All In Stable’s Willcox Inn, away from competition
since finishing third in the Grade II Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Nov. 6
at Churchill Downs, has been installed as the solid 5-2 choice in the morning
line for Saturday’s $60,000 Grindstone Stakes at Fair Grounds.
The third renewal of the Grindstone, named in honor of the
1996 Louisiana Derby winner who parlayed that score to a victory in the
Kentucky Derby later that spring, is restricted to 3-year-olds and will be
contested at about 7 1/2 furlongs over the Stall-Wilson turf course.
Prior to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, Willcox Inn ran
third in the Grade I Breeders Futurity over the Polytrack at Keeneland
Oct. 9. The son of Harlan’s Holiday broke his maiden at first asking last Sept.
18 at Arlington
in a race scheduled for the grass but taken off and run over the Polytrack at
Willcox Inn, trained by Mike Stidham, breezed a half
mile in 49.20 Wednesday at Fair Grounds and will be ridden by leading jockey Rosie
Capable of providing strong competition for Willcox Inn in
the Grindstone is Aces N Kings, owned and trained by Caroline Dodwell.
In his last start Jan. 22, the Texas-bred gelding won the restricted $50,000
Groovy Stakes at Sam Houston Park, and before that ran third in the $250,000
Springboard Mile Stakes at Remington. Pegged as the 4-1 second choice in the
morning line, Aces N Kings also captured the $50,000 Minstrel and $50,000
Sunny’s Halo stakes over the grass course at Louisiana Downs last summer. Eddie
Martin Jr. is named in the irons.
Not to be discounted in the Grindstone is Wyn Stable’s
British-bred Cafe Elektric, who will be making his first start in this
country after finishing second in an English allowance race last Oct. 2 at
Epsom Downs. Before that Cafe Elektric won an allowance race in Scotland
grass course Sept. 16. Canadian trainer Roger Attfield is the
conditioner and jockey John Jacinto is slated for the saddle aboard the
9-2 third choice.
Completing the Grindstone field is Wayne Sanders and Larry
Hirsch’s Action Ready, Miguel Mena up; Team Block’s Mavericking,
Shaun Bridgmohan; Steve Mongerson’s Moobie, James Graham; Millennium
Farms’ Great Mills, Shane Sellers; William Farish and Skara Glen
Stable’s Close Ally, Jamie Theriot; and Carolyn Friedberg and Jeff
Larson’s Tragic Magic, Marlon St. Julien.