TORONTO, August 3, 2023 – Eyes On the King will test out Woodbine and the grass for the first time in Sunday’s $100,000 Hamilton Stakes, a 7 ½-furlong race for 3-year-olds over the inner turf.
Trained by dual hall of famer Mark Casse for owner M Racing Group, LLC, the son of Street Sense-Nickel is set to make his first start since an eighth in the John Battaglia Memorial on March 4 at Turfway Park.
Bred in Kentucky by Rigney Racing LLC, Eyes On the King debuted at Gulfstream Park in August 2022. Sent off at 2-1 in the six-furlong main track race, the colt, despite breaking inward, recovered and went on to post a four-length win.
After a fifth in his next start, also at Gulfstream, Eyes On the King was back in the winner’s circle courtesy of a 2 ¼-length win over a mile and 70 yards on the Hallandale oval Tapeta in November.
He was then eleventh in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes in his 3-year-old debut on January 1 at Gulfstream, followed by his run in the John Battaglia.
Rafael Hernandez, who recently surpassed the 3,000-win mark for his career, will partner Eyes On the King in the Hamilton.
“I’m looking forward to the chance to ride this horse,” said Hernandez, who sits second in the Woodbine jockey standings with 45 wins, including four stakes, three of them graded. “He had some tough races against some good horses in his last two starts, but he’s been working very well.”
Eyes On the King had four works at Woodbine in July, including a five-furlong breeze from the gate in :59.80 on July 16.
He brings a 2-0-0 mark from five starts into Sunday’s stakes test.
“It’s his first race back since March, but he looks good,” said Hernandez. “Hopefully, we can come up with a big effort and give his connections a nice win.”
Casse also sends out Conman and Lifetime of Chance. Other starters include multiple stakes winner Dreaming of Kona, and stakes winner Sir Lancelot.
The Hamilton goes as race seven. First post is 1:05 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIbet.com and the Dark Horse Bets app.
$100,000 HAMILTON STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Sir Lancelot – Kazushi Kimura – Michael Stidham
2 – Eyes On the King – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
3 – Conman – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
4 – Keen Flatter – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Josie Carroll
5 – Mehlek (S) – Daisuke Fukumoto – William Tharrenos
6 – Lifetime of Chance – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
7 – Dreaming of Kona (S) – Scott Spieth – Aldana Spieth
Chris Lomon, Woodbine Communications / @WoodbineComms