Trainer Jeff Mullins' classy Irish-bred River Boyne looms a standout versus 10 fellow sophomores in Wednesday's Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) at Santa Anita.
Most recently second, beaten a half length by French-bred star Raging Bull in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at a mile and one eighth on turf Dec. 1 at Del Mar, River Boyne has enjoyed a tremendous year, winning five of his eight starts while banking $571,718.
Beyond River Boyne, the Mathis Brothers Mile appears to be a wide open affair, with Todd Pletcher's Irish-bred Gidu, Jerry Hollendorfer's Choo Choo and Steve Asmussen's Combatant all rating big chances.
Owner: Red Baron's Barn, LLC & Rancho Temescal
Trainer: Jeff Mullins
Game in defeat, River Boyne wasn't quite able to hold off the late charge of Raging Bull in the Hollywood Derby. As he cuts back in distance a furlong, conditions would appear to be ideal, as River Boyne has two wins and a second from three tries at a mile on turf. A two-time graded stakes winner this year, River Boyne will be trying Grade I competition for the second time on Wednesday. With regular rider Flavien Prat engaged, River Boyne figures to be a short priced favorite as he seeks to improve an overall mark that reads 13-6-3-1, with earnings of $571,718.
Owner: Zayat Stables, LLC
Trainer: Todd Pletcher
Although seventh, beaten 3 ¾ lengths as the even money favorite in a one mile turf minor stakes at Gulfstream Park West Nov. 3, this Irish-bred colt by Frankel is a horse of considerable talent, evidenced by his good showing when fourth, beaten 1 ¾ lengths by Raging Bull over a yielding turf four starts back in the Grade II Hall of Fame Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 3. A winner of three out of his first five races, all on turf, he was then sent to Royal Ascot in England, where he ran a respectable sixth in the Group I Commonwealth Cup on June 22. Based in South Florida with Pletcher, he'll get the services of John Velazquez, who was aboard for all three of his wins, dating back to a minor stakes score at Belmont Park on May 26. With an overall mark of 10-3-2-0, Gidu is in search of his first graded stakes win.
Owner: Calumet Farm
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer
A much improved second in a restricted stakes at one mile on turf Nov. 10, Choo Choo makes his second start off an 11-month layoff and will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, as Flavien Prat sticks with River Boyne.
Owner: Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC & Willis Horton Racing, LLC
Trainer: Steve Asmussen
Winless from 10 starts this year, this Kentucky-bred colt by Scat Daddy will hope for a fast pace, as he closed significant ground in his most recent turf start, a one mile restricted stakes at Saratoga three starts back on Aug. 27. Most recently third, beaten 2 ¼ lengths on dirt in the Zia Park Derby on Nov. 21, Combatant get the services of top Eastern rider Jose Ortiz, who will be aboard for the first time.
THE GRADE II MATHIS BROTHERS MILE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 7 of 10
Approximate post time 2:30 p.m. PT
- Sejo—Irad Ortiz, Jr.—120
- Choo Choo—Joel Rosario—122
- Gidu—John Velazquez—122
- Hardboot—Angel Cruz—122
- River Boyne—Flavien Prat—124
- Combatant—Jose Ortiz—120
- Desert Stone—Geovanni Franco—120
- Fight On—Rafael Bejarano—120
- Gemonteer—Tyler Gaffalione—122
- Shivermetimbers—Mike Smith—120
- Snazzy Dresser—Edwin Maldonado—120
Special early first post time for a 10-race card on Wednesday is at 11:30 a.m. Admission gates open at 9 a.m. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com/live-racing or call (626) 574-RACE.
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