EIGHT RINGS, COLLUSION ILLUSION & EXPRESS TRAIN HEAD FRIDAY’S GRADE I, $300,000 AMERICAN PHAROAH STAKES FOR 2-YEAR-OLDS AT 1 1/16 MILES

 EIGHT RINGS, COLLUSION ILLUSION & EXPRESS TRAIN HEAD FRIDAY’S GRADE I, $300,000 AMERICAN PHAROAH STAKES FOR 2-YEAR-OLDS AT 1 1/16 MILES

RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER

ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2019)–Bob Baffert’s Eight Rings, Mark Glatt’s Collusion Illusion, John Shirreffs’ Express Train and Steve Asmussen’s Shoplifted head a strong field of nine juveniles in Friday’s Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, to be run at a mile and one sixteenth over Santa Anita’s main track.

A Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, the winner of the American Pharoah will earn a fees-paid berth into the Grade I, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1.

EIGHT RINGS

Owner:  SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing or Madaket Stables LLC, et al
Trainer:  Bob Baffert

A runaway 6 ¼ length first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs Aug. 4 at Del Mar, this colt by Empire Maker was off as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite in the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 2, but ducked in at the break, unseating jockey Drayden Van Dyke.  With Van Dyke’s status uncertain until recently, Baffert has opted to bring Hall of Famer John Velazquez in to ride on Friday.

COLLUSION ILLUSION

Owner:  Dan Agnew, Rodney Orr, Jerry Schneider & John Xitco
Trainer:  Mark Glatt

A Florida-bred colt by Twirling Candy, he’s done little wrong in two starts.  A first out half length maiden winner going five furlongs on July 21, Collusion Illusion made an impressive late run in taking the Grade II, six furlong Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar by 1 ¼ lengths on Aug. 10.  Joe Talamo rides back as Collusion Illusion bids for his third straight win.

EXPRESS TRAIN

Owner:  C R K Stable LLC
Trainer:  John Shirreffs

Second, beaten 6 ¼ lengths by Eight Rings going 5 ½ furlongs Aug. 4, this Union Rags colt stretched out to mile in his second start, winning by 14 ¼ lengths as the 3-5 favorite.  A $500,000 Keeneland Sept. yearling, he’ll be ridden back by Mike Smith.

SHOPLIFTED

Owner:  Grandview Equine, Cheyenne Stables LLC and LNJ Foxwoods
Trainer:  Steve Asmussen

An $800,000 March 2-year-old in training sale purchase, this Into Mischief colt was an impressive 4 ½ length first-out maiden winner going 5 ½ furlongs at Saratoga July 27 and came back to run second over a sloppy track in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes going seven furlongs on Sept. 2. Top gun Joel Rosario will ship in from New York to ride.

NUCKY

Owner:  Rockingham Ranch
Trainer:  Peter Miller

A 10 ½ length maiden $100,000 claiming winner at odds of 1-2 on Aug. 21, this Ghostzapper colt was dismissed as a 35-1 longshot in the Del Mar Futurity, which was his fifth career start.  Breaking from post position seven, he avoided any trouble that may have been caused by favored Eight Rings, who broke from post position two.  With Norberto Arroyo, Jr., up, Nucky pressed the pace and went on to post a 2 ¾ length win while earning a modest 68 Beyer Speed figure.

THE GRADE I AMERICAN PHAROAH WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT

  1. American Theorem–Tiago Pereira–122
  2. Fore Left–Mario Gutierrez–122
  3. Eight Rings–John Velazquez–122
  4. Express Train–Mike Smith-122
  5. Storm the Court–Flavien Prat–122
  6. Defense Wins–Rafael Bejarano–122
  7. Shoplifted–Joel Rosario–122
  8. Nucky–Norberto Arroyo, Jr.–122
  9. Collusion Illusion–Joe Talamo–122

First post time for a nine-race program on opening day, Friday, is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.