Mocito Rojo Expected To Defend His Title In Governor’s Cup On Opening Night At Remington

The country’s top two trainers by money earned, Steve Asmussen and Brad Cox, will be looking to add to their bankrolls on opening night, Friday, Aug. 21, at Remington Park. The pair have nominated 10 horses of the 28 eligible for the $75,000 Governor’s Cup Stakes.

Any that enter from those top national trainers will have to have their running shoes on, however, as the defending champ in this race, Mocito Rojo, has been nominated to take the money down and is expected to return. He won the Governor’s Cup with a rally in 2019, scoring by a half-length. A 6-year-old horse by Mutadda, out of the Orientate mare Blushing Royale. Owned by Wayne T. Davis, trained by Shane Wilson, and was bred in Kentucky by Paul and Andrena Van Doren. Mocito Rojo has won a whopping 18 times in 31 starts for $837,263 in earnings. He won the Grade 3, $250,000 Lukas Classic at Churchill Downs last Sept. 28.

Asmussen is running away with the national title with his horses having earned $12,131,945 this year, sporting a daylight lead over second-place Cox’s $7,819,467. Cox has nominated four to the Governor’s Cup, including last year’s Oklahoma Derby winner Owendale. Here’s a look at the horses nominated from these top barns:

ASMUSSEN

· Lamartine (BRZ) – Owner Phoenix Thoroughbred, LTD. A 5-year-old horse by Shanghai Bobby, out of the Ghadeer (FR) mare Dica (BRZ), he has won 4-of-14 starts lifetime for $118,089 earned. Bred in Brazil by Stud Eternamente Rio. He hasn’t won since taking an allowance-optional claiming $80,000 race at Churchill Downs more than a year ago on June 20, 2019, over turf. The Governor’s Cup is 1-1/8 miles on the dirt. His last stakes win came in Brazil in 2018.

· Limonite – Owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC. A 4-year-old colt by Lemon Drop Kid, out of the Know Heights (IRE) mare Colina Verde (BRZ). Bred in Kentucky by Roberto Mesquita, he has won 2-of-14 for $173,135 earned. He has had five starts in stakes-company in his last 10 with his best finish a fifth in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds in New Orleans in February 2019.

· Lookin at Lee – Owner L and N Racing, LLC, of Tulsa, Okla. This 6-year-old by Lookin at Lucky, out of the Langfuhr mare Langara Lass, is the top money earner for Asmussen among his noms with $1,339,372 with four wins from 33 starts. He was bred in Kentucky by Ray Hanson. Horse’s claim to fame came is a second-place finish to Always Dreaming in the 2017 Kentucky Derby. He has only finished in the money (first, second or third) twice in his last 10 starts and in his last five, his best finish is fifth.

· Rotation – Owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, LLC. A 4-year-old colt by Tapit, out of the Olympio mare Free Spin, was bred in Kentucky by the owner. He is 2-of-11 lifetime with $320,895 earned. One of his two wins was the Grade 3, $300,000 Super Derby in 2019 at Louisiana Downs.

· Sheriff Brown – Owner Joe Peacock. This 4-year-old gelding is by two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, out of a Desert God mare, Rose’s Desert. He was bred in Kentucky by the owner and is 3-of-12 lifetime with a $134,421 bankroll. He has one stakes win under his belt, the $65,000 Winsham Lad Handicap at Sunland Park on Feb. 9 of this year.

COX

· Knicks Go – Owner Korea Racing Authority. This 4-year-old colt by Paynter, from Outflanker mare Kosmo’s Buddy, was bred in Maryland by Angie Moore. Has won 3-of-15 for earnings of $793,355. His best race may have been a runner-up finish, however. He ran second to Game Winner in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He is coming off an easy win, romping home by 7-1/2 lengths in allowance-optional claiming company at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 22 but has not raced since then. He ran second in the Ellis Park Derby last year.

· Night Ops – Owner Steve Landers. This 4-year-old colt is by Warrior’s Reward, out of the Kitalpha mare Bear All. Bred in Kentucky by Aschinger Bloodstock Holdings, LLC. He has won 6-of-18 for earnings of $614,956. Coming off a strong 3-3/4 lengths win in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows on July 5, and has won three of his five starts this year.

· Owendale – Owner Rupp Racing. He is a 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief, out of the Bernardini mare Aspen Light. Was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, LLC. On Sept. 29, last year, Owendale stormed into Remington Park and was an impressive winner in the Grade 3, $400,000 Oklahoma Derby, winning in a 10-horse field by 1-3/4 lengths. He has since run in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic and run second to one of the top older horses in the country, Tom’s d’Etat in the Grade 1, $600,000 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs. He also had a win in the $100,000 Blame Stakes at Churchill.

· Warrior’s Charge – Owner Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables, LLC. A 4-year-old colt by Munnings, out of the Broken Vow mare Battling Brook. Bred in Florida by Al Shaquab Racing. Has won 4-of-10 lifetime for bankroll of $715,310. He raced in the second leg of the Triple Crown last year, finishing only 2-1/2 lengths back to War of Will in the Preakness. He has run in three stakes in a row, winning one of those, the Grade 3, $500,000 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., on Feb. 17.

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