July 18, 2024

Mystic Guide heads take two of Razorback; Amy’s Challenge, Kimari square off in Spring Fever

Mystic Guide
Mystic Guide wins the Jim Dandy Stakes (Coglianese Photos/Joe Labozzetta)

Razorback H. (G3) — Race 7 (4:20 p.m. ET)

Mystic Guide is set to open his 2021 campaign on Saturday in the $600,000 Razorback H. (G3), two weeks after the Oaklawn Park fixture for older horses was postponed due to inclement weather throughout the region.

Victorious in the Jim Dandy (G2) last September, Mystic Guide ran a strong race in defeat in his season finale, finishing three parts of a length behind fellow sophomore Happy Saver in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The son of Ghostzapper has made just six starts, winning twice and placing in the other four.

“We were delighted with the way his three-year-old year turned out,” trainer Mike Stidham said. “There were a lot of temptations to run in the (Kentucky) Derby (G1) and different spots and the timing just wasn’t right. It just seemed like he needed a little bit more time, so we kept being real patient with him and let him develop.”

The small but select field for the 1 1/16-mile Razorback also includes multiple graded stakes winner Owendale, who makes his first outing since placing in the Clark (G1) for a second time at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27. The controlling speed appears to be multiple stakes winner Hunka Burning Love, who was caught on the wire in the one-mile Fifth Season S. on opening weekend of the Oaklawn meet, while the allowance-class Mailman Money figures to rate not far off the pace.

The field is rounded out by Silver Prospector, who captured the 2020 Southwest (G3) and was most recently fifth in the Louisiana (G3) at Fair Grounds; Long Range Toddy, winless since taking a division of the 2019 Rebel (G2); and Rated R Superstar, a former graded winner who debuts for new trainer Federico Villafranco after being claimed for $50,000 from his most recent start.

Spring Fever S. — Race 8 (4:52 p.m. ET)

The $200,000 Spring Fever S., for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs, attracted a field of nine, but much of the betting action will center on Amy’s Challenge and Kimari.

Amy’s Challenge, who won the 2019 Spring Fever by more than eight lengths and missed winning the 2020 edition by a neck attempting to come from off the pace, appears the one to catch following a good second to the classy Frank’s Rockette in the Jan. 30 American Beauty S.

Kimari, who beat Frank’s Rockette in the Purple Mountain S. at Oaklawn last April in her season debut, will be returning off a longer layoff for her 2021 debut. The daughter of Munnings was limited to two starts after taking the Purple Mountain, though her second in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) at Royal Ascot was exemplary. She was last seen finishing third in the Music City S. at Kentucky Downs in mid-September, but is 2-for-2 on dirt.