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Stars & Stripes Joins Million Preview Day Card
Stella Perdomo's Musketier, three-time winner of the Grade III Singspiel Stakes at Woodbine Race Course, and Henry Pabst Trust's Joinem, runner-up in the Grade III Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs in May, headline a field of 11 turf marathoners entered in Saturday's Grade III $150,000 Stars and Stripes Stakes.
The Stars and Stripes is part of the Million Preview Day card for the first time and serves as the final local prep for the inaugural running of the $400,000 American St. Leger, which will be held Aug. 18. In addition to the Stars and Stripes, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap and the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap. As an added bonus, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Stars and Stripes will have their entry and starting fees waived for the American St. Leger should they elect to run in that event next month.
A 10-year-old son of Acatenago, Musketier is still going strong despite his advanced age. The Roger Attfield trainee seems to thrive on the marathon distance with six victories at the mile and a half tilt of Saturday's Stars and Stripes. In addition to his trip wins in the Singspiel, Musketier also won the 2011 Grade II W. L. McKnight at Calder and the Grade II Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland, also in 2011. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.
Joinem, who is cross-entered in the Grade III Arlington Handicap at a mile and a quarter earlier in the card, was second to Simmard in the Louisville and before that finished third in the Grade II Mervyn Muniz Jr. Handicap at the Fair Grounds in April. Jesus Castanon will ride the David Carroll-trained 5-year-old son of Johar.
Trainer Graham Motion sends Riverdee Stable's Eagle Poise in from his Fair Hill Training center base of operations. The 6-year-old Empire Maker gelding hasn't raced since being nosed out of the victory by Bourbon Bay in the Grade II San Juan Capistrano Handicap at Santa Anita in April. The long distance specialist also won the Grade III Valedictory at Woodbine last December. Alex Solis gets the call.
Others of note in the Stars and Stripes include Hiram Polk & J. David Richardson's Harrods Creek (Julien Leparoux), fourth in the Louisville and third in the San Juan Capistrano in his last two starts; Frank Mancari's defending champion Free Fighter (Robby Albarado); Team Block's Suntracer (Eduardo Perez), runner-up in the 2011 Arlington Classic and American Derby; and Barry Golden's Workin for Hops (James Graham), 2010 winner of both the Arlington Classic and American Derby.
Also in the field are: Joseph Allen's Vertiformer (Quincy Hamilton), a third-level allowance winner here last month; Team Block's Ioya Bigtime (Jeffrey Sanchez), fifth in the Black Tie Affair Handicap last time out; Andrew Baur & G. Watts Humphrey Jr,'s Final Count, third in a $100,000 stakes races at Indiana Downs June 20; and Mark Van Keirsbilck's Mystic (Francisco Torres), winner of a minor stakes race at Mountaineer last year.