Finest City faces champs in Van­ity

Daily Racing Form Saturday Stakes Preview - - FRONT PAGE - – Steve An­der­sen – Marty Mcgee – Mike Welsch

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.

BENOIT & AS­SO­CIATES

Finest City wins the Grade 2 Great Lady M. Stakes on April 23.

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