(Closethegame Sugar / Coady Media)

(Bango / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team / Darren Rogers & Kevin Kerstein:


 Adam Rice and New York Mets star pitcher EdwinSugarDiaz will return to Churchill Downs and attempt to close the Spring Meet with another victory from their talented 4-year-old gelding Closethegame Sugar in Saturday’s 14th running of the $250,000 Kelly’s Landing (Listed).

          The 6 ½ furlong Kelly’s Landing field, which also includes Churchill Downs’ co-all-time wins leader Bango along with Cigar Mile (GII) winner Hoist the Gold, will go to post at 5:31 p.m. in Race 10. First post on the stakes-laden card is 12:45 p.m.

Closethegame Sugar, trained by co-owner Rice, pulled an 18-1 upset in the Aristides Stakes (Listed) three weeks ago when he ran down heavy favorite Skelly in mid-stretch to win by one length under jockeyIrad Ortiz Jr. Overall, the son of Girvin is a four-time winner including a turf victory in the Mahony Stakes last year at Saratoga. Ortiz will have the return-call from post No. 6.

          While Closethegame Sugar’s four victories from just seven starts are impressive, his Kelly’s Landing rival Bango will be in search of his record-breaking 12th victory at Churchill Downs and 15th overall in his 36-race career. Owned and bred by Fred and Debbie SchwartzTamaroak Partners, Bango was victorious in last year’s Kelly’s Landing at Ellis Park, narrowly holding off Marsalis and Miles Ahead. Trained by Greg Foley, Bango is scheduled to make only his second appearance of his 7-year-old season in the Kelly’s Landing with leading rider Tyler Gaffalione aboard from post 8.

          Another accomplished sprinter that entered the Kelly’s Landing is Dream Team One Racing Stable’s Hoist the Gold who, at the close of his 4-year-old season, won the Cigar Mile Handicap (GII) at Aqueduct. Trained by Dallas Stewart and ridden in the Kelly’s Landing by Luis Saez, Hoist the Gold was last seen when he finished third to National Treasure and Post Time in the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) on Belmont Stakes Day at Saratoga. Hoist the Gold, who was supplemented to the Kelly’s Landing with a $2,250 payment by his connections, drew post 5.

          Here is the complete field for the Kelly’s Landing from the rail out (with jockey and trainer):

  • Anarchist (Antonio Fresu, Doug O’Neill)
  • Spankster (Joe Bealmear, Jade Cunningham)
  • Ryvit (Cristian Torres, Steve Asmussen)
  • Tejano Twist (Rafael Bejarano, Chris Hartman)
  • Hoist the Gold (Saez, Stewart)
  • Closethegame Sugar (Irad Ortiz Jr., Rice)
  • Angkor (Jose Ortiz, Phil Bauer)
  • Bango (Gaffalione, Foley)