Crown of Thorns makes his turf debut in Saturday’s Grade II Oak Tree
Mile. The 6-year-old Repent horse that missed winning the 2009 Breeders’
Cup Sprint by a nose at 15-1 has a 3-4-2 record from 12 starts, but
none on turf.
“I’ve thought about running him on grass for a long time,” said
Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella. “He’s only worked once on turf,
and that was at Del Mar. But he grew up on it for a year and a half.”
Owned by the Spendthrift Farm of B. Wayne Hughes, Crown of Thorns
is coming off two Grade I races, a fifth in the Stephen Foster Handicap
at Churchill Downs on June 11, and a third in the Pat O’Brien at Del
Mar on Aug. 28. He was second in four straight Grade I races--the
Ancient Title and the Breeders’ Cup in 2009--and the Pat O’Brien and the
Goodwood in 2010.
The field for the Oak Tree Mile: Victory Pete, Jose Valdivia
Jr.; El Gato Malo, David Flores, 12-1; John Johny Jak, Rafael Bejarano,
5-1; Blue Chagall, Hector Berrios,12-1; Jeranimo, Martin Garcia, 3-1;
Mr. Commons, Mike Smith, 5-2; Crown of Thorns, Alonso Quinonez, 4-1;
Calimonco, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; and Monterey Jazz, Joe Talamo, 15-1.