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Al Khali & Prince Will I Am in Saturday's Mac Diarmida
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable’s 5-year-old Al Khali and Casa Farms’ 4-year-old Prince Will I Am competed in different Breeders’ Cup races at Churchill Downs over the Nov. 5-6 weekend, and will meet for the first time in a wide-open field of 13 older horses in the $150,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) Saturday going 1 3/8 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey Kent Desormeaux rides Al Khali for trainer Bill Mott as he makes his first start since finishing a disappointing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). The son of Medaglia d’Oro earned his chance in that race winning the 11-furlong Bowling Green Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park in September and finishing a close-up fourth in the 12-furlong Canadian International (G1) at Woodbine in October, beaten less than a length for it all.
Prince William I Am made news in the Breeders’ Cup on Friday that weekend, finishing second in the 14-furlong Marathon (G3) on the main track, but was disqualified and placed 10th after a wild run through the stretch when he bothered several rivals. The chestnut son of Victory Gallop won the Jamaica Handicap (G1) on turf at Belmont in his previous start.
Trained by Michelle Nihei, Prince Will I Am came back to win the W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder Race Course on Dec. 18 after the race was forced off turf and run at 1 ¼ miles on a ‘sloppy’ main track. Jockey John R. Velazquez will be aboard for the first time.
Trainer Roger Attfield has entered a team of three in the Mac Diarmida, each with credentials to be a contender, but Johanna Louise Glen Teven’s 9-year-old German-bred Musketier appears to have the best chance with jockey Alex Solis named to ride.
Musketier is a roan/gray son of Acatenango and makes his first start since a good third-place try in the 12-furlong Sycamore Stakes (G3) at Keeneland in October when beaten only a length by the winner. That race was only the second of the season for the winner of more than $600,000 after capturing the 12-furlong Elkhorn Stakes (G2) over the Keeneland course in April at the spring meet.
Attfield’s other two starters are Charles Fipke’s 5-year-old Perfect Shower with J.L. Castanon named to ride and Jose Lezcano aboard Haras Santa Maria de Araras’ 6-year-old Simmard, the latter third by a neck behind Al Khali in the Bowling Green.
Completing the field for the 16th edition of the Mac Diarmida are William S. Farish, Jr.’s Pool Play, Patrick Husbands; Haras Cotacachi’s Gabriel’s Hill, Alan Garcia; Elite Boje Farm and partners’ Rahy’s Attorney, Edgar Prado; Team Block and partners’ Free Fighter, C.H. Marquez, Jr.; Joseph Englehart’s Ordination; Thomas and Jack Conway’s Stately Victor, Paco Lopez; Green Lantern Stable’s Mint Chip, Manoel Cruz; and Golden Goose Enterprises’ Citrus Kid, Javier Castellano.
Amen Hallelujah Makes Second Start Back in Sabin
IEAH Stables and partners’ 4-year-old filly Amen Hallelujah did very well at Gulfstream last year winning the Davona Dale Stakes (G2) by 6 ¼ lengths and finishing second in the Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) behind Devil May Care, and will be well-backed in Saturday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3) with jockey Javier Castellano aboard for trainer Rick Dutrow in the one-mile main track feature.
A daughter of Montbrook, Amen Hallelujah went on to finish a disappointing sixth behind Blind Luck in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs after the Bonnie Miss, but ran much better finishing second in the Acorn Stakes (G1) on Belmont Day, June 5, in her final start of the season.
A Florida-bred, Amen Hallelujah came back with an even fifth-place finish in the $200,000 Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Sprint going six furlongs here on Jan. 29, beaten 1 ¾ lengths for it all in a good effort.
Another accomplished 3-year-old of 2010 in the field of eight fillies and mares drawn for the Sabin is E. Paul Robsham Stable’s Awesome Maria with jockey John Velazquez in the saddle for trainer Todd Pletcher. The roan/gray homebred daughter of Maria’s Mon makes her first appearance since finishing second in the Gazelle Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Nov. 27.
Amazing Maria was a good 2-year-old in 2009 winning the Matron Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and finishing second by a head behind Devil May Care in the Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park. She posted two wins and two seconds in five starts last season, winning the Riskaverse Stakes on turf at Saratoga in early September in her first start since the Frizette.
Also coming back in the Sabin after running in a Sunshine Millions race on Jan. 29 is Farnsworth Stables’ 6-year-old Amazing with jockey Alex Solis named to ride for trainer Marty Wolfson. The chestnut daughter of Greatness shipped to California for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Distaff at Santa Anita and ran a big race finishing second by a half-length behind Evening Jewel.
A $75,000 claim at Saratoga last summer for Farnsworth, Amazing won an allowance at Calder in September and then finished second in the Cinnamon Girl overnight stakes in October and second in the $150,000 Elmer Heubeck Distaff on Florida Million Day in November.
Jerry Romans’ 4-year-old filly Sassy Image will get support with jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard for trainer Dale Romans in her second start since finishing fifth behind Amen Hallelujah in the Davona Dale a year ago. A daughter of Broken Vow, Sassy Image was a good 2-year-old winning the Pocahontas Stakes (G3) and Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs.
Sassy Image captured the ‘off the turf’ Sweetest Chant Stakes by 4 ½ lengths here last January before going off 3-to-1 in the Davona Dale, obviously not on her game that day. She returned from the long layoff with a good runner-up effort beaten a length in a one-mile allowance on Jan. 14.
Completing the field for the Sabin are Rose Family Stable’s Joanie’s Catch, Javier Santiago; Pinnacle Racing Stable’s Musical Romance, Juan Leyva; Joseph Engelhart’s Hyperlink, Alan Garcia; and Charles Dimino’s Catch a Thief, C.H. Marquez, Jr.