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California Flag Seeks Morvich Trifecta

Brian Koriner expects another strong performance in Monday’s Grade III Morvich Stakes from 2008 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner California Flag, a nine-time winner who has won the Morvich twice before and who has traveled to the Orient and the Middle East in his 23-race career during which the 7-year-old California-bred gelding has earned $1,168,825 for owner/breeder Hi Card Ranch.

If not, the gray son of Avenue of Flags could be retired.

“He was a good horse at the time, so you hope that happens,” Koriner said, reflecting on California Flag’s sojourns overseas late in 2009 and in 2010. “That’s what the plan is, to run and win at the top level. That’s why we’re all in it, right? But he’s doing really good right now, so hopefully he runs good on Monday. If he doesn’t run real good, he’ll probably be retired.”

California Flag was fifth in his most recent race, the Pirates Bounty at Del Mar on Sept. 7. Daily Racing Form’s trouble line reads “bobbled start, inside,” but Koriner tends to dismiss that as a reason for the performance.

“He stumbled a little bit; it wasn’t much,” Koriner said. “He ran good in that race. He was loaded at the top of the lane and he was a little short, I think. He was looking for somewhere to go. At the top of the lane if he had somewhere to go he probably would have been right on the lead and still would have got beat. But he probably would have only got beat a length and a half instead of 2 ¼ lengths.”

Probable for the Morvich; Al Instante, Hector Berrios; California Flag, Patrick Valenzuela; Camp Victory, Joe Talamo; and Leroy’s Dynameaux, Rafael Bejarano.



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