Constitution winning the Florida Derby at Gulfstream
PICTURE: Getty Images
Preview: USA, Friday 10.35pm GMT (live on ATR)
Churchill Downs: Clark Hcap (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+
THREE-YEAR-OLDS filled the first six places in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and the Classic generation may well maintain its superiority in the Clark, where Florida Derby winner Constitution (Todd Pletcher/Javier Castellano) is the sole previous Grade 1 winner in evidence.
A son of super sire Tapit, Constitution was knocked off the Triple Crown trail with a hairline fracture of his off-fore cannonbone; he was fourth behind Clark rival Easter Gift (Chad Brown/Joel Rosario) in an allowance race at Belmont on last month’s comeback outing.
Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity (Bob Baffert/Martin Garcia) was second in an allowance race after a six-month layoff following surgery on an ankle chip that ruled him out of the Kentucky Derby on the eve of the race.
He breaks from the rail in a $500,000 event where Protonico (Todd Pletcher/Joe Bravo) offers a third line to the three-year-old attack after winning the Discovery Handicap last time at Aqueduct.
As well as last year’s third Easter Gift, the half-dozen older horses also include joint-topweights Departing (Al Stall/Robby Albarado), still searching for his Grade 1 breakthrough after several top efforts in lesser grade, and Pick Of The Litter (Dale Romans/Corey Lanerie), who beat Departing in the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland last time out.
Ladbrokes: 11-4 Constitution, 7-2 Hoppertunity, 9-2 Departing, 6 Easter Gift, 7 Pick Of The Litter, 8 Protonico, 12 Prayer For Relief, 33 Knights Nation, 50 Looking Cool
Also on Friday
Del Mar: Seabiscuit Hcap (Grade 2) 1m1/2f, turf, 3yo+ (11.30pm GMT)
A race full of graded-stakes winners, the Seabiscuit replaces what used to be the Citation Handicap when it was run at former venue Hollywood Park.
Off-the-pace runner Tom’s Tribute (Jim Cassidy/Mike Smith), seventh in last month’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, shoulders topweight after winning the Eddie Read and the Del Mar Mile on his last two starts at this venue.
Kaigun (Mark Casse/Corey Nakatani) finished close behind Wise Dan and Trade Storm earlier this year but seems to have lost his way since and could finish only tenth in the Breeders’ Cup.
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