Far Hills Spotlight: Maidens run for $50,000

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Want to break your maiden? Might as well do it for $50,000 and that’s what’s on the line in the second at Far Hills. Surprised this race only attracted eight runners, two short of the maximum. The result will hinge on a battle of experience vs. promise. Khafayya (seven starts), Motivational, Snuggling and Special Relation (five each) take on newcomers Zeppelin Ride, Elmutahid, Highly Prized and Inverness (four starts combined).

Zeppelin Ride: Four-year-old Tiznow gelding lost all 11 flat starts for Dale Romans, John Hertler, Marcus Vitali and Jonathan Sheppard. Finished second in jump debut at Foxfield two weeks ago, which ought to be enough to make him a player. Also gets leading jockey Jack Doyle.

Elmutahid: You say it. Shadwell-bred son of Street Cry and Alwajeeha won once in 17 starts for Kiaran McLaughlin and Chad Brown, then spent more than two years away from the races. Finished last in Orb’s Fountain of Youth victory in 2013. Emerged with a sixth after making the early running at Shawan. Would be a shocker.

Khafayya: Another Shadwell product, this one an Irish-bred. It seems like he should have won by now after finishing second in 2016, 2017 and then again at Shawan late last month. He belongs, and will be a factor. Can he win?

Highly Prized: The royalty continues as 5-year-old was bred by Juddmonte Farm in England. Son of Manduro won five of 18 on the flat, including four scores last year with Mike Stidham. Switched to Jack Fisher for Signal Hill Farm, it’s time for a jump career. First start, but must be respected.

Snuggling: Winless in five starts over jumps – technically. He won at Far Hills as a 3-year-old last year but was disqualified for interference. Beaten just a half-length this spring at Radnor, in soft ground. Threat at a price.

Inverness: Four-year-old filly gets in light at 142 and was a solid second to Sarah Joyce this spring. That effort would be good enough to compete here, but she’s still in pretty deep.

Motivational: The 2-1 favorite has lost all five hurdle starts, but could be poised to graduate on a course he should appreciate. Second at High Hope in September, which followed good third at Monmouth in August. Is today the day?

Special Relation: Third Fisher runner with Motivational and Highly Prized exits an easy third (behind Khafayya) at Shawan in first start for the barn. Made three English jump starts as a 3-year-old last year. Sitting on big effort.