04/28/2014 11:46AM

Normandy Invasion gets green light for Alysheba

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Barbara D. Livingston
Normandy Invasion will return to Churchill Downs, where he was fourth in last year's Kentucky Derby, for the Alysheba Stakes on Friday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – One year after finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby, Normandy Invasion will return to Churchill Downs to take on a strong field that includes Eclipse Award winner Will Take Charge in Friday’s Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes.

Trainer Chad Brown decided to send Normandy Invasion to Louisville on Sunday, shortly after he breezed four furlongs in 48.35 seconds at Belmont Park. Normandy Invasion had worked a bullet five-eighths in 59.03 eight days earlier.

“The horse is really training well, and I like the timing of the race,” Brown said. “He showed he liked Churchill Downs when he trained there for two weeks last year, and he certainly ran well in the Derby.”

Normandy Invasion was beaten 3 1/2 lengths by Orb in the 2013 Kentucky Derby after making a strong middle move and sweeping to the lead nearing the stretch. Normandy Invasion did not start again until defeating optional-claiming company at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22, setting a one-mile course record in the process. In his most recent start, Normandy Invasion was second-best behind Palace Malice in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap.

“The choices were to run him in the Westchester for a lot less money against Palace Malice or bring him here for the Alysheba,” said Brown, who trains Normandy Invasion for Rick Porter’s Fox Hill Farm Inc.

Along with Normandy Invasion and Will Take Charge, the field for the 1 1/16-mile Alysheba figures to include Appealing Tale, Bradester, Dynamic Sky, Golden Ticket, and Moonshine Mullin.

Normandy Invasion was scheduled to fly to Louisville on Monday.