McCraken, Hence match up in Friday's Cornhusker Handicap

July 01, 2018 04:17pm
Hence, the 2017 Iowa Derby winner, will return to Prairie Meadows in sight of another stakes win on the same card when he runs in Friday's Grade 3, $300,000 Cornhusker Handicap. And he'll have competition from another former Kentucky Derby runner in McCraken.

Those two add to a nice field of nine older horses set to go 1 1/8 miles.
Hence, who was 11th in the 2017 Derby, qualified by winning the Sunland Derby (G3). The Iowa Derby is his only win in six starts since.

McCraken, who was eighth in the Derby, opened 2018 by winning an allowance optional claiming race on the May 5 undercard at Churchill Downs. From there, he went on to run eighth in the prestigious Met Mile (G1) on Belmont Stakes day.

The Derby alumni will face competition from, among others: Irish Freedom, who won for new trainer Brad Cox last out at the allowance level; Dr. Dorr, a Bob Baffert trainee who has run at the Grade 1 level out West; and Matrooh, who at 68-1 ran third in Churchill Downs' Stephen Foster (G1) back on. June 16.

There was expected to be a third Derby alum, Girvin, in the Cornhusker field. We've reached out to trainer Joe Sharp about his absence from the entry box.

Post time the Cornhusker, Race 8 of 10, is 10:30 p.m. ET Friday.


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