06/13/2013 4:21PM

Indiana Downs: A Diehl, Frontside return to defend titles in turf stakes


Defending champions A Diehl and Frontside return to Indiana Downs on Saturday looking to regain their best form in a pair of $100,000, one-mile turf stakes on a card topped by the $200,000 Centaur.

The 8-year-old A Diehl will be looking to defend his title in the J. Kenneth Self Shelby County Boys and Girls Club, which goes as the fifth race Saturday.

Trained by Rusty Arnold, A Diehl won twice in 2012, both on the turf at Indiana Downs. He won an allowance and then the 2012 running of the Self last June 20.

This season, A Diehl finished fifth, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths, in an allowance at Keeneland on April 14, then finished third in the local prep for this stakes on May 21 going 7 1/2 furlongs.

Neither of the first two finishers from the prep is entered in Saturday’s eight-horse field of older horses.

Night Party finished second in this stakes last season to A Diehl during a campaign in which he went 4 for 12. Trained by Pat Huffman, Night Party is winless in four starts this year, but three of those races were graded stakes. His best finish was a second April 5 at Keeneland in an optional $100,000 claiming event. Shane Sellers retains the mount

Derby Kitten will be looking for his second consecutive win for trainer Mike Maker. In his last out May 1, he won a $50,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs going a mile. Malcom Franklin will ride.

In race 4, Frontside looks for a repeat performance in the The Girls Inc of Shelbyville, Shelby County.

Trained by Ed Caramori, Frontside led from start to finish in 2012 in this event and went to on to win the $100,000 West Virginia Presidents Cup at Mountaineer in her next out.

This season, the 5-year-old Frontside is winless in three starts, setting the pace and fading each time.

On Jan. 5, she finished fifth in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River at Gulfstream Park. In her next start March 16, Frontside finished third in the Grade 2 Honey Fox, beaten only two lengths. In her most recent out, she finished sixth in the Grade 2 Distaff Mile at Churchill Downs on May 4. Marlon St. Julien will ride.

Artemus Kitten, part of a coupled entry with Time Zone, has won three turf stakes over the past two seasons, including the Jersey Lily at Sam Houston in March.

The 12-horse field of older fillies and mares also includes Kune Kune, who returns to turf, where she is 3 for 8, following a troubled trip on Polytrack in the Grade 1 Madison, and Closing Range, winner of the Grade 3 La Prevoyante last fall. She cuts back sharply in distance after going 1 3/8 miles and 1 1/2 miles in her last two starts at the Grade 3 level.