Battle of Hastings Favored in Mervin Muniz
Photo: Coady Photography
Battle of Hastings is the morning-line favorite in the Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap.

Battle of Hastings will play the role of the morning-line favorite in the $400,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) March 26 at Fair Grounds.

The 5-year-old English-bred gelding was named the 5-2 choice in a field of nine despite a fourth-place finish in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) on Feb. 5. Mike House’s Battle of Hastings is a four-time graded stakes winner with earnings of more than $1.3 million from 24 starts. His last win came in the River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) in November at Churchill Downs.
Robby Albarado will be aboard the Greg Fox trainee, who will carry top weight of 121 pounds.
The nine-furlong Mervin Muniz also drew Smart Bid (4-1), who missed by a nose in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap and has hit the board in both starts this season while finishing ahead of Battle of Hastings. Augustin Stable’s Smart Bid, with Edgar Prado named to ride, seeks his first graded stakes win.
Working for Hops (6-1), who won the Grindstone Stakes over this course last year and was a good fourth last out in the Feb. 19 Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT), is also back, as are Expansion (8-1) and Sleepless Knight (6-1), who were separated by a head in the latter. Expansion was a 32-1 upset winner over Sleepless Knight, the 3-1 favorite.

$400,000 Mervin Muniz Memorial (gr. IIT, Race 9, 4:29 p.m.), 4 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Southern Anthem (KY), J Graham, 114, J D Thornbury, 15/1
2. Sleepless Knight (KY), J Bravo, 115, K J Breen, 6/1
3. Smart Bid (PA), E S Prado, 118, H G Motion 4/1
4. Expansion (KY), G Melancon, 117, S M Asmussen, 8/1
5. Workin for Hops (KY), A R Napravnik, 116, M Stidham, 6/1
6. Battle of Hastings (GB), R Albarado, 121, G Fox, 5/2
7. Giant's Tomb (ON), C J Lanerie, 114, M R Frostad, 12/1
8. Joinem (KY), S Bridgmohan, 113, D M Carroll, 8/1
9. Moryba (BRZ), K J Desormeaux, 119, W I Mott, 5/1

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