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Breeders' Cup 2017

Baffert Holds Strong Hand in American Flag

Sky Kingdom wins 2013 Tokyo City at Santa Anita.
Photo: Benoit Photo
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert holds a strong hand in the $75,000 American Flag Stakes, the main event on the 4th of July holiday program Friday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 2 p.m.
Twice a winner of the Champion of Champions during his time as a quarter horse trainer at Los Alamitos, Baffert will be represented by War Academy and Sky Kingdom in the American Flag, which is for older horses at 1 1/16 miles.
Approximate post time for the American Flag, which is the seventh of eight races, is 5 p.m.
Owned by George Jacobs, War Academy will stretch out after an impressive win as the 7-10 favorite in an optional claimer at seven furlongs June 15 at Santa Anita.
A 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding out of the A.P. Indy mare Cabbage Key, War Academy has won three of six and earned $122,800. He captured an optional claimer March 15, 2013 at the American Flag distance.
Sky Kingdom, who is owned by Westrock Stables LLC, will be making his first appearance since finishing fourth as the 5-2 favorite in the Harry F. Brubaker last Aug. 31 at Del Mar.
The 5-year-old Empire Maker horse has won four of 13. Out of the Kingmambo mare Sky Beam, he’s earned $319,602.
In his most recent start on dirt, Sky Kingdom was a decisive winner of the 2013 Tokyo City at Santa Anita.
Magic Mark will be seeking his third win in a row for owner-breeders John and Dorine Lanza and trainer Ron Ellis. The California-bred gelding won a pair of optional claimers by a combined 6¾ lengths April 25 and June 19 in Arcadia.
A 4-year-old gelded son of Benchmark and the Deputy Governor mare Jewel Magic, Magic Mark has won four of six and banked $161,860.
Handsome Mike will be looking to end an 11-race losing streak for Reddam Racing LLC and trainer Doug O’Neill.
Best known for his 19-1 upset in the Grade II Pennsylvania Derby in 2012 at Parx, Handsome Mike hasn’t won since taking the Grade III Commonwealth over Keeneland’s Polytrack April 13, 2013.
The 5-year-old son of Scat Daddy and the Smart Strike mare Classic Strike has won three of 27 and earned $955,323.
Fly Lexis Fly drops in class after trailing in the Grade II Californian May 31 at Santa Anita.
Trained by Peter Miller for owner Dona Licha, the Badge of Silver ridgling is winless in eight starts in the United States after beginning his career with three victories in five races in Peru.
Out of the Silver charm mare Becky Loves Silver, Fly Lexis Fly has a bankroll of $258,562.
Old Time Hockey will be making his first start since finishing 10th of 13 in the Grade II Elkhorn on turf April 25 at Keeneland.
Owned by breeder Glen Hill Farm and trained by Tom Proctor, the 5-year-old Smarty Jones gelding is 5-for-22 with earnings of $337,943.
One of his victories came in an optional claimer switched from grass to the main track March 7 at Tampa Bay Downs.
Idle since finishing seventh in an optional claimer on the Santa Anita turf Feb. 14, Huntsville will be racing on dirt for the first time in nearly two years for owner-trainer Barry Abrams and co-breeder and California Horse Racing Board member Madeline Auerbach.
The 5-year-old gelding by Unusual Heat and the Jade Hunter mare Lethal Heat hasn’t raced on the surface since finishing sixth in the 2012 Pomona Derby at Fairplex Park.
Huntsville has three wins in 39 starts and earnings of $297,021.
From inside out, the field for the American Flag Stakes: Old Time Hockey, Drayden Van Dyke rides, 124 pounds; Handsome Mike, Elvis Trujillo, 124; War Academy, Martin Garcia, 122; Huntsville, Fernando Perez, 119; Magic Mark, Joe Talamo, 122; Sky Kingdom, Victor Espinoza, 124 and Fly Lexis Fly, Edwin Maldonado, 124.


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