Re­vamped Con­nally at­tracts dozen qual­ity turf run­ners

Daily Racing Form National Digital Edition - - News - By Mary Ram­pellini – ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Brad Free

Sam Hous­ton length­ened the dis­tance of the Grade 3, $200,000 John B. Con­nally Turf Cup to 1 1/2 miles for Satur­day night’s run­ning, and the re­ward has been a full field of 12 older horses, in­clud­ing Breed­ers’ Cup Turf starter Da Big Hoss, mul­ti­ple Grade 2 win­ner Kai­gun, and South­ern Cal­i­for­nia ship­pers Big John B and Go­ing Some­where.

The Con­nally is one of four stakes on the card. The pro­gram is an­chored by the Grade 3, $400,000 Hous­ton Ladies Clas­sic, the rich­est Thor­ough­bred race in Texas. The stakes will be linked by a pick four that runs on races 6 through 9 and has a min­i­mum guar­an­teed pool of $100,000. The 50-cent­min­i­mum wa­ger will fea­ture a re­duced take­out of 12 per­cent.

The Con­nally, which had pre­vi­ously been run at 1 1/8 miles, also drew an ac­com­plished pair of 4-year-olds in

Mo­bile Bay, the win­ner of last year’s Grade 2 Su­per Derby, and Bullards Al­ley, who in his last start cap­tured the Wood­chop­per at Fair Grounds.

Else­where on the un­der­card, March­man will make his first start since the Breed­ers’ Cup Turf Sprint in the $75,000 Fron­tier Util­i­ties Turf Sprint at five fur­longs.

March­man was a Grade 3 win­ner at the trip in the Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs in 2014. March­man fin­ished ninth in the Breed­ers’ Cup, which marked his first start since Au­gust. Florent Ger­oux has the mount for trainer Bret Cal­houn.

Ger­oux also has a top con­tender in the $50,000 Space City, a six-fur­long race for 3-year-olds. He will be aboard Twirling Cin­na­mon, who was edged by a nose in the $51,000 Sugar Bowl on Dec. 19 at Fair Grounds. Twirling Cin­na­mon will add blink­ers Satur­day.

CON­NALLY TURF CUP, RACE 8

KEY CON­TENDERS

Big John B, by Hard Spun (Last 3 Bey­ers: 80-99-83)

◗ He is a mul­ti­ple Grade 2 win­ner who fin­ished an un­char­ac­ter­is­tic eighth last out in the Grade 2 San Gabriel on Jan. 2 at Santa Anita. The course was a bog that he did not han­dle.

“When he gets a sur­face he likes, he can run with the best of them,” said trainer Phil D’Amato. “The faster, the firmer it is, the bet­ter he runs. That turf course [at Sam Hous­ton] looks like a putting-green course, and I think he’ll like it.”

◗ Joel Rosario has the mount on Big John B.

Da Big Hoss, by Lemon Drop Kid (Last 3 Bey­ers: 96-99-98)

◗ He closed from last for sixth in the Breed­ers’ Cup Turf on Oct. 31 at Keeneland. Since that race, he has made one start, fin­ish­ing third in the Grade 3 W.L. McKnight on Dec. 26 at Gulf­stream Park.

“He had a bit of a wide trip in his last but ran well,” said Mike Maker, who trains Da Big Hoss. “On pa­per, there looks to be some speed in the race, which should set him up nicely.”

◗ Maker has won three run­nings of the Con­nally, with Coal­port (2015), Ad­mi­ral Kit­ten (2014), and Pa­paw Bodie (2012).

Kai­gun, by North­ern Afleet (Last 3 Bey­ers: 102, 98, 101)

◗ He was se­cond by a neck in the W.L. McKnight last out.

◗ Kai­gun, an earner of $1.1 mil­lion, will break from post 8 un­der Joe Bravo.

“What’s amaz­ing about Kai­gun is how ver­sa­tile he is,” said trainer Mark Casse.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.