Michael Bruder’s Guys Reward, a
two-time stakes winner on the Matt Winn Turf Course, will seek his sixth
win on the grass at Churchill Downs in Sunday’s $100,000-added River
City Handicap (Grade III).
A victory in the River City would make the Dale Romans-trained Guys Reward the first horse to complete the Firecracker Handicap (GII)-River City double in the same year.
Following his win in the Firecracker, Guys Reward was shipped to Saratoga and finished fourth in the Fourstardave (GII) behind Wise Dan and fourth behind Dominus in the Bernard Baruch (GII). In his most recent start, he was seventh behind Newsdad in the Fayette (GII) on the Polytrack at Keeneland.
“I don’t know (if he didn’t like the Polytrack),” Romans said. “The race just really didn’t set up for him.”
A 5-year-old dark bay or brown son of Grand Reward, Guys Reward will carry 118 pounds and be ridden by Corey Lanerie from post seven in the 12-horse field.
“He’s been training well coming up to this race and he loves it here,” Romans said.
When asked how special a River City win would be to cap off the
biggest year of his career, Romans grinned and said, “What, you don’t
think we’re going to win anything in December?”