Eldaafer & Prince Will I Am Meet Again In Pan American
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Alghuwayrihah Stable’s 6-year-old gelding Eldaafer and Casa Farms LLC’s 4-year-old Prince Will I Am first became acquainted finishing one-two unofficially in the $500,000 Breeders’ Cup Marathon (G3) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5. The two will face off again Saturday as the favorites in the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Jockey J.L. Castanon rides Eldaafer for trainer Diane Alvarado in the 50th edition of the 1 ½ miles turf fixture as he makes his second start since the Breeders’ Cup. The son of A.P. Indy was a $20,000 claim in early 2009 and scored his first major victory in the Brooklyn Handicap (G2) at Belmont Park that spring. He won the Marathon by 1 ¾ lengths going 1 ¾ miles, but was never a factor finishing eighth in the Donn Handicap (G1) at 1 1/8 miles here on Feb. 5.
Eldaafer’s owner-trainer team will also be represented in the race by 6-year-old Beckham Bend with Jeremy Rose named to ride. The son of Invisible Ink was a wire-to-wire winner of an allowance race over the course at 1 7/16 miles on Feb. 26 in his first start since late August at Delaware Park.
Prince Will I Am had a bad day at the Breeders’ Cup after his wild run through the stretch, but has fared much better in two starts since for trainer Michelle Nihei. The son of victory Gallop won the ‘off the turf’ W.L. McKnight Handicap (G2) at Calder over a ‘sloppy’ track on Dec. 18 and the Mac Diarmida Stakes (G2) going 1 3/8 miles on turf over the Gulfstream course on Feb. 19. Jockey John Velazquez will have the mount
The two Breeders’ Cup rivals face several solid contenders in the field of seven drawn for the Pan American, including Stella Perdomo’s 9-year-old veteran Musketier with jockey Alex Solis in the saddle. The roan/gray German-bred by Acatenango finished a game third with a big rally in the stretch of the Mac Diarmida, beaten only 1 ¼ lengths in his first start since October.
Musketier ran well in his only two appearances last year, winning the Elkhorn Stakes (G2) at the Keeneland spring meet and finishing second in the Sycamore Stakes (G3) at the Keeneland fall meet, both 1 ½ miles turf tests. Attfield won the Pan American twice in the ‘80s with Selous Scout in 1985 and Carotene in 1988.
Also coming back in the Pan American after a good effort in the Mac Diarmida are Ellie Boje Farm and partners’ 7-year-old gelding Rahy’s Attorney and Bill Farish’s 6-year-old Pool Play, second and fourth, respectively, behind Prince Will I Am. Emma Jayne Wilson rides Rahy’s Attorney for trainer Ian Black and Patrick Husbands has the mount on Pool Play for trainer Mark Casse.
Completing the field is Wildenstein Stable’s 7-year-oild Irish-bred Loup Breton to be ridden by Jose Lezcano for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Anabaa finished seventh last out in the Fair Grounds Handicap (G3) on Feb. 19, beaten three lengths by the winner in his first start since July at Del Mar.