As often does happen in the Grade 2 $ 300,000 Muniz Memorial, Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots’ premier Stall-Wilson turf course event of the season, a horse with impressive credentials ships in and appears to be the class over a field of local warriors taking turns beating one another. That role was cast in 2017 in the form of a son of Lasting Approval named Kasaqui (ARG), who entered the nine-furlong event for trainer Ignacio Correas IV with comparably admirable class lines and speed figures.
“He’s doing very well,” Correas said. “I think that he just came back from his last race and was in good shape. He ran a big race and should be a little sharper than he was last time. At this point of the year, I don’t want him better than this, because it’s a long year and we have other races.
“I don’t see many places to go other than this race and the distance was the most attractive thing,” Correas continued. “I always had it in the back of my mind to run a horse in this race, but for some reason or another, I’ve never had one run in it. It’s a good prep for Churchill (Downs’ G1 Turf Classic on May 6) and is great timing for his campaign. I didn’t want to run him a mile in the G1 Makers (46 Mile at Keeneland) because I have learned that that’s too short for him. This race will tell us more about where he is. Fair Grounds is a nice place to bring a horse for the race and I think he’ll like the turf course.”
After taking November through January off, the 7-year-old relatively lightly raced horse returned in the G3 Tampa Bay Stakes on Feb. 11, losing by a diminishing half-length to the talented Inspector Linley. Last year, he was repeatedly unlucky when the money was on the line. In the Turf Classic, he fell on the final turn, but luckily emerged unscathed. In the G1 Arlington Million, he had traffic issues that likely cost him the race when a flying neck second. One race later, in the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile, he was wide and dealt with traffic again when fifth by two lengths.
“I really think he’s improved with each race, going back five or so races,” Correas said. “He’s training very well right now and is very solid. Hopefully we will have him at the level he needs to be. He’s a top horse and has run very big against some very good horses. He shipped good, so hopefully he can do it.”
Robby Albarado, who has been aboard in all six starts since his the Argentine-bred’s Kentucky Derby Day spill, including a win in the 10-furlong G3 Arlington Handicap, has the mount from post eight in the 11-horse field.
“If everything goes well, our first goal is the Turf Classic and then we will look at the Arlington Million again with him,” Correas concluded. “It will be a similar campaign with him and we’ll let him tell us race by race what to do.”
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