Following a disappointing start on the dirt,
Infinite Magic will return to the grass when he competes as the slight
morning-line favorite in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince at
The Hill Prince, a one-mile race for 3-year-olds is the eighth
race on Saturday’s 10-race card. It will be preceded by the Grade 3,
$150,000 Bed o’ Roses Handicap, which
was carded as race 3.
Infinite Magic began his career in
England, winning two of five starts, all over synthetic surfaces. Subsequently purchased by Team Valor International and sent to the
Infinite Magic won an entry-level allowance by a nose on April 14 at
Keeneland and was never involved when he finished a distant last in the
Grade 2 Peter Pan over
Belmont’s sloppy main track on May 11.
On Saturday, he’ll make his fourth consecutive start for a
different trainer, having raced for Jeremy Noseda in England, H. Graham
Motion at Keeneland, and Bobby Ribaudo
in the Peter Pan. He’ll compete for Rick Mettee, the former Godolphin
Racing assistant who was recently hired by Team Valor as their trainer,
in the Hill Prince.
Since the Peter Pan, Infinite Magic has been training with Mettee at Fair Hill.
“He’s an uncomplicated little horse and is very easy to handle,”
said Mettee of the son of More Than Ready. “Graham described him that
way, and Bobby reiterated that.
The Peter Pan didn’t take much out of him. They were just taking a shot
on the dirt because if he were to run well, he could have gone in the
Belmont Stakes. Probably running in the slop in his first start on the
dirt didn’t help. He came out of the race good,
and we tried to find a race sooner for him, but races weren’t filling.
We always had the Hill Prince as a fall-back plan.”
Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado, who rode Infinite Magic at
Keeneland and in the Peter Pan, has the return assignment in the Hill
Prince. Infinite Magic will leave from
post position 2 at 7-2 on the morning line.
One week after winning the Belmont Stakes with Palace Malice and
Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards with Forty Tales, trainer Todd
Pletcher will try to take down
another graded stakes for 3-year-olds when he sends out Red Rifle and
Notacatbutallama in the Hill Prince.
Red Rifle is unbeaten in two starts, having won his debut in March on the dirt at
Park and an allowance contested over
Keeneland’s Polytrack on April 13. He won both races by two lengths. The
Hill Prince will be his first start on the grass.
“We were looking for an opportunity. We felt like with a little
bit of turf pedigree that this could be an option for him,” said
Pletcher, who trains Red Rifle WinStar
Farm and Twin Creeks Racing. “Once we worked him on the grass, we liked
what we saw. You’re always concerned when you try a surface for the
first time, and you always know you’ll have to step up after winning
your first two starts. We like what we’ve seen
with him and hope he can take a step up in class.”
Javier Castellano will be aboard Red Rifle once again when the
Giant’s Causeway colt leaves from post 9 at 6-1 on the morning line.
Mike Repole’s Notacatbutallama, a two-time stakes winner on the
turf as a 2-year-old, enters the Hill Prince off a third in the James W.
Murphy on May 18 at Pimlico.
“We thought he ran fairly well in the Murphy,” said Pletcher.
“It was sort of a tricky race with the horse losing his rider on the
first turn and he got in a little
bit of traffic there. I thought he ran well, but more importantly, I
think he moved forward for having had the run. There wasn’t much pace,
and it seemed like the Pimlico turf course was friendly toward front
runners Preakness weekend.”
Notacatbutallama will depart from post 12 under Hall of Fame
jockey John Velazquez. Like Red Rifle, he was installed at 6-1 on the
Joha, winner of last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, will make his 3-year-old debut in the Hill Prince.
After taking the Breeders’ Futurity by one length in October at
Keeneland, Joha was eighth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at
Santa Anita and ninth in the
Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club, his lone start on the dirt, at Churchill
Downs in November.
Trained by Michael Maker as a juvenile, Joha will now race for Tom Albertrani.
“I couldn’t be happier with him,” said Albertrani. “He’s been on
all different surfaces. The Hill Prince is a good race to start him
back in. Whether it comes up firm
or soft, I think he’s pretty versatile. We have a lot of options with
him. By the way he has been training, he certainly seems fit enough. We
thought another work or two probably wouldn’t hurt us, but based off his
last few works here I feel he’s ready for
Luis Saez takes over on Joha, who drew post 6 and was tabbed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Shadwell Stable’s Sayaad will stretch out, switch surfaces, and
step up in class when he competes in the Hill Prince, having won a
six-furlong allowance on Keeneland’s
artificial surface by one length on April 13.
“This will give us a good indication of where we really fit in
as a 3-year-old,” said Art Magnuson, assistant to trainer Kiaran
McLaughlin. “He’s training great. It’s
a competitive race, so this is a really good spot to try it out. He
trains relaxed, but I think stretching out from the rail he’ll be
forwardly placed. It’s totally up to the jockey.”
Sayaad, 15-1, drew the rail. Jose Espinoza was named to ride.
Another 3-year-old slated to step up in class is Chamois, winner of two straight on the turf at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Chamois, a Jon and Sarah Kelly homebred, broke his maiden in his
second start by 1 ¾ lengths in December, then was freshened over the
winter. In his comeback race, he
stalked the pace and kicked to the lead in the stretch to prevail by a
“He’s been ready to run,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “He’s
a nice horse. I don’t know whether he’s a graded stakes horse, but I
have no other place to run him.
A mile might be a little short. I trained his dam [Meridiana]. She
stayed and comes from a family with a lot of stamina.”
Junior Alvarado has the call aboard Chamois, who drew post 5 at 15-1 on the morning line.
The field also includes Play It Loud, Special Skills, Michael With Us, Red Rocker, Bernie the Jet, and Shining Copper.