Cot Campbell is wagering – literally – that the third time will be the charm for Aikenite in the Breeders’ Cup.
The Dogwood Stable colt is entered in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and Campbell stands to pocket a little extra cash if Aikenite wins the race.
The Dogwood Stable president made a $5,000 bet earlier this year that a Dogwood horse would win a Breeders’ Cup race. He got 10-1 odds at Lucky’s Race & Sports Book at the Grand Sierra Casino in Reno, Nev.
Since Aikenite is the only Dogwood horse entered in this weekend’s races, Campbell hopes the 4-year-old will fare better than his two previous appearances in the Breeders’ Cup. As a 2-year-old, Aikenite came in fifth in the Juvenile. Last year, he finished eighth in the Dirt Mile.
“That would be fun to win that damn thing. I’d get the biggest kick out of it,” Campbell said with a laugh. “It was not a wise thing to do at the time, but my whole career has been predicated on not doing the wise thing.”
Campbell has had a penchant for rolling the dice and coming up a winner before. In Saturday’s race, Aikenite is listed at 8-1 odds and will break from the No. 3 position in the field of nine. Regular jockey John Velazquez had a previous commitment, so Javier Castellano will take Aikenite’s reins.
“His tactic is to lay back and make his move on the outside, which costs us a lot of ground,” Campbell said. “I love horses who come from out of it. You know they’re coming. It’s a little inconvenient that he has to be on the outside.”
Aikenite has had a solid campaign as a 4-year-old. He won a pair of Grade 2 stakes in the spring, and his worst showing in seven races is fifth.
In his last outing, the Phoenix at Keeneland on Oct. 7, Aikenite finished second by a nose to Hoofit. The winner took the rail, while Aikenite moved outside and had to cover a lot more ground.
“He lost by two inches the other day, and it was proven he went an extra 35 feet,” Campbell said. “I think he was the best horse in race, the other horse came on the rail.”
Aikenite will return to Aiken for a vacation after the Breeders’ Cup, and Campbell said he will prepare him to campaign as a 5-year-old. The colt has earned $776,635 in 22 lifetime starts with five wins, four seconds and three thirds.
“I think he’s got a good shot,” Campbell said of Saturday’s race. “If they set a blistering pace and he doesn’t have bad luck, he could get a big piece of it.”