Wednesday Special – April 1

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Scanning the racing cards for Wednesday, it looked like a proper time to present a Wednesday Special. Strong racing around the world, highlighted by a listed stakes at Dundalk that draws Ryan Moore on Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf runner War Envoy, a handicap at Chelmsford City that attracts one of the last sons of A.P. Indy, a Wincanton card with the great AP McCoy and a chasm-deep allowance at Aqueduct. Here’s your Wednesday Special for April 1. No fooling.

Wincanton. Race 2. 9:20 a.m. What makes a champion? Day-to-day dedication. McCoy pilots Buck Magic in a handicap hurdle for a $13,500 purse. The 9-year-old has finished one out of his last three starts.

Chelmsford City. Race 5. 11:00. Tacticus, Flaxman Stable’s son of A.P. Indy, aims at his third straight, taking on Marc Keller’s Norab, winner of two of his last three. Tacticus lost his first five but dominated two handicaps in seven days at Southwell in March. We’d love to see him in America.

Wincanton. Race 6. 11:20. For the love of the game. Coombe Hill, 14, seeks win number 17 in the John Dufosee Memorial Hunters’ Chase. With 16 wins, he’s earned $17,881.

Wincanton. Race 7. 11:50. McCoy partners Aurillac in the 2-mile bumper. Restricted to 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds which have not run under any recognized Rules of Racing or under the Regulations of Point-to-Point Racing, the $4,000 race attracted enough runners to be split in two divisions. Anybody near the paddock who could give us a call?

Wincanton. Race 8. 12:20 p.m. Shark Hanlon ships Storm In September from Ireland and picks up McCoy for the second division. The flares have been lit.  

Kempton. Race 2. 1:15. The Sport of Kings … Maiden fillies … A star-studded cast … Daughters of Rip Van Winkle, Cape Cross, Galileo, High Chaparral, Authorized … Trained by the best in the world – Charlton, Hill, Gosden, Hannon, Cole (3) … Ridden by the likes of Dettori and Spencer. The purse …$7,000. That’s $900 less than the $5,000 claimer at Mahoning Valley Racecourse.

Aqueduct. Race 1. 1:20. Goodbye inner track, hello outer (main?) track.

Mahoning Valley Racecourse. Race 3. 1:40. Speaking of Mahoning Valley … The breed is weaker? Probably so but don’t tell Blizzard Buddy Ben. The 10-year-old makes career start 73. He’s won 20 so far, including four of his last five for owner/trainer Larry Reed.

Aqueduct. Race 2. 1:51. Huddie doesn’t just run handicapping/bracket/college bowl contests. He runs a stable, too. Huddie Stables sends out Aprettysmoothguy for second start in state-bred maiden claimer.

Dundalk. Race 3. 2:05. April in Ireland means time to dust off the stakes horses. Aidan O’Brien unveils War Envoy in the Patton Stakes. The world’s greatest jockey, Ryan Moore, begins to play a bigger role in the Coolmore operation. Joseph O’Brien continues to sit out as he tries to get control of his weight. Hard days for a young kid, especially, as Moore hovers. Opposing War Envoy is Convergence, fourth to Ol’ Man River in the Beresford Stakes in September and Rapid Applause, second in the Round Tower Stakes in August.

Kempton. Race 5. 2:45. Breed speed to speed and get … stamina. Golden Jubilee won a handicap hurdle in October and has been diverted back to the flat. He’s by Zavata out of a Friendly Lover mare.

Gulfstream Park. Race 6. 3:30. Gulfstream is still rolling out the stakes, offering $60,000 in the Cutler Bay. Call Me Crazy just missed in the Grade 3 Palm Beach and could earn a stakes win here for Reeves Thoroughbreds and trainer Kathy Ritvo while Todd Pletcher takes over from Pavel Vaschenko with Comfort.

Gulfstream. Race 7. 4:00. Escapist returns from a break for trainer Peter Pugh and Cherry Knoll Farm. The son of Stroll won his first two starts before losing three straight. Mario Pino, who was aboard for his debut win last winter, returns.

Gulfstream. Race 8. 4:30. Nothing like a turf maiden for fillies and mares. Debuts from Pletcher and Clement, two well-bred fillies make their second starts for Richard Santulli and Alan Goldberg. Nimble Foot finished third in her debut at The Curragh in October. Barclay Tagg counters with Kitzys Rocket who finished second in her career debut. Cool race.

Turf Paradise. Race 4. 4:57. Hockley, a son of A.P. Indy out of the Storm Cat mare Penny’s Fortune, was bred for big things. The 8-year-old rides a 10-race losing streak but has finished second in his last three. He runs for a $6,250 tag.

Aqueduct. Race 8. 4:57. Wow, this is a feature. The allowance-optional should carry a name and black type. Call it the Spring Purse. John Velazquez and Javier Castellano return to New York and throw strong crosses in the feature. Castellano rides four-time winner Mail for Chad Brown and Velazquez rides two-time winner Three Alarm Fire for Tom Albertrani. Beyond those two, Dwyer winner Kid Cruz tries to snap a three-race losing streak and New York Derby winner Amberjack makes his seasonal reappearance.

Oaklawn Park. Race 8. 5:42. Undefeated in three starts in Iowa, Caribbean Cowboy steps into open company in an allowance optional claimer for RPM Thoroughbreds and trainer Kelly Von Hemel. Away since August, the son of Petionville drew the rail against seven rivals.

Turf Paradise. Race 7. 6:30. It pays to be an Idaho-bred. Floating Feather won five races from seven starts, including two Idaho-bred stakes at Boise, last season. A winner of 13 races, the son of Lucky Pulpit drops to a $40,000 tag.

Charles Town Races. Race 8. 10:24. Remember Peb Hughes taking money for Graham Motion in maiden turf at Saratoga in 2010? Now 7, the son of Henny Hughes owns 12 wins, four of them sprinting at Charles Town.