Avanzado's Trainer Hopes for Hong Kong Invite

Trainer Doug O'Neill would like an invitation to the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin Racecourse for his Forest Hills Handicap (gr. II) winner, Avanzado.

"That's the hope," O'Neill said. "We put our name in the hat and now we've got to wait for an official invitation. The race is Dec. 15 and it's a five-eighths straightaway on the turf. It's worth $730,000 to the winner, with a total purse $1.2 million."

Tyler Baze, riding his first race in New York in the Forest Hills, was lucky to stay aboard Avanzado after the Argentine-bred appeared to take a bad step nearing the wire.

"Two days before the race he propped like that," O'Neill said. "The day before, we took him to the track with a pony to play it safe. But before that, he never did anything like that. I think Tyler's right foot actually came out of the irons (after they crossed the finish line) and was halfway over his back. I haven't seen films of the race, but watching it live was scary."

Agent Ivan Puhich said Baze already has obtained his passport in anticipation of making the trip to ride Avanzado in the Orient.