Updated on 09/16/2011 9:42AM

Pisces looks to win without help

Shown winning the Fourstardave Handicap at Saratoga last year, Dr. Kashnikow will try to defend his River City title at Churchill on Sunday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The last time Pisces raced at Churchill Downs, he may have become one of the most overlooked winners in stakes history at this track.

That's because Pisces was "kissed in" to a dead-heat win in a highly adventurous running of the Louisville Handicap in June. Pisces was declared a co-winner of the race with Classic Par after they dead-heated for second behind longshot Two Point Two Mill, who was disqualified from first for causing a rival to nearly fall in the stretch run.

"There was all kinds of stuff going on with that race," said Ken McPeek, trainer of Pisces. "It was all really odd. When it was all over, I guess [it was] easy for people to forget who actually won."

On Sunday, however, Pisces can leave a far more lasting impression by in the $150,000 River City Handicap. As one of 12 older horses entered in the 1 1/8-mile River City, Pisces appears to have as good a chance as any in a very well-matched field. The range of weight assignments reflect the competitiveness of the race, with Moon Solitaire the 117-pound highweight and only three other horses to carry fewer than 113 pounds.

McPeek, whose stable has had a blockbuster year with horses such as Take Charge Lady, Sarava, and Repent, said the chances of Pisces winning the Grade 3 River City probably would have improved if persistent rain hadn't been forecast for much of this weekend.

"The last two races he's hooked soft turf, and the chances of it being soft again Sunday doesn't really thrill me," McPeek said. "But he's a nice horse who's capable of running real well, regardless."

Shane Sellers, who is seeking his first stakes win since his return to riding last month, has the mount on Pisces, a 5-year-old son of Prized horse owned by the Diamond C Stable of Gary Shapiro of Boca Raton, Fla. Pisces will start from post 2 and carry 115 pounds.

Moon Solitaire, with Pat Day up, drew the far outside post. A 5-year-old Irish-bred trained by Henry Cochran, Moon Solitaire has posted triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures in each of his last four starts.

Defending River City champion Dr. Kashnikow and former Brazilian champion Roxinho are other logical contenders in the 25th running of the River City.

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