Top Field for Royal Chase at Keeneland

Six steeplechase grade I winners head the field for the richest jump race of the spring season, Friday's $159,000 Royal Chase (NSA-I) at Keeneland.

The race lured eight entries, all of them threats to win the 2 1/2 mile closing day feature.

Despite making his first hurdle start in almost a year Augustin Stable's Praise The Prince, a multiple stakes winner with $386,342 in career jump earnings, was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite. The New Zealand-bred, trained by Sanna Hendriks, won two-thirds of the Steeplechase Triple Crown in 2001 and led all steeplechasers in earnings that season. Last year, he won a Grade II and finished second in the May 11 Iroquois (NSA-I) before going to the sidelines with a minor ankle injury.

"He's been an extremely sound horse his whole career, so I stopped right then," Hendriks said. "If it was another horse whose legs filled up now and again I might have kept going. Hopefully, I gave him enough time."

Praise The Prince, who won a training flat race on April 12 at Colonial Downs, gets a new jockey in 2002 champion David Bentley.

Hendriks also trains the race's second choice, Mike Moran's Mcdynamo.

The field (with owner, trainer, jockey, morning line) in post position
order:
1. Mcdynamo (Mike Moran, Sanna Hendriks, Craig Thornton, 3-1).
2. Quel Senor (Coppertree Farm, Tom Voss, Cyril Murphy, 10-1).
3. Shamrock Isle (Edie Dixon, Jack Fisher, Gus Brown, 8-1).
4. Praise The Prince (Augustin Stable, Sanna Hendriks, David Bentley, 9-5).
5. All Gong (Calvin Houghland, Bruce Miller, Chip Miller, 6-1).
6. Anofferucantrefuse (Fox Ridge Farm, Tom Voss, Arch Kingsley, 15-1).
7. Turkish Corner (Kay Jeffords, Bruce Miller, Robbie Walsh, 20-1).
8. Al Skywalker (Michael Watt, Jennifer Majette, Tom Foley, 4-1).
All starters carry 158 pounds.

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