Weekend Preview: Mr. Misunderstood Tops Field for River City at Churchill Downs

By US Racing Team

Churchill Downs beauty

Flurry Racing Stables’ Mr. Misunderstood will face off against nine top turf runners in defending his title in Saturday’s 42nd running of the $175,000 River City Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs.

The Brad Cox trainee will have Florent Geroux in the saddle for the nine-furlong test, which received a $75,000 purse increase over a year ago.

Mr. Misunderstood, the 5-2 morning-line favorite, has raced four times since winning this race last year, managing to pick up a second and two thirds in non-graded stakes. Back home under the Twin Spires, the 5-year-old gelded son of Acharcharch returns to his favorite turf, where he has earned four wins and a third from five starts over the Matt Winn course.

Amerman Racing’s Admission Office has yet to win a stakes in his eight-race career, but has come close to finish second in the Dixie Stakes (G2) and Wise Dan Stakes (G2) this year. The Point of Entry colt finished 11th in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, but was only beaten 3 ½ lengths with the top six finishers separated by a nose each and under a neck in total. He didn’t win his one start at this distance, but was second, and his pedigree suggests it will be well within his reach. Jose Ortiz will be in town to ride for trainer Brian Lynch and they will be loaded into post position nine.

Get Western has won half of his six turf starts this year at various distances and steps up in class, Space Mountain has won three of seven over this grass course, and Irish-bred Emmaus makes his return to graded company after winning a rich allowance race at Keeneland last month.

Post time for the River City is 5:06 p.m. ET. Though the snow has melted in Louisville, the afternoon high is only expected to reach into the upper 40s.

The field, in post-position order:

River City Stakes (G3)
PP  Horse  Jockey Odds
1 Cullum Road Tyler Gaffalione 10-1
2 Emmaus Channing Hill 5-1
3 Blue Sky Kowboy Sophie Doyle 20-1
4 Mr. Misunderstood Florent Geroux 5-2
5 My Bariley Santo Sanjur 30-1
6 Space Mountain Ricardo Santana, Jr. 5-1
7 Bemma’s Boy Julien Leparoux 15-1
8 Get Western Brian Hernandez, Jr. 5-1
9 Admission Office Jose Ortiz 3-1
10 Lascaux Joe Rocco Jr. 20-1

Baffert Seeks 10th Bob Hope Win with High Velocity

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has so far saddled the winner of the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) nine times dating back to when it was held at Hollywood Park, sends out Gary and Mary West’s heavily-favored High Velocity in this year’s renewal.

Three others, with the scratch of Howbeit and the expected scratch of Thousand Words, will race the seven furlongs for the winner’s share of the $100,000 purse.

High Velocity, a $350,000 son of Quality Road, broke his maiden at first asking at 5 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita by two lengths. They bay colt has been training extremely well at Santa Anita and will have one of Baffert’s remaining go-to jockeys in Drayden Van Dyke aboard.

The Doug O’Neill-trained Strongconstitution, who is owned by the partnership of Roadrunner Racing and Sayjay Racing, is coming off a narrow defeat to stablemate Fore Left in the Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita a month ago after breaking his maiden in his debut over this track in August. Abel Cedillo rides the Constitution colt for the first time from the outside, replacing Martin Garcia.

Rager, who will lead the field to post under Martin Garcia, faces winners for the first time after breaking his maiden in his first start at 5 ½ furlongs over the Santa Anita turf on Oct. 20. The Into Mischief colt is trained by Andrew Lerner.

Rounding out the field is Zimba Warrior, making his fifth career start since his debut on Aug. 10. The Keith Desormeaux trainee broke his maiden at Fresno early last month after two unsuccessful outings over this track and was a non-threatening third in the Sunny Slope last time. Jose Valdivia, Jr. rides the son of Khozan from post position four.

Post time for the Bob Hope is 7:03 p.m. ET.

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