Finest City faces champs in Vanity
Finest City faces a daunting task in Saturday’s $400,000 Vanity Mile at Santa Anita.
In her first start at a mile, Finest City runs in a Grade 1 race against two champions of 2015 – Beholder, the outstanding older female, and Stellar Wind, the outstanding 3-year-old filly.
Finest City gave trainer Ian Kruljac, 27, his first stakes win in the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes at Los Alamitos on April 23. Kruljac has realistic expectations for Saturday, hoping to finish in the top three for a coveted Grade 1 placing.
“We’d be thrilled,” Kruljac said. “If you want to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.”
Finest City, by City Zip, has won 3 of 10 starts and earned $275,594 for Seltzer Thoroughbreds.
The Vanity Mile will be the first meeting between Beholder and Stellar Wind and is the highlight of a Saturday program that includes the $400,000 Shoemaker Mile, a Grade 1 on turf.
The Vanity Mile probably will have a small field. As of Wednesday morning, the stakes winner Lost Bus and the stakes-placed All Star Bub were the other expected starters. Taris, the winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs on May 7, will be entered. Trainer Simon Callaghan said a decision on her participation will be made closer to the race.
The Shoemaker Mile also is expected to have a small field. The shippers Heart to Heart and Tourist, who were second and third in the Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 15, will race against a local group led by Home Run Kitten and Twentytwentyvision, who were first and third in the Grade 3 American Stakes on May 6.
Churchill: Aristides Stakes
Limousine Liberal will be trying to rebound off a sixthplace finish on Kentucky Derby Day when he returns Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Aristides at Churchill.
Trained by Ben Colebrook for K.K. Ball, Limousine Liberal led for a half-mile and faded to be beaten four lengths by winner Catalina Red as the 9-2 fourth choice in the Grade 2 Churchill Downs on May 7. He was coming off a 4 1/2-length victory in an allowance at Keeneland on April 9.
“The trip didn’t quite work out for us the way we’d hoped, and he also might’ve bounced a little off that huge comeback race he had here,” said Colebrook, based at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky. “He can go seven furlongs, but he can’t go seven furlongs [after a halfmile] in 44 and change.”
Limousine Liberal is among a core of favorites in the sixfurlong Aristides, along with Union Jackson, Barbados, and the 2015 winner, Alsvid.
Limousine Liberal, a 4-yearold gelding by Successful Appeal, finished second to Runhappy last summer at Saratoga in the Grade 1 King’s Bishop. After running second in the Gallant Bob at Parx and 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, he was given the winter off. He returned with a trackrecord triumph in the allowance at Keeneland, finishing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.05 and earn- ing a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.
“Obviously, we’re contemplating taking him back to Saratoga this summer because of how well he ran there last year, but we’re going to take it one race at a time,” Colebrook said. “This will be a tough race Saturday.”
Gulfstream: Summit preview
A field of only six horses was drawn for Saturday’s Parrot Key, which serves as a prep for the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap on July 2. The Parrot Key will go as the second race on the Summit of Speed Preview card, which includes eight stakes, each worth $75,000.
Grande Shores (post 4) and Requite (post 6) may vie for favoritism in the Parrot Key. The remainder of the field, from the rail out, is More Applause, Risk Factor, Yourdreamsormine and Mitos Y Leyendas.
There was considerably more interest for Saturday’s $75,000 Sea Lily, the local prep for the Grade 2 Princess Rooney, also on July 2. Grade 3 winner Best Behavior tops a group of nine fillies and mares in the sixfurlong dash, with Dogwood Trail and Fusaichi Red among her chief competitors.
Finest City wins the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes on April 23.