The 3-year-old son of Silver Tree had won four of five starts prior to finishing a late-fading third against older horses in the 1 ½-mile Raymond Earl Handicap on May 25. The Phil Gleaves-trained colt is scheduled to face nine other 3-year-olds in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf stakes.
“We tried him a mile and a half last time, just to see if that was something he would handle. A mile and a half is a little farther than he wants to go, so we’ve shortened him up for this race,” Gleaves said.
Rizwan, who captured the 1 1/16-mile English Channel against 3-year-olds in his start prior to the Raymond Earl, will break from the far-outside post.
“No matter what, you don’t want to be outside on the grass,” Gleaves said. “That’s just a given – you just don’t want to be outside on the grass. But there is nothing we can do about that. All we can do now is work out a trip.”
Jose Caraballo, who has been aboard Rizwan for all five of his victories, has the return mount.
Bill Kaplan-trained My Point Exactly, who captured the Sunday Silence Stakes on turf at Louisiana Downs last year, looms as the main danger among Rizwan’s rivals. The 3-year-old son of Concorde Point, who made his 2015 debut in a seventh-place finish in the Florida Derby (G1), is coming off a fifth-place finish in the Penn Mile (G3) at Penn National on May 30.
“He's been doing wonderful and progressing beautifully. He's sitting on a big performance,” Kaplan said. “I think he was happy [to return to the grass]. I still haven't made the final decision at what he's best at. He's just such a versatile horse. But he did win a stake on the grass, and he ran great in his last grass race, so we'll stay on the grass for now until he tells us differently.”
The King Cugat is carded as the ninth race on a 10-race program that also includes the $60,000 Barely Even Handicap. The mile handicap for fillies and mares is carded as the third race.
Little Dreams Racing’s Little Alexis, who closed to finish a distant second in the 6 ½-furlong Sea Lily Handicap last time out, is slated to stretch out to a one-turn mile in the Barely Even. The Grade 1 stakes-placed filly is scheduled to face six rivals including the Marty Wolfson-trained quartet of Phaniebdancing, Best Behavior, Lemon Lashes and Quiet Hour.