By Emily Shields
The tenth race of an 11-race card at Churchill Downs on Saturday, November 16, is the $175,000 River City Handicap (G3), a 1 1/8-mile grass race for older horses. Last year’s winner Mr. Misunderstood is back to defend his title against the likes of Emmaus, Admission Office, and Space Mountain.
On the rail is Cullum Road, a $345,000 earning son of Quality Road. Mike Maker trains the four-year-old, who was fifth as the favorite in a grassy allowance at Keeneland last out. The winner of that race was Emmaus (Ire), who breaks from stall two.
Emmaus (Ire) was sixth in the Woodbine Mile (G1) two back, but was multiple stakes placed at Woodbine and Belmont this year. He has never stretched out this far, but was a stakes winner sprinting in England last year. Conor Murphy trains the son of Invincible Spirit (Ire), who will have Channing Hill aboard.
Blue Sky Kowboy was a stakes winner at Hawthorne last out going a mile and one sixteenth. Michele Boyce trains the son of Kodiak Kowboy, who is two for six this year. He has been top three 14 times in 21 starts. Sophie Doyle rides.
Mr. Misunderstood is trained by Brad Cox. He has a stellar four for five record on this turf course, including this race last year. But he hasn’t won since then, running third twice and second once in stakes and allowance company. He has over $800,000 in earnings with 12 wins in 25 starts.
My Bariley is a son of Mizzen Mast and is zero for eight this year. But he has been second or third in his last three starts, and is a winner at the distance.
Space Mountain is a stakes winner for Mike Maker. He is three for seven on this turf course and unbeaten at the distance. Ricardo Santana, Jr. will ride the son of Street Cry (ire), who was a Remington Park stakes winner two back.
Bemma’s Boy was a winner last out in a marathon turf allowance at Keeneland. Jose Ortiz was aboard that day, but he rides Admission Office here today. This gelding is Maker’s second entrant and has won two of his last three starts; one of those was at the $35,000 claiming level at Saratoga.
Get Western has also won two of his last there. The son of Get Stormy only cost $1,000 as a yearling but is closing in on $300,000 in earnings. Charlie Lopresti trains, Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride the Kentucky Downs stakes winner.
Admission Office is the main threat to Mr. Misunderstood. The son of Point of Entry was grade 2 placed here in June, and grade 2 placed at Pimlico in May. He was a Keeneland allowance winner in April, and has been top three in seven of eight career starts. His only off the board finish came in grade 1 company last out.
Lascaux rounds out the field. He has been third in his last two starts, but was a winner here a year ago in an off turf allowance race. He had a lengthy layoff and is in his third start of the form cycle.
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