Mr. Misunderstood came on for trainer Brad Cox when being switched back to turf in August, reeling off four consecutive stakes victories, and the up-and-coming gelding will try to make it five straight when he lines up for Saturday’s $75,000 Woodchopper at Fair Grounds.
He figures to be stepping up in class next season but the one-mile Woodchopper provides a final chance to square off exclusively against 3-year-olds. A reformed claimer who raced for a tag twice during the 2016-17 meet at Fair Grounds, Mr. Misunderstood recorded his first stakes tally when posting a 2 ½-length decision in the Prelude at Louisiana Downs on August 3. The son of Archarcharch came back a month later to take the grassy Super Derby by a three-length margin over the same course.
The fast-closing dark bay is exiting a pair of convincing wins at Churchill Downs, taking the September 30 Jefferson Cup by 2 ¾ lengths and November 11 Commonwealth Turf (G3) by 1 ½ lengths, and Mr. Misunderstood equaled a career-best 107 BRIS Late Pace rating in the latter.
Installed as the 4-1 morning line favorite and three-for-three at the distance, Mr. Misunderstood will square off against 13 challengers with regular rider Florent Geroux.
Stakes winner Caribou Club is the 5-1 second choice. Third in the Oceanside on Del Mar’s opening day this summer, the City Zip gelding exits a pair of wins over allowance rivals in Southern California, winning an about 6 ½-furlong sprint at Santa Anita in late October and a one-mile event at Del Mar in late November. Joe Bravo picks up the mount for Tom Proctor.
Proctor also has Big Bend, who is listed at 6-1. By Union Rags, the colt has won three straight including the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and most recently the October 19 Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland. Robby Albarado will be up.
First Premio is also 6-1 in advance of his stakes debut. An Irish maiden winner, the Kentucky-bred son of Pure Prize exits a pair of allowance wins on Woodbine’s Tapeta track for Mark Casse. Colby Hernandez takes over the reins.
Stakes winners Cowboy Culture and Kitten’s Cat are also part of the mix and both rated at 8-1 on the morning line.
Fair Grounds will also offer the $75,000 Pago Hop for 3-year-old fillies and an overflow of 16, including a pair of also-eligibles, have been entered.
Five-time stakes queen Farrell, who swept the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series races at Fair Grounds earlier this year when easily capturing the Silverbulletday, Rachel Alexandra (G2) and Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), will make her turf debut in the one-mile test for Wayne Catalano.
The daughter of Malibu Moon exits a one-length score in the November 4 Chilukki (G2) at Churchill Downs and Farrell retains the services of Channing Hill.
Rivals include Grade 3 winner Fault; and the Cox-trained duo of Magic Joan and Fault, who exit runner-up efforts versus allowance foes at Aqueduct and Keeneland.