Heart to Heart seeks Grade 1 glory in Maker’s 46 Mile

Profile Picture: James Scully

April 12th, 2016

Heart to Heart is starting to make a serious mark in the U.S. turf division, extending his graded stakes-winning streak to three with a convincing tally most recently in the Canadian Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and the 5-year-old horse can continue to enhance his reputation by recording an initial Grade 1 victory.

The Brian Lynch trainee has a prime opportunity in Friday’s $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland.

An Ontario-bred son of English Channel, Heart to Heart has recorded all eight of his stakes wins in wire-to-wire fashion and figures to be up close from the start Friday with regular rider Julien Leparoux. However, the presence of confirmed front-runner Shining Copper may force Heart to Heart to show some versatility in order to maintain his winning ways.

After being claimed in late May, Shining Copper was thrust into the rabbit’s role for stablemate Big Blue Kitten, but the Chad Brown-trained gelding outperformed expectations when hanging on for fourth in the United Nations (G1) and third in the Arlington Million (G1) last season. The 6-year-old is now performing on his own merit at the graded level, opening 2016 with a neck second in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1), and he’ll show high speed once again with Paco Lopez picking up the mount.

Tourist is a multiple stakes-winning contender making his first start of the year for Bill Mott. A fast-closing third in the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland last October, the 5-year-old son of Tiznow figures to receive a nice set-up for his late kick and will retain the services of Jose Lezcano.

Reload enters in good form for Shug McGaughey, winning the Tampa Bay (G3) in his 2016 bow. The 7-year-old was flattered when the runner-up from his last start, Take the Stand, came back to capture the Muniz Memorial (G2) at Fair Grounds, and Reload figures to bring a solid late turn of foot to the Maker’s 46 Mile with Javier Castellano.

Grade 2 scorer Itsaknockout is an intriguing prospect for Todd Pletcher in his first start on turf; the Lemon Drop Kid colt hails from a female family littered with accomplished turf performers and is 2-for-3 at the one-mile trip.

Winner of last year’s Nijinsky (G2) on Woodbine’s turf, Are You Kidding Me will make his first appearance since winning the Autumn (G2) on Polytrack last November. Miss Temple City is also returning from a lengthy layoff, unraced since a head second in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) in October, and the 4-year-old filly faces a serious class check in her first start against males.

A pair of last-out allowance/optional claiming winners, Conquest Typhoon and Dac, complete the field.

Heart to Heart photo courtesy of Lauren King/Adam Coglianese Photography