Highly Regarded Carrumba Returns in $200,000 Top Flight Invitational
Category : News
Sat 02/04/2016 - 08:06 EDT
On Sunday at Aqueduct, the featured race is the $200,000 Top Flight Invitational Handicap. Restricted to fillies and mares, the Grade 3 race will be held at a mile and an eighth on the inner dirt track and has drawn a field of seven.
Carrumba tops the field as the morning line favorite at odds of 9-5 for trainer Claude McGaughey, III. A four-year-old daughter of Bernardini, she is a Phipps Stable homebred and has been on the board in all six starts. She is trying to earn her fourth career victory and has been on the bench since finishing second in her graded stakes debut in the Comely Stakes (G3) in November. Jose Ortiz will be in the irons and they will break from post position three.
Mei Ling already in solid form for the year
Second choice at morning line odds of 2-1 is Mei Ling for trainer Todd Pletcher. A five-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, she has been on the board in fourteen of her eighteen starts and is a four-time winner. She is trying to earn her first graded stakes victory and is coming out of a victory in the Heavenly Prize Invitational Stakes last time out. John Velazquez will be aboard and they will break from post position two.
America making first start of the year
Also in the field at morning line odds of 3-1 is America for trainer Bill Mott. A five-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy, she is a homebred for celebrity chef Bobby Flay and is a five time career winner. She earned her first graded stakes win last year and has been freshened since finishing fifth in the Go For Wand Handicap (G3). Irad Ortiz, Jr. will be aboard and they are scheduled to break from the outside post.
There will always be Kentucky Derby entrants that would be much better suited to skip the race entirely and find a better spot if not for the gusto of their well-meaning owners, but the Road to the Derby point qualifying system has been remarkably efficient at making the race more of a level-playing field since its inception four years ago.
On Saturday at Keeneland, the featured race is the $250,000 Dixiana Elkhorn Stakes. Scheduled to be run at one mile on the turf, the Grade 2 event has drawn a field of eight colts and geldings.
With a largely underwhelming, and thus far, slow, group of three year-olds set to contest the 2016 Kentucky Derby, logical handicappers searching for a pick outside of the undefeated and likely highly-favored Nyquist may have already begun the hand-wringing process.
On Friday at Oaklawn Park, the featured race is the $600,000 Apple Blossom Stakes. Restricted to fillies and mares, the Grade 1 event will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track and has drawn a field of six.