06/01/2013 2:44PM

Churchill Downs: Scatman grabs first stakes win in Aristides

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Scatman wins the the Grade 3, $106,800 Aristides by a neck over Jasizzle.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Scatman inspired considerable hope in the Hall of Fame barn of Bill Mott last fall in Kentucky, but the colt and his form went south – literally and figuratively – over the winter.

Back to his Kentucky-loving self, Scatman wore down Jasizzle in the final furlong Saturday for his first career stakes victory in the 25th running of the Grade 3, $106,800 Aristides over a sloppy Churchill Downs track.

Owned by the JEOG Racing of Jim and Ellen O’Grady, Scatman returned $9 as fourth choice in a field of five older horses after finishing the six-furlong distance in 1:10.56. Shaun Bridgmohan, the leading rider at the Churchill spring meet, was aboard.

“I can’t really explain it,” said Kenny McCarthy, the locally based assistant to Mott. “The owner said the horse just hated Florida. He trained well there but ran bad. He trained great once he got back here, too. I’m just glad to see him run like that.”

Rothko, the defending Aristides champion and 8-5 favorite, dueled on the lead with Jasizzle for most of the journey before fading down the stretch, leaving the race to Jasizzle and the oncoming Scatman. Jasizzle, with Robby Albarado up, finished a neck behind the winner, with Rothko another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Good Lord and St. Maximus Gato completed the order.

Scatman, a bay colt by Scat Daddy, began his career under the care of Mike Lauer, finishing second in the Southwest and third in the Rebel early last year at Oaklawn Park, briefly sparking talk of a classics campaign.

But after two poor finishes in the Blue Grass and American Turf and a subsequent layoff, the colt was sent to Mott last fall and now has won three races for his new conditioner, with the previous two being allowances at Keeneland and Churchill. McCarthy said he was unsure what the next race would be for Scatman.

Interestingly, both the $2 exacta (2-5) and the $1 trifecta (2-5-1) returned $30.80.

* Rain forced what shaped up as an exciting renewal of the Opening Verse overnight stakes off the turf and onto the main track Saturday, reducing the field from seven to four and substantially diminishing its significance. Turallure, Keep Up, and Corporate Jungle were the scratches from a race carded as the 10 of 11.