Sunriver will be stretching out from one turn to two when he makes his second start of 2007 in the William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III) at Pimlico on Saturday. The Schaefer will be the last undercard race before the 132nd running of the Preakness Stakes (gr. I).
Sunriver enters the Schaefer Handicap off an allowance/optional claiming race at Aqueduct April 19. The 4-year-old son of Saint Ballado finished a non-threatening third behind the undefeated gr. III winner Diamond Stripes in the one-turn mile affair after being bumped at the start. The Schaefer will be Sunriver’s first start against older stakes horses.
Sunriver won the Peter Pan (gr. II) at Belmont last year before finishing third behind Jazil and Bluegrass Cat in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I). Sunriver went to the sidelines following his sixth-place finish behind Bernardini in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Sunriver was bred in Kentucky by his owners Aaron U. and Marie D. Jones. He is out of the Mari's Book mare Goulash and is a full brother to two-time champion Ashado.
Eight opponents will face Sunriver in the Schaefer. There are two other stakes winners in the field and four others with stakes-placings to their credit.
Hesanoldsalt captured the Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder in 2006. The 4-year-old son of Broad Brush finished second to Corinthian in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. II) in his last start. Two back, Hesanoldsalt finished second to champion Invasor in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream.
Two Sixty Four won the Alex M. Robb Handicap for New York-breds at Aqueduct in December 2005. The six-year-old gelded son of Dance Brightly did not return to the races off his Robb win until Jan. 31. The Schaefer will be his fourth start off the layoff and the first for trainer Timothy Keefe.
Like Sunriver, Flashy Bull will be facing older stakes horses for the first time. Flashy Bull’s last stakes try came in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park back in July. The 4-year-old son of Holy Bull has placed in three graded stakes in his career.
Smelling Salts will receive a stern test as he jumps into the Schaefer from allowance company off of three straight wins this year. Smelling Salts has vastly improved since is second career start. He broke his maiden under a hand ride at Santa Anita for a claiming price of $40,000 before winning a starter allowance race, also at Santa Anita.
Smelling Salts was then transferred from the barn of Jeff Mullins to Laura Dennis following a private sale. The 4-year-old gelded son of Two Punch dominated in his first start for Dennis, winning an entry-level allowance race by 11 lengths at Delaware Park. The Schaefer will be Smelling Salts’ second start for Dennis and owner P.T.K. and the sixth start of his career.
William Donald Schaefer Handicap (gr. III), $100,000, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles, approximate post 6:15 p.m.
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1 Ryan’s For Real, 114, Ramon Dominguez
2 Two Sixty Four, 112, Ryan Fogelsonger
3 Take the Bluff, 112, Garrett Gomez
4 Urban Conquest, 111, Horacio Karamanos
5 Smelling Salts, 109, Mario Pino
6 Belongs to Joe, 112, Joseph Rocco
7 Hesanoldsalt, 117, Edgar Prado
8 Sunriver, 117, John Velazquez
9 Flashy Bull, 114, Alan Garcia
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