G2 bid by Lucullan at Fair Grounds
Lucullan looks to build on exciting seasonal return as he steps back up in class for the nine-furlong G2 Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds, USA, on Saturday, 24 March.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained four-year-old has won three of his five starts since switching to turf last year, most recently when powering clear to a three-length victory in a Gulfstream allowance optional claimer over the same distance on 11 February.
On his only previous Graded appearance, the Hard Spun colt stayed on gamely to go down by a neck to Yoshida in the G3 Hill Prince Stakes, also over nine furlongs at Belmont Park in October.
Gary Stevens comes in for the ride on Lucullan, who breaks from stall six in a field of 11 that also includes recent course and distance G3 scorer Synchrony plus G1 winner Ring Weekend.
Kiaran McLaughlin said: “We freshened up Lucullan a little bit before his first start of the year, when he ran a huge race, and he has been in very good form since.
“That was only an allowance race, but it was an excellent performance and we decided to step him up to a G2 contest.
“There wasn’t an ideal spot for him in Florida, and the turf course at Gulfstream could do with some rain, so we decided to head to Fair Grounds.
“It’s a tough race, but it fits well in terms of timing and hopefully we can kick on to some big races in Kentucky and New York afterwards.”
Earlier on the same card, Godolphin’s four-year-old filly Charged (Michael Stidham/Mitchell Murrill) goes for a first non-Graded success in the New Orleans Ladies Overnight Stakes over an extended mile on turf.