Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Shining Copper, winner of the $100,000 Lure at Saratoga in 2016 and an allowance at Keeneland in his last start, will be the 119-pound starting high weight in an overflow field for Thursday’s 40th running of the $100,000 River City Handicap (GIII) on Thanksgiving Day at Churchill Downs.
The River City Handicap, run at 1 1/8 miles on turf, joins the $200,000 Falls City Handicap (GII), a 1 1/8-mile test for fillies and mares, on Thursday’s special 12-race holiday program. The first race begins early at 11:30 a.m. (all times EST) with the Falls City set as Race 10 at 3:53 p.m. and the River City as Race 11 at 4:22 p.m. The final race of the day is scheduled for 4:50 p.m.
Fifteen horses were entered for the popular River City grass event but only a maximum of 14 will start.
Shining Copper (30-7-4-7—$640,129), a 7-year-old gelding trained by Mike Maker, led wire-to-wire to a 3 ¼-length score in a conditioned-allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 15, his second start off an 11-month layoff. A former $62,500 claim by Maker, Shining Copper was narrowly defeated in the 2016 Arlington Million (GI) by The Pizza Man and Big Blue Kitten. Shining Copper will break from post 5 with leading rider Corey Lanerie aboard.
Chief among Shining Copper’s rivals is Calumet Farm, Sagamore Farm, and Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners’ War Correspondent. The Christophe Clement-trainee was a one-length victor as the heavy favorite in the April 29 Miami Mile (GIII) at Gulfstream Park and the third-place finisher in the Presque Isle Downs Mile on Sept. 17. War Correspondent drew post 12 with Julien Leparoux aboard.
Some In Time, Inc’s Louisville Handicap (GIII) hero Some In Tieme (Brz) (11-4-2-1—$414,585) makes his second start following his three-length victory on May 20 for trainer Kenny McPeek. Jockey Manny Cruz has the call and will break from post 10.
Randall Bloch, Phil Milner, John Seiler, and Amtietam, LLC’s Thatcher Street (32-5-8-10—$442,893) will have to overcome drawing the outside post but boasts a local record of 9-4-2-2. The 6-year-old son of Street Sense was defeated in the Old Friends Stakes at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 7 when Sir Dudley Digges, who subsequently scored an allowance victory on Nov. 12 at Churchill Downs, poked his head in front in the final stages of the race. Trained by Ian Wilkes, Thatcher Street will be ridden by his son-in-law Chris Landeros.
Owner/trainer C. R. Trout’s Shotgun Kowboy (21-9-5-2—$985,927) will attempt turf for only the second time in his career as he looks to vault over $1 million in purse earnings. The 5-year-old gelding by Kodiak Kowboy defeated a field of 10 rivals in the Oct. 20 Oklahoma Classics Cup at Remington Park. The Oklahoma-bred’s only turf try resulted in a runner-up finish in an allowance race on Aug. 13, 2016 at Remington Park. James Graham has the riding assignments and will break from post 13.
The complete River City Handicap field from the rail out (with jockey, assigned weight and morning line odds): Turf Titan (Brian Hernandez Jr., 113 pounds, 50-1); Team Colors (Jose Lezcano, 114, 30-1); Zulu Alpha (Jon Court, 113, 50-1); Christian C (Channing Hill, 114, 30-1); Shining Copper (Lanerie, 119, 3-1); Revved Up (Robby Albarado, 117, 9-2); Vettori Kin (Brz) (Florent Geroux, 116, 30-1); Applicator (Calvin Borel, 116, 12-1); Coco Mon (Joe Rocco Jr., 118, 5-1); Some In Tieme (Brz) (Cruz, 116, 15-1) Kasaqui (Arg) (Ricardo Santana Jr., 117, 5-1); War Correspondent (Leparoux, 118, 4-1); Shotgun Kowboy (Graham, 115, 13-1); Thatcher Street (Landeros, 116, 15-1).
Stephen Wigmore’s Gostisbehere (Dean Sarvis, 109, 50-1) is on the also eligible-list and could draw in if any late scratches occur.