USA: Effinex and Hoppertunity clash in quality Clark
Effinex: bids to win the Clark Handicap again
PICTURE: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos Effinex and Hoppertunity clash again By Nicholas Godfrey 11:21AM 25 NOV 2016
Preview: USA, Friday 10.56pm GMT
Churchill Downs: Clark Hcap (Grade 1) 1m1f, dirt, 3yo+
LAST year's one-two Effinex and Hoppertunity meet again as part of a top-class field for the Clark featuring four Grade 1 winners plus leading three-year-old Gun Runner.
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After finishing second in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Effinex (Jimmy Jerkens/Junior Alvarado) took the 2015 running of this $500,000 contest by three-quarters of a length.
But he could finish only seventh behind Arrogate in this year's Classic – three places behind Hoppertunity (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez), who had also beaten him in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at the start of October.
Effinex is joined by stablemate Shaman Ghost (Jimmy Jerkens/Javier Castellano), the Woodward Stakes winner who missed the Classic after spiking a fever the day before the race.
Gun Runner (Steve Asmussen/Florent Geroux) beaten by Tamarkuz in the Dirt Mile, has won twice at Churchill Downs, where he was third in this year's Kentucky Derby.
Bidding for his first Grade 1 success, he breaks from the rail in a ten-runner field also featuring talented front-runner Noble Bird (Mark Casse/Julien Leparoux), who won the Grade 1 Stephen Foster at this venue in 2015, comes into the Clark off impressive back-to-back victories in lesser grade.
Also on Friday
Churchill Downs: Mrs. Revere Stakes (Grade 2) 1m½f, turf, 3yo fillies (10.27pm GMT)
A second meeting for Del Mar Oaks winner Harmonize (Bill Mott/Junior Alvarado) and Hawksmoor (Arnaud Delacour/ Florent Geroux), separated by a nostril when second and third to Time And Motion in a tight finish to the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Hawksmoor, twice a Group-race winner for Hugo Palmer, is now trained in the States and has a 3lb pull this time.
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