Augustin Stable’s Smart Bid, defending champion in the
Grade II Mervin Muniz Memorial Handicap over the
Stall-Wilson turf course,
is expected to head the field once again in the upcoming 20th
anniversary edition of Fair Grounds’ premier turf test for older horses.
Graham Motion, Smart Bid won the
Grade III Fair Grounds Handicap Feb. 25 over the local lawn as the prep for the $400,000 Muniz Memorial on
Louisiana Derby Day April 1, closing day of the current Crescent City racing season.
Also expected to contest the Mervin Muniz Memorial ’Cap is Andrews T & S Racing’s
Mr. Vegas, a Richie
Scherer trainee who finished second by a head to Smart Bid in the Fair Grounds ‘Cap and won the
Grade III Col. E. R. Bradley Handicap here Jan. 21 as the first leg of the local grass series.
Willyconker, owned by Kenney and Vielle Gardner and trained by
Doug O’Neill, is expected to invade from the West Coast for the Mervin Muniz after capturing Santa Anita’s
Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile over the California grass on March 3.
Others slated at this time for the Muniz Memorial include Team Block’s
Suntracer, trained by Neil Pessin and most recently fourth in the Col. Bradley; Sam Houston’s
Grade III John B. Connally winner
Papaw Bodie, owned by Connie Apostelos and trained by
Mike Maker; and Wertheimer et Frere’s
Slow Pace, Kentucky-bred but French campaigned last year to win Maisons-Laffitte’s
$79,000 Prix de Surenes before coming under the guidance of
Todd Pletcher this season.
Swift Warrior, trained by John Terranova II and third in the
Grade III Tampa Bay Stakes Feb. 25; Henry Pabst Trust’s
Joinem, trained by David Carroll and a winner over the Gulfstream grass in his last start Feb. 11; and Resolute Group Stables’
Teaks North, conditioned by Tony Dutrow and fifth in the
$150,000 Sunshine Millions Turf in his last start Jan. 28, complete the list of those likely for the Mervin Muniz Memorial at this time.