Gladding will carry top weight of 117 pounds among rivals Friday in an evenly matched Grade III Ack Ack Handicap. The seven entries are separated in the morning line from 3-1 to 6-1.
Trained by John Sadler, Gladding has not started since finishing second in the Grade III Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in April. He won the Grade II San Antonio Handicap at Santa Anita back in February.
A 4-year-old son of 2002 Belmont Stakes winner Sarava, Gladding has put in a steady stream of works at Santa Anita with the most recent being Saturday, a seven-furlong move in 1:25.60. Rafael Bejarano has the call on Gladding, who will break from post position three.
Among the horses carrying 116 pounds is Demarcation, winner of the 2009 Ack Ack and runner-up in last year’s race to Apart. Joel Rosario has the mount on Demarcation.
The field for the Ack Ack, with morning line:
1. Nacho Friend (Garrett Gomez, 115 pounds) 5-1
2. Alma d’Oro (John Velazquez, 116) 3-1
3. Gladding (Bejarano, 117) 4-1
4. Mister Marti Gras (Julien Leparoux, 116) 4-1
5. Glenwood Canyon (Robby Albarado, 116) 6-1
6. Demarcation (Rosario, 116) 9-2
7. Equestrio (Corey Nakatani, 115) 5-1
The $100,000 Ack Ack, run at 1 1/16 mile on the main track for 3-year-olds and up, will be the third race on Friday’s 10-race card that features six Breeders’ Cup World Championship races. The Ack Ack is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. ET with first post time on the card at 2:00 p.m.
The race after the Ack Ack will be the second running of the $85,000-added The Jimmy V “Don’t Give Up … Don’t Ever Give Up” overnight stakes for 3-year-olds going six furlongs on the main track. Post time is 3:30 p.m.
Wine Police, winner of the Distorted Humor in September at Saratoga and third in the Grade I Hopeful last year, heads a field of 11 with a 4-1 morning line. Julien Leparoux has the mount on Wine Police.
The field for the Jimmy V, from the rail out:
1. Will’s Wildcat (Calvin Borel, 118 pounds) 12-1
2. Uncle Brent (Kent Desormeaux, 118) 6-1
3. Matthewsburg (Mike Smith, 123) 8-1
4. Cornpiper (Corey Nakatani, 118) 5-1
5. Southern Dude (Jesus Castanon, 118) 6-1
6. Free Entry (Rafael Bejarano, 118) 15-1
7. Derivative (Jon Court, 118) 8-1
8. Artefacto (Fernando Jara, 118) 8-1
9. Doinmysongndance (Jamie Theriot, 118) 15-1
10. Fast Bullet (Martin Garcia, 118) 5-1
11. Wine Police (Leparoux, 118) 4-1
--Edited Churchill Downs release with additional content by Dick Downey