Colonel Liam Favored In Ultra-Competitive Turf Classic

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Colonel Liam | Hodges

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Saturday's GI Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic brings together this country's best turf runners currently in training, and Robert and Lawana Low's Colonel Liam (Liam's Map) has an opportunity to cement his status at the top of the heap in a race with several winning chances.

The $50,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $1.2-million OBS April breezer is four-for-five on the grass, his lone defeat coming at the hooves of Domestic Spending (GB) (Kingman {GB}) when beaten a half-length into fourth in the Saratoga Derby last August. Given some rest following that hard effort, the immaculately bred gray colt has been untouchable since, with victories in the Tropical Park Derby, the GI Pegasus World Cup Turf–with Lasix off, by rule–and a latest success in the GII Muniz Memorial S. at the Fair Grounds Mar. 20. He races without Lasix again Saturday, but the waters are considerably deeper.

Domestic Spending would go on to frank the form of his Saratoga success in his lone other sophomore appearance, a fast-finishing defeat of the re-opposing Smooth Like Strait (Midnight Lute) in the GI Hollywood Derby at Del Mar Nov. 28. With Irad Ortiz, Jr. sticking with Colonel Liam, trainer Chad Brown has reached out to Flavien Prat for the ride.

Digital Age (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) is the defending champion, having returned a juicy 8.60-1 when closing from ninth of 10 to score by 3/4 of a length in September. He is best forgiven for his 11th in the GI Breeders' Cup Mile in November, as the trip was likely on the short side and he found himself last early with too much to do against Grade I milers. Whereas he had the benefit of race fitness last summer, he races first off a six-month absence here.

Like Domestic Spending, Ride a Comet (Candy Ride {Arg}) is a Hollywood Derby winner, having scored in 2018, and has since returned from a 2-year vacation to win three of five starts. The 6-year-old beat recent Elusive Quality S. winner Casa Creed (Jimmy Creed) in the GIII Tropical Park Turf S. at Gulfstream Jan. 9, but was bumped at the start of the GI F.E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita Mar. 6 and was seventh, though not beaten far, behind the talented Hit The Road (More Than Ready). Ride a Comet rallied from last of nine to round out the exacta underneath Raging Bull (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}) when last seen in the GI Maker's Mark Mile at Keeneland Apr. 9, but he clearly handles this trip and is sneaky here at a price. A Grade I victory would be very meaningful for this half-brother to GI Belmont S. winner Tapwrit (Tapit).

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