05/16/2012 11:59AM

Churchill Downs: Southern Parkway looks to break through first allowance condition on turf


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – When Southern Parkway stylishly won a maiden race in his third race last fall at Keeneland, he looked like a horse with the potential to win a stakes race. However, six months later no stakes wins have followed, neither has even a single allowance victory – but at least that could change if the horse runs to expectations in Friday’s 10th race at Churchill Downs, a $55,300, first-level allowance for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

After facing challenging competition in four races since his maiden score last fall, he appears to have caught a field he can beat. And there is nothing wrong with his form this year.

He began the year with a runner-up finish at Gulfstream Park on March 11, and then returned with a third at Keeneland on April 13, finishing 2 3/4 lengths behind Coalport, a graded stakes-placed colt, after losing ground when hung three to four wide throughout.

Validating the quality of that race, the runner-up, Film Shot, returned to win an allowance race at Churchill Downs by 2 1/2 lengths May 3.

While acknowledging Southern Parkway’s good efforts in defeat, trainer Rusty Arnold feels it’s time his horse picks up his second victory.

“He needs to step up and get through this,” he said.

Jesus Castanon rides Southern Parkway, a 3-year-old gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid owned by Ashbrook Farm.

Burn the Mortgage looms his chief adversary, coming off a runner-up finish in the OBS Championship Stakes in Ocala, Fla., on that training center’s synthetic Safetrack surface. Breaking from post 11, he ran well in defeat, but was upset by first-time starter Crafty Unicorn.

Crafty Unicorn subsequently ran a distant third in the Sophomore Turf Stakes at Tampa on April 7.

Burn the Mortgage, a son of Kitten’s Joy, is no stranger to the turf himself. He beat Southern Parkway last August when the two ran in a maiden race on yielding turf at Arlington, and this February, he won a rich optional claiming race on the grass at Tampa. Miguel Mena rides for trainer Wayne Catalano.

Other contenders include recent maiden winners Vindication Now and Towner, as well as Atlantic Titan, an easy winner of a $40,000 nonwinners-of-two claimer on the Polytrack at Keeneland on April 22.

Friday’s 11-race card begins with a late-afternoon post of 2:45 p.m. Eastern, with the last race scheduled to go off at 7:54.