Led by Air Support and Great Mills, who were separated by a nose in their last start, a jam-packed field of 14 3-year-olds was drawn for the $200,000 American Turf Stakes (IIT) May 6 at Churchill Downs.
A 1 1/16-mile test, the American Turf is the fourth of five graded races on the card and comes immediately before the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). Post time is scheduled for 4:44 p.m. EDT.
Stuart Janney III’s homebred Air Support ran down Great Mills in the final jump to win the April 8 Transylvania (gr. IIIT) by a nose at Keeneland. It was the Smart Strike colt’s first start of the season after winning twice as a 2-year-old. Air Support finished ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Churchill in November.
Rajiv Maragh keeps the mount on co-high weight Air Support for trainer Shug McGaughey. They will break from post 13.
Millennium Farm’s Great Mills set the pace and nearly went wire-to-wire in the Transylvania, which was his graded stakes debut. The War Front
colt scored in his other two tries this season—both on the Fair Grounds turf—including the March 12 Grindstone Stakes. With Julien Leparoux assigned to ride for trainer Steve Asmussen, Great Mills will try to get the jump on the field from post 2.
Also carrying top weight of 121 pounds will be Class Racing Stable’s Surrey Star
, who invades from California for trainer Jim Cassidy. Irish-bred Surrey Star enters the race off a victory in the La Puente Stakes April 10 at Santa Anita. He bagged that victory by a half-length under Joe Talamo in his first start going nine furlongs.
Surrey Star, who will break from post 14 under Talamo, raced most of his juvenile campaign in England before shipping to the United States last fall. His first two starts this year were on dirt, including a fourth-place finish to The Factor in the San Vicente (gr. II).
Also shipping in from California is Jakesam
, the third-place finisher in the La Puente, who set the pace in his first start on turf. Runner-up in the California Derby and El Camino Real Derby (gr. III), Jakesam will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano for Jerry Hollendorfer.
Trainer John Terranova will saddle a pair, Tag V Eye
and Kippers n' Eggs
. Tag V Eye was third in a Keeneland allowance race last month and Kippers n’ Eggs, who won a claiming race at Gulfstream Park this winter, makes his first start for Terranova.
$200,000 American Turf (gr. IIT, Race 10, 4:44 p.m.), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Close Ally (KY), R Albarado, 117, N J Howard
2. Great Mills (KY), J R Leparoux, 117, S M Asmussen
3. Banned (KY), G K Gomez, 117, T F Proctor
4. Memen (IRE), K J Desormeaux, 117, J Lloyd
5. Kippers n' Eggs (FL), E S Prado, 117, J P Terranova, II
6. Smarter Than Ever (KY), J Theriot, 117, C Hanna
7. Man of Strife (LA), R Napravnik, 119, B S House
8. Jakesam (KY), R Bejarano, 117, J Hollendorfer
9. Cozy Kitten (KY), J Sanchez, 117, W A Ward
10. Swagger Jack (VA), J Graham, 117, D Miller
11. Tag V Eye (KY), J R Velazquez, 117, J P Terranova, II
12. Private Prize (KY), A Garcia, 117, K G McPeek
13. Air Support (KY), R Maragh, 121, C R McGaughey III
14. Surrey Star (IRE), J Talamo, 121, J M Cassidy