11/08/2017 10:06AM

Ward back at it with two contenders


LOUISVILLE, Ky. – If two horses are better than one, Wesley Ward might just have a shot in the Friday feature at Churchill Downs. Ward will send out the uncoupled entry of Mo Knows and Celestial Insight in the third and richest of three allowances on a 10-race card that starts at the usual 1 p.m. Eastern.

Ward has returned east from a disappointing Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar, where his stable star Lady Aurelia was 10th as an odds-on favorite in the BC Turf Sprint. His stable remains divided primarily between Florida and Kentucky.

“I always say it’s a humbling game, and that proved my point,” Ward said. “It was disappointing, but we’ll all live to fight another day.”

Overnight temperatures in the Louisville region were expected to dip just below the freezing mark before Friday dawned, and the daytime high is forecast to reach only 43 – but on the heels of a few straight days of sunshine, both races scheduled for turf Friday were expected to remain as scheduled. That includes the ninth race, in which Ward has Mo Knows and Celestial Insight ready to take on likely favorite Browse, a sharp winner over the Keeneland turf last month.

In all, 14 fillies and mares are entered in the $68,000 third-level allowance that includes an $80,000 claiming option, but only as many as 10 can start. Browse, a Phipps Stable homebred trained by Shug McGaughey, drew post 2 with Robby Albarado riding in the one-mile race. She will be a tough customer with something close to her Oct. 18 victory, which resulted in a career-high 90 Beyer Speed Figure.

Mo Knows (post 5, Ricardo Santana Jr.) and Celestial Insight (post 9, Julien Leparoux) both are winless in more than a year but have been competitive at this condition. Both exit an Oct. 13 race contested under similar conditions over the Keeneland turf, with Celestial Insight finishing second at 12-1 and Mo Knows failing to fire when seventh at 6-1.

“They both fit this spot with their best,” Ward said.

The two other Friday allowances both are $62,000 first-level races. Race 5, the only other turf race of the day, drew a field of just seven (plus one for the main track only) at five furlongs, while race 8 drew eight 2-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles on the main track.