June 7, 2023

Lone Sailor, Quip, Flameaway return in Mineshaft; Synchrony back to defend Fair Grounds ‘Cap

Lone Sailor is bedded down at Churchill Downs ahead of the 144th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 5 (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

A trio of 2018 Triple Crown series veterans will make their seasonal reappearance Saturday in the $150,000 Mineshaft H. (G3) at Fair Grounds on Saturday.

Hometown horse Lone Sailor, owned by Gayle Benson and trained by Tom Amoss, narrowly missed in last year’s Louisiana Derby (G2) prior to running eighth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and a close fifth in the Preakness (G1). After three subsequent stakes placings, the son of Majestic Warrior finally broke through with a photo-finish score in the Oklahoma Derby (G3). In his season finale, he outran his 90-1 price finishing sixth of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

Quip, campaigned by the same partnership as Triple Crown winner Justify, skipped the Kentucky Derby after upsetting the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) and running second in the Arkansas Derby (G1). He faced Justify and six others in the Preakness, but trailed the field and was out of action the rest of the year.

Flameway is in search of his first win since the Sam F. Davis (G3) more than a year ago. The Mark Casse trainee was subsequently second in the Tampa Bay Derby, Blue Grass (G2), and Jim Dandy (G2). Thirteenth in the Kentucky Derby, he’s been sidelined since a distant seventh in the Smarty Jones (G3) at Parx in August.

The group of older horses that trio will face over 1 1/16 miles includes Harlan Punch, Silver Dust, and Phat Man, the top three from last month’s $75,000 Louisiana. Two-time Charles Town Classic (G2) victor Imperative enters off an eighth-place try in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). Also entered is Thirstforlife, the 2018 Mineshaft runner-up.

Synchrony completed the Fair Grounds turf graded double in the Muniz Memorial (Photo by Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.)

Synchrony dominated last year’s top Fair Grounds grass stakes, and is back to defend his title in the $150,000 Fair Grounds H. (G3) at about 1 1/8 miles. The Pin Oak homebred won both the Fair Grounds and Muniz Memorial (G2) last term before going on to take the Oceanport (G3) and Red Bank (G3) at Monmouth Park. He also placed in three other graded stakes around the country.

The highly-competitive group also features First Premio, Sir Duddley Digges, and speedster Great Wide Open, who occupied the top three slots in last month’s $125,000 Colonel E.R. Bradley H. Big Changes has won six of his past eight, including the Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream last time. Tiz a Slam, a multiple graded stakes winner in Canada, is back to improve on his third in this race a year ago, while Kentucky Derby veteran Combatant seeks his first win on the grass in five tries.

Hogy, Wings Locked Up, and Latent Revenge are the top draws in the $75,000 Colonel Power, an about 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint for older horses, while Grade 2 veteran Beau Recall will be a heavy favorite to notch the $75,000 Albert M. Stall Memorial for fillies and mares at about 1 1/16 miles on the turf.