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Dark Cove, Ioya Bigtime Share Top Billing in Stars and Stripes

Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s formidable Dark Cove and Team Block’s defending champion Ioya Bigtime, plus the relative dearth of marathon runners in this country leaves the field for Saturday’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes at a mere half-dozen but what the race lacks in quantity is made up by the quality of its top contenders. 

The Stars and Stripes serves as the final local prep for the running of the $400,000 American St. Leger, which will be held Aug. 17.  In addition to the Stars and Stripes, the 12-race card includes the Grade III $200,000 American Derby, the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap and the Grade III $200,000 Arlington Handicap.  As an added bonus, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Stars and Stripes will have their entry and starting fees waived for the American St. Leger should they elect to run in that event next month.

The Stars and Stripes will kick off a special $100,000 Guaranteed Pick 4, covering races 7-10 that will include all four graded turf stakes – the Stars and Stripes, the Modesty, the American Derby and the Arlington Handicap in that order.

Dark Cove ships to Chicago from his Kentucky homebase after capturing the Grade II Elkhorn Stakes at Keeneland in April and repeating that effort one month later when taking down top honors in the Grade III Lousiville Handicap at Churchill Downs.  Claimed by the Ramseys for $50,000 in April 2012, the son of Medaglia d’Oro has thrived for his new connections with three wins in five starts including the aforementioned graded stakes affairs.  Rosie Napravnik, who was aboard the 6-year-old horse for the Louisville, gets a return call Saturday.



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