(Next / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

NO NAY METS (IRE) TOPS OVERFLOW WILLIAM WALKER FIELD; NEXT OPENS 2024 CAMPAIGN IN ISAAC MURPHY MARATHON

Bregman Family Racing, WWBD and Edge Racing’s three-time stakes winning No Nay Mets (IRE) headlines a field of 12 3-year-olds plus three also-eligibles entered Wednesday for the ninth running of the $300,000 William Walker (Listed) going 5 ½ furlongs on the Matt Winn Turf Course on Champions Day at Churchill Downs.

The William Walker will be one of two stakes run on the afternoon of May 1 and will follow the sixth running of the $200,000 Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes for 4-year-olds and up at 1 ½ miles on the main track. The William Walker is the afternoon’s ninth race with a 4:52 p.m. (all times Eastern) post time. The Isaac Murphy precedes the William Walker at 4:19 p.m.

Trained by George Weaver, No Nay Mets closed 2023 by finishing fourth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (GI) at Santa Anita and was fourth in the Palisades (Listed) at Keeneland April 7 in his 2024 debut. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount from post 6.

The field for the William Walker with riders from the rail out is: Mansa Musa (IRE) (Junior Alvarado), Double Your Money (Ricardo Santana Jr.), Reef Runner (Paco Lopez), Refuel (Luis Saez), Debt Paid(Jaime Torres), No Nay Mets (IRE) (Ortiz Jr.), Joe Shiesty (Abel Cedillo), Bear River (James Graham), Smokey Smokey (Joel Rosario), Runnin’ Rocket (Tyler Gaffalione), Silent Heart (John Velazquez), Aspenite (Cristian Torres). Also-eligibles: Sketch (IRE) (Flavien Prat), This Is Uscar (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Molly’s Town (Fernando De La Cruz).

NEXT OPENS 2024 CAMPAIGN IN ISAAC MURPHY MARATHON

Michael Foster’s Next, who emerged as the top long-distance runner on dirt in North America in 2023, will make his 2024 debut next Wednesday when he faces seven rivals in the Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes.

Trained by Doug Cowans, Next has won five of his past six starts with the lone defeat coming as the favorite in the Murphy last year. After that, he won his next three starts by a combined 39 lengths including a 25-length blowout in the Greenwood Cup (GIII) at Parx on Sept. 23.

Luan Machado has the mount and will exit post 7.

The field for the Isaac Murphy Marathon Overnight Stakes with riders from the rail out is: Dai Vernon (Luis Saez), Donegal Forever (Irad Ortiz Jr.), Red Run (Tyler Gaffalione), O P Firecracker (Joel Rosario), Classic Causeway (Brian Hernandez Jr.), Masqueparade (Cristian Torres), Next (Machado), Master Game (James Graham).