchill Downs.

Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, who had been considered a possible starter in the Grade 2 Alysheba on the Kentucky Oaks undercard at Churchill Downs on Friday, has been withdrawn from the race and will be pointed toward the Grade 1 Stephen Foster on June 15 at Churchill, trainer Ian Wilkes said Monday.

“The horse is fine,” he said. “I worked him a half [April 23], but he just didn’t really bounce out of it like I wanted.”

Coming off two disappointing races to begin his season – one in which he stumbled at the start of the March 9 Gulfstream Park Handicap, tossing rider Brian Hernandez Jr., and later a dull fifth in the April 13 Oaklawn Handicap – Wilkes felt it was better to give his horse a short freshening. “I got to let him fill his tank up,” he said.

Fort Larned’s defection from the Alysheba wasn’t the only one this week. The stakes winner Infrattini, the track record-holder at a mile at Churchill Downs, also will miss the race due to what trainer Paul McGee described as a minor physical setback.

The absence of Fort Larned from the Alysheba leaves Bourbon Courage, Cyber Secret, and Take Charge Indy as the race’s headliners, based on a list of probable starters released by Churchill Downs publicity.

The Alysheba, a $300,000 race at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, was won last year by Successful Dan, who defeated runner-up Fort Larned by a length. Successful Dan, after winning the Ben Ali on April 21 at Keeneland, is, like Fort Larned, being targeted for the Stephen Foster.

zerosumzen More than 1 year ago
I would change riders to one of the top jockeys for sure.
Terry Culver More than 1 year ago
They failed to mention Successful Dan set the track record at Churchill Downs in that race...at a 1 1/16. Told a friend he was a lock that day to win, so he bet $100.00 to win. Right before the race went off I realized I was thinking of his half-bro Wise Dan. Whoops! I was a little nervous when Fort Larned, I believe he was like 15-1, got loose going for home. Thankfully Successful Dan, something like 5-1, was able to run him down at the end or I would have NEVER heard the end of it! Of course I boxed him with like every horse except Fort Larned...how it always works!
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
Successful was a star at Churchill way before Wise. Check out his stretch runs in the 2009 Northern Dancer and the 2010 Clark.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
its crazy how fast things change. one day this horse is on top of the world and the next day everything kinda goes south. hope he returns at his best unless his best was a fluke
denali1 More than 1 year ago
Some of you guys really need to to get a life. Fort Larned is in good hands with a trainer such as Mr. Wilkes. He knows this horse better than anyone and is one of the best horseman in the business. I think some of you that make assumptions and derogatory statements need to have your heads check as well.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Expect the retirement announcement any day.
Mike More than 1 year ago
This horse needs to be checked from head to toe at a clinic.
a a More than 1 year ago
Go buy your own horse and train em, Then you can call the shots, until then learn how to stfu
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
Why ? Because he lost a race. How silly
Tom Mallios More than 1 year ago
unless they find a rabbit in the hat or come up with a legitimate speed horse.it looks like take charge indy might be out for a sunday stroll on oaks day
James More than 1 year ago
Don't overlook Cyber Secret
J.L. Boey More than 1 year ago
The G2 Alysheba on Oaks day will draw a good field. Take Charge Indy is not a proven winner - sucker bet, already Bourbon Courage is a better horse than him.
John Veitch More than 1 year ago
Thanks J.L. - I own a little piece of Bourbon Courage.