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Mandella Tries Crown of Thorns on Turf

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.



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