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Munnings Returns in Sprint Championship

Munnings takes the 2009 Tom Fool with ease

Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s 4-year-old Munnings ranked among the best of his age sprinting last year, punctuated by a third-place effort in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park (G1) behind Rachel Alexandra. He launches another campaign Saturday as the likely favorite in the $150,000 Gulfstream Park Sprint Championship (G2) at seven furlongs.

Jockey Javier Castellano will be aboard Munnings for trainer Todd Pletcher as the son of 2004 Eclipse champion sprinter Speightstown makes his first start since an even third-place finish behind Kodiak Kowboy in the Vosburgh Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on Oct. 3. Kodiak Kowboy was later voted Eclipse champion sprinter for the 2009 season.

Munnings placed in the Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga and Champagne (G1) at Belmont as a 2-year-old before fading to 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) that fall at Santa Anita in his first try around two turns. Prior to the Haskell, Munnings posted victories in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G2) on Belmont Day and beat older horses in the Tom Fool Handicap (G2) at Belmont, both races at seven furlongs.

Munnings faces nine rival older horses in the Sprint Championship, including the late Edmund Gann’s uncoupled entry of Motovato and You and I Forever, both accomplished 5-year-old Graded stakes performers for trainer Marty Wolfson. Elvis Trujillo is named to ride Motovato and Eddie Castro on You and I Forever.

A son of Proud Citizen, Motovato won the seven-furlong Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap (G3) last out at Calder on Dec. 26 after turning back from a good runner-up effort going two turns in the Spend a Buck Handicap (G3) behind Mambo Meister with trouble in the race.

You and I Forever is a beautifully bred son of A.P. Indy out of Grade 1 winner You. He finished a game second last out behind Quality Road in the one-mile Hal’s Hope Handicap (G3) here on opening day, Jan. 3. You and I Forever won a seven-furlong allowance race at Calder by five lengths last July in his first start for Wolfson.

Completing the field for the Sprint Championship are Currey Delmar URAS Racing’s Inkado, Rajiv Maragh; Rose Family Stable’s Prince Joshua, Daniel Coa; Fox Hill Farm’s Solar Flare, Ramon Dominguez; Fox Hill Farm and Richard Brand’s Biker Boy, Jose Lezcano; Susan Moore’s Presto Change O, Jeremy Rose; Kevin Bogart and partners’ Peace Chant, Joe Bravo; and R.L. Johnson’s Congessional Page, Carlos Marquez, Jr.

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