Brad Cox doesn’t feel a rail draw will compromise the hopes of Warrior’s Charge in Saturday’s Grade 3 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs.
The four-year-old son of Munnings is drawn on the running rail inside his 12 rivals for the $100,000 contest and his trainer expects he will be able to go forward and show himself well from that berth.
Warrior’s Charge is already a dual winner in Grade 3 company this calendar year, with in the $500,000 Razorback at Oaklawn and, most recently, in the $200,000 Philip Iselin at Monmouth Park.
In that most recent score, he was handed the race on appeal having finished behind Pirate’s Punch, though the latter was deemed to have caused sufficient interference to Pascario Lopez’s mount to see the result turned over.
Grant Forster’s charge has since gone on to win the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park and that form indicates to Cox that Warrior’s Charge is on the right track, despite what is not an ideal draw.
“With drawing inside I’d expect him to be forward into the race,” trainer Cox said of the Ack Ack. “I thought he ran a solid effort in the (Philip Iselin) behind Pirate’s Punch. That horse came back to win again at Monmouth this past weekend. He’s a really nice horse, too.”
Warrior’s Charge is no stranger to making the running. He’s done so in seven of his last eight starts, with the only exception being in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap back in July when he had a barging match with Mr Freeze exiting the starting gates and forfeited some early momentum.
A positive outcome for Warrior’s Charge here could cement his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland on November 7th.
Warrior’s Charge is already a five-time winner for Cox and is set to tackle a dozen rivals in Saturday’s race at Churchill Downs.
Amongst them are last-time-out winners Ebben for trainer Steve Margolis and Bourbon Calling for the Ian Wilkes team. The likes of Thirstforlife, Dinar, Home Base and Pioneer Spirit also arrive in good tune following promising runs.
With three wins on the bounce, Ebben is coming into this race in fine tune and gets on well with Corey Lanerie, who has four wins in nine starts on his back.
“He just really likes the Churchill track and the one-turn distance,” said Margolis. “He wants to run a little more than three quarters. He is just happy now and doing good.
“(Corey) has a good rapport with him. He just kind of lets him run his race.”