Mr. Misunderstood Will Try to Repeat in Saturday’s G3 River City Stakes

(Mr. Misunderstood at Ellis Park / Photo by Holly M. Smith)

From the Churchill Downs Media Team:

Flurry Racing Stables’ 12-time winner Mr. Misunderstood will defend his title in Saturday’s $175,000 G3 River City at Churchill Downs as he leads a field of 10 older turf specialists in the 42nd running of the 1 1/8-mile grass race.

The River City, which received a $75,000 purse boost for the 2019 renewal, is carded as Race 10 with a post time of 5:36 p.m. (all times Eastern). First post for the 11-race card is 1 p.m.

Trained by Brad Cox, Mr. Misunderstood (25-12-3-3—$813,879) is in search of his first victory of 2019 following near misses in the $99,000 Kentucky Downs Tourist Mile Preview and $100,000 Remington Green Stakes. The classy 5-year-old gelding, named after the hit Eric Church single and album, “Mr. Misunderstood,” sports a stout 5-4-0-1 record over the Matt Winn Turf Course. Four of his eight stakes wins have come at Churchill Downs, including the Jefferson Cup and Commonwealth Turf (GIII) in 2017 and Wise Dan (GII) and River City Handicap (GIII) in 2018.

Mr. Misunderstood will break from post position No. 4 on Saturday with regular pilot Florent Geroux scheduled to ride.

Among Mr. Misunderstood’s rivals in the River City is Amerman Racing’s Admission Office(8-3-3-1—$263,272), who is in search of his first stakes victory after a trio of black-type placings. Trained by Brian Lynch, who won the River City in 2015 with Heart to Heart, Admission Office was the runner-up behind Catholic Boy in Pimlico’s $250,000 Dixie Stakes (GII) and third-place finisher in the $250,000 Wise Dan (GII) at Churchill Downs. Most recently, the 4-year-old colt finished 11th in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (GI) at Keeneland but was only defeated 3 ¼ lengths to Bowies Hero. One of the nation’s leading riders, Jose Ortiz, has the call on Admission Office from post 9.

Trainer Mike Maker entered three horses for Saturday’s River City: Paradise Farms Corp’s recent Keeneland allowance winner Bemma’s Boy; Three Diamonds Farm’s multiple stakes-placed Cullum Road; and Hooties Racing and Michael Hui’s stakes winner Space Mountain. Maker won the River City in 2017 with Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Shining Copper.

The complete River City field (with jockey and trainer): Cullum Road (Tyler Gaffalione, Mike Maker); Emmaus (IRE) (Channing Hill, Connor Murphy); Blue Sky Kowboy (Sophie Doyle, Michele Boyce); Mr. Misunderstood (Geroux, Cox); My Bariley (Santo Sanjur, Anthony Granitz); Space Mountain (Ricardo Santana Jr., Maker); Bemma’s Boy (Julien Leparoux, Maker); Get Western (Brian Hernandez Jr., Charlie LoPresti); Admission Office (Ortiz, Lynch); and Lascaux (Joe Rocco Jr., Jose Fernandez).

All horses will carry 121 pounds.

Churchill Downs is scheduled to have a four-day racing week Thursday-Sunday following the cancellation of Wednesday’s 10-race card. First post will be 1 p.m.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds

More From The Pressbox Staff