Fort Larned Entered in Homecoming
Category : News
Mon 23/09/2013 - 20:23 EDT
After being scratched from the Woodward Stakes in late August with a minor injury, 2012 Breeders’ Cup Classic champion Fort Larned will be back on the track this Saturday in Churchill, taking on six others in the first running of the $175,000 Homecoming Classic. The race will be run at 1 1/8 miles on the dirt, and will be the feature of Saturday’s ‘Downs After Dark’ card at Churchill. It will be Fort Larned’s final start before he tries to defend his BC title at Santa Anita on November 2.
Classic winner having trouble finding consistency
Since his dramatic wire-to-wire win in the Classic, Fort Larned has had mixed results. He stumbled and lost the rider first time out this year in the Gulfstream Park Handicap, and then finished fifth in the Grade II Oaklawn Handicap. Next time out, he went unchallenged on the lead and cruised to a convincing 6 ½ length win in the Grade I Stephen Foster. Following that in the Grade I Whitney he tried sitting off the pace and only managed a mild bid before fading to fifth. So which Fort Larned will show up in the Homecoming is an open question.
Golden Ticket and Prayer for Relief in good form
His toughest challenge will likely come from his rival in the Foster, Golden Ticket, who finished second in that one. Although two of his three wins this year have come in allowance optional company, he has a second, a third and a fourth in graded-stakes races in 2013. Also looking to score the upset is Prayer for Relief, who has won two stakes in a row, including the Grade III Prairie Meadows Cornhusker Handicap, and who has been first or second in all four starts in 2013. Pool Play, Windswept, Worldly and Agent Di Nozzo round out the Homecoming field.
One of the most historic - and controversial - editions of the Kentucky Derby is in the books and the next leg of the US Triple Crown moves to Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course for the running of the Preakness Stakes. The 1 3/16 test over the Pimlico dirt track is drawing a wide-open field of three-year-old thoroughbreds gunning for the $1.5 million purse.
Led to the gate by pre-race morning line favorite Omaha Beach, a full field of 20 are set to line up for the 145th Kentucky Derby on late Saturday afternoon. They're running for a total purse of $3 million on the 1 1/4 mile Churchill dirt course and making their bid to follow 2018 winner Justify as Triple Crown champions.
The $100,000 Grade 3 Bashford Manor Stakes July 2 at Churchill Downs features a field of nine up-and-coming two year olds in a race that may be as confusing as it is competitive.
With the Grade 1, $500,000 Stephen Foster the centerpiece of a stellar Downs After Dark racing card June 18 at Churchill Downs, the expected field of seven older runners presents an interesting handicapping puzzle.