Turf War Set in $300,000 Muniz Handicap
Category : News
Thu 26/03/2015 - 19:51 EDT
The $300,000 Grade 2 Mervin Muniz Handicap March 28 at Fair Grounds starts an all-stakes late pick four and features an enticing group of older turf horses set to contest the mile and an eighth race on turf.
Coalport (3/1) is likely the controlling speed in the field of seven, but the Michael Maker trainee could feel the presence of Fair Grounds Handicap winner Chocolate Ride (5/1), who wired the field February 21 in his last start to earn the first stakes victory of his career. Coalport also won his last start in gate-to-wire fashion winning the Grade 3 Connally Cup January 24 at Sam Houston. The victory followed a nine week layoff for Coalport who shipped to Texas from Gulfstream Park and will follow the same routine shipping to New Orleans for the Muniz. Miguel Mena, who rode Coalport for the first time in the Connally, retains the mount with pair set to break from post seven.
Divine Oath in strong position
Divine Oath (5/2) returned from nearly a two month layoff to finish fifth in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes February 21 at Gulfstream. Trainer Todd Pletcher connects at a stellar 26% clip with runners making their second start following a layoff of 45-180 days, and shows a steady work tab at Palm Beach Downs. Divine Oath has won 5 of 10 career starts and will be ridden by Florent Geroux breaking from post four.
Slumber tries to capture graded win
Slumber (7/2) has been unlucky not to have recorded a graded stakes win, losing by a nose in his last start – the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap – and suffering a few close defeats against top company in 2014. Trained by Chad Brown, Slumber has won 4 of 18 career starts and shows a fast workout March 22 at Gulfstream in preparation for the Muniz.
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.