Eight horses, evenly divided between locals and shippers, passed the entry box Tuesday for Saturday's $200,000 National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) for 4-year-olds and up a 1 1/8 miles at Sportsman's Park. Defending champion Chicago Six looks to regain his stature as the best among the locals while Ubiquity is the most prominent of the invaders.
A 7-year-old son of Wild Again, Richard E. Trebat's Chicago Six comes into the NJC Handicap off an uncharacteristic fifth-place finish in the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap here March 30, six days after finishing a fast-closing second to Mc Mahon in the $100,000 Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup Handicap. Last year, the Jere Smith Sr.-trained horse won three stakes, topped by the NJC Handicap, in less than a one-month timespan. Chicago Six will be the starting highweight Saturday, carrying 117 pounds including his regular jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr.
Gary and Mary West's Ubiquity, a graded stakes winner with earnings nearing $400,000, returns to action after finishing 13th to stablemate Mongoose in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park in his seasonal debut. Last fall, the Bill Mott-trained son of Colonial Affair pulled off a 19-1 upset in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Now trained by H. James Bond, Ubiquity has been assigned 115 pounds for the NJC and will be ridden by Mike McCarthy.
Boyce and Ruffolo's Mc Mahon is trying to accomplish the same Sportsman's Park Breeders' Cup Handicap -- National Jockey Club Handicap sweep Chicago Six pulled off one year ago. In the Sportsman's BC, the Michele Boyce-trained son of Salt Lake wired his foes and held off the late run of Chicago Six to win by a neck. Last Sunday when prepping for the NJC, McMahon drilled seven furlongs in 1:23 4/5 under jockey Larry Sterling Jr.. Serling fills in for the injured Randall Meier.
Peter Crane's Hail the Chief, trained by Niall O'Callaghan, invades off a solid second-place finish to Macho Uno in a allowance race at Gulfstream Park in March after winning a similar race there one month earlier. Jorge Chavez will come in to ride the son of Be My Chief.
Yoshito Fujita's E Z Glory makes a second foray to Chicago after running second to Frazee's Folly last time out in a tough allowance race at Keeneland on April 7. Last year, the son of Cox's Ridge was four for eight with three second-place finishes including a victory in a third-level allowance at Arlington Park in his previous trip to Illinois. Calvin Borel has the mount aboard the Carl Bowman trainee.
Completing the field for the National Jockey Club Handicap (with jockey listed) are: C. Galli's Deferred Comp (Brian Peck), fifth in the Creme Fraiche Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park in March; and the locally based Apalachee Special (Eusebio Razo Jr.) and Bandana (E. T. Baird).